18 Top Digital Marketing Strategies & Trends in 2020 (Updated March 2020)
Year after year, digital marketing evolves and the channels/platforms seem to grow. With the vast amount of digital marketing solutions available to businesses in 2020, it can be difficult to know which ones will provide the best return on your marketing spend. Increasingly, the need to invest in traditional marketing is being surpassed by digital marketing. Businesses are focusing more on tech-driven solutions such as artificial intelligence, marketing automation and social messaging apps.
In the list that follows, we detail the most effective digital marketing trends for 2020 and explain how each one can help your business reach new heights in 2020 and beyond.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI is a driving force behind an innovative digital marketing strategy, including chatbots and automation. It can effectively analyze consumer behavior and search patterns in order to personalize marketing campaigns. Per The CMO Survey “56.5% of marketers report utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to generate customer insights using predictive analytics and to personalize content for greater engagement and sales. Over 40% also use AI to segment and target customers.”
It’s predicted that AI marketing will continue to evolve and become even more mainstream in 2020 and beyond, allowing marketers to up their game by providing a full customer experience that’s driven entirely by AI.
The term micro-moments describes the behaviors that we often display when using our mobile devices this day and age. Micro-moments refers to the tendency consumers have to use their smartphones in fragmented moments throughout the day, either while completing other tasks or as a simple reflex. According to a study performed by Google in conjunction with Ipsos, 91% of consumers use their mobile device for inspiration while in the middle of a task, while 82% of consumers consult their cell phone while shopping for details about products and businesses.
As a business, you can use these micro-moments to your advantage in several ways. By communicating with customers to determine when, where and how they’re making purchasing decisions using their smartphone, marketers and advertisers are able to create strategies to be visible to customers when they’re needed most. By providing relevant, quality content that’s quick and simple to read while answering the most common questions your consumers ask, businesses can make it easy for the consumer to find their product during these micro-moments.
3. Social Messaging Apps
As of 2019, approximately 20 billion messages were sent between businesses and individual users each month on Facebook Messenger, and this number has continued to grow. Consumers looking to communicate with brands are often turning to social media and social messaging apps (ie. Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, etc) to obtain the information they desire, and by maintaining a strong presence in these areas, businesses can build trust with consumers and maintain loyal customer relationships.
In addition to providing a connection with customers via manual chat entry, these apps allow businesses to personalize messages to customers using chatbots to keep followers abreast of upcoming sales, events and other pertinent information. Many companies also make use of these features to send order confirmations, shipping details and reminders about upcoming payments.
4. Voice Search/Smart Speakers
Voice search hit the mainstream when Apple released the iPhone 4S with Siri, its helpful virtual assistant. While the original Siri was little more than a novelty at the time, the technology was quickly adopted by several other big brands. In 2020, voice search is quickly becoming the norm with an estimated 60 million Americans having smart speakers such as Google Home and Alexa in their houses.
The way consumers search online changes with voice search, which means that marketers need to consider the way they’re optimizing their content. In most cases, voice searches are of a conversational tone. For example, instead of a simple search for “sandwich recipes”, most voice search users will ask their search assistant a question such as “how do I make a club sandwich?” For marketing professionals, this means adapting keyword research and optimization to include conversational queries.
5. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is one of the most important ways that businesses ensure adequate exposure for their brand. SEO involves tailoring on-page & off-page content to attract organic visitors, in particular, traffic that originates from search engine results. Without adequate SEO, websites are typically not found (or indexed low) in search engine results, which can make unpaid visitors hard to come by.
Optimizing web content can be difficult and complex. The process of optimization usually includes the mention of specific keywords within web content, as well as suitable linking, coding, structure and layout on your website, and the obvious — adding value to your visitor.
Personalization entails the use of behavioral analytics to create experiences that are specifically tailored to the customer. Companies use personalization to create emails, landing pages, and advertisements that are more likely to grab the attention of consumers by displaying specific products or services they’re more likely to enjoy. This is typically based on CRM data, past browsing or purchase history on a company’s website, mobile app or even in-store. It can also include data collected across various marketing channels. Personalized marketing enhances the shopping experience one-to-one; campaigns do not impact consumers equally so why deliver the same experience to everyone?
To provide customers with the most personalized experience, it’s important to have a strong data collection plan in place and a solid strategy for how to use that data. Using demographic information along with details about browsing and buying history allows you to categorize your customers into segments and micro-segments to provide the most tailored shopping experience possible by predicting the products they’re most likely to purchase and showcasing the right products to the right visitors at the right time.
7. Search Engine Marketing (SEM)
SEM is a digital marketing strategy that’s been around for years but has evolved to become more effective than ever. With tools such as Google AdWords, brands can create text, video and display ads that appear as paid advertisements in search engine results and/or publisher/advertiser websites. Businesses can monitor the success of their ads and edit keywords, text and more to improve their efficacy at anytime.
A large part of SEM is effectively optimizing your content using keywords to ensure a high Google relevancy score. With poor SEO, even marketers who purchase advertising space on search engines may have low clicks and conversion rates so maintaining proper SEO is key.
