Believe it or not, 2020 is almost here.
The date has long been used as a marker for making predictions about what’s next in marketing—be it digital, social, or even IRL.
In this article, we’ll talk about what’s on the horizon for marketers and discuss what you should include in your 2020 marketing strategy. And I’m not just talking about digital, I’m talking about the whole marketing landscape, from TV and Billboards to AI.
What We’ll Cover:
- Traditional channels become more functional:
- Digital marketing in 2020:
- Search trends in 2020:
- Social media in 2020:
Traditional Marketing Channels Become More Functional
Investment in paid digital advertising methods like social and search ads has outperformed traditional methods like TV and radio in recent years.
But here’s something interesting—there are more ways to track the ROI of outdoor or analog marketing efforts than ever, meaning multichannel marketing is all about combining digital and analog strategies for a more unified customer experience.
Yes, that’s right, in the age of a million streaming platforms, it’s still important to stay on television.
Because the marketing landscape is becoming increasingly fragmented (read: people are watching less TV), budgets for TV ads are dropping. It’s also worth pointing out that newer advertising methods like programmatic and OTT (over the top advertising), allow users to buy ad space on channels like Hulu, SlingTV, and Roku and track results using analytics dashboards.
Keep in mind, programmatic can be challenging and often, should be used only as a last resort. More on that here.
Radio remains a cost-effective advertising strategy that allows you to target demographics based on the stations you select. The main problem with radio advertising, however, is that marketers are having a tough time measuring its effectiveness.
Pro tip: if you do decide to give radio a try, make sure you create a custom URL or a custom website so you can track the traffic coming from listeners. Additionally, make sure you use Google Trends by a specific region to see the impact radio is having in your area. This will help you understand whether your message is reaching local listeners.
If you’re interested in newer audio channels, consider sponsoring podcasts as well. As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, it could be an excellent addition to your 2020 marketing strategy.
This one might surprise you, but billboards are another non-digital channel I think we’ll see more of in 2020.
Billboards are something of an OG brand awareness strategy and one that still works for getting in front of a broad, general audience. Plus, there’s the added benefit of no ad blockers or irrelevant clicks getting in the way.
Though outdoor advertising has always helped brands increase their reach, like radio, proving the ROI of the strategy has always been a challenge.
Today, things are changing. A recent report found that outdoor advertising is on the rise and offers $8 returns for every dollar spent. Marketers can now use mobile and geolocation data to get a closer look at how the customer journey plays out in the real world.
From trains, planes, and buses to big sports teams, sponsorship marketing stands to deliver some serious ROI for marketers investing in the strategy. If you’re going to do this, you’ll want to figure out who your customers are and where they spend their time.
Sponsorship marketing can be a great way to expand your reach and cultivate a positive brand image by visibly aligning yourself with your audience’s interests.
Additionally, sponsorship marketing presents additional opportunities to share stories on new channels and opens access to a broader audience, and may be worth considering in your 2020 marketing strategy.
Personalization Continues to Rise
Personalized marketing is no longer a competitive advantage; it’s a requirement. One-size-fits-all advertising and marketing efforts don’t work anymore, as consumers are tired of ads and emails that have nothing to do with them.
According to Infosys, 31% of consumers say they’d like to see more personalized shopping experiences.
What’s more, personalized emails outperform generic ones by 300%. While personalization isn’t exactly new, access to tools that allow you to segment and automate your messaging have become increasingly affordable and easy to use.
Platforms like Drip, MailChimp, Pardot, Hubspot, and others make serving up custom content accessible to smaller, budget-conscious companies.
Keep in mind, personalization spans the entire journey. When you start planning your 2020 marketing strategy, consider applying a personal touch to every touchpoint.
- Interest-based personalization
- Location-based personalization
- Account-based personalization
- Personalized retargeting ads
- Dynamic content
- Omnichannel personalization
Content Marketing Still Reigns Supreme
Is content still king in 2020?
Yep. Turns out, content marketing has some solid staying power.
Though it’s worth pointing out, content marketing success demands more skill than it did in the old days. Today, content marketing is one of the best ways to demonstrate expertise, build credibility, and get on the good side of Google’s Quality Raters.
Not only does content demonstrate knowledge and expertise to potential customers reading your articles or pages, but it’s also what search engines put in their search results.
In your 2020 marketing strategy, make sure you revisit your content strategy.
Today’s top brands are doing more than 800-word blog posts; they’re creating deep dive, long-form posts that showcase their unique expertise. They’re creating videos and visuals, answering questions, and engaging with users.
More Video on the Horizon
According to a report from the GlobalWebIndex, social video continues to grow, and 56% of users watch video on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat.
The report also found that one in three users watch branded video on a wide range of channels and that consumers expect brands to provide customer service and helpful purchasing information on social media.
