Successful marketing isn’t just being aware of what works now but also keeping track of how market dynamics and consumer preferences are changing as well as being prepared for these changes. We have compiled these digital marketing trends to ensure savvy marketers incorporate ongoing changes into their marketing strategies for 2020 and beyond.
Digital marketing is a domain that keeps evolving at a rapid pace, with technologies that would have been dismissed as gimmicks even five years ago playing increasingly prominent roles today. Some of these trends have been around for some time and will continue relatively unchanged for the next few years. On the other hand, there are certain trends that promise to overhaul how marketing and advertising are handled completely.
Digital Marketing Trends to Keep up With in 2021
- Omnichannel marketing presence
- Programmatic display digital ads
- Chatbot customer service
- Personalized advertising experience
- Live streaming
- Browser push notifications
- Predictive analytics
- Interactive content
- Progressive web apps
24 Key Trends in Digital Marketing
1. Seamless Omnichannel Marketing
Over 74% of consumers consider it important, fairly important, or very important to have a cohesive omnichannel experience.
According to a study, more than 70% of surveyed consumers used three or more channels to research a purchase. Google says that about 85% of online shoppers start a purchase on one device and finish on another. All these points indicate that businesses need to expand their focus beyond one or two channels to set up consistent omnichannel marketing touchpoints that reinforce each other throughout a buyer’s journey across social media, email, website, offline ads, apps, and more, making omnichannel marketing one of the key trends for digital marketing companies.
2. Targetting Millenials & Gen Z-ers on Instagram
More than 70% of Instagram’s global users are under the age of 35.
Instagram’s continued popularity is one of the top digital marketing trends right now. If Millennials and Gen Z-ers form your target audience, Instagram is likely to be your best bet for social media marketing in 2020. The platform’s monthly active users have also been growing at a noticeably faster pace than those of Facebook and Snapchat. Apart from Instagram’s visual appeal, the network has introduced several features to connect brands and influencers with potential customers, making it even more beneficial.
3. Using Messaging Apps to Communicate With Consumers
75% of consumers prefer messaging over other channels to communicate with companies.
While interest in Facebook might be waning, the latest digital marketing trends show that social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and WeChat are growing from strength to strength. The top messaging apps already have 20% more monthly active users than the top social networks, prompting marketers to look for ways to engage potential customers on messaging platforms. There are many ways in which brands can use messaging apps to cultivate followers, including sending personalized messages and information, getting people involved in different initiatives, and providing support and assistance.
4. Investing in AI as a Contribution to the Global Economy
AI will make a potential contribution of $15.7T to the world economy by 2030, providing a boost of up to 26% in GDP for local economies.
Apart from sectors like financial services, healthcare, and automotive, AI is also one of the top B2C and B2B digital marketing trends, primarily in terms of anticipating customer demand. About 25% of customer service is also estimated to be provided by AI-driven virtual assistant technology by 2020, up from just 2% in 2017. Other areas like communication, recommendation, and content creation will be further influenced by developments in AI, contributing to AI growing into a $190 billion industry by 2025.
5. Programmatic Display Advertising
86.2% of digital display ads in the US will be programmatic by 2020.
The replacement of search-driven manual advertising by programmatic advertising, which uses AI to automate ad buying so that more specific audiences can be targeted, is one of the most important emerging digital marketing trends. Unlike conventional advertising, which takes into account just three or four targets (keyword, time of day, location), programmatic advertising can use hundreds of targeting signals to personalize ads for customers in a manner not seen before. Nearly $19 billion in additional ad spending is expected to enter programmatic advertising between 2018 and 2020. Programmatic channels already claimed three-quarters of digital video ad dollars in 2018, and the share is expected to rise to 80% by 2020.
6. Chabot Customer Service
Chatbots will power 85% of customer services by 2020.
This large-scale adoption of chatbots, one of the top trends in digital marketing, is driven to a large extent by consumer preference. As per chatbot statistics, 63% of consumers prefer messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a brand. The top benefits of chatbots, according to consumers, include 24-hour availability, instant query response, and quick answer to simple questions. It is also estimated that by 2022, chatbots will help businesses save $8 billion per annum, while by 2021, 50% of enterprises will be spending more on chatbots than on traditional mobile app development.
7. Personalized Advertising Experience
80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
Offering a personalized experience is one of the most important digital marketing strategy trends to keep up with if you want to retain your customers in 2020. Research shows that 63% of consumers are extremely annoyed with generic advertising from brands, while more than half of consumers are even fine with handing over their personal information to businesses if this information is used for consumers’ benefit. With at least 90% of consumers claiming to find personalization appealing, this strategy has to factor into your digital marketing efforts as well.
8. Investing in Influencer Marketing
Consumers are 92% more likely to trust their peers over ads for purchasing decisions.
