2020 Digital Marketing Trends

Read them now, thank us later.

By Arielle Mullen, Digital Strategist

With the new year (and a new decade!) quickly approaching, we thought we’d take a moment today to present the top five digital marketing trends of 2020. While not every trend will be a fit for every business, maintaining an overall understanding of where things are headed is one of the most valuable things you can do to stay ahead of the curve.

Immediacy > Loyalty

In a recent report on consumer behavior, Google found that satisfying immediacy is often more important than loyalty. We want it when we want it – and we want it now. Mobile queries like “best” and “right now” grew by over 125% in the last two years, and the vast majority of users expect to get immediate access to information while using their smartphone. According to Google, “being there to satisfy people’s immediate needs is the new battleground for brands. The winners will be those that save people time and get them what they want as quickly as possible.”

That being said, the best scenario is one where you give them what they want now – and then follow-up in email with it again so they never have to ask “Where did I put that super useful thing I downloaded, earlier – and what was that brand called again?”

Inclusive Content Gains Traction

Released in 2018, the Updated Web Content Accessibility Guidelines picked up steam with UX designers in 2019, and show no signs of slowing as we head into 2020. This means that websites that are more inclusive to a variety of users may even get a search boost, as SEO and accessibility continue to close in on one another. Ensuring your content meets WCAG standards is a big step towards a more inclusive internet, which is never a bad thing.

Data Literacy is Key

If you have a website to represent your business, chances are that you collect visitor data through Google Analytics, Facebook Pixel, or the native analytics tool that came with your CMS. How often do you review your data? Furthermore, how often do your data insights inform your marketing choices? As we step into 2020, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only collect data passively, but use your findings to improve and optimize your marketing efforts.

Not sure where to start with your data? Get in touch with our team to learn whether a custom Marketing Data Dashboard could benefit your business. 

It’s inarguably valuable to know how to analyze your data and use the findings effectively, but in 2020 and beyond, the importance of data literacy is a key piece of a larger puzzle that deserves a closer look. When it comes to data collection, it seems as though the vast majority of people have accepted this as an invasive, yet unavoidable practice. Surveys conducted by Accenture in 2019 found that 60% of people would willingly share significant personal data in exchange for lower pricing on products on services, and 73% would share personal data if brands were transparent about how it would be used. The 73% finding is particularly notable, when considering it rose from 66% in 2018.

The key takeaway here is that while more consumers are accepting data collection as an unavoidable practice, the value of transparency in regards to ethical data collection has continued to grow. To say the winds of change move quickly in the digital age is an understatement, but in the frenzy to stay ahead of the competition, it’s more important now than ever to keep the tenets of conscious capitalism at the core of every marketing choice we make (more on that below). In 2020, we’d like to challenge you to ask yourself: When it comes to passive data collection (via Facebook Pixel, Google Analytics, etc.), how transparent are you about how and when you use your findings? Are you gaining consent clearly and ethically? Or burying the questions in a mountain of legal-speak? Food for thought.

Chatbots are Here to Help

In recent years, an increasing number of businesses are using chatbots to offer customer service. As the AI, natural language processing, and logic branching that power chatbots have continually improved, we’ve seen more businesses embracing this tech. Chatbots can help businesses reduce staffing costs and improve customer care, and we predict this trend will only gain in popularity in the coming year.

Content (Marketing) is still King

In late 2019, Google rolled out new updates to their algorithm, including the BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) system, which was designed to improve Google’s ability to understand the natural language people use in search queries. The biggest Google update since RankBrain in 2015, the impact of BERT has already had far-reaching implications for many. If you’re wondering how to ensure your website remains compatible (and what the heck this has to do with content marketing), consider the advice from Google’s John Mueller:

“Rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”

In 2020 and beyond, it’s safe to say that content will continue to reign supreme. And when consumers expect longer and more detailed blog posts, and higher quality podcasts and videos, it’s no wonder that 84% of marketers are now outsourcing content creation.

In a recent article, The Marketing Helpline shared findings that B2B businesses should find particularly valuable:

Around 50% of all content created by B2B marketers was created with brand new customers in mind – those at the top of the purchasing funnel. Less than a third of the content created was for late stage, or post sale customers.”

This deficit has left the door wide open, and in desperate need for content designed to deliver value to audiences at the bottom of the funnel. Before heading too far down the rabbit hole of content creation, we suggest running a content audit to catalog the assets you already have, who it’s for, what can be repurposed, and most importantly, what’s missing.

We know content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates three times as many leads –- and that small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without. When you pair these stats with the recent Google update, it’s clear that content marketing is here to stay.

 Good Values Sell

We love being right about this one. We’ve only been saying this for, oh, I don’t know, years. When the trendsetters of trendsetters, Vogue Magazine announced a new “Values” issue of their magazine with sustainable fashion queen Stella McCartney, you know this is getting real. Conscious Consumer media is on the rise (including among podcasts), which means conscious consumerism is on the rise. Harvard Business Review agrees with us, by the way. That’s why values are at the core of what we teach and coach our members to do more of in MTO EDU. Because it’s never just a chicken sandwich, or a sweater, or even a workspace anymore, is it?