A quick look at other trends expected to continue through 2020:
- Live Video—In 2020, expect the rise of live video content to continue, as more businesses embrace the medium. Use it to post Q&As, interviews, demos and behind-the-scenes content.
- 1:1 Video—1:1 video is growing in popularity. The term refers to a process of creating personalized video that aims to take the place of emails or phone calls. The idea is, you can record a short message using your phone or webcam and send it off to a customer or prospect as if it were an email.
- Shoppable Video—Shoppable video content allows brands to buy products directly from a video. When users hover over a featured item, a “shop now” button pops up on-screen.
- Alternative Channels—Video goes beyond traditional social channels, too. Those brands that want to position themselves as thought leaders in their industry should explore LinkedIn video, SlideShare, Coursera, and other channels with more of a focus on learning.
AR and VR Continue to Grow
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have moved from futuristic news story material and into, well, marketing reality.
Big companies like IKEA and Amazon have been using AR for a while, allowing users to preview how furniture will look in their own homes.
While AR has long played second fiddle to its flashier, more immersive counterpart, augmented reality is poised to outpace VR in the coming years, thanks to practical use cases as well as Snapchat filters and PokemonGo.
2020 Marketing Strategy: Give Media Buying A Chance
You can buy media based on categories rather than choosing one channel at a time like Facebook or Google Ads.
Use tools like SimilarWeb or SEMRush to identify potential publishers for your campaign. SEMRush offers a simplified breakdown of how you might approach media buys here.
However, the general consensus is that you’ll want to break up your strategy into the following steps:
- Find your target audience–aka persona research. Before diving in, you’ll want to learn more about your target market–what do they like, how old are they, how much money do they make, and so on. You should also find out where they like to hang out online and if they have specific content preferences like video vs. text, etc.
- Research competitors–SEMRush recommends looking at competitor backlinks to ID top competitors, then finding out where competitors are placing ads. Those publishers are likely your best choices for displaying your ads.
- Select your channels–Which forms of advertising correspond with your campaign goals? TV? Radio? Billboards? Websites? Print ads? You can advertise just about anywhere, but you’ll want to make sure that your choices align with your marketing objectives.
Search Trends to Include in Your 2020 Marketing Strategy
As we enter 2020, the line between SEO and PPC is getting blurrier.
For better or worse, organic search has come a long way since the early days of SEO. Today, marketers battle it out for a spot in the snippets, which have all but bumped organic results from the first page.
Even if you haven’t heard the term “zero-click search,” you’ve seen them.
The term refers to a snippet result that provides users will all of the information they need from the Google SERPs—no click required.
Zero-click search is changing the game for marketers. Today, around 62% of search results are no-click results, which means that keywords are losing their value.
CTRs and On-Page Dwell Times Will Matter More Than Ever
I predict CTR and on-page dwell times will become more essential metrics in 2020.
Why? Because as organic visibility on both search and social decline, these metrics offer a barometer for how well your content connects with your audience.
Voice Search Changes the SEO Game
I’ve written about the power of voice search several times this year, and again, if you haven’t yet optimized for voice, it’s time to make it a priority for your 2020 marketing strategy.
To optimize for voice, there are a few key things you should know.
First, you’ll need to create content that sounds more conversational. This means instead of creating content based on the kinds of short keywords that you might type into a search engine, you’ll want to optimize for longtail keywords.
The other critical factor here is understanding intent. Paying attention to the questions searchers ask can help you develop content that speaks to what users are looking for.
Common queries include:
- A direct question.
- A description of a problem.
- A description of a symptom of a problem.
- A brand name or specific feature.
Content creators must think about the type of content they’re delivering to users based on where they are in the buying cycle. For example, top of the funnel content should introduce your product and provide entertaining or educational elements.
Smart Speaker Ads
According to Social Report, 56 million smart speakers were sold in 2018 alone.
Smart speakers, of course, are behind some of the biggest shifts in search, though most of those changes have had a larger impact on SEO than PPC.
Despite the fact that there still aren’t many opportunities for advertisers to take advantage of Alexa or Google Assistant to promote their products, I expect that speaker ads are on the horizon.
You might remember when back in 2017, Google ran promo ads for the live-action Beauty and The Beast film. Though the ads ran relatively infrequently, users were upset with the development, as it disrupted their otherwise seamless experience.
In 2019, smart speaker advertising is getting better and less-invasive. In fact, a lot of smart speaker advertising doesn’t really look like advertising.
- Branded Alexa skills—According to Digiday, tequila brand Patron gets 6000 sessions a day with an Alexa Skill that serves up drink recipes using the product as an ingredient. That said, it seems no one brand has truly mastered the platform thus far. According to Bloomberg, of the 80,000 Alexa skills available, there’s no real standout success stories.