Influencer marketing is one of those recent trends in digital marketing that will continue to be prominent in the short term. Its popularity is also helped by the wider use of AI in marketing, which makes it easier to identify the right influencer for a brand and keep a tab on different performance metrics. As a result, it is estimated that the global ad spend on influencer marketing will rise to $10 billion by 2020, up from $6.3 billion in 2018.
9. Video Marketing
Over two-thirds of consumers prefer to learn about a new product or service through videos.
83% of marketers in 2019 found that video marketing gave them a good ROI, up from 78% in 2018. Furthermore, 72% say that video has improved their conversion rates, making it one of those digital marketing trends that you just can’t ignore in 2020. 81% of businesses involved with digital marketing are already using videos or invest in video marketing professionals to reach consumers, and that number is expected to keep rising as consumers also seem to respond positively to videos in different formats and across multiple platforms. Even Google search rewards videos—your site is 53 times more likely to get a first-page spot in search results if it includes video.
10. Live Streaming
By 2020, live streaming is expected to account for 82% of all internet traffic.
Even within video marketing, live streaming is one of the more prominent trends in digital marketing, especially in combination with influencer marketing platforms. With 80% of consumers preferring live videos from brands over blog-based information and 63% of users in the 18-34 age group already watching live streaming content regularly, brands are also finding it easier to connect with customers through live videos of interviews, product demos, company events, etc.
11. Visual Search Optimization
62% of Millennials are more interested in visual search than any other new technology.
With apps and features like Pinterest Lens, Google Lens, and Bing Visual Search, searching for products and information using images instead of text has become very easy. Visual search, one of the key digital marketing trends in 2020, promises to revolutionize how consumers purchase goods online, presenting a great opportunity for business owners to get an edge by optimizing their sites for visual search. After all, Gartner predicts that by 2021, early adopter brands that redesign their sites to support visual and voice search will increase digital commerce revenue by 30%.
12. Voice Search Optimization
Voice shopping is set to jump to $40B in 2022 from $2B in 2018.
Thanks to the continued popularity of smart speakers and related features on smartphones, it is expected that 50% of all voice searches by 2020 will be via voice. Supporting voice search as one of the most significant new trends in digital marketing is the fact that the AI used in voice searches is also getting smarter, as it collects more data every day. With 52% of smart speaker owners interested in receiving brand information on their speakers, the practice of brands using voice search to deliver value-based content to their consumers is going to become more widespread.
13. Micro-Moment Mobile Optimization
91% of smartphone users look up information on their smartphones while in the middle of a task.
Micro-moments, which reflect people’s immediate need to learn, do, discover, or watch something, are becoming increasingly important as the newest digital marketing trends. According to Google, 1 out of 3 smartphone users has purchased from a brand other than the one they intended to because of the relevant information provided at the moment they needed it. With low brand loyalty, short mobile browsing sessions, and increasing service expectations, consumers are more likely to reward marketers who provide quality, relevant, and useful information exactly when it’s needed.
14. Investing in AR (Augmented Reality)
By 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies, and 25% will have deployed to production.
The use of augmented reality (AR) in advertising has been around for some time now and is expected to be used more widely in the coming years to enhance users’ buying experience. While the use of AR is established within healthcare digital marketing trends, its use in marketing, in general, is becoming more prominent as well. Seven out of 10 media planners and buyers want more AR and VR ads incorporated into digital marketing campaigns, the latest digital marketing statistics show. AR is also estimated to find wider adoption in different business sectors as compared to virtual reality (VR), partly because of the former’s easier implementation on mobile phones. The global AR market is expected to be worth $133.8 billion by 2021 (from $3.3 billion in 2015), compared to $75 billion for VR (from $7.7 billion in 2017).
15. Email Marketing
4.4B users will be sending 347B emails daily by 2023.
Despite the growth of other marketing avenues, email will continue to be an important tool for businesses to communicate with customers. One of the main reasons for email marketing’s continued presence in digital marketing industry trends is its high ROI. However, the important trends in this area in the next few years will involve a high degree of personalization, segmentation, and automation, which will add more efficiency to the whole email marketing process.
16. Browser Push Notifications
Segmented push messages have an open rate of 7% and user conversion rate of 54% compared to 3% and 15% for generic broadcast messages.
Browser push notifications are being used by brands to reach their leads more efficiently, making them another of the most prominent digital marketing trends for 2019-2020. With 52% of users enabling push notifications on their mobile devices, they have become even more effective tools to reach customers for everything from conveying information on new deals and products to encouraging shoppers to complete their purchases.
17. The Efficiency of Content Marketing
Content marketing costs 62% less and generates 3X leads compared to outbound marketing; it also has 6X higher conversion rates than other methods.
