2020 digital marketing trends – what to expect in the new year

Digital marketing benefits like no other discipline from changing trends and new technology. In our look at the 2020 digital marketing trends, we highlight the innovations that are set to dominate marketers’ business operations and everyday life.

What innovations and themes feature among the big 2020 digital marketing trends?
Image: © Koelnmesse GmbH; Harald Fleissner

Digital marketing in a state of flux

Innovation and trends play a key role in future business success, especially in digital marketing. In a dynamic market environment, companies that always stay one step ahead gain a big advantage very quickly when it comes to marketing products and services. What themes and innovations will set the tone next year? We take a look at the 2020 digital marketing trends.

1. Voice search

Voice search is still an area with great potential and is undoubtedly one of the most important online marketing trends for 2020. A recent GfK study conducted on behalf of Mastercard Germany found that 34% of Germans currently use digital voice assistants. 26% could also imagine shopping by voice command. Various forecasts assume that more than half of all searches will be voice searches as early as next year.

The boom in voice-controlled search is also having an effect on keyword structure. Comparatively long phrases and whole sentences are becoming increasingly important and companies are having to adapt their SEO and SEM strategies and tailor their content accordingly – such as through greater integration of local information and optimization for featured snippets. The challenge lies in the fact that only one search hit is returned for a voice search rather than multiple search results – winner takes all!

2. Google’s BERT update

BERT was released in late October 2019. This update represents Google’s biggest algorithm change in the past five years. Thanks to BERT, the search engine should be able to better recognize and understand the context of queries in order to provide even more accurate results. This is necessary given the rising popularity of voice search in particular, as search queries are increasingly approaching real human communication. Among other things, Google aims to deliver precise and correct responses to entire questions.

of search traffic comes from long-tail keywords.

Why have we included BERT in the 2020 digital marketing trends? More than 70% of search traffic today already comes from long-tail keywords, and there is a strong upward trend. As a result of the update, marketers will have to adapt the content of their websites to match even more closely their target groups’ search intention in order to avoid being penalized by Google. This also includes focusing on natural language. Therefore, writing for people rather than the algorithm is more current than ever!

3. Interactive content

Of course, original interactive content as part of content marketing is not a new format. However, it is certainly worthy of its place among the 2020 digital marketing trends given its rapidly growing significance. Through shoppable posts in particular as well as VR/AR, interactive content is set to get a further boost in relevance next year and open up countless new doors in marketing:

  • Instagram shoppable posts are an enhancement of the shopping function launched back in 2018. Companies and retailers can place their product ads in stories and feeds, for example, and link these to a particular landing page. With shoppable posts, the entire ordering and payment process takes place directly in the app. This feature, as a new distribution channel with direct customer contact, offers considerable potential for many companies, especially in the fashion, beauty, home and lifestyle, and travel segments.
  • Technical advances in virtual and augmented reality are also creating ever more space for exciting and successful marketing tools. Applications such as IKEA’s Place app, which can be used to visualize how items of furniture might look within your own home, demonstrate the technical and marketing possibilities and ensure a personalized, user-oriented shopping experience.

4. Conversational marketing

The end of the WhatsApp newsletter represents a game changer for companies when it comes to messenger marketing. The paradigm shift away from push communication and towards conversational marketing, where the focus is on customer dialog, is therefore also one of the big digital marketing trends for 2020. For personal communication and an integrated service, it is essential to find the right balance between real humans offering professional advice and intelligent chatbots.

In active customer dialog via different messaging platforms, conversational marketing opens up completely new opportunities for increased conversion rates and customer satisfaction throughout the business relationship as a whole. More and more companies are already choosing to send their customers specifically to chat messaging services rather than landing pages. With WhatsApp no longer facilitating newsletters, this trend should gain momentum in the coming months.

5. Personalization

Although nothing new either, personalized marketing will play a major role as one of the most important 2020 digital marketing trends. Personalization is based on better management and analysis of customer data, enabling a much more personal approach via the right channels. More and more customers expect a personalized shopping experience. Accordingly, advertising, in the form of personalized ads, as well as content have to be even more individually tailored in order to awaken interest in the first place and build stronger ties with customers.

The 2019 Digital Marketing Monitor from consulting agency absolit and the German Dialog Marketing Association (DDV) found that many companies in the DACH region have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to personalization in particular. Often small things that should be considered a given nowadays are simply overlooked. For example, not addressing customers by name when emailing them is an enormous lost opportunity.

6. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is set to continue to grow strongly in the year ahead, especially in combination with other trends, such as shoppable posts. Influencer marketing agency Mediakix, for example, expects global spending on marketing with influencers to reach ten billion dollars in 2020. Personalization of influencer marketing in particular opens up countless new opportunities for marketers. Not for nothing are companies increasingly turning to influencers with a smaller, but more niche audience, in order to get their messages across in a precise and authentic manner.

Integrated approach to digital marketing trends

What is particularly exciting about the 2020 digital marketing trends is that the innovations and developments are not evolving in isolation from each other, but can be considered in terms of an all-encompassing marketing approach. Whether influencer marketing and shoppable posts or personalization and conversational marketing: the large overlaps between the individual areas mean that companies can come up with innovative and broad-based marketing concepts for greater brand awareness, more precise positioning and measurably greater commercial success.