Learn five of the most important digital marketing trends to know about and follow for 2020, including social media, chat, and data…
— The author’s views are entirely his or her own and may not always reflect the views of Xanjero.
There are plenty of people who’ll have you believe in the vital importance of bucking all trends. If everyone is going left, you go right. If all those around you are saying yes, you say no. Now, that might be a nice philosophy for choosing a stress-free itinerary in a crowded city, but it’s a terrible idea for digital marketers. If you want to sell online, you need to keep up with the curve.
You must have originality and individuality, of course, but it doesn’t stem from contrarianism. It stems from taking proven ingredients and creating unique recipes. There’s no sense at all in using inferior tools or strategies simply because they’re not mainstream. Trends are important.
And now that 2020 is lurking just over the horizon, waiting eagerly to supplant 2019, it’s a great time to look ahead and start thinking about what a good digital marketing campaign will look like in the new year. In this piece, we’re going to review 5 digital marketing trends worth following in 2020, explaining what makes them valuable. Let’s get started:
Much has been made of the rise of data-led marketing, and it’s a trend that’s only going to continue in 2020. The driver will be more businesses realizing the futility of making marketing changes without having a comprehensive grasp of how specific elements are performing. If you update the title for a page one week and see its traffic levels increase the following week, you need a solid way of determining the extent to which that traffic was caused by the change. (There’s also value in sentiment analysis and other forms of data-driven assessment.)
Google Analytics has been freely available for a long time now, but it’s somewhat fussy and needlessly complex, so there’s a lot of value in using a third-party analytics service to make things considerably more accessible and intuitive. Regardless, with big data no longer being the exclusive domain of giant conglomerates, any company that chooses to remain ignorant of the particulars in 2020 will inevitably struggle to compete.
Social media selling
Whatever your feelings regarding social media, it’s undeniable that it’s become immensely important, both to everyday life in general and business specifically. Plenty of people now get more product recommendations through their social media feeds than they do through their email accounts (due to spam filters) or their overall web-browsing (due to ad blockers).
Additionally, with social proof being a core part of ecommerce, it’s not surprising that being (virtually) surrounded by peers recommending something can drive conversions. This is why shoppable posts are becoming so common (particularly on Instagram where they can be tied in with rich stories featuring UGC) — not only can you market to someone through your social media account, but you can also sell to them without requiring them to go elsewhere. If your prospect is ready to buy right away, why not let them?
Hybrid live chat
Live chat has really picked up steam throughout the business world in recent years. After years of trying to get away with keeping their details obscure and forcing people into cumbersome email or phone support systems, companies now accept two things: firstly, that customers have lost their patience for bad treatment, and secondly, that making a concerted effort to keep their customers happy is simply good for business.
With that established, you might be wondering what I mean by hybrid live chat. Well, it’s simple: using a combination of support assistants and chatbots programmed with FAQ data to provide an optimized service. Initial queries go to the chatbots, and if they’re basic then they can be resolved without needing manual intervention. If they’re complex, though, they can be passed to the actual people to be properly addressed. It’s potent, scalable, and efficient.
Businesses today need to be extremely careful with how they handle their marketing, because modern consumers aren’t just interested in getting the lowest prices or the most product features. They still care about those things, of course, but they also want to know that the brands they’re buying from are assuming basic social responsibility: doing things like recycling, supporting charities, and getting involved in important issues.
How do you show this through your digital marketing? At a minimum, you should set out a code of conduct for your organization, explaining what you care about and how you treat your employees. Beyond that, you should think carefully about what your marketing says about your business, and make a commitment to working ethics into your content and social media activity.
The SEO industry has become increasingly frustrated with Google’s evident determination to downplay organic search results in favor of its own presentation of the data it constantly extracts from the web as a whole. When you search for something (particularly on a mobile device), there’s every chance that the entirety of the first page length will be full of Google’s own tiles.
Since there’s no realistic way to combat this, all digital marketers can do is try to roll with it — but how does that work? Well, if you want to increase your chances of having your content featured in Google’s own results, you need to mark your pages with structured data. At the moment, there are still plenty of big sites that don’t use structured data, but things are changing quickly. If you want to be in with a chance of having your information selected (and picking up a website link at the top of all the organic results), then you need to start using it.
Each of the trends we’ve looked at here is almost-certainly going to prove significant throughout 2020 and beyond. Expect companies everywhere to get smarter with using analytics, selling through social media, automating their customer support, demonstrating corporate ethics, and implementing structured data markup.