The world of digital marketing moves at somewhere approaching the speed of light. Take your eye off the ball for a second and there’s a host of new trends and strategies to be considering.

For small to medium business owners with a million things to keep track of, getting au fait with the non-stop flow of digital marketing trends can be a daunting task. At ExtraMile, it’s our passion – and our job – to keep our fingers on the pulse of this fast-paced digital world.

In this blog, we take a look at six digital marketing trends that are set to become a big deal in 2020, and talk about what you can do to prepare for them.

1: Artificial intelligence

It might sound like sci-fi, but artificial intelligence is real and it’s set to revolutionise the way people behave and interact online. You might already be using AI to browse the internet by asking Alexa or Siri questions such as ‘how much does the moon weigh’ or ‘what is the best recipe for apple pie’.

Voice assistants

Voice assistants are fast becoming one of the main ways people seek out information online. This conversational style of searching means those looking to rank need to up their keyword research game. Ensuring your site answers the most common questions by creating content which will rank for these long-tail keywords is vital.

Voice assistants for SEO

As Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and the rest of Silicon Valley’s giants battle it out to get their assistant to the top, voice search via AI will continue to become more and more important for marketers.

You can learn more about optimising your website for voice search here.

AI Content

You might be interacting with AIs and AI generated content without even realising it. Artificial intelligence has been used to produce web content for a few years now, but as these machines get smarter, the content they produce is becoming more and more indistinguishable from human-written copy.

AI can quickly produce short news articles from a few basic points using algorithms that detect the most important aspects of the story. The balance between information, delivery and quality of the content is a fine one, but it’s one that AI is getting better and better at traversing.

AI chatbots in digital marketing

2. ChatBots

Speaking of AI: you will have seen chat bubbles popping up in the corner of websites more often as businesses strive to reach customers any way they can. You might even have interacted with a few. What you might not know is that you could have been talking to a robot the whole time.

While companies want to provide an informative and helpful experience on their site they also want to save money and time. AI chatbots have come a long way in terms of interactivity and some are now so advanced they can assist with a number of online enquiries without ever being rumbled. By reaching and converting visitors to your site quickly and effectively, these intelligent chatbots are set to become a big part of the digital marketing landscape next year.

3. Personalisation and hyper-targeted advertising

Digital advertising is now more accessible than ever before thanks to social media advertising. Most of us now receive ads mixed in with our news feeds with products and services we might be interested in.

But how often do you see an ad that is completely unrelated to you and your interests? It’s frustrating, right? When these poorly targeted or irrelevant ads show up in a consumer’s timeline they will be ignored, or worse, negatively impact that person’s opinion of your brand. According to GlobalWebIndex 49% of consumers will disregard a brand due to an irrelevant or poorly targeted ad.

In contrast, 36% of people would engage with a brand with tailored messaging. Ensuring a consistent flow of messaging tailored to the person you are attempting to reach is vital, and statistics show that in 2020 companies will need to up their targeting game and produce the content to match.

How to do video marketing

4. Video Marketing

Companies have been doing video marketing for years now – but it’s changing. Many predict that by next year, the majority of consumer internet traffic will be video-based. What’s more, it will be uploaded by individuals rather than brands.

A lot of businesses think that without big budgets or Hollywood production value video, marketing is pointless. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People are looking for entertaining, useful and informative videos – and you don’t need special effects and a £10,000 camera for that.

Humanised videos with a focus on how products and services are provided by and for people, are hugely effective and increasingly popular. Some examples of this type of video are employee or brand stories, company culture videos, FAQs and customer testimonials.

This is a fantastic example of video marketing. It is short, low-budget and to the point, but perfectly encapsulates the product and personality of the business. With so much content on the internet it is more important than ever to get your point across quickly and succinctly, and there are few better ways of doing that than video marketing.

5. Customer Experience

It’s now easier than ever before to reach customers. It’s also more difficult than ever to keep them. Consumers now have a plethora of options to choose from and if they decide one company isn’t worth their time, no amount of remarketing is likely to change their mind.

That is why customer experience (CX) is the name of the game for 2020. You want to make the process from start to finish as simple, informative and useful as possible to retain customers and keep them coming back for more.

According to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, 73% of people say CX is an important factor in their decision to buy. Brands need to be on the right side of this by ensuring their CX is as great as it can be.

Customer experience

The most important factors behind a good customer experience on your website are:

  • Efficiency
  • Convenience
  • Knowledgeability
  • Friendly service
  • Personalisation
  • Easy mobile experience
  • Brand image
  • Design

Remember: it’s a buyers market, so you need to make sure your marketing strategy takes into account customer experience at every turn.

6. SEO and Position Zero

It might seem strange to call SEO a trend since it’s so firmly entrenched in the digital marketing strategies of every company. The fact is, SEO is constantly evolving and changing, forcing brands to keep up. And 2020 will be no different.

Being number one on Google is no longer enough. Don’t get us wrong, it should still be an important goal, but with recent major shifts in SEO, the way people get their information from SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) is changing.

Google now wants to get people the right answer as fast as possible – sometimes without even having them click a link. To do that, they have introduced ‘on SERP’ results such as featured snippets, where the most useful result is positioned in a stand-out location.

What is a featured snippet

What is Position Zero?

These snippets can appear all over the SERPs, but the most coveted position is before the organic listings, which has now been dubbed ‘position zero’. Google will use its algorithm to detect the most useful, informative result and put the answer to the query right there on the results page.

There’s no real science to getting your page front and centre with a featured snippet. Google will generally select an answer from the front page of the results, but it isn’t always the top spot. All you can do is ensure your site is providing a comprehensive, informative response to the most likely questions and search terms through in-depth keyword research.

This can be a time consuming and, let’s face it, confusing endeavour at times. Recruiting the help of an experienced and knowledgeable SEO agency can vastly improve your chances of ranking high and in these vital positions.

2020 vision

It’s a new decade and an exciting if unpredictable time for digital marketing. Ensuring you are ahead of the curve means you are preparing your business for the challenges and changes we’re sure to encounter.

For more advice on digital and search engine marketing, visit our services page, or get in touch using our contact form.