If you’re running a business and choose to stay uninformed about what’s new in digital marketing, you may as well add “groovy baby” and “talk to the hand” to your vocabulary, because you are officially out of touch.
If you don’t stay on top of the trends, you risk losing out on large portions of your intended audience who will have moved onto bigger and better things. Technology moves quickly, so, as American entrepreneur Sam Altman once said, “Move fast. Speed is one of your main advantages over large competitors.” And since we’re already in the third month of 2020 (how is that even possible?!), we’ve put together a list of the year’s hottest digital marketing trends to date in the hopes of giving you a leg up on your competition!
Instagram has slowly been adding more and more useful features for businesses. A few years ago, showing your customers how great they’d look sporting your products was about the only thing you could do with the app. Now, visitors to your profile can have their cake and eat (err buy) it too with product tagging and shoppable posts. The update which allows customers the opportunity to purchase directly through the app—thereby shortening the sales funnel—opened up a whole new can of delicious worms for your business. And now that the option is used widely, and available in most countries, we think it’s time you start taking full advantage.
Yes, we know the word is quickly becoming a dirty one, but influencers are more helpful than you think. Much research has shown that users tend to trust word-of-mouth over a brand’s direct marketing. They also want to see products or services actually being used by a real person. Although many influencers get paid to promote certain brands, one of 2020’s new trends is the “organic influencer,” a person who promotes brands they truly use and believe in without being paid. So, don’t be afraid to tap into the power of influencers—they can help you grow your business exponentially!
DMs & Social Messaging Apps
Apps like Viber, WeChat, Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp are now being used by companies to communicate with their audiences more than ever. Providing you with a direct link to your audience, these apps allow you to offer better customer service, and to inform your audience of sales and promotions much faster. Direct messaging gives a personal touch to your communications, and helps customers feel a deeper connection with your brand.
Because they offer businesses the opportunity to reach broader (and younger) audiences, stories in Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook are on the rise; Twitter is also working on their version, “Fleets.” Stories give your customers an interactive experience with features such as polls, questions, tagging, geo-locations, and direct links to your webpage. Live stories are also becoming popular, as authenticity and personalization are increasingly important to users when interacting with their favourite brands (see more on this below).
In this new decade, brands are aiming to give each of their customers something unique, rather than the impersonal marketing tactics of the past. With data-based campaigns, you can now gain a better understanding of how your customers are interacting with your brand (what they’re buying, how often they’re using your services, etc…). With this information, you can tailor content directly to your users, providing a distinct mobile and web experience. Last year, Spotify wowed its customers (and lit up social media) with their “Your Year in Review” campaign. Similarly, Lyft was successful with their “Your Year with Lyft.” Facebook uses this strategy with its “Your Friendaversary” posts, and YouTube with its “Suggested Videos”. Using personalized marketing that’s directed at a specific person not only builds connection with your customer, it also offers upsell opportunities, like Amazon’s “Often Bought Together” buyer recommendations.
Browser Push Notifications
It’s hard to ignore this latest trend—nearly every site you visit now has a pop-up that asks if you’d like to receive notifications. With newsletters now a thing of the past (can I get an amen?), and promising numbers like these: “52% of users enable push messaging on their mobile devices”, browser push notifications are shaping up to be a light at the end of the bleak email marketing tunnel. Use this option to re-engage with customers who’ve previously shown interest in your brand, but failed to follow up, and create more opportunities to make that final sale.
Google Ads & Smart Bidding
There’s no doubt Google Ads are an invaluable tool for any business. But, with all the manual work (not to mention guesswork) that goes into setting bids for specific signals like keywords, device type, location intent, or weekday, it can get a bit overwhelming. Google’s new Smart Bidding feature offers strategies that use machine learning to optimize for conversions or conversion value. Basically, you can leave your Pay-Per-Click campaigns with Google Ads and it’ll do the rest, saving you plenty of time to focus on your other business goals.
Progressive Web Apps
This type of application combines modern browser features with the convenience of the mobile experience. By 2021, the amount of people using smartphones worldwide is expected to reach 3.8 billion! Because of this, it’s more important than ever to make sure your website views and works well not only on desktop, but also on mobile and tablet devices.
Giving your customers the opportunity to get answers from your business via direct messaging, chatbots are changing the way we communicate. With many businesses now using them, chatbots are becoming the new customer service agent, but without the added cost of a pay cheque. And because most companies can’t employ staff 24 hours a day to keep up with round-the-clock online shopping, chatbots are a great option to give your customers the answers they need while you’re sleeping soundly in your bed.
Huge technological advancements have put this once unfathomable concept into the palm of our hands—literally. In order to help customers envision how a product can enhance their lives, brands like IKEA and Sephora are using Augmented Reality (AR) in their marketing efforts on their websites and in their apps. Test drives are no longer just for car dealerships, AR is consistently expanding the boundaries of what is possible. Imagine trying a lipstick, or seeing how that couch will look all from the comfort of your home, this is the power of AR.
Voice search is changing the face (err ears?) of our world. From our remote controls to our phones, all the way to the smart speakers we (sometimes) have longer conversations with than our friends, we are now a society of half robots/half humans (did we go too far there?). With virtual assistants now the norm, and 48% of consumers using voice search for general web queries, this trend is expected to continue to rise.
With 2020 already well underway, we hope you’ve already started integrating some of these top trends into your business’ digital marketing strategy. But, if this all sounds like latin to you and you’d like a helping hand, get in touch with us today for a consultation—we can help translate!