With the new year fast approaching, it’s time to get ready for 2020. And from a marketing perspective, it always helps to be aware of any trends that are likely to have an impact on how you market your business to prospects and customers. So, here are some insights into some top digital marketing trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond:
- Social Media Marketing
- Technological Developments
- Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Social Media Marketing
Social media has become one of the most influential types of marketing activity in the last few years. Whilst social media is ostensibly designed to enable people to communicate effectively and efficiently with their friends and families, it has also become one of the most important channels for how we receive news updates and general information. With so many people tuning into social media platforms, businesses are spending more and more of their marketing budget on social media. So how is social media likely to change in 2020, and how can we ensure our social media marketing campaigns are still as relevant and effective as we need them to be. We are going to explore some of the top social media trends that may impact how your business deploys its social media marketing strategies in 2020.
On the one hand, social media is growing as rapidly as ever. But you also need to be aware of the trend of digital detoxing. In the UK especially, we are becoming more aware of mental health issues, and the impact of social media, especially on young people’s emotional wellbeing (but in our opinion on everyone’s, regardless of age); this has sparked the trend of ‘Digital Detoxing’ which we believe is likely to be a growing theme in 2020. A ‘digital detox’ refers to the temporary or permanent abstinence of social media and other online and digital platforms by an individual for a sustained period of time. Studies show that the main reason people are deleting social media apps is because they feel overloaded by it and because it adversely affects their mental wellbeing. This isn’t to say that social media marketing is out! Not by a long shot. Social media marketing is still thriving as strongly as ever, but to stay ahead and aware of the changing times, it is vital to have a holistic marketing strategy that doesn’t solely focus on social media. Also, you need to make sure that your social media strategies and tactics are as powerful as they can possibly be.
Building Communities through Social Media
With the constant bombardment of content on social media, it is getting harder to engage your audience simply through posting and sharing interesting content. We are seeing trends that indicate bigger brands with a huge social media following having little to no engagement with their followers – yet smaller companies being able to cultivate a much more engaged audience, albeit with lower follower numbers. One way of doing this is by building communities on social media. The idea of social media communities is not a new concept, but the importance of these communities and the way they can make a business thrive is becoming more and more important. Audiences want to feel included and valued by the brands they spend their money with, not just bombarded with sales-related marketing messages…
Following on from the point above, micro-influencers are developing a powerful niche role in how brands market themselves. Larger influencers are becoming a pretty unattractive proposition – high cost, low engagement and no guarantee of a return. Micro-influencers have a smaller, much more engaged audience of followers, and are more likely to want to work with smaller brands and deliver real value for your budget. For small businesses, any money spent on marketing needs to be invested carefully, so you want to work with someone who values you and your business, rather than sees you as just another job. It’s also important to think about which platforms get most engagement for influencer marketing. For example, Instagram influencers with <5,000 followers get five times more engagement that Twitter influencers with the same level of followers. Take this into account when developing a micro-influencer strategy.
People are using social media for online shopping more and more. Therefore, in 2020, it is important to make your content shoppable, and make it super easy for your customers to buy items directly from the content you post. Instagram is growing as one of the best social media platforms for users to make purchases on. Instagram has 80% of users following the content of their favourite shopping and retail brands, and combines this with new features that allow users to complete a purchase from discovery to checkout, all without leaving the app. Once a business has uploaded a catalogue of their products, you can create simple shoppable content by tagging products in any photos or content your business uploads.
The expectation for people to be able to contact a business whenever they want and receive an instant answer is increasing, with consumers becoming more and more impatient when waiting to hear back from a service representative. In fact, 67% of consumers have used social media to get in touch with a brand for customer support. Social media’s instant chat and comments is being used more and more for consumers to get in touch with a business. Therefore, it is important to make sure your business is readily contactable via social media and any questions left in the comments for any content are addressed quickly and effectively. This allows a public platform for consumers to see other consumers FAQs. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for a business to have customer service representatives available 24/7. But some simple ways to get around this are to use a Facebook chatbot to answer frequent FAQs that your customers might have. This at least provides some immediate support without using up your time.
It’s an exciting time for technology, but it can be difficult to keep up with the rapid changes and evolution of how tech is used in business. We are going to talk about some of the exciting new developments in technology and how they are being used in digital marketing.
