Some might describe digital marketing as a science. In many ways, it’s an artistic work in progress. Far from being a static element of online life, digital marketing is constantly evolving.
That comes as no surprise when you realize that the major search engines are always refining how pages are crawled and ultimately ranked.
What does 2020 hold for digital marketers and their clients?
It’s a mix of familiar strategies that still work in today’s environment coupled with new, emerging approaches.
Here are ten of the more important trends that marketers and their clients will want to employ.
1. Voice Search Will Continue to Gain in Popularity
The advent of voice search changed the way consumers conduct online searches. Introduced in 2011, the original application focused on use with smartphones.
While that remains a key point of use, voice searches are now conducted using all sorts of home-based devices. The year-over-year increase, especially in the last few years, is impressive.
What are the experts saying about voice search in 2020? Media analyst Comscore predicts that more than 50% of online searches will be made using voice search.
The most prolific use will occur via smartphones and smart speakers used in the home environment.
In order to be among the top responses for a voice search, business owners will need to work with digital marketing experts to incorporate currently popular keywords that the device picks up and matches with those searches.
2. Branching Out from Google Analytics Will Be More Popular
There’s no question that Google Analytics will continue to be a valuable resource in 2020. What’s also apparent is that marketers and business owners who rely primarily on this resource are likely to lose ground during the year.
More marketers are beginning to make use of multiple free and fee-based software as a way to confirm and broaden the data supplied by this one tool.
Doing so will make it easier to refine online marketing strategies and be poised to capture more attention. That cross-section of data from multiple sources will also aid in building stronger brand recognition.
Further, the use of multiple channels helps to insulate owners and marketers from potential losses of consumer engagement due to more comprehensive search engine algorithm changes.
Simply put, the historical data coupled with projected movements can help marketers anticipate some of those changes and possibly capitalize on them.
3. SEO is Still a Critical Element
As usual, there are those who predict that SEO will weaken as an online marketing tool.
Don’t believe it.
Those predictions were wrong in previous years and they will be wrong for 2020. If anything, search engine optimization will become a stronger element in an effective digital marketing strategy.
SEO is a tool that works well for just about any online presence. It’s great for social media, blogs, web pages, and certainly for voice searches.
While changes in search engine algorithms do demand refining the use and the selection of relevant keywords for everything from meta tags to blog content, the savvy marketer will continue to rely on this resource when creating or updating a unified marketing strategy.
4. More Business Owners Will See the Value of Using Multiple Channels
Some businesses have traditionally relied on one channel to build a reputation and attract an audience. Diversification is already trending and is predicted to become more critical in 2020.
Business owners who have focused primarily on a website coupled with a blog should seriously think about setting up media accounts that can accommodate video marketing and tap into the power of using social media.
Even approaching digital messaging in a new way is worth the effort. Diversification offers the promise of strengthening a presence in existing consumer demographics as well as reaching new ones.
5. PPC is Stronger Than Ever
PPC (pay-per-click) continues to be a key element of online marketing. For 2019, the following PPC facts exemplify how strong this option happens to be:
- Mobile devices accounted for 53% of PPC clicks
- Video ads were more popular than display banners
- Using PPC for paid ads increased brand awareness by 80%
There is every indication that the benefits derived from PPC in 2019 will continue into 2020. Given the effectiveness of ads employing video, going this route with PPC could prove especially effective for many types of businesses.
6. Consumers Want More Assurances That Their Data is Safe
Data breaches happen. When they do, consumers begin to think twice about what happens with their data.
Business owners have responded by employing tactics designed to protect consumer data, which is a good thing.
During 2020, expect consumers to require more assurances that their data is safe.
That may involve providing more information on web pages that outline how that data is protected. It could mean adding more layers to consumer login protocols.
When done properly, those efforts at increased security can become powerful tools for promoting a business online.
7. Social Media Marketing Will Continue to Grow
No one doubts the power of social media today. Business owners can expect the primary sites to continue attracting more users in key consumer demographics.
The potential to use business pages and accounts to cross-promote blog posts, share video and print ads, and engage consumers will only grow.
Remember that social media is ideal for conversational marketing as well as what is sometimes called “shared marketing.” People see something they like, so they share it with their networks.
That expands the reach of those posts significantly.
As more consumers turn to social media when they want opinions, reviews, or suggestions, the value of social media in 2020 will become even more apparent.
8. Email and Text Marketing Campaigns Are More Effective Than Ever
Email campaigns remain among the most cost-effective forms of online direct marketing available. While a 2020 digital marketing campaign is likely to use email as a major element, a new kid is making big strides—text marketing.
Text marketing is a strategy that will grow in 2020. Here are some historical statistics that demonstrate how this approach is already working.
Published in 2019, marketers can expect this trend to continue:
- Text messages trigger higher response rates than email, phone calls, or social media
- The open rate for SMS messages is at 98%
- Of the SMS messages that are opened, 90% are read within 3 minutes of reception
- Designing ads specifically for use in text messaging promises significant returns in both revenue generation and in brand recognition. By following best practices with the ad content, the potential for a positive response from consumers is definitely there.
9. Data-Driven Marketing will Continue to Increase
By diving into data analytics, businesses can get a better understanding of what their customers and prospects desire. According to McKinsey research, companies that use customer analytics have above-average profits and marketing earnings.
In fact, according to McKinsey, using data-driven marketing helps increase a company’s performance across the entire customer lifecycle.
Marketing and sales automation platforms such as HubSpot allow you to take deep dives into your customer analytics. The technology helps you track and understand your contacts’ lifecycle journeys, from prospect to customer to servicing.
Marketing automation platforms help you deliver more personalized experiences to your customers and your prospects. They also help you improve the management of your digital media and marketing efforts.
10. Executives, Marketers, and Sales Professionals All Need Digital Skills Training
According to UK government research, digital skill sets are becoming a near universal requirement for employment. The digital skills required not only include basic skills, but also knowledge in very particular software technologies.
In order to get ahead in an increasingly competitive job market, employees need to know the basic skills of productivity software such as Microsoft Office.
But that is just the beginning. Having a deep understanding of more advanced digital skills is not restricted to tech industries.
The need for advanced digital skills crosses all industries.
Sales professionals need to have a deep understanding on how to maximize the use of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software.
Executives must also have a better grasp of digital skills.
A research study conducted by Harvard Business Review and MIT with 1,000 CEOs found that 90% of the CEOs believed their businesses were being disrupted or reinvented by digital business models. When asked about their capabilities, 70% believed that they did not possess the right skills, leader, or operating structure to adapt.
In addition, according to an article in Entrepreneur.com, 70% of businesses will attempt a digital transformation, yet only 30% will succeed. The chief reason for failing is the digital skills gap impacting 54% of all businesses.
That’s why ongoing, flexible training in specific digital skills is critical for not only job seekers, but also employees who want to get ahead in their career.
How Will You Stay Ahead of the Curve?
Making 2020 your best year yet means assessing your current digital marketing strategy and being prepared to make changes when and as necessary.
Don’t try to manage this on your own.
Contact us to arrange a full assessment of your online efforts. Be open to beefing up your conversational marketing via social media, enhancing security measures, and trying text marketing if you’ve never gone that route.