30 July 2020
With ever-faster changes in technology, this can make the latest digital marketing trends difficult to pin down. Not least with the seismic changes so many businesses have and continue to experience as a result the pandemic lockdown.
Although 81% of B2B companies use blogs as a content marketing tactic, there are, of course, many other digital marketing channels you can use to promote your business online, whether that is through ads, social media or by uploading your company onto an optimized business directory such as Kompass.
However, being aware of the latest digital marketing trends is important because your competitors will be doing the same. So if you don’t want them to gain that advantage, keep on reading as we explore the top eight digital marketing trends for 2020 and beyond!
#1 – Leading the Digital Marketing Trends: Live Video Dominance
Consumers love video because it is easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and marketers like it because video is both accessible, relatively easy to produce, and can generate great ROI through many channels.
Google also likes videos – in fact, you are much more likely to show up first on Google if you have a video embedded on your website. In addition, since Google now owns YouTube, there has been a significant increase in how much videos affect your search engine ranking.
But, whilst pre-recorded video continues to dominate, live video is gaining momentum, becoming not just a digital marketing trend but evolving into an evergreen tool, with predictions that by 2021, 13% of internet traffic will be live video.
When it comes to digital marketing, social media is all about building, nurturing, and engaging the audience so that they stay and buy. However with the inclusion of live videos, customer engagement and trust with those brands has augmented phenomenally. In fact, according to a Livestream survey, 80% of users said they would prefer to watch live video from a brand rather than reading their content marketing posts.
It is also well documented that people retain more of what they see than what they read, but with live video you are going further, by engaging with them in the moment. This means they will not only spend longer watching but will also be more likely to make a purchase – making live video for marketing a real opportunity for many business marketers that shouldn’t be overlooked.
#2 Immersive Technologies Are Taking Over
As a new technology, by offering seamless connectivity, 5G has the potential to benefit both us as consumers and companies looking to market their products or services. With its first commercial implementation taking place in March 2019, now in 2020, 5G has started to hit the mainstream platforms (see the latest 5G coverage here).
The global pandemic has brought into focus and accelerated the relevance of digital applications and services. Our increased need for communication services, for tools that facilitate remote collaboration and those that give access to fast, reliable data both at home or in the office – which 5G can play a significant role in providing.
It also means that brands and digital marketers can now deliver compatible 5G content with immersive technologies like AR and VR (augmented and virtual reality), which is becoming more commonly used within marketing.
The benefits such technologies bring are to open up new ways of working that can help you create completely new user experiences. This is a digital marketing trend that can help you engage better with consumers, encourage more conversions, as well as inspire brand loyalty.
#3 Optimizing SERP SEO
There is an ongoing dilemma that SEO marketers are trying to resolve as it’s fast becoming a digital marketing trend…..the headache that can be zero-click results on Google. Put simply, this is when Google automatically provides the answer to the search query in a snippet box, thus negating the need for the user to visit website sources that have given the answers.
The problem here is that it negatively impacts the effectiveness of a lot of paid and organic search results that no longer gain a click-through from the user. So for the marketer, as search engines get better at delivering answers directly on the SERPs, they will likely see their organic website traffic decrease.
However, all is not lost if you can optimize your content for position zero (known as On-SERP SEO), you stand to benefit greatly from being able to deliver the first result they see (or in case of search devices like Alexa, the only result).
Firstly you need to produce content that is good enough to rank on page one of Google (usually organic positions #1 – #10) as according to Moz, a little over 30% of Google’s featured snippets are from content ranking #1 for that query (with the remaining mostly from #2 – #5).
It’s also important to remember that Google is looking for the best answers, so relevance will outweigh ranking (once in the top 10). Keep sentences short. Limit snippets to 50 words or less. Consider including information that encourages click-throughs. With the rules of inbound marketing constantly changing, as search engines look to deliver the best user experience, your main goal should be to deliver accurate and to the point answers that are easy to read.
#4 Ads on Smart Speakers
The evolution of smart speaker technology saw 56 million smart speakers such as Alexa and Google Assistant, sold to the public during 2018. This growth in demand has continued to be the case throughout 2019 to this day, which makes advertising on smart speakers a key opportunity for businesses and a growing digital marketing trend.
Google Assistant now includes some ads within their search results and is attempting to harmonize search results generally with their rich answers. However, Alexa voice ads are almost entirely banned from the platform, according to Alexa advertising policy (with the exception of those that play through music streaming or flash briefings). So this means a change in thinking when it comes to content, which is changing the relationship between consumers and businesses.
How can you develop a content strategy for Alexa targeted advertising
There are two ways you can provide content on the Alexa platform – by publishing Alexa Skills or using search optimization for voice, which we explore later.
Think of Alexa Skills as being apps for Alexa that give you a new channel for your content and services that can reach customers through tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices. As a brand, you need to think about which skills you want Alexa to have and then you can build them using Alexa Skill Kits which include self-service APIs, documentation, tools, and code examples.
