Technology is evolving, people are evolving, and habits are evolving. So it is only natural that marketing techniques are also rapidly progressing to better capture the interests of prospective customers. Tried and tested methods like SEO, PPC, and marketing automation are advancing into sciences of their own, while giants like Google and Facebook are continually updating and tweaking their algorithms to better serve customers. Where does that leave us? Let us take a look at the top digital marketing trends of 2020
Voice assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home are hugely popular in the western world, especially in the US, but they are also increasingly finding homes in India. With AI-powered assistants constantly learning and adapting to Indian accents and local dialects, more and more people are getting familiarised with using voice search. According to some estimates, 50% of all searches this year will be voice searches!
There are a number of steps you can take to optimize your site for voice search, but the most significant change involves using long-tail keywords like “which is the best digital marketing agency in Kochi?” instead of a shorter keyword like “digital marketing agency Kochi”. The key point is that people search differently when speaking than typing. With a keyboard search, it would be common to see a search term like “Galaxy S10 cost”, but when someone performs a voice search, the query would be more in the form of a question such as “How much is Samsung’s new Galaxy S10?”.
Social Media Shopping
It is a familiar scenario. You’re scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, and you’re frequently subjected to well-placed ads showing you products you might be interested in. Social media marketing, or SMM, is a very important branch of online marketing and, while you may not realise it, a growing number of people are using social media to shop. Latest studies show that a sizeable 60% of Instagram users claim to discover new products on the platform, with an even bigger number stated for Pinterest. Popular platforms have realised that many users do not prefer to leave the site, instead choosing to complete the experience on the platform itself. Hence, it is easier for businesses to set-up shop and sell via social media, thanks to neatly integrated e-commerce stores. If you’re an online retailer, this is great news for your digital marketing campaign, as it brings in newer customers, reduces purchasing steps, shortens the sales funnel and ultimately brings in more revenue.
Let’s face it, customers are tired of reading the same content, and watching the same old videos. People are looking for excitement and engagement when online, and that makes interactive content a buzzword for 2020, an approach where content marketing will shift its focus to give people what they want. Stuff like informative videos, voice searches, AR/VR, shoppable posts, and contests will give your visitors a reason to stay on the page and even share it extensively, thereby increasing your brand awareness.
If you thought Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality tech were passing fads, think again! AR, VR, and Mixed Reality tech have boomed in popularity over the last few years and are quickly becoming one of the top marketing trends. It is estimated that approximately 100 million people will use immersive tech to shop online and in-store in 2020. Big companies like IKEA are already integrating Augmented Reality with their app to show customers how a piece of furniture would look like in their home before purchasing it, without even setting foot in a physical store!
Gone are the days when you had to go through the entire newspaper to find what you wanted or wait for a certain time to catch your favourite TV show. Everything is instant today; just log on to YouTube or Netflix for your favourite movies, swipe through Flipboard to get your dose of daily news, and the list goes on. Even here, a growing number of people are subscribing to paid versions in order to avoid ads and marketing junk. If generic commercials and traditional advertising are outdated, then the way forward is personalisation. There are so many customisation options available today that let you discover and target an audience that loves your products or services. For instance, if you’re a travel company selling high-end tour packages to exotic places, you can find your audience based on what they watch, what they read, their income and so many other factors. Segmented email lists are also a very popular method to personalize your online marketing efforts. Customers expect personalization and love doing business with a company that offers individualized experiences.
While we may or may not interact with Hollywood-style robots in the near future, chatbots are here to stay, thanks to rapidly evolving artificial intelligence tech. We already communicate with AI-powered bots on many websites and, owing to adaptive machine learning, they are becoming extremely sophisticated and capable of handling complex requests.
American financial and business news website Business Insider estimates a whopping 80% of businesses currently or plan to use chatbots this year. As online customer service is becoming faster and more efficient, chatbot tech will continue to be perfected and integrated into company websites. Far from its initial role as a mere tool to automate communication, chatbots now enable customers to have live chats and receive immediate answers. Again, personalisation is key here, and you should ensure that your customers get a tailored website experience and engaging conversational marketing.
Social Messaging Apps
Who actually uses SMS anymore? With the advent of social media apps like WhatsApp, WeChat and Facebook Messenger, people are constantly in touch with everyone else. Businesses are taking the concept further by employing these same apps to communicate with their customers. Facebook Messenger, for example, sees over 10 billion messages exchanged between individuals and businesses every month! Why this idea works is simple; people are already very familiar with chatting apps, and they find it extremely convenient to have direct contact with companies. Queries are answered promptly and there is a huge level of personalisation that, as we already know, people love. Your businesses can use messaging apps to establish contact, build relationships, educate your customers about your products and services, invite them to events, provide customer support and, ultimately, boost sales.
Social Media Stories
The original story master, Snapchat conceived an idea that would be later copied by everyone including Facebook and Instagram. The idea of the ‘story’ was basically a collection of photos or short videos that would disappear after 24 hours. With its popularity spreading like wildfire across multiple platforms, stories are no longer limited to individuals; numerous small and large businesses are utilising the opportunity to engage with younger audiences and further strengthen brand awareness.
Getting influencers to market your products and services has been around for several years now. While influencers are seen as a problem by some, you cannot deny the importance from a marketing perspective. While most influencers are major celebrities, athletes or even simply internet celebs with tens of thousands of followers, a lot of companies are gradually turning to local accounts with a smaller social media following to influence buyers. Why? Utilising influential people on social media who reach your target demographic builds trust, theoretically giving you higher returns on investment.
Imagine you are buying a new phone. Would you prefer reading a 3-page article on the specs or would you see a nice, long video showing all the available colours and explaining all the features in detail? If you are in the second group, then you are joining an increasing number of consumers who are turning to videos for making informed decisions. Apart from imparting regular information like specs and cost of the phone, videos can take you through the user experience and different applications, enabling an almost in-hand feel.
Long-form videos are even better. Research shows that videos under five minutes are generally less engaging than videos that are 15 minutes or longer. Browse YouTube and you’ll find hundreds, if not thousands, of companies posting videos that beautifully showcase their products, services, and behind-the-scenes activity. Your videos should either entertain or inform to keep your customers engaged and returning for more. Generally, short-form videos are more effective on social media sites, whereas long-form videos are better suited for your website and video channels.