An ever-changing landscape, digital marketing has been disrupted time and again. The year 2019 is no different—with developments and trends that shaped the C-suite’s decision-making.
Brands and companies must be ready and willing to adapt because if not, they will fall behind the curve. This would happen while they observe how their digital marketing savvy rivals climb the competition ladder, capturing more market share compared with yours.
It’s time these brands look into what they’ve missed so they would know what to do in 2020.
2019 Digital marketing trends we’ve seen
The digital marketing trends of 2019 are diverse and with a few technologies that changed the game.
Omnichannel is a term that we’ve been hearing quite a while but it took off this 2019 when the businesses realized its benefits.
Omnichannel marketing is synonymous with synergizing the brand or campaign message across all relevant marketing channels. And no, this is not just on search and social media, but also email, live chat, video, app, etc.
The premise behind its increasingly rising popularity, which will surely persist in 2020, is the customer behaviors and purchasing patterns. About 70% of potential customers use at least three channels to research a product.
Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to a computer system, an entire program, that performs various tasks that typically require human intelligence.
Nonetheless, the year 2019 proved AI’s usefulness in content marketing, advertising, and customer support. AI is used in identifying trends and doing competitor research.
With this, it has the potential to cover the entire digital marketing task. So we shall see in 2020 how AI will expand to include other channels in addition to websites, email, and social media platforms.
Chatbots dominate the 2019 landscape—from websites to social media to apps. They can be used for various purposes, but it was specifically useful in helping users accomplish a simple task by providing answers to their questions.
In 2020, there is no other way than making chatbots more advanced although we’ve already seen some of them. These are the virtual assistants and digital concierges.
If there’s one platform that shaped online marketing in the last five years or so—not just in 2019—that would be YouTube, the premier video sharing platform. Videos have never been like before.
Today, however, and perhaps in 2020, 2021, and beyond, users are yearning for story-driven videos. The videos need not be professionally produced. User-generated video content is enough, genuine, entertaining, and informative.
Social media stories
Snapchat started it with My Story in 2013, and it has been unstoppable since. And to prove the influence of this feature, other social sites follow suit including Instagram in 2015 and WhatsApp, Medium, Messenger, Facebook, Skype, and YouTube in 2017.
While it took a while for brands to capture this channel, it slowly gained ground in 2019. In 2020, it will surely become a hit as more and more brands are using the story feature in creating brand awareness and putting forward its value proposition.
Brands will maximize sales opportunities in any way they can. Utilizing social media for this purpose is the trend we’ve seen in 2019.
In Instagram, shoppable posts are introduced in 2018. Posts usually include a Buy Now button, linking to the landing page or e-commerce site where the users can actually buy the item.
In 2019, Instagram launched a new feature called Instagram Checkout. Users can now complete their purchases through the channel.
It will only take a few more months before other social channels will introduce the same feature.
Social messaging apps
While at it, Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and SnapChat are no longer about chatting and sending emojis and selfies. They are slowly becoming another marketing channel that brands can capitalize on. Perhaps, you’ve seen a sponsored placement upon scrolling your contacts list.
Not only that, however, because in 2019, social messaging apps are a place where brands cultivate target audience, nourish leads, deliver information, involve people, and provide assistance.
It would have more purposes in the years to come, not just in 2020.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR, AR) are both useful, although more businesses invested in using the latter for marketing their brands and its products and services. It’s because of the high implementability of AR that’s why it made a lot of noise in 2019.
Other than that, AR integrations and applications are integral to the experience and are not intrusive or annoying. The utilization of AR will definitely improve in 2020.
Personalization demonstrated the shift from brands to the customers. Indeed, the year 2019 is all about the personalization of the experience whether the user will buy or just there to learn more about the product or service.
Personalization will be instrumental in conversion rate optimization in 2020. It takes more than replacing the name of the recipient on your email template. In fact, this no longer works.
Instead, segmentation of customer profile based on various factors such as search history and other activities beyond the website. Individualized experiences will be favored in the years to come.
Advertisements serve a unique purpose, and so online businesses will continue to use them for the years to come. However, it is impossible for any team to man the channels 24/7.
This is where the value of programmatic advertising really shone in 2019. The process made use of AI in buying and placing ads. And these are not just banner ads, but also display and out-of-home ads.
Not only it empowered the advertisers. Programmatic advertising also levels the playing field. It is highly accessible even by small businesses, leveraging for maximum returns. This is true regardless of whether the business has mass market or niche appeal.
Google is an innovative company that affects how digital marketers do search engine optimization (SEO). In 2019, the results pages are revamped in such a way that the #1 position is no longer the only desired position.
Featured snippets, knowledge graph, carousel, 3-pack, and ads are the organic results’ competition. These are commonly known as position zero, taking away precious screen real estate from the actual results.
Thus, appearing in position zero will be more important for brands in 2020.
With machine learning and AI, even the search engines are becoming smarter. The algorithms are now processing queries by looking into user intent, which is in turn, driven by the purpose behind a query and informed by latent relationships among the keywords used, for instance, and other factors like search history.
Also, the search engines result pages are displaying results based on contextual understanding of the query.
The search equation, however, is also about the technical aspects that contribute to how the website performs in these results pages.
Visual search also took off in 2019 especially that Google rolled out a new feature called Search by image. Users can either paste the image URL or upload an image.
In this way, visual search takes the user experience (UX) to higher levels, getting more specific results. Pinterest started it, and rightfully so because it is a photo-sharing website. Users turn to their cameras to escalate the search task.
Google Lens followed suit, and so its full utilization will happen in 2020, especially that it amped up its image search interface.
Alexa, Siri, and Cortana are proof that voice-enabled technologies can streamline and leverage simple tasks. This also required brands to rethink their strategies knowing that more and more people are obtaining access to these technologies. Smart speakers are on the rise too.
Users are going to depend on voice search more and deeper in 2020 as well as the years after that. The premise is that they can easily and immediately find relevant information—an optimized experience any way you look at it.
Nonetheless, there is a need to publish more content with a conservational tone. The content that can be featured on Google results has a higher chance of showing up in voice-based queries.
Users are more involved in the marketing process. As what we’ve seen this year, the more users are involved in making the content, the more users are convinced.
User-generated content does its work, having an impact on the buying decisions of 70% of the baby boomers and 84% of the millennials. It’s word of mouth but a notch higher because it facilitates a sense of belonging.
Learning the digital marketing trends that matter in 2019, which do you think will be retained and continue to prove its worth this 2020? Speaking of which, what trends will skyrocket in 2020?