Google’s continued support for well-researched, regularly updated content means that content marketing will continue to remain among the most important trends in digital marketing in 2020. Content marketing not only has lower up-front costs but can also be a more effective way to build relationships with potential customers, considering the increasing use of ad blockers that keep your expensive ads from being seen by a large number of internet users. Another important benefit is that consumers continue to view brands investing in content marketing as credible and trusted resources.
18. Predictive Analyses
86% of executives using predictive marketing for over 2 years report increased ROI.
There is little wonder that predictive analytics, which integrates techniques from data mining, statistics, modeling, machine learning, and AI, is one of the hottest digital marketing trends right now. It is estimated that, by 2020, every person on earth will create 1.7 MB of data every second. Much of this data can be made use of by marketers to predict future opportunities and nearly guarantee better results from their marketing campaigns.
19. User Generated Content
90% shoppers report that user-generated content (UGC) influences their purchase decisions; 97% of 18-29-year-olds say it has an extreme influence.
Consumers value authenticity and no form of advertising offers that more than UGC in the form of testimonials, blogs, images, or video content. UGC is particularly effective in targeting Millennials, making it one of the most vital latest trends in digital marketing. With data clearly indicating more time spent on websites that offer UGC or significantly higher conversions for campaigns that incorporate UGC in a smart manner, the role of user-generated content in digital marketing will only get more prominent in the near future.
20. Instagram Shoppable Posts
Instagram shopping posts, tapped on by over 130M users every month, have increased traffic for brands by as much as 1000%.
Shoppable posts, introduced by Instagram for select brands in some countries, have made it extra-convenient for users to purchase products directly through their feeds, marking them among the key digital marketing trends for the near future. With the unveiling of Instagram Checkout, users don’t even need to move out of Instagram to complete the purchase. While data on the success of the new feature is yet to be shared, this merger of social media and ecommerce is likely to benefit both users (by adding convenience) and marketers (by lowering the chance of cart abandonment).
21. Interactive Over Static Content
Marketers put the engagement effectiveness of interactive content at 93% compared to 70% for static content.
With decreasing attention spans of consumers, marketers have found that interactive content goes a long way in standing out from the crowd and getting the message across to potential customers, indicating its role among important future trends in digital marketing. With surveys indicating that more than 90% of consumers would prefer interactive content over other forms, innovative formats like AR/VR experiences, 360-degree videos, quizzes and polls, infographics, and the like are going to become more common in content marketing.
22. Facebook Stories & WhatsApp Status
Facebook Stories and WhatsApp Status have both reached 500M daily active users in two years after launch.
Instagram Stories took three years to reach that figure. YouTube announced its own Stories-like feature, called Reels, in 2018. Facebook’s Stories feature is particularly popular with marketers, as it gives them a new way to reach customers. Social media stories are among the key trends in digital marketing today as the fear of missing out on this ephemeral content seems to drive hordes of social media users to them within a short period. The resulting cost-effectiveness, the high degree of engagement, and the opportunity to reach young users (the most common users of this feature) are sure to keep stories a prominent strategy of social media marketing agencies.
23. Digital Advertising Fraud Awareness
$5.8M will be lost to digital advertising fraud globally in 2019.
Blockchain technology is the most obvious solution to the issue of billions lost because of bots or people hired to click on ads all day, inflating statistics to increase rates. Blockchain, which is estimated to be a $20 billion industry by 2024, is generally spoken of in terms of digital marketing trends in financial services. However, its positive effects on digital marketing are more than obvious. Better user experience, highly targeted ads, higher security for customer and company data, and higher ROI for advertisers are just some of the ways blockchain technology can affect digital marketing.
24. The Efficiency of PWA (Progressive Web Apps)
Progressive web apps (PWAs) are associated with an over 60% increase in mobile traffic, over 50% increase in conversions, and over 75% increase in session lengths.
The number of smartphone users worldwide is projected to reach 2.87 billion in 2020. This makes mobile crucial to any digital marketing strategy, with associated issues like low usage rates of mobile apps, discomfort with loading times, and apps competing with other items for mobile storage space. PWAs, which are websites that work like apps, have been able to solve many of these issues and seen increasing popularity among mobile users. In the coming years, as PWAs become among the top digital marketing trends, marketers will have to come up with innovative ways to advertise to consumers.
The future of digital marketing lies in providing authentic, well-researched, personalized, and innovative content to consumers, who are turning more demanding than ever. This includes making good use of video and voice capabilities. While the utility of conventional social media might be coming down, there are enough features being developed by these tech giants to connect with customers in innovative ways, which marketers will ignore at their own peril. Finally, these digital marketing trends also show that whether you are a large enterprise or an SMB, it is time to evaluate investments in technologies like AI, AR, and blockchain.
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