This article has been contributed by Anna Pozdeeva.
In 2020, content plays a central role in your marketing efforts. Whether you achieve your conversions and meet expectations might heavily depend on how useful and valuable your content is for your target audience. These days, there is no solid content strategy without research, planning and extra efforts with visual communication.
Images are the first thing users notice, and they most likely won’t read a text if a picture doesn’t catch their attention somehow. While quite a lot of companies use stock photography websites as a reliable source for engaging and interesting images, many others rely solely on producing their own visuals.
If you want to find new ideas for your content strategy or boost your business by implementing some of the most relevant trends, keep reading. We’ve gathered together 10 growing digital marketing trends for 2020 that might inspire you to rethink your marketing strategy.
1. Storytelling is Changing the Game on Social Media Platforms
Ephemeral content is short-lived content that has been rapidly growing for several years now. It’s safe to say that ephemeral content such as Instagram Stories are gaining momentum. An average user’s attention span is around 8 seconds and getting shorter each year, which is why Stories are so relevant. They are engaging, dynamic and quite addicting to watch, with many Instagram users these days prefer watching Stories to scrolling through their feeds.
In 2020, many brands have already adapted Stories to their social media content strategy. According to Hootsuite, around 65% of brands either post stories on Instagram and Facebook on a regular basis, or have solid plans to do so in the nearest future.
However, the blooming trend this year is storytelling, which is quite different from just casually posting random stories. Storytelling is about trying to create a series of engaging stories that are connected to each other or include a visual narrative, hence can tell a story. Effective storytelling might help you draw more attention to your social media, and as a result you will improve your brand awareness and generate more conversions and sales.
Image source: Gpointstudio | Depositphotos
2. Video Content Dominates Across the Web
Today, video streaming accounts for more than 60% of all internet traffic worldwide, as estimated by Sandvine in its Global Internet Phenomena Report. YouTube alone makes up 15% of all global traffic, while all of the social media platforms together account for 10% of the global traffic. In the US alone, 85% of users report they watch videos online at least once a month.
People would rather watch a video explanation of something or how-to content rather than read an article on the same topic, because it’s more convenient and easier to digest. This means that you can’t overlook this format and data proves that it’s worth your time to add video content to your digital marketing efforts.
If you can’t afford a professional cinematography crew to shoot your items and products, you can even opt for DIY videos. For example, you can shoot videos for Instagram with your own phone. Social media users often want to see how products look in real life (without the need for a fancy production) before they decide to buy something. Adopting authentic videos as part of your marketing efforts is a good way to appeal to more people amongst your target audience.
3. Personalization is a Must
With an overflow of information online, most users have long stopped paying attention to generic and boring content. Many buyers say that a personal touch to content influences their buying decisions. In 2020, marketers are being quick to adopt a more personalized approach to their digital marketing strategy.
If you want to appeal to individuals directly, try working on how you can personalize your content and ads. Personalization is one of the most important things to help you attract and retain the right clients. Luckily, you have several opportunities to integrate personalization into your marketing activity.
When it comes to social media platforms, most of them provide flexible tools for creating promoted publications. You can post several different ads for different groups within your target audience, adapting your content for varying factors such as interests, preferences and behaviour patterns of people who will see your post.
On your website, you can offer particular products or suggestions for users based on their clicks and visits. Email marketing is yet another marketing component you can personalize, as you can responsibly use data that people leave on your website to make your newsletters more tailored and relevant.
Image source: Peus | Depositphotos
4. Interactive Email Marketing to Appeal to More Clients
In 2020 it is really hard to appeal to users with tricks that worked a year or two ago. To make sure your email marketing efforts don’t look like generic mass-sent emails, you can try adding interactivity to your newsletters, which is a growing trend in email marketing. Interactive content is any content a user can interact with, usually by tapping, clicking on, or sliding, or just engaging content that allows you to make sure a client pays extra attention to your emails.
Clickable CTA-buttons are the basics to more interactive emails. To make your newsletters even more interactive, you can use GIFs, animated ads or even videos. Emails with interactive content increase the chances a user will click on links and open your website by several times.
5. Experimenting with Content Formats
Nowadays most customers don’t make an instant decision to purchase. With people heavily relying on the internet on a daily basis, they need to see a product several times to make up their mind to purchase something. That’s why marketers try to appeal to their audiences in a more creative way in light of all the insights and data coming from extensive research every year.
Regardless of your company type, it’s important to research different content types to see what suits your audience best. Posting varying and interesting content day by day will positively impact your brand image, engagement rates and sales. Research how your content might be of use for your target audience and create posts accordingly. Share useful information and insights, and your audience will appreciate your efforts.
Image source: Kitzcorner | Depositphotos
6. With Influencer Marketing, Try More Niche Bloggers
Inviting influencers to participate in marketing projects and social media ad campaigns is not a new trend. The influencer marketing industry reached several billion dollars quite a while ago. However, in 2020 brands are changing their approach to working with influencers, bloggers and content creators that are more niche in their specialty.
