It’s 2020! It’s officially the future. Technology is better than ever and this is also true for the marketing universe. Last year in the UK, online advertising took 57% of the advertising budget and this year, it’s estimated it will rise to 62%. It’s no secret that the digital world is constantly evolving and brainstorming fancier ways to appeal to an ever diversifying range of consumer. It’s annoying figuring out what exactly marketers should pay attention to when every month some shiny new thing catches our eyes. What’s the next big thing and what’s just a short-lived fad? Here are our recommendations on trends to keep eyeballing in this new decade.
1. Shopping from social posts
You can’t deny that as technology marches on, the human race gets lazier. Our grandparents walked thousands of miles uphill in a blizzard to buy milk. We stop buying our fifth cat-shaped wine glass when the website doesn’t accept Paypal and we have to reach for our bank card. The fewer times we need to click the mouse, the better. 54% of social media users research products on social media, so of course these websites would eventually allow users to buy the product they’re ogling directly through the social post. In 2015, Pinterest introduced Buyable Pins, which allowed its user base to buy from posts without leaving the website. Snapchat unveiled its Shop and Cop in late 2018 and last year, Instagram launched Checkout.
Selling through social media like this goes hand-in-hand with aspirational product images and can help impatient customers get the things they want faster and easier. The most impulsive of us can buy something literally as soon as they experience love at first sight. The more payment methods you offer your customers, the more likely they are to buy from you and the better chance you have of increasing your average order value.
2. Direct messaging brands
As technology chips away at our attention spans, consumers expect more answers faster. When someone asks a company a question via their contact form, a slow response can see them go elsewhere. Another recent sighting on websites now is the friendly chatbot, instantly popping up to ask if you need any help as soon as the home page completes loading. Facebook Messenger also makes staring a conversation with a customer service advisor effortless.
Now companies including Uber, Netflix and countless hotels large and small are making use of WhatsApp, WeChat and similar private messaging apps to assist their audiences. WeChat already lets users pay for products and it’s safe to suspect that WhatsApp and others will start to move in a similar direction. Afterall, Internet users are already used to paying online through less traditional services like Paypal. If you want users to direct message you, make sure your username is easy to find and put it on your contact page.
3. More voice search optimisation
Too many marketers still ignore this despite many marketing oracles predicting it when voice search was born. Today voice search makes up around 20% of searches and is estimated to rise to 50% this year, thanks to the growing presence of virtual helpers like Amazon Echo, Google Home and Siri. The portable Amazon Echo Dot and Google Home Mini released last year will undoubtedly contribute to this exponential rise.
To benefit from this, write in a conversational tone with vocabulary to mirror the speakers’ voice rather than their typing. Consumers crave more personalisation and online communications are becoming more informal. Imagine you’re having a useful conversation with your audience member in their home, rather than information for a more generalised audience on a public website or social media profile. Try and answer what you think will be the most common questions people will have.
4. Artificial intelligence advertising
It’s a good time to start thinking about the rise of the machines. Artificial intelligence is still encroaching on our fleshy lives and 2020 is no exception. But don’t think Terminator; these machines are the friendly kind (for now). Smart assistants are already affecting our marketing and we’re always keen to track Google’s machine learning algorithm adaptions. In the past few years, innovative marketers have been automating their marketing and using programmatic advertising. It makes sense. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can analyse far more detailed behaviours and trends than any puny human brain. If you use Google Ads, you’ve already used programmatic marketing, allowing software to make bids for you. Here’s a list of reasons companies welcome our mechanical overlords and why you should join the metal side too.
5. Micro influencers
Yes, influencers will continue to be a core part of advertising at the start of this decade. However, social media users are becoming more cynical towards them. People want influencers to be authentic, rather than just selling products they were paid to do. Everyone hates that. With legislators bringing the hammer down on the internet famous who don’t stick ‘#ad’ on their paid for posts, people are more wary than ever about paid influencer behaviour. What’s worse, the biggest players with at least 100,000 followers are becoming infinitely more demanding with inflated prices, even more freebies and who even knows how genuine those followers and likes are.
This translates into profit loss. Last year, Instagram recorded nearly the lowest influencer engagement ever; engagements for all sponsored posts across all industries dropped. A solution that benefits both the consumer and the organisation are micro influencers. These are generally defined as profiles with 2,000 – 50,000 followers. As these influencers haven’t smashed the mainstream, they’re less likely to receive sponsorship. This means that users feel a closer and more genuine connection to them. They have higher engagement rates than the very popular influencers. Asking them for a sponsored post will be much kinder to your marketing budget and the engagement you do receive will be more meaningful.
To conclude, consumers are demanding more flexibility, transparency and faster processes. Social media channels will broaden their offerings and artificial intelligence will be able to do more. Hold a meeting where you assess in detail how these can benefit your organisation. Don’t be afraid of change and hop on board before your competitors do.