Virtual Reality vs Augmented Reality
There is set to be a rise in augmented reality being used in digital marketing over virtual reality, despite its initial lead. Consumers are starting to prefer personalised marketing and augmented reality serves this personalisation perfectly. Firstly, let us explain the difference between Virtual and Augmented Reality. Virtual Reality is the artificial simulation of an experience that completely immerses the user into feeling like they are actually there. This is often achieved by the user wearing a headset and the stimulation of vision and hearing. Augmented Reality is a technology that layers artificial simulations on top of the user’s existing reality. This allows for more meaningful interactions by the user and allows them to experience a blend of their reality with the simulations of the brand/business they are engaging with. Augmented reality is becoming more widely used with a substantial increase expected in 2020. Apps and businesses are using AR in various creative ways already – for example, a furniture company allowing the user the create a simulation of the furniture in their own home.
Interactive Ads and Content
We are seeing some really interesting examples of interactive content and advertising in the media at the moment – for example, the interactive ‘Black Mirror’ movie was one of the most watched movies on Netflix the weekend it was released. Interactive content and advertising describes anything that takes traditional advertising and engages the user to take some form of action, e.g. to select which product they prefer, or which advert that would like to see. Interactive content is proving to engage consumers more and increase the length of time a consumer spends engaging with an advert. Popular examples of types of interactive content include:
- Personality Quizzes
- Buying Guide Quizzes
- Personal Assessments
- Contests & Competitions
- Interactive Video Ads
Devices like Alexa and Google Assistant are creating new habits in consumers geared towards voice powered assistants. At the moment, the average person is using their voice assistant to play music, turn off (or on!) the lights, check the weather and make shopping lists. However, tech giants are gearing up to be able to use voice activated assistants for marketing, making it easier and easier for consumers to order products by simply completing a purchase transaction via their voice assistant. It is predicted that 50% of searches with be via voice tech in 2020. This will indicate a complete change in searching and shopping behaviours in the next few years and will trigger a change in the way many businesses market their products. Although there is not yet a clear direction in how to use voice technology to increase the sales of small businesses, it is important to keep in mind that this change is coming and to be prepared to develop a marketing strategy for voice activated devices when the time comes.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Good SEO is like the gift that keeps on giving for many small businesses and start-ups as it provides constant free organic leads and traffic to your website and business page. However, SEO is changing – and what used to work in 2019 may no longer be applicable in 2020. Here are a few ways that SEO is changing, and some tips to stay ahead of the game.
Have you ever typed a question into Google and the answers popped straight up without having to click through onto anything? Well, this is what’s called a ‘Featured Snippet’. These snippets often appear before the very first search result and are referred to as ‘position zero’. To obtain this prime position you need to optimise some commonly asked questions on your website or about the field you specialise in.
Optimising your Website for Voice Search
As mentioned earlier in this article, it has been predicted that 50% of search will be carried out by voice search in 2020. This is a complete gamechanger for SEO, as previously it was a huge achievement to be ranked on the first page of Google for your targeted search terms. But, with the use of voice search, only the first result will be triggered by the voice-activated assistant. Here are some simple ways to start optimising your website so it is ready for the rise in voice technology:
- Favour Natural Language – voice activated assistants are becoming more and more personable, therefore consumers are tending to chat to a voice assistant the same way we would talk to a friend. Therefore, the technical search terms commonly typed into Google e.g. ‘best holidays 2020 Europe’ will be replaced by a more conversational sentence e.g. ‘Alexa, tell me the best places to go on holiday in Europe this year’.
- Make Content Easy to Understand – with the rise in voice technology, Google is now starting to favour content that is easily understood by the reader, rather than the use of technical terms. Keep this is mind when generating content from now on.
- Partner with Amazon – It may seem like Amazon is trying to take over the world, and that may just be true! With the rise of the ‘Alexa’ voice powered assistant, Amazon is making it easier and easier to order Amazon-listed products directly through the assistant, with Alexa even making suggestions for products based on our search questions.
Improving Mobile User Experience
Mobile is king, with most consumers favouring their phone over a desktop/laptop. Therefore, making sure your mobile site has a great user experience flow will hugely influence how Google favours your site. Previously, when a business built a new website, they would focus on the development of a desktop site and then convert this into a mobile-optimised version. However, with the increasing use of smartphones over desktops and other devices, it might be time to start focusing on making sure your website has a great mobile experience too.
Digital Marketing Agency in London
At Abacus, we can offer your business a complete digital marketing review to see how well prepared you are for the year ahead, through the application of our strategic marketing planning process (we also look at all your non-digital channels too). If you are looking for a top digital marketing agency in London, please email Stephen Taylor-Brown, our Client Services Director, at [email protected] to book your free no-obligation consultation at a venue of your choice, or call us on 020 3858 7836 to discuss your requirements in more detail. You can also fill in the contact form on our website at www.abacusmarketing.co.uk