- Pandora is offering ad formats that target smart speaker users–This could be a roundabout way to reach the ears of your target audience.
- Brands with simple transactions could benefit. Though only tested in a handful of experiments, Domino’s Pizza’s voice ordering skill showed some promising results.
Sure, automation isn’t anything new in the world of marketing, but given that Google Ads keeps rolling out new AI-driven features, we expect smart bidding to become a staple for PPC marketers in 2020.
Joining existing Smart Bidding Strategies, Target Cost-Per-Aquisition (CPA), and Target Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS), and Enhanced CPC are the following:
- Seasonality adjustments
- Maximize conversion value
- Ability to set conversions at the campaign level
- Conversion value rules
Keep in mind, while smart bidding updates are designed to help you increase conversions on the platform, those who stand to benefit most are those that have a history of running successful PPC campaigns.
While Google and Facebook remain the go-to sources for digital ads, Amazon is angling to catch up.
Today, Amazon is the third-largest and fastest-growing digital advertiser offering a range of options like sponsored listings.
Amazon ads are shown both on and off the platform and capitalize on buyer intent much like Google Shopping Ads. Though you’ll need to have an Amazon seller account to use the platform, this option stands to help e-commerce brands drive more conversions and increase visibility.
Local Social Media
As more customers use social to connect with brands, it’s become apparent that national social media pages aren’t designed for retention.
Influencer Marketing is Still Big
Influencers are still big, though admittedly, they’ve lost some of their credibility given that they’ve sponsored a few too many products.
Partnering up with influencers is already a familiar strategy for many brands, and one that appears to be sticking around into 2020 and likely beyond.
That said, the influencer landscape is undergoing some big changes, along with the rest of the internet. For example, Facebook and Instagram have changed the algorithm, and over the course of 2019, organic engagement has been on the decline.
Not to mention, both platforms are toying with the idea of hiding “Likes,” which could make measuring the effectiveness of Influencer campaigns more difficult.
Despite that, leveraging influencers can help you build deeper connections with your target market, and could still have a valuable place in your 2020 marketing strategy.
I recommend using a tool like AspireIQ. This is a subscription service that allows brands to connect with influencers, source influencer-generated content, and track your campaigns.
Building on the idea of influencer marketing, it’s worth pointing out that bigger companies are still seeing great results by aligning with celebrities. If you can afford it, partnering with a celebrity comes with some big benefits including:
People Are Sharing Less on Social
Social media continues to take up a large share of our lives, with a recent report says that globally, people spend 30% of their time using social media.
Interestingly, we’re starting to see some new behaviors emerge, including what the GlobalWebIndex calls passive networking. Passive networking refers to users that consume content but don’t post much themselves.
Decline in Organic Reach on Facebook and Instagram Demands a New Approach
According to a study from Trust Insights, Instagram engagement has been on a steady decline since May 2019.
Influencers and brands have been hit hard by the attack on engagement, and as social channels experiment with hiding engagement metrics and making it harder to go viral, likely driving the uptick in Instagram ad spend.
2020 demands a new approach.
Though nothing is for sure in the world of algorithms (see, Google changed it again), we expect this trend to continue through 2020 and beyond. The big lesson here is that chasing algorithms at the expense of delivering authentic, high-quality content isn’t a sustainable strategy.
Brands must reframe how they approach Instagram (and Facebook, too), using the platform to grow a loyal community that might not bring in the engagement numbers we’ve seen in the influencer marketing era, but that brings more value to the brand.
On Facebook, fewer people are joining, and young people aren’t sticking around.
Facebook is putting more stock in creating a community on the platform and is placing Groups at the center of the platform. For brands, Facebook Groups present a rich opportunity to connect with users and build loyalty.
You Might Want to Look into TikTok and Snapchat Ads
Since buying Musical.ly in 2018 and stirring up controversy in India, TikTok has blown up big time amongst the younger set.
Though TikTok is a new entrant in the space, biddable ads just entered beta, getting in early can help you build some expertise before everyone else catches on–particularly if you sell products designed for kids and teens.
It’s also worth bringing up that Snapchat rolled out a bunch of new features over the past year. And while the platform has been around for a while, marketers often forget that they can buy ad space there, too. Use AR tools and a variety of ad formats to reach the platform’s 203 million users.
Start Planning Your 2020 Marketing Strategy ASAP
I know we went over a ton of information, but the main thing you should walk away with is that a successful 2020 marketing strategy depends on creating a connected, omnichannel experience for your users.
As strategies like content marketing, PPC, and social media marketing mature, we’re getting smarter about bringing these strategies together and focusing on the big picture, even combining them with old school methods like TV ads and billboards.
Coming off of this crazy year in digital marketing, the main lesson you’ll want to bring into next year’s strategy is not to put all of your eggs into one basket.