Digital marketing has proven its worth as a useful marketing tool. Across industries, businesses have started taking digital marketing seriously and have begun to devise effective digital marketing strategies. Digital marketing spending all over the world i­­­­s going to reach $375 billion by 2021.

Digital marketing has been a vital source for reaching out to the people and engaging with them. Businesses and individuals have started investing heavily so as to ensure that they leave no stone unturned in achieving their share of name, fame, and achievement. As a result, the need for the leading digital marketing companies that can cater the results, implementing the most efficient marketing strategies, has increased immensely.

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Analyze the various trends that are going to shape the digital marketing landscape in 2020

1 Social shopping

There are around 3.48 billion social media users all over the world. With such a broad base of consumers, marketers must focus more on social media marketing to grow businesses. Social media marketing is going to emerge as the leading channel of e-commerce in the not so distant future.

Brands focusing on social media shopping will be at a distinct advantage over other brands. The social media user is starting to prefer buying directly from the social media channel.

Take the example of Superdry, which is an apparel brand focusing on Instagram’s shoppable posts. Once the user clicks on the shoppable post of Superdry, the user is seamlessly channeled through the post to purchase the journey.

Social media is more visual; hence, brands that want to improve their foothold in the social shopping genre must focus on creating share-worthy visual content. Instagram is the most popular platform where people come to view visually engaging content.

You must craft a strategy to develop drool-worthy images of your products and post them on Instagram. The shoppable posts introduced by Instagram gives you the freedom of instilling your website’s links into organic posts. Compelling visual images will help your brand in standing out from the crowd.

The best thing about social shopping is that brands are able to approach the customers at a time when they are most receptive. Smartly crafted ads will boost the sales of the brand instead of traditional digital marketing methods.

Facebook has launched the Facebook marketplace, which directly competes with the likes of Amazon and Etsy.

2 Immersive AR & VR experience

Through technologies like AR & VR, brands are making the customer part of the story.

The engagement level of the customer with the brand increases when the customer can become a part of the story, instead of just being a passive consumer of a brand’s advertising.

Pokemon Go was the first game to taste phenomenal success in the arena of AR gaming. It got millions of followers, and since then, marketers have started looking at AR as a severe contender for creating impactful advertising campaigns.

Companies like Thomas Cook created an immersive travel experience they named “try before you fly.” Here they take the customer on a virtual flight tour where they have an immersive in-flight experience.

Volvo uses VR marketing to provide their customers with a test drive of their latest vehicles. Customers can experience the thrill of driving a Volvo in the rocky mountains of Canada.

Advertising is all about creating everlasting impressions on the mind of the customers. VR technology allows marketers to cater to immersive experiences to their customers. Thereby etching the memory of their brand in the minds of customers.

Related: A Detailed Comparison of Virtual Reality(VR) and Augmented Reality(AR)

3 Interactive content

Customers are accustomed to old one-way marketing messages where there was limited room for two-way communication. Today in the digital world, the customer is bombarded daily with hundreds of ads. Thus the mind of the customer gets numbed and filters out most of the commercial messages.

To get past the mental filters of the customer, your brand will need to engage the customer by catering to interactive content. Quizzes, contests, polls, games, and other activities come under the umbrella of interactive content.

Companies like Adidas are using the power of interactive content in promoting their products. For instance, the sports titan arranged for an interactive snapchat competition focused around their Neo label.

Adidas engaged the customers by involving them in the design process, it invited applications from customers, and the top 4 winners would get their designs turned into reality with the Adidas brand name stamped on it.

4 Voice Search

A study predicts that 50% of online searches will be performed by voice by 2020. The importance of Voice SEO will increase in the future as we will need to devise unique strategies for voice search. Local businesses are mainly going to benefit from voice search as according to a survey, around 6 out of 10 people said that they have searched for a local business through voice search in the past 12 months.

Brands are already utilizing the power of voice in their marketing. For example:- Vogue, a leading magazine in the US, has partnered with Google home to bring some engaging voice content to its customers. Customers could ask their Google Home to play something interesting about Leonardo Di Caprio, and the user would hear interesting articles from vogue.

Hellman’s a food company has tied up with Amazon, customers could tell Alexa what ingredients they have in their fridge, and Hellman’s would then suggest them some unique recipes. Once the user selects the recipe, Hellman would then email the same to the user with a step by step instruction on how to cook the recipe.

5 Personalization

With increasing competition, personalized marketing is quickly emerging as the latest rage in marketing. Around 9 out of 10 customers admit that personalized messages do have some influence on their purchase decisions. This shows that brands that do not personalize are at an apparent loss.

Take, for instance, the case of the world’s largest retailer Amazon. By using the vast swathe of data at its disposal, Amazon has created a moat against its competitors.

