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Digital marketing trends for 2020

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Digital marketing trends change and evolve every year which means it’s extremely important for your business to adapt.

Without a clear digital strategy, you risk your brand being left behind and losing potential customers. Staying on top of these changes can give your brand a competitive edge, enabling more growth and customers.

Forms of digital content in 2020

As traditional forms of digital advertising become more saturated and costly, businesses must look into new and increasingly popular forms of content in order to gain a competitive edge and circumvent the increasing advertising prices in digital marketing.

content marketing and definition

Blogs

Blogs will still be a great way, in 2020, to get rich and useful content onto your site. Blogs can help potential customers get to know you better and understand the goals and aims of your business. Blogs provide an excellent way to improve your page rankings too. Google is becoming more obsessed with high-quality content that provides answers to queries from users. If your blog posts provide this, it is likely to see your pages rank higher for those targeted search terms.

Podcasting

Podcasts have been around for a while but are only just becoming more popular to a wider, more mainstream audience. In 2015, 49% of the US population had said they were familiar with podcasting. This increased to 70% in 2019. This trend will continue to increase into 2020 as platforms such as Spotify increase the availability of podcasts to their users.

Planning and marketing your own podcast can give your business a huge advantage over competitors owing to the untapped potential that is podcasting. Podcasts give you full control of a platform to engage your existing audiences, connecting users to your brand without the need to spend money on remarketing and brand campaigns.

Video and livestreaming

Livestreaming has exploded in popularity in the last couple of years. Users love to follow along with content in real-time as it gives a sense of connectivity you can’t get from other forms of content. The beauty of livestreaming is that you can turn it into video content, in either in highlight form or in its entirety to use for your brand after the livestream has finished.

Your followers will see less of your content in 2020

An increasing trend in social platforms is algorithmic changes to show only content that the platform thinks your followers will be most interested in. In the past, your followers would find any new upload in their feed, however, this is no longer the case.

On platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook and even YouTube, only a small proportion of your followers will see your content appear on their feed depending on their level of engagement. These social platforms are using more feed “real estate” to place ads.

Because of the scarcity of space, social media platforms have to remove some organic content in favour of content that these platforms deem as more relevant to the user’s interests.  

In 2020, you should aim to increase quality and engagement on each of your posts on social media.

To counter the ad-favouring algorithm, you need to increase engagement. Use call to action terms to try and increase overall engagement for each piece of content which should increase the proportion of your content which is served to your followers.

Pay-per-click trends in 2020

PPC and definition

Advertising using online platforms is an extremely effective method for driving new and returning customers to your site. However, we have seen a gradual increase in cost per click over the years. We believe this trend will continue to increase in 2020. The primary reason for this slow increase is that there is simply more competition from brands wanting to place ads on these platforms. Digital advertising platforms act as a marketplace meaning the more people who bid on certain keywords, the more expensive they become.

Terms, such as “life insurance”, generate high quality and valuable conversions which leads to more competition for these keywords. More competition means a higher cost per click.

high ranking competitive keyword
A search engine results page example

As you can see from the search results page, organic results are found below the paid listing. This forces businesses who want to rank for the keyword “life insurance” at the top of the search results page to pay for advertising; increasing competition further.

This idea of competition translates to the larger digital advertising environment. Businesses from all industries are realising the benefits of online advertising and are paying for their place in search results. This increases the overall cost per click over time. The importance of Google PPC and competition to rank highly will continue to increase in the future.

Voice search

Amazon Alexa enables voice search
Amazon Alexa

Over the past few years, voice search has come into existence and gained incredible traction. Where this started merely on smartphones, the introduction of digital voice assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, has seen this trend excel.

This effects digital marketing as users will often ask a question at full length when saying out loud, as opposed to typing a more condensed selection of keywords into a search engine. In response, Google and other platforms are moving away from operating as a search engine and instead are becoming question-answer engines.

Brands must think carefully about their voice search SEO and the keywords they’re targeting for paid ads in order to stay in line with this latest consumer behaviour in search.

Automation and machine learning

Micro-targeting

New algorithms can help enable granular level micro-targeting, minimizing your level of PPC budget going to waste on putting a message across to the wrong individuals. Machine learning can be used for advanced user profiling in order to always target your ads to likely converters.

Real-time ad spending optimisation

Marketers often don’t have the time to allow them to adjust and optimise every campaign they are currently running on a daily basis. However, automation in this area is coming into play with algorithms used to optimise the daily spend allowance and targeting in order to yield a much higher ROI.

Next-generation social media

Pexels

Moving into 2020, platforms such as TikTok, Snapchat and Pinterest will become key platforms to reach Gen-Z. According to the National Retail Federation, this generation holds $44 billion in buying power and, due to a lack of established brand loyalty, are easier to convert than older consumers. So they’re people you want to be aware of!

