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Digital Trends in 2020

2020 represents a period in history where digital marketing and communication can no longer be ignored. The time when companies could simply rely on a good looking website and Facebook page have passed, now, the landscape is changing so rapidly it’s a month on month digital channel evolution.
2020 represents an extraordinary time of new and advanced technologies, engaging online tools and a fresh way of looking at the customer experience. Wow! what an exciting time we live in!
Yet so many organisations today (especially schools) don’t have an online experience, the resources or understanding to take advantage of these opportunities. This is a case of adapting or being left behind as Darwin discovered. 
So what are the big digital trends now and what should we embrace moving beyond 2020? The Digital Marketing Institute outlines this well:
1. Facebook and the problem of trust 
Facebook is no longer the kingpin in the social media world. According to Forbes, 41% of its users are over the age of 65. While it is by no means struggling, it’s clear that Facebook is losing ground with the younger demographics, who tend to prefer the more visual, interactive experiences offered by Instagram, Snapchat, and the rising star, TikTok.
After the 2018 data breach, Facebook has lost significant credibility, with many people growing frustrated and resentful with the platform's proliferation of fake news, political propaganda, and cyberbullying. The once-dominant force is continuing to drop in popularity with younger demographics, with TechCrunch speculating that Facebook may be dead to Generation Z.
It’s essential for future digital marketers to really look at who their target market may be because Facebook may be very unsuitable for some campaigns, especially as it continues to trend downwards with younger people. Facebook is still massive, and many people continue to check in on it. Still, marketers should be more cautious with who they are trying to connect with and make sure their target audience is still on Facebook.
2. Instagram is a Hit with the Kids
Instagram’s meteoric rise has already seen it pass one billion users, an impressive achievement. That means it's one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms and, perhaps more importantly, much of its user base is the coveted younger demographic, especially under 30.
Facebook is losing much of that cohort, due to its reputation as the social media platform for "old people."
One potential problem that marketers should keep in mind is that instigram recently decided to remove the ‘likes’ feature from the platform. Many influencers have voiced concerns about this move, and therefore, companies should keep a close eye on the impact this will have in 2020. While it could lead to an uptick in content quality, many users may drift away from the platform in search of vanity metrics elsewhere.
3. Video is now a necessity 
If your enterprise isn’t already using video marketing, you should get on board this year. Text-based content simply can’t compete with the power of video, especially when it comes to trying to sell products and services online.
In a mobile centric world, people are watching more video than ever before, using smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands, and what they have to offer. Think about these stats from ImpactBND: 
    • 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video.
    • 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos makes them more confident and guides their online purchasing decisions.
    • 72% of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.
Video marketing is highly-engaging, especially if it's live video. Live streaming is a powerful method of digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it's the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sources, such as celebrities, athletes, and musicians, having a live stream with an influencer who is interacting directly with comments is a huge draw for an audience.
4. Content is Still King!
Content continues to be an essential component of digital marketing and communications, although there's an increasing emphasis on nuance in content. The quality is always going to matter, but now there's more emphasis on the context and targeting. Google is developing a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of online content, and so, marketers must think carefully about their target market and how they can tailor content more precisely in 2020.
Much of this boils down to the BERT update, released on Google in November 2019. The new algorithm helps the search engine giant get a better understanding of the natural language in user search queries.The Google advice is now  that: “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”
Make no mistake:
Content marketing is going nowhere.
That being said, Google is getting smaller, and it gives preference to in-depth, accurate, current content that is closely aligned with user intent. Companies must keep this in mind as they create new content in 2020.
5. The personalisation of email
Email continues to be a major channel of communication, with billions still using it for personal, commercial, industrial, legal, scientific, and academic purposes. In other words, email is here to stay, and email marketing itself continues to be important.
However, email marketing is evolving, and generic marketing emails aren't as effective as they once were. It is now a combination of automation and, more importantly, personalisation that makes email marketing important for 2020.
When you can trigger your email marketing to something specific, such as a user browsing a particular product, and then follow up with a promotional price or demo video in a personalised email, this can be very effective. Email is often the final trigger to motivate an action, especially when combined with your remarking techniques.
That leads us to one of the most exciting digital marketing trends in recent times…
6. Interactive Content Will Become Mainstream
Interactive content is anything that people can click on, swipe, or interact with online.  According to Outgrow, 93% of marketers rate interactive content as highly effective at educating the buyer.
In 2020, more companies will experiment with interactive content types, such as:
    • Quizzes and polls
    • Augmented reality ads
    • 360-degree videos
These formats leverage cutting-edge marketing technology, such as augmented reality and video content, to offer people a more immersive, engaging experience. Today, consumers want this type of memorable, fun content from brands, as it helps them feel more connected to the company.
7. Voice Interaction Continues Upward
Thanks to Siri, Google, Alexa, and a host of other ‘smart’ devices, verbal interaction with devices is continuing to rise. The real lesson for us is that people like to talk and that is a preferred way of interacting. And now, machines are finally catching up to the way people want to search, shop and discover new things.
However, this presents some interesting challenges. Conducting a voice search, for example, is very different from typing a query, particularly in the results. When a person performs a text-based search, the screen displays the results one page at a time. But when someone asks a device to conduct a search and the device replies verbally, it may only give a few choices at most, and frequently supplies just one choice.
8. Marketing in Messaging Apps Will Level-Up
Social messaging apps aren't just for staying in touch with friends and family. Businesses in all industries have taken a significant interest in apps like Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp in recent times, and it's no surprise when you consider the opportunities:
    • 1.3 Billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger, sending more than 10 billion messages every month.
    • WhatsApp has 1.6 active users, sending over 55 Billion messages every day.
While traditional channels like email and social media are far from dead, there’s no denying that people are more active on instant messaging apps. In the next 5 to 7 years, messenger marketing is expected to be the number one marketing channel in the world. Therefore, it’s a logical step for brands to start connecting with people on these platforms. Marketing through Facebook Messenger generates 10 to 80 times more engagement than organic posts on the Facebook News Feed.
Messaging apps allow companies to reach a broad audience with short, personalised texts. 63% of online consumers are more likely to return to a company website if it has a live chat option, hammering home the need for companies to take this channel seriously.
In 2020, you can expect to see much more marketing in messaging apps, with many companies, including video and interactive content to engage users.
9. Omnichannel Marketing is Now Vital
Omnichannel marketing is the practice of marketing and communicating across multiple platforms, including email, apps, social media, and your website blog. This approach enables organisations to connect with customers on more digital touch-points, effectively offering a better user experience.
By delivering a seamless, consistent voice and cohesive brand message across all channels, you can generate much better results. ClickZ reports that omnichannel marketing drives over three times as much engagement than a single-channel approach. Better yet, customer retention, average order value, and purchase frequency are all higher when you have multiple channels.
As AI technology improves, companies can leverage data insights and machine learning to get a better understanding of consumer behaviours, and then personalise it at the highest-level. 
Ultimately, a focusing on omnichannel marketing is the road to an enhanced customer journey that keeps people coming back for more.
It’s clear that  things are moving fast in the digital marketing world. In 2020, AI technology, video, voice search, and interactive content will be among the most prominent trends. This is no time for a business to stand still, as the younger demographics and more tech-savvy consumers of today want brands to connect with them in new and exciting ways that make the customer journey easier and more enjoyable.

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