Insight January 2, 2020

Emerging Digital Marketing Trends for 2020


Celebrating inferno’s 20th anniversary, we’ve enjoyed looking back at some of the wonderful projects we’ve worked on. Moving into a new decade, we’re excited by the prospect of projects to come, especially those that allow us to flex our creative muscles and build dynamic collateral that aligns with 2020 digital marketing trends.

This past year was full of progress and innovation across all digital marketing channels. We strive to stay on top of the latest trends and always seek opportunities for our clients to harness new tactics, channels, and streams of marketing. Below are 20 digital marketing trends we foresee emerging even stronger in the next year.

2020 Digital Marketing Trends

  1. Voice Search – Experts predict more than 55% of US households will have smart speakers by 2022 and half of searches in 2020 will be voice searches. This speaks to the need to optimize content for more than just webpage results.
  2. User Generated Content (UGC) – More brands are utilizing content created by users or influencers in their advertising. This saves money in production and offers unique testimonials and real-life content to which customers can relate. In fact, 90% of shoppers reported UGC influenced their decision to purchase more than any other form of advertising.
  3. Comprehensive Social Campaigns – Gone are the days of focusing all your design power on paid social and leaving organic in the dust. When consumers click on your ad – whether they go to your profile or website – they expect a cohesive look and message. This plays into the bigger picture of omnichannel marketing, which sees a 90% higher retention rate and 13% higher order value than single-channel marketing.
  4. Geofencing – Geofencing is still a 2020 digital marketing trend. This tactic allows brands to reach users in a specific location with a hyper-focused message that can lead to increased conversions, especially at events like tradeshows and conferences.
  5. Short-Form Video ­– Short form videos are again on the rise, thanks to platforms like TikTok. Brands such as Chipotle and the NBA are using the platform to connect with Gen Z. 68% of users prefer a short-form video to learn about a new product or service.
  6. Community Engagement – Consumers, especially millennials, want to know that your brand stands for something. They are 50% more likely to support a brand that’s aligned with a cause. In 2020, we expect brands to showcase their community involvement in a way that conveys authenticity and fosters connection.
  7. Personalization – With the mass amounts of data brands have at their fingertips, generic ads no longer cut it. 80% of consumers are more likely to give their business to brands that offer them a personalized experience.
  8. Browser Notifications – With 42% of internet time still taking place on desktops, website push notifications give brands an effective, real-time way to send a message to users. We see these as a big 2020 digital marketing trend to watch.
  9. Employee Engagement/Advocacy – Employee buy-in is helpful not only in sales, but also in recruitment and reputation. If your own employees won’t buy in to your brand, why would consumers?
  10. Visual SearchVisual search negates keywords almost entirely and allows users to find products based on a specific image or even what’s right in front of them. Both Google and Pinterest have refined tools that allow users to find a product by searching with just an image.
  11. Micro-Moments – Understanding these “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey” are crucial to capturing consumer attention and dollars. 82% of smartphone users (the author of this post among them) consult their phone while standing in a store deciding which product to buy.
  12. Story content – As platforms like Facebook and Instagram continue to push down brands in their algorithms, ephemeral content (or stories) continues to be one of the best ways to connect with users. In fact, 62% of people say they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in stories.
  13. Shoppable Posts – with 72% of Instagram users having purchased a product on the platform, shoppable posts allow brands to cut down the sales cycle and risk of losing customers who get lost on their site. It may also save customer service time, since the user can find the product name and price on the post.
  14. Big Data and KPI Realism ­– We intend to make 2020 the year we get real with our marketing data. 78% of organizations either have or are developing a customer data platform. Over the past year, our digital team has worked to report on KPIs that share the story of the campaign but leave vanity metrics behind.
  15. SERP Position Zero – Did you know there’s a search engine position before one? As Google adds featured snippets to more of their results, optimization for position zero will become one of the highest-priority 2020 digital marketing trends.
  16. Interactive Content – Consumers aren’t just looking for information online; they want an experience. 91% of people are seeking more interactive and visual content. This content is more sharable and engaging, which increases your brand or product awareness.
  17. Email Marketing – While email still has a 3,200% ROI, consumers are looking for more than typical webpage-based email templates. To catch users’ attention, emails need to be not only informative, but also interesting.
  18. Augmented Reality – In 2020, augmented reality is expected to pass virtual reality in terms of popularity. While it isn’t the best fit for all brands, when done right, it can lead to increased sales and greater awareness.
  19. Chat Bots – While this AI has been popular for several years, it’s going to dig its roots even deeper in 2020. Not only can chat bots be used to solve customer service issues, but they can serve as another channel to reach engaged customers.
  20. Website Security – While Google has put a premium on secure websites since 2014, consumers are starting to do the same. As attacks and hacks on websites increase, so does the importance of keeping consumer data secure.

While we certainly don’t expect brands to act on every 2020 digital marketing trend, we believe focusing on a handful will help push the needle next year. As the world of marketing moves forward, it’s crucial for businesses not to get left behind.

And don’t feel overwhelmed by all these trends. Talk to your account executive or, if you aren’t a client, contact us today to learn how inferno can help move your business into the new decade.