Amazon uses advanced predictive algorithms that help the company in behavioral targeting and offering personalized buying recommendations to its customers. No two customers will see the same set of products on Amazon.

Personalization depends upon customer data, but here businesses will need to take extra care regarding the customer’s data. Brands need to maintain a healthy balance between customization and privacy.

Customers today are becoming increasingly conscious about how companies are using their personal data. Hence it would be wise to explicitly take permission from your customer and ensure that the data of the customer remains protected.

6 Influencer Marketing

Mushrooming social media has given rise to a special breed of social media users called as influencers. These influencers have created a loyal following by creating unique content on various social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Consumers connect with these influencers on a more personal level, and they trust them more than others. Word of mouth has always been a powerful marketing strategy. These influencers help in spreading this word of mouth far and wide in a much shorter period.

We expect that in the future, this trend is going to be a strong one. More brands will include influencer marketing into their marketing strategy.

According to Big-commerce, around 9 out of 10 digital marketers say that influencer marketing delivers results.

7 Chatbots

Chatbots are rising from just being automated customer service robots to smart assistants helping digital marketing. Conversational chatbots are increasingly being used to drive the sales numbers up by improving the engagement levels with the customers. Brands are using the power of conversational bots, which engage the users on a much deeper level. According to a survey, chatbots provide engagement levels as high as 15-60%.

For instance:-Natgeogenius is a chatbot which talks with users in the voices of Albert Einstien and Pablo Picasso. National Geographic used this marketing tactic for promoting their show “Genius.” Users could communicate with Albert Einstein and have meaningful conversations with the genius physicist in his voice!

Baby center UK is another brand that is leveraging conversational bots to promote their content. The Brand is a good source of childcare and pregnancy-related information. The Facebook bot of Baby center asks relevant questions to expectant mothers and solves their queries regarding pregnancy.

Chatbots will continue being a trusted companion and help brands in engaging their customers into meaningful conversations.

8 Data-driven marketing

Humans are producing data at a mind-numbing rate. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the amount of total data created will be 44 zettabytes by 2020. If we convert the number into bytes, then the number would be 40 times more than the number of stars in the universe.

With the dawn of technologies like Big data analytics, AI, and sophisticated machine learning algorithms, marketers now have the tools available that will enable them to separate the noise from the data and gain meaningful insights, which will help them in improving sales of the product.

Companies are opening up to the idea of using the power of data-driven marketing. A prime example of this would be the Amanda Foundation, which is a non-profit animal rescue working to find a suitable home for vulnerable animals. The foundation analyzes various data points like browser history, demographics, and other factors and sorts out the best possible combinations. An outdoor person would love to adopt an athletic pup while the introverts can be matched up with cute kittens.

9 The power of A/B testing

A/B split testing is experimenting with various scenarios and seeing what works. This type of testing helps in eliminating the guesswork in digital marketing and improves the success rate of an endeavor. Even the search giant Google used A/B testing methodology to ascertain the optimum number of search results in a page way back in 2000. The meteoric rise of Google owes much to this small improvement as it does to the rest of the things that the Silicon Valley giant took.

A/B testing was earlier used only in advertising and SEO, but it has grown over time and has proven its worth in digital marketing. It provides digital marketers with a cost-effective way of testing various things on their website/app.

Combining technologies like Big data analytics and AI digital marketers can now easily employ A/B testing and gain much deeper interferences from these tests.

kiva.org is a non-profit organization helping users lend money to low-income entrepreneurs and students all over the world. They wanted to increase donations, and to identify the best option for doing this, they used A/B testing of their landing page.

They found out that by adding social proof, an information box, and an FAQ section, they could instantly increase the donations by 11.5%.

Many organizations like kiva are continually upgrading their websites and apps using the A/B testing methodology.

10 Rise of user-generated content marketing

In this digital world, it is essential to engage the users with your brand. User-generated content marketing is a practical approach to improve the credibility of your brand.

It is a well-known fact that users prefer to trust their friends, family members, or even normal internet users more than brands when it comes to making the purchase decision.

UGC or user-generated content deals with engaging users on a personal level. So that they create fantastic share-worthy content on the web, it creates a snowball effect and helps the brand in gaining much-needed positive word of mouth publicity.

Clothing retailer Aerie boosted its engagement levels by encouraging girls to share their un-retouched swimming costume pics on aerie’s Instagram handle. The company donated $1 to a charity for each pic that was uploaded. The idea was to improve the brand’s connection with its customers by encouraging user-generated content, which in this case, was non-edited photos.

11 Omni-channel marketing approach

Omni-channel marketing will gain steam as businesses realize that there are still certain things like apparel that need a brick and mortar store along with a digital one.

Nordstrom is a company that has implemented a practical Omni-channel marketing approach for its products. When users like something they see on the social