The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing as it evolves with new technology. As such, new trends, techniques and tools are introduced now and again, allowing businesses to better cater to the needs of consumers online and offline.
I strongly believe that the following three trends are bound to gain almost explosive popularity in 2020.
1. Just Say It: The Rise Of Voice Searches And Digital Assistants
As CEO of a digital marketing agency, I have anticipated the boom of voice search as early as 2017, which turned out to be true. This year, experts predict that voice search will comprise half of all queries, regardless of the device used.
Voice searches fulfill the consumer need for urgency. Today’s shoppers have grown impatient, since they’ve become accustomed to the immediacy offered by their smartphones and the internet. This has changed their expectations of brands, and they demand swift, seamless experiences across digital platforms.
Targeting voice queries optimizes your website for featured snippets and zero-click searches as well. Most digital assistants only read back the top entry on the results page, and rich snippets usually occupy “position zero.”
Voice searches have different characteristics compared to typed queries. We use the following attributes when planning the voice search optimization strategy for our clients:
• Voice searches use natural language and questions instead of keywords. When doing a voice search, people ask as they would normally speak. The results are queries like, “What’s the temperature in Phoenix today?” This changes your keyword research. Instead of a string of words, aim for question-based searches instead.
• Create content that directly answers the query. The “People Also Ask” box on search engine results pages (SERPs) gives you a glimpse of other inquiries related to the original query. You can also answer these in your content to provide more value to the reader.
• Apart from targeting question-based searches, keep your tone conversational. Google’s latest algorithm update, BERT, lets the search engine understand the context of searches instead of nitpicking the individual words. This means Google can now process natural language better than ever. Leverage this new feature by prioritizing readability and simplicity in your copy.
2. Show, Don’t Tell: Video Is The New King Of Content
Videos and livestreaming were popularized by Facebook and YouTube, and these will only get bigger this year. A study by HubSpot revealed that roughly half of users want more video content from businesses they support.
The rising number of brands that tap influencers and vloggers also fuels the popularity of videos. These personalities tend to create more personal connections with viewers compared to articles, which is a huge advantage for marketers trying to build relationships with their audiences.
I’m not being hyperbolic when I say that YouTube is the second-biggest search engine. So, if you don’t use videos for content marketing, you are just losing sales opportunities.
To date, my formula for maximizing engagement is to use videos across channels (search, social media and PPC ads). In my experience, it’s also essential to create valuable, relevant videos curated for your audience. It’s fairly common to see tutorial videos and product demos on brand websites. They’re more engaging than walls of text, giving visitors a reason to stay longer on your site.
Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have grown popular for their livestream features. This is beneficial for conferences, launches and any events you have. You can hold a live Q&A to interact in real time with your audience, which is an effective way to attract engagement.
Apart from social media, videos can also make engaging ads for your PPC campaign. Video ads can appear on YouTube, the Display Network or on partner sites. In-stream ads, or the ones on YouTube and search, reach people in places where they’re discovering content.
Just like search and display ads, you can control the targeting of your video ads. Make sure the platform matches your business and the search intent of the user.
3. Social Media: Going Beyond Likes And Shares
Social media platforms have expanded their functions, allowing users to shop, form groups, play games and watch events in real time. I have encountered the rule change many times since my first day in this industry. And now it’s happening again. Thus, the “new black” is to maximize your social media strategy.
Facebook and Instagram now let users shop on the platform itself. From marketplaces to shoppable posts, businesses no longer have to wonder how they can integrate their online stores with their social media profiles. Social commerce, or buying products directly through social media ads or posts, isn’t entirely new. But it took off when Instagram Checkout launched in 2019. The goal is to lessen the number of steps for shoppers, providing a faster checkout process. Moreover, this decreases the chances of sales abandonment.
Social media also makes it easier for you to perform social listening through online communities. Although measurement tools remain helpful, niche online groups provide more accurate insight into your ideal customer’s current concerns, needs and wants. I communicate the importance of closed Facebook groups to all my clients. You can join the ones related to your business, participate in discussions and engage with other users to better understand your market. Reddit and Quora are also effective platforms for social listening.
These trends show that digital marketing has no signs of slowing down. If anything, it will become even more advanced to continue providing a better digital experience for users. This puts pressure on brands to adapt at the same time to stay relevant to their markets.
With expert guidance, you can stay ahead of the curve and meet the different needs of your audience across digital touch points.