Before we get into what’s about to change in Digital Marketing in 2020, it’s important to assert that the most important things do not change. Good copywriting will always be central to good digital marketing. Understanding your customer deeply is the first step for any effective campaign. Improving key metrics’ like cost per lead, conversion rate, and retention will still remain critical. Google and Facebook will still remain the biggest advertising channels for digital marketers. And good ole’ SEO and email marketing will still thrive.
So what’s new for Digital Marketing in 2020?
1) AI will become more relevant
The use of services like Alexa, Siri and Google Asssistant continue to rise. With more advancements in these technologies, it will become important for digital marketers to understand the nuances of reaching the customer through these AI robots instead of directly.
One obvious impact of this on Digital Marketing in 2020 is that search results get more personalized. If I am into online education, and keep making searches in that regard, searching “Salman Khan” might lead me to Khan Academy. On the other hand, if I’m a Bollywood movie buff, I might find more results for the Bollywood mega-star Salman Khan. While Google and other companies have made good advances in this regard, it is likely that in the next year they’ll take it to the next level.
2) A trend against social media
Until recently, there was nothing bad perceived by mainstream society in social media. It was a way to connect with friends, to find expression for one’s thoughts, experiences and opinions, and a way to collaborate to solve problems or share meaningful conversations. However, in the last few years, a growing percentage of the population seems to recognize the ill-effects of social media.
Smartphones, particularly with the social apps on them, have become an addiction for many of us. With the constant stream of notifications, comments, likes, hearts and retweets, many people feel tired. Worst of all, they feel they’re missing out on the real reason they signed up for these services- authentic social interaction.
With this trend, many new books (such as Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport) have started advising people on how to have a better, more sane relationship with their smartphone and social media apps. If this trend continues to gain momentum, we may see a dip in the number of hours of social media usage, even among millennials.
3) Video is big
To be fair, this isn’t really new for 2020. But there’s no doubt that anyone who’s not already jumped on the video bandwagon that started somewhere around 2012, is missing on huge opportunities to engage with their customers and prospects.
Video is replacing how we tell stories on our websites, on social media ads, on landing pages and even on messaging apps like WhatsApp. A good video team, agency, or freelancer may become necessary for almost every company in the near future.
4) Voice based search
Voice based search takes over a bigger and bigger pie of total searches happening online. It is important to notice the subtle differences this introduces. For example, a conversational tone now has even more advantages to a cold, corporate tone on your website. Answering questions that users might be frequently voicing on their mobile phones, instead of just selling the products, becomes an even better source of traffic. And longer phrases (long-tailed keywords) are preferred even more to short one or two word search terms.
5) Algorithms make targeting easier
Social Media companies such as Facebook offer what’s called a “lookalike audience”. This is one of the easier ways to get your targeting right. Let’s say you have 250 customers who bought a particular product on your website. If you upload the list of email IDs or phone numbers of these 250, Facebook’s algorithms can target hundreds of thousands of people who are quite similar in profile and behaviour to your list. This kind of targeting allows digital marketers to focus primarily on design and copy, while letting smarter algorithms determine the appropriate audience.
As machine learning and AI make advances, these algorithms continue to get smarter. This means that, for a digitally aware marketer, cost of advertising to irrelevant audiences keeps reducing.