Ah, January, a month best known for “lists”. You’ve got your New Year’s Resolutions list, your To Do list, your new Bucket list … and the best list of all, The Key Digital Marketing Trends for 2020. Ok, so we may be exaggerating a little bit, but that’s probably also why we were on the Naughty List last year…

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Voice Search

Hey Google, what can I get my girlfriend for Valentine’s Day?”. Yep, we all use voice automated search at some point in our day, whether it be to ask for directions, check the forecast or ask Google a question so you can win a bet expand your knowledge base (side note: there is in fact a city called Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg in the world, so DO NOT accept that wager). Tools like Google Home, Amazon Echos and all our mobile device assistants are helping this trend along and your company should find ways to exploit this rise in voice to increase revenue and conversions. Voice Engine Optimization (VEO) will soon be as important as SEO, so let’s keep that on our strategic roadmaps.

Examples: Ordering and reordering products, dictating product reviews on a website, providing recommendations for local services or tips on how to use a new product.


Shoppable Posts

With social media usage being at an all time high, companies are attempting to monetize the initiatives on these platforms and prove ROI. Lucky for us, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest have made this task a little less daunting with the shoppable posts feature. If your company has not already jumped on this bandwagon, the time is now, because in 2020 shoppable posts will become the norm rather than the exception.

Source: shopbop & Lulus.


Interactive Content

As mentioned above, shoppable posts are an example of interactive content, but so are virtual reality, augmented reality, 360-degree videos, quizzes and polls. The goal here is to create any content that users can engage with, manipulate and, well…interact with. Due to the rich nature of this content, engagement rates are usually higher for these.

Examples: 360 degree house tours or google maps business interiors, augmented reality dressing rooms or engagement ring shopping (gentlemen, you’ve been warned).

Source: Tiffany & Co.


Personalized + Dynamic Ads

This one is not going away anytime soon, so it’s time that retailers capitalize on the powers of personalization before they become irrelevant to the increasingly demanding consumer. Personalization allows a brand to have control over the reach of a specific segment and create increasingly relevant content so their marketing campaigns can be more effective (and convert better). Yet, some companies still believe that using the customer’s name is good enough. Instead, focus efforts on collecting customer data through browsing behavior, surveys, purchasing habits, interests, etc. and create campaigns around these clusters. Customize your website to specific users, serve paid ads based on past behavior vs generic mass marketing… and even better, make the ads dynamic based on local weather for example. When in doubt, look to Amazon.com for inspiration, they are still the leaders of the pack on this one. For some tips and tricks on how to create personalized content, read our Email Optimization whitepaper.

Examples: Custom homepages for men and women based on their specified gender, product recommendations based on past purchases/browser history/cart abandonment, movie recommendations in an ad based on preferred genre or theatre, pet food based on breed of dog/cat.


Chatbots and Social Media Messaging

In the age of people avoiding human interaction, it’s no surprise that Chatbots and SMM are on the rise. Customers are often nicer to chatbots vs live customer service agents in fact. So although we may be failing at humanity, this technology does offer some benefits in terms of operation cost savings and better customer satisfaction levels (mostly due to the fact that they incorporate artificial intelligence and predictive intelligence). Same with Social Media Marketing, which gives brands the ability to reach customers on platforms that are more convenient for them (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Instagram DM, WeChat, etc.) thus producing a better engagement rate and rapidity of response or elicited action.

Source: Sephora


Position “Zero” in Search Engine Results

Yasss, we finally ranked #1 on Google SERP! But just when we thought we could rest on our laurels, Google Introduces position “Zero” or the “Featured Snippet” (aka the spot that pushes down your #1 ranking to below the fold *sigh*). Most often than not, users will view this response and close their browser since their inquiry was answered by the information provided in this top slot. So, how do brands become the zero hero in 2020?

Here are a few quick tips, aside from having great SEO: focus on having how-to content, instructions, simple answers or FAQ/answers from users, definitions and explanations.


Speed

Yes, this one isn’t going away either… and with more video content and interactive content being released by brands, it’s important that the customer experience remains seamless (aka your page better load in less than ONE SECOND OR ELSE 🔪). On top of this, browsers such as Chrome may penalize sites that don’t load fast enough according to ‘speed badging’. That being said, plan some time and budget in the new year for system upgrades to perform at this level.


Artificial Intelligence (AI)

With Artificial Intelligence on the rise, brands are expected to employ some type or another to augment the customer experience… but what are the basic types?

1. Limited Memory: these systems keep a certain amount of past information to make present decisions (think self driving cars, lane assistance, auto braking, etc.). Their uses can range from entertainment to avoiding hazard situations.

2. Reactive AI: has no concept of historical data but simply chooses the next best action based on a set of preconceived rules and scenarios. Remember that IBM supercomputer that beat the reigning world champ chess? Ok, me neither, but Deep Blue (the name of the computer) is an example of this…also, can you say awkwaaaaard 😳.

3. Theory of Mind: this one uses more advanced systems that can perceive emotions and behavior (think face and eye movement recognition) and acts accordingly. This form of AI is a little more complex.

4. Self-Aware AI: this form acts under the premise that machines and robots are aware of who they are, understand their internal systems, states and conditions and have the ability to perceive human emotions. This form of AI is way more advanced, but think of the movie I, Robot featuring Will Smith (minus the part where the robot is evil and trying to kill everyone).

All this being said, let’s stick to predictive product recommendations, next best action predictions on websites, determining the best shipping routes, hyper targeted marketing campaigns, virtual try on rooms and so on.


One Stop Shop / Single Software Provider

With the goal of simplifying operations, shortening response time and overall cost savings, brands are looking for 1 platform to solve all their needs across the company. Most companies use 50+ different technology solutions across the entire organization, so it’s no wonder they are looking for a 1 stop shop to solve all their needs. This is great news for companies like Salesforce, who connect Sales, Service, Marketing and Ecommerce on 1 platform with the latest technologies (which they have gained from all their acquisitions over the years). Salesforce also gives you a 360 view of the customer with their recent release of Customer 360. As a certified Salesforce Partner, our business experts can help your team assess which products will allow you to streamline your user and customer experience.

Source: Salesforce


Digital Detox

Finally, after highlighting all the technology that will be big in 2020, there is one trend that is the antonym to all of this: Digital Detox. This trend is gaining in popularity as people feel overwhelmed by multiple devices, feel like they are wasting their time away, fall for fake news, are concerned about their privacy or simply their health and wellness. More than ever they are deleting social media apps from their phones, setting their phones aside during certain hours or simply not carrying it with them for extended periods of time. So now more than ever, digital marketers are faced with increased resistance and slightly less opportunities to communicate with consumers. The need for hyper relevant and hyper targeted ads will get bigger, outside-of-the-box tactics will come into play and ingenuity as well. Each brand knows their customers and should generate a strategy that combat this trend. May the odds be ever in your favor.


And now we have yet one more “list” out there in the world, but hopefully this one has given you some food for thought for what to look forward to in 2020 and plan your budget/staff accordingly. Or at the very least, you learned that Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg is in fact a city in Massachusetts, USA.

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