Previously, businesses tended to invite the biggest celebrity influencers they could afford and spend generously on such collaborations. In 2020 marketers are searching for niche influencers with smaller audiences to collaborate with because it forms a new focus for their project or campaign. Combined, smaller audiences can bring in more effective results and engagement for your business, since followers of niche and alternative influencers tend to be more loyal and trust their opinions. The influencers you choose to collaborate with have to be selected carefully depending on your own research, budget and business type.
7. Overlooking Peer Marketing and User-Generated Content is Not an Option Anymore
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. What would you do if you needed to know more about a product you’re considering purchasing? Many people search for feedback and reviews from other customers since they are way more genuine and reliable than regular ads and general info online. People want to hear from humans and learn about their honest opinions, feedback and experiences.
In 2020, it’s a good idea for businesses to create a page on their website dedicated to feedback from satisfied clients. What’s more, there are other options for keeping your customers’ reviews in order. You can create highlights with their feedback in your Instagram profile, or add them to your Facebook page. Clients’ reviews and feedback are crucial for different digital brands, and they are the very basis of peer marketing which nowadays has become an integral part of online activity.
Another content format that is worth considering in 2020 is user-generated content (UGC). Recent events have led to limited budgets when it comes to content creation, so UGC has been a game changer. Brands encourage their audiences to share their posts by organizing different contests and giveaways. It helps them engage their potential clients and keep them entertained, and certainly goes a long way in helping with brand awareness.
Image source: dusanpetkovic | Depositphotos
8. Don’t Ignore Local SEO
According to BrightEdge, almost 70% of all online experiences start with Google. That means that despite social media seemingly dominating the web in 2020, many customers still search for products and services they need on Google (although some millennials and zoomers might search for items they need on Instagram straightaway). Google tracks their location when they hit a search button and often shows them results based on it. But how do you actually bring this organic traffic to your website?
A free and effective tool to bring in more of your potential clients to your website is local search engine optimization (SEO). If your business operates in a certain area, or is somehow connected to your location, you should definitely put extra effort into optimizing your website with location-based keywords. This obviously doesn’t apply to online companies shipping worldwide, but local businesses can significantly benefit from local SEO. This has proven to be more lucrative than optimizing for general keywords, as the competition is often just too high.
The equivalent of local SEO for social media platforms is location-based targeting. You might have noticed this trend blooming all over Instagram. Many businesses add different locations to their posts to reach people in different areas, cities, or even countries. Since many companies try to be global these days and ship to many locations, local-based targeting is a great tool for them to appeal to more people by changing the geolocation of their publications.
9. Chatbots and Other AI-Based Technology Worth Your Time
According to Oracle, 80% of businesses have expressed a wish to implement chatbots into their workflow this year. This means that very soon AI will manage most of basic customer interactions, without human assistance. Chatbots are artificial intelligence software tools that provide customer service support (usually in text form in website chat windows), but there are also voice bots being rapidly developed and implemented by some businesses.
Despite the common stereotype, chatbots communicate with customers in a natural, human-like way since artificial neural networks are able to learn and grow with practice. If you want to keep up with the latest marketing trends, you’ll likely stumble on AI-based technologies being up for discussion. It’s not a light step for businesses and requires careful consideration in terms of workflow and costs.
If you have the budget for it, chatbots are a good investment since they can save money for your business in the long run. Unlike human customer support, AI-based chatbots provide 24-hour service and can respond to your clients instantly. In the nearest future, chatbots are predicted to be saving billions of dollars per year for businesses around the world.
Image source: [email protected] | Depositphotos
10. Websites Get Optimized for Voice Search
More and more people these days interact with smart voice virtual assistants such as Alexa by Amazon, Apple’s Siri, Google’s voice assistant and Alice by Yandex. The rapid development of voice assistants has shown that people do prefer the convenience of voicing their requests. It’s quick and doesn’t require much effort.
It’s important to note that people speak differently to the way they write, which means the phrasing and keywords of voice searches might radically change from text-based searches. What’s more, when a person types a search request in Google, they see a page with several results, but when they conduct a voice search and a device replies, it usually provides a user with just the top results.
Companies try to optimize their websites for voice search as it helps them create a new, optimized customer experience. An improved customer experience goes a long way in providing clients with certain expectations, in the process also increasing the likelihood of them sharing positive reviews with others.
Keep Up With Trends to Stay Relevant
It’s a good thing that most brands try to adapt to digital trends, new norms and rapid changes. It’s hard to imagine a solid business these days without an online presence, even if it’s a traditional offline company. However, what this means for you as a business is higher online competition than ever before.
There are hundreds of your field competitors out there whose websites and social media platforms might look more appealing than yours. If you want to reach more of your target audience, engage your clients, and build a stronger brand image, it’s important to monitor recent digital marketing trends.
Rethinking your marketing efforts and adapting latest trends to your strategy will give you a competitive advantage, helping you to appeal to your audience with relevant and up-to-date content. Focus on providing a better user experience than your competitors from year to year.
About the author: Anna Pozdeeva is a writer at Depositphotos covering topics on marketing, photography and visual culture.
Featured image source: Garetsworkshop | Depositphotos