Users can then activate these skills by setting specific utterances that will cue Alexa to perform certain tasks. However remember that when defining skills, you need to think of the context in which people interact with your product or service. For example, if you’re a web developing B2B company, you can advertise to your targeted segment if they ask Alexa a question like “Alexa, ask [your company’s name] how to create a blog”.
Overall it’s a less-invasive type of advertising, where you’re giving your targeted audience the opportunity to come to you, instead of vice versa, but with the right development, the potential reach is enormous.
#5 Voice Search Optimization
So maybe branded skill and device-specific smart speaker advertising is still building momentum.
However, optimizing your content for voice search is already on the ground with 74% of mobile users getting their questions answered through their smartphones’ voice assistant at home (e.g. Google Assistant, Siri, Alexa or Cortana), so it goes without saying, your website needs to be mobile friendly!
This also makes voice search optimization a key digital marketing trend to consider when you’re putting together your B2B digital marketing strategy and focusing on content development. For example, you could make sure that you create blog posts that answer your customer’s questions. Or, for those users who are looking for local information, which is often the case when using voice search, you should claim your Google My Business Listing and make sure it is up to date.
You can also:
– Use a question and answer approach in titles
– Answer questions clearly and near the top of the page
– Support answers as heading tags which render as lists in the search snippet
If you would like to find out more on SEO for voice search take a look at this useful post from Neil Patel.
#6 AI-Fueled Keyword Transformation
Speaking of voice searches and smart speakers, the rise of mainstream AI (Artificial Intelligence) usage has also changed keyword searching. This is because AI is used to power voice search engines which become smarter with every conversation.
Voice queries also contain conversational words and are longer than those made via a computer, where short phrases are more likely to be used to find information because they save time. So keyword searching is moving from short and static keywords to conversational semantic phrases, otherwise known as long-tail keywords, which makes them important for SEO.
There are two main reasons that you might want to focus on long-tail keywords:
#1 Long-tail keywords are less competitive
This makes them much easier to rank for. An example of a short tail keyword like “sales leads” has over 2 billion results in Google, so if you want to rank #1 in Google, for that query, you need to beat 2 billion other sites!
Whereas “B2B sales leads in different countries”, which as a long-tail keyword, is much less competitive in SEO terms so that makes it easier to rank for.
This also applies to Google Adwords – PPC where long-tail can be much cheaper to bid for than the more popular and shorter terms.
#2 Long-tail keywords have higher conversion rates
This is because they are more specific and those using them are likely to be further along in their buying cycle. For example, searching for “circuit training” might be done by someone who is looking to find out what it actually entails.
Whereas a search for “circuit training gyms in Sussex” is made by someone who is more likely to be wanting to join a gym.
It makes sense to take this into consideration when planning keywords and creating content that includes long-form FAQ based material will help your brand move ahead in the voice search queue.
#7 Chatbots for the Win
We’ve mentioned how effective and important voice-based content is, but we shouldn’t ignore the written content which falls into the realm of chatbots. Not only do chatbots cut costs for businesses, but they make it easier for your website visitors to get the answers they want, which in turn increases leads and boosts conversion rates.
However, whilst most chatbots can handle moderately sophisticated conversations, the logic that powers their conversational capabilities can be quite limiting. This can result in conversation failure if the customer asks a question that wasn’t accounted for when designing the chatbots logic.
Fortunately, advances in chatbot technology can resolve this with AI-powered chatbots. Already extremely popular for customer service functions, they continue to grow in popularity and usefulness. More and more brands are following this digital marketing trend and using AI-powered chatbots to market their brands and even sell their products.
Using machine learning and natural language processing, AI-powered chatbots can understand the intent behind the users’ requests and respond to their questions in a natural human way, so it may be worth considering an upgrade if you think they could be useful for your business.
#8 On-Brand Personalization
In an effort to appear more “human” online, businesses are integrating personalization at the core of their brand, to drive engagement with their customers. In 2020, this continues to evolve as users become more self-sufficient and technologically savvy.
Users are demanding a more tailored user experience (UX) and organizations are seeing the benefit of a personalized content strategy and personalization technology to sell products, drive content consumption, and improve the customer journey.
So what is personalization?
Put simply, it is personalizing the UX based on that users criteria, such as their demographic or their previous behaviour on your website – reducing the amount of information they see to help guide them and meet their individual needs. According to a survey by Evergage, 98% of marketers believe that personalization advances customer relationships, with email leading the personalized channels, followed by website.
Personalization is powered by Big Data, so as a marketer, you have many options you can use to segment your audience and personalize their UX.
Some key ways you can get started include:
– Prioritize search results based on visitor data and search query
– Give preference to more popular brands, products and price points
– Add recommendations – what goes well together, similar buyer purchases, trends
– Personalize forms (if visitors have previously entered data)
– Add pop-ups – welcome back, exit, call to action hovers
Ready to Take Your B2B Business to the Next Level?
We know that trying to keep up with digital marketing trends can be tough. But, we hope these top eight digital marketing trends of 2020, have given you some food for thought when planning your digital marketing campaigns.
If you would like to find out more about how Kompass can help then, contact us today.