The world of digital marketing has changed dramatically since it’s inception. Changes in customer expectations, platforms, technological developments, and Google’s perpetually updating search algorithms have left many marketers a little unsure of how best to reach their audiences — you need to stay ahead of digital marketing trends in 2020.
Digital marketing and advertising spend climbed dramatically in 2019 — data from the first half of the year shows a nearly 17% year-over-year jump. And many experts predict those numbers will continue to climb. (eMarketer predicts they’ll surpass $375 billion by 2021, outstripping traditional paid outlets like TV for the first time.)
Is Your Organization Prepared?
As companies devote more and more of their marketing budget to digital strategies, it’s critical to spend those dollars wisely. But in an industry that is continually evolving, tried-and-true strategies that you can rely on are few and far between. How do you decide what’s important, what’s run its course, and what is just a waste of your efforts?
In this post, we’ll examine some of the up-and-coming technology and trends that marketers should be ready for in 2020, as well as a few tactics that are a little bit past their prime.
4 Digital Marketing Trends in 2020
1. Understand SEO’s Evolution
Every marketer worth their salt already knows the basics of search engine optimization. But the rules are always changing slightly — and you need to be ready for the latest trend. One of the most significant developments in SEO comes from somewhere you might not expect — the rise of voice.
Smart speakers — those boxes that let you ask Siri, Alexa, or Google to find information for you — are rapidly gaining popularity. Global Market Insights data suggests that, by 2024, sales will top $30 billion worldwide, putting a device in more than half of all homes. But what does that have to do with SEO?
Remember when keywords were just single words? As marketers realized that their audiences were more likely to search phrases rather than single words, the concept of a long-tail keyword was born. But as a growing number of Google searches are spoken requests rather than words typed into a search box, the long-tail keyword must evolve again.
The words used as people search for information on the internet have changed:
Original search: “Apple pie”
Long-tailed keyword search: “Easy apple pie recipe”
Voice search: “How do I make an apple pie?”
The first 2020 digital marketing trend you should be prepared for is the way online searches are changing. But how do you develop content to match every possible iteration of question your audience members will ask?
One way is to concentrate on developing clusters of content, all related to a single broad topic, using pillar content strategy. Instead of focusing on getting an exact search keyword match, you concentrate on establishing yourself as a trusted source of knowledge on a particular subject. Another good alternative is focusing on “longer-tail keywords,” which I’ll cover in the next section.
2. Get Your Content Featured
What’s better than getting to the top of the list of sites Google provides in response to a search query? Having Google answer users’ questions using your words.
If you’ve been paying attention to your search results lately, you’ve probably noticed that, in many cases, Google will answer a question asked in a search query with a snippet of content featured from the top result. Those snippets aren’t paid spots. Any marketer can earn their way into the coveted “spot 0” — although some types of content may be more suited to it than others.
This strategy works best for questions with a clear answer. There are a few types of featured snippet that savvy marketers can leverage:
- Paragraph – a short block of copy that provides a clear answer to a common query
- List – step-by-step instructions or lists of requirements, attributes, etc.
- Table – charts with different tiers of pricing, for example
Google is also starting to feature more detailed results for sites that use an FAQ Page markup to answer common queries. As with the featured snippet at the top of search results, if your site includes a frequently asked questions section (that is appropriately coded), Google may use your FAQ responses to answer online searches.
Creating content that clearly answers a specific (and widely asked) question can significantly increase the traffic you attract to your site, which means:
- You can reach audiences before they even get to your page
- The increased click-throughs will boost your rankings further
Don’t leave any tools on the table when it comes to improving your rankings with Google!
3. Be There, Useful, and Quick
I’ve talked before about the way the “buyer journey” marketers have historically relied on is changing. The next digital marketing trend in 2020? The traditional sales funnel isn’t nearly as relevant as it used to be. Potential buyers search in very different ways today — and a big part of that is because of another technological development: mobile devices.
Smartphones are not new. But the way people are using them to interact with brands, find information, and make purchases is always changing. A growing number of mobile users are turning to their devices at the precise moment they’re ready to take action, whether it be:
- Making a purchase
- Solving a problem
- Learning new information
Google calls these opportunities “micro-moments” and urges marketers trying to take advantage of them to “be there, be useful, be quick.” Your audience has the power to learn, solve, or buy in an ever-present device. Their expectations are high and their patience is generally low — a pretty direct contrast to the lead in the traditional funnel model, who is slowly gathering information about products that can solve their problems and edging toward a decision.
- Does your organization’s content show up in mobile search results?
- Does it address the needs of visitors trying to learn more, solve a problem, or commit to a purchase?
- Is there value in the content you publish, or is it just a thinly-disguised sales pitch?
- Do you provide information that will help audiences where and when they’re searching?
- Does your content take a lot of time to load, or involve multiple steps to access?
- Are you able to anticipate visitors’ needs and put what they’re looking for front-and-center where they land?
In short, know your audience well enough to understand when they’re likely to take action, and make it easy and painless for them when they do.
4. Keep It All Secure
Site security has probably already been a priority for you in the past. (If not, it should be.) But the constant evolution of online security threats — and what ignoring security will do to your search rankings — will make prioritizing security one of the top digital marketing trends in 2020. There are three key factors behind this:
Google accounts for 88% of desktop search traffic and a whopping 96% of mobile search traffic. And Google gives priority in search results to sites that have a secure URL. If your site isn’t secured, you’re automatically giving up rankings to the competition for no good reason.
Google didn’t just pull the idea of secure sites being important out of thin air. Research from Hubspot indicates that 85% of people will not browse a website that isn’t secure. What does that mean? All the work you’ve put into developing your online presence and climbing search rankings is meaningless if visitors won’t stay once they find you.
Compliance and Legal Requirements
As high profile data breaches continue to make headlines, more and more governments and industry authorities are imposing strict requirements on businesses that collect any kind of customer data. Even if you’re only collecting email addresses, it’s vital to protect the personal data of the people who’ve entrusted it to you.
Are You Ready for 2020 Digital Marketing Trends?
Much like the rest of the world, digital marketing is perpetually changing. If you have questions about any of the trends or strategies I’ve talked about here or need help adapting your marketing strategy for the coming year, the team at Total Product Marketing can help. Get in touch with us today!