TikTok

TikTok gives brands a chance to be creative in a way that they haven’t been able to in the past

Chavie Lieber and M.C. Nanda for Business of Fashion

Brands such as Mac Cosmetics have been early adopters already trialling the TikTok platform last year but it’s expected to become key moving into 2020 with its offer of short-form videos grabbing the attention of younger audience.

Snapchat

Snapchat is the current dominator out of the three platforms mentioned with 2 million snaps sent every minute and approximately 55% of users seeing stories from brands they follow. Though it’s had a bumpy ride it’s said to be making a comeback and will be a highly useful platform this year as engagement levels with brands is much higher than most other social media.

Fans and followers are actually watching entire video ads on Snapchat, but if you look at the user journey on Instagram, they typically click right out

Alison Bringé, chief marketing officer of fashion data analytics platform LaunchMetrics

Snapchat also allows features such as location tags, filters, and even custom augmented reality filters, all of which can be branded! With these features, users become much more engaged and by using any themselves they continue to promote the brand to their Snapchat friends.

Pinterest

Pinterest is one of the most underrated and under-utilized social media platforms by brands. You may be surprised to know that in terms of generating social media referral traffic to websites linked from it, Pinterest comes second, beat only by Facebook! Though it may require a different creative stance to the other platforms, a well thought out Pinterest strategy, in line with your overall brand identity can reap huge results.

Rise in Amazon advertising

Amazon have a unique targeting ability to segment users according to their e-commerce purchase habits with them. When it comes to product advertisements this platform is set to become a major player as it targets consumers further down the purchasing funnel; people who are looking to buy not only search. Amazon will increasingly use its potential by offering ad space on many of their popular platforms: Amazon.com, Amazon mobile app, Twitch, IMDb TV and devices such as their Fire TV and Echo.

Search engine optimisation trends in 2020

Written by Sergio Arboledas

SEO is ever-changing and it is vital to stay on top of these changes.

SEO and definition

Optimise for users

Google launched, in October 2019, the biggest change in Search for the past 5 years by releasing BERT. Google has stated you can not optimise for BERT. Their advise is to write your content for users. This means, keyword research might become obsolete and instead, content creators should talk more to their audience to understand what content they are seeking, according to Eli Schwartz, Growth Consultant and Advisor in a SEJ Roundup:

“Content will truly have to be written to user intent rather than just strings that a user might search,” Schwartz said. “Keyword research tools may even become less relevant with the primary dataset for content creation coming from suggested queries. In 2020, the really smart SEOs will get up from their desks to talk to customers so they can find out what their audience really wants from them.”

Stick to E-A-T guidelines

In 2020, Google will continue rewarding websites that stick to their E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) guidelines. If you have been hit by an algorithm update and you wonder why, this might be the reason. Click here to hear our recommendations to recover from a Google Penalty.

Site speed

Site speed is definitely one of the top SEO factors and it will be even more important in 2020 due to Google’s efforts and consistent support to webmasters to improve their website load time. If you want to learn more about site speed, how to measure it and how to improve it, check our guide here.

Mobile SEO

Think about this: In 2019, 80% of Internet users used a mobile device to surf the web. With Google implementing mobile-first indexing there is no doubt mobile will keep being extremely important in 2020. Our recommendation is to optimise for mobile-first and then for desktop. Do you know where to start? Start by double-checking the Mobile Usability section from Google Search Console and make sure there are no errors:

Mobile Usability section from Google Search Console
Analytics

Additionally, make sure your website is mobile responsive:

Structured data

Structured data is also evolving very fast and Google is determined to find new ways to deliver the right response in rich format to user’s queries. Optimising your content with the latest schema markup will be paramount to be in the game.

Entity optimisation

Google uses entities to understand the semantic relationship between the search query and the indexed content to deliver the most relevant answer to the user. Writing around semantically close entities helps to better answer user journeys not just through better content, but also content that Google can see will be a good result.

Google featured snippets

We have seen an increase in the use of featured snippets in Google results pages.  It’s very important for SEOs to keep an eye out for them in 2020.

Featured snippets are appearing in the SERP for more and more search terms as the years go on. Many queries are answered in the search results page without the user even having to click on a webpage.

Google SERP
Featured snippets

Looking for the height of a celebrity? – Google will display that for you without the need to venture any further. This is affecting somehow CTR as there isn’t really anywhere else for the user to explore as they have already found the answer they have been looking for.

However, there is a growing opportunity for SEOs to incorporate winning featured snippets into their strategy. Many longer queries (e.g. how to…) will display a different type of featured snippet on the results page. These snippets show a small amount of information relating to the query.

Google featured snippet on SEO
Featured snippets

Winning these types of snippets will be extremely useful as most of the information can’t be included within the snippet which urges the user to click through to the website for more information.

Overall, platforms are trying to gain more control over the content shared to its users. As digital marketers, we must drive customers to our own platforms in order to gain back some of this control and ensure potential customers see our content.

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