Innovations and trends in digital marketing come and go at break-neck speed. This time next year, we could all be obsessed with TikTok.
We might go to Instagram to do our shopping or the world might be ruled by WeChat. It’s difficult to predict, but here are some of the trends we think will keep us occupied in the next 12 months.
Voice marketing: we’re all ears
If there’s one marketing trend that you’ll be hearing about in 2020, it’s voice. It’s estimated that around 50% of searches will be made by voice in 2020.
This growth in voice search is good news for marketers as it’s an increasingly sophisticated and useful tool to add to the box. Voice search provides much deeper and more accurate insights into a consumer’s state of mind than simple text searches.
The technology for analysing the data is getting smarter every day, making it more likely that the customer will find exactly what they want giving marketers a deeper understanding of their customer.
The right message at the right time: personalised email marketing
Personalisation will be the buzzword when it comes to email marketing in 2020. Using advanced behavioural data technology that learns how consumers interact with a website or app, more brands will be realising the power of a tailored email, sent to customers at exactly the right time.
A welcome email that includes a product discount code or a recommendation for another product when they buy something – these sorts of timely communications help build a lasting relationship with your customer, and they can help increase conversions and reduce abandoned carts.
The beauty of it is that it’s all automated, so there’s no delay and it’s timed perfectly to the moment.
It’s good to talk: conversational marketing
These days, almost every app or website has a friendly chatbot lurking in the corner of the screen, ready to answer your questions. In the year ahead conversational marketing will only become more ubiquitous.
That’s because conversational marketing campaigns can have a phenomenal success rate, performing as much as 80 times better than email or news feeds. From the consumer’s point of view, a chat is more personal, more ‘human’ and less intrusive than old-fashioned marketing methods. They can start the conversation on their terms, whenever they want, and get a relevant, personalised response.
Brands, meanwhile, find they can capture priceless insights into their customer during a chat and, because their response to a customer is instant, leads close much more quickly.
The picture gets bigger: omnichannel tracking
Google’s Web + App feature also provides data for apps and websites in one place, making it much easier for the marketer to see where and how users interact with a brand.
Of course, when it comes to user tracking, there’s a way to go yet. The technology for gathering physical store data is still catching up, but we’re getting there, and who knows what we’ll be predicting this time next year.
The nano-influencer: the gift that keeps on giving
Brands have well and truly caught on to the fact that nano- and micro-influencers can offer more value than celebrity mega-influencers, thanks to their very loyal, very engaged followers.
This trend will continue into the coming year. We also predict that businesses will begin to see the influencer as a source of content rather than just as a brand promoter. The reward will be money saved on expensive photoshoots and in-house-generated branded content.
AI is no longer the future, it’s the present
You know it. ‘It’ knows it. Artificial intelligence is part of everyday life. Everything from what our social feeds look like to what we buy online is influenced by algorithms that watch our behaviour and learn about our preferences. And brands that haven’t already brought AI into their digital marketing strategy will do so this year.
What will also be noticeable in the next year is the trend towards visual analytics, which means those algorithms will be tracking not only what users say about brands but what they do with it, how they use it, how they wear it.
TikTok takes off big time
The growth of TikTok, the free app that lets users create and share videos on their mobiles, has been incredible. There are 500 million active users and counting and 1.5 billion downloads.
Brands that want to reach this huge audience with its very clear Gen Z demographic are beginning to look at TikTok as an influencer platform (the app doesn’t yet have an advertising revenue model).
And it’s a good time to be on board, as there are still relatively few influencers using TikTok, so competition is still low.
The future of commerce: shoppable posts and WeChat
Huge numbers of people now do their shopping on social media – 60% of Instagram users and 70% of Pinterest users (60% and 70% respectively) say they use the platforms to look for new products.
Shoppable posts, where you can click on a product on Instagram and buy it on the seller’s website, are already a huge trend. And soon you’ll be able to pay for it right there and then on Instagram.
But for a real glimpse of the future of e-commerce, look at WeChat, the giant Chinese messaging app that has more than a billion monthly active users. Retailers can create their own online stores on the platform using a branded ‘miniprogram’, which users can shop via a standardised payment system.
It even integrates customers’ offline behavioural data. Which may all sound unnerving, but it’s coming to a smartphone near you.