8. Content Marketing
Content marketing consists of creating and/or sharing viral content such as videos, blogs, articles and social media posts. Typically, content shared doesn’t directly advertise the brand, but in most cases, businesses choose to create and/or share content that applies to their particular niche.
Content marketing builds trust and valuable relationships with consumers. Additionally, it helps businesses to remain visible in competitive marketplaces by garnering more clicks and engagement on their posts. Sites such as Facebook base their algorithms on likes, comments and shares; therefore, consumers are more likely to see your business’s posts and advertisements if a friend or someone in their network has recently engaged with one of your posts. Also, the social shares and traffic will ultimately help your SEO as Google’s algorithm pays attention to these signals.
Remarketing is a relatively aggressive digital marketing strategy. It consists of displaying ads to visitors who have previously visited your website but have not made a purchase. Remarketing tools work by tracking cookies and monitoring clicks or views and then showing ads to previous website visitors on websites within a particular network. Remarketing audiences tend to have a higher conversion rate due to the fact that they have already expressed an interest in the brand.
10. Visual Search
Visual search is a tool that’s not yet seen everyday, but is making big waves in the future of digital marketing. There are several big brands that have recently integrated visual search technology into their websites and/or mobile apps. For example, Sephora has recently teamed up with Samsung’s virtual assistant Bixby to search faces in photographs to recommend similar cosmetic products.
Ideally, businesses can take advantage of this technology by creating apps that identify their products or show similar products with the snap of a photograph.
11. Responsive Web Design
The majority of consumers today search for products and services using their mobile device. That’s why it’s so important to build a website that’s responsive, meaning the page renders perfectly on any size of screen. While in the past, responsive design has been made to allow websites to be compatible with desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets, it’s not uncommon to now find responsive themes and custom designs that are compatible with smart watches, as well. In 2020 and beyond, it’s important for businesses to keep up with evolving technology to ensure their website is viewable on any device their customers may use.
12. Local Search Strategy
Local search strategy is another digital marketing trend that relies on mapping and GPS apps. This marketing technique helps businesses to ensure their locations appear to customers who enter relevant keywords while searching for goods and/or services in their area. To best take advantage of local search marketing strategies, companies should register their business information on Google My Business, as well as all mapping applications including Google Maps, Apple Maps and Waze.
13. Email Marketing
Email marketing is nothing new, but this strategy has become easier and more effective with the use of automation, personalization and and social media integration. The integration of AI has made it easy to take advantage of these technologies to create relevant email marketing campaigns that capture the attention of both new customers and regular customers to show them relevant content at the times they’re most likely to see it.
14. Marketing Automation
Automation can help businesses to accomplish many marketing tasks at a fraction of the cost and with a fraction of the effort. By employing automation tools, customers can effectively monitor the times their customers are most active online and automatically send emails and push notifications at those times. Additionally, automation can be used to upload social media posts and web content changes at a pre-determined time, which can be useful to businesses looking to gain exposure and engagement on their posts by posting at times when sites like Instagram and Facebook have the highest engagement rates.
15. Video Marketing
Video content has recently become the most popular method of advertising and in fact, 79% of consumers note that they prefer video advertising over other mediums. Video marketing can be done in a variety of ways including showcasing top-selling products, introducing business owners or customer testimonials, creating content with high search volume such as tutorials, how to’s, and top ten lists.
Businesses can use Google Adwords to set up their YouTube video ads very easily, only paying when people watch your ad. Instagram and Facebook’s Story feature allows businesses to post short videos in news feeds that can target ads by reach, conversions, traffic, brand awareness, and more. According to CNN, this feature is now twice as popular as Snapchat and its popularity is continuing to rise. Of the 500 million accounts using Instagram Stories, one-third of the most viewed stories come from businesses.
Chatbots enhance the customer experience by consistently responding to customer messages in a timely fashion. Chatbots can be employed to perform a variety of tasks including advertising upcoming sales, providing account information and shipping/tracking details, and directing web visitors to the right products and services on a website.
17. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an effective way to garner attention for your brand online. Influencers are those who promote brands on their social media accounts in exchange for a fee and in some cases, in exchange for free product.
There are three tiers of influencers: mega, macro and micro. While mega influencers are those with more than 1 million followers who may seem like the best choice to promote your brand, businesses shouldn’t cast aside micro influencers, who are those with less than 10,000 followers. Micro influencers often have exceptionally high engagement rates—that is, followers who like and comment on their posts. Employing micro influencers to promote your brand typically means more meaningful exposure for your brand, as well as a smaller investment per post.
18. Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising employs the use of AI to purchase advertisements for businesses. It uses behavioral analytics to help brands choose target audiences and keywords that can attract more clicks and higher conversion rates, making the job of marketers far easier.
By taking advantage of programmatic advertising, your business is able to use marketers to focus on the most important human aspect of marketing: emotion. While most AI programs aren’t yet able to perfectly detect human emotions, the technology for it to do so does exist and it’s predicted that it will be commonplace in the marketing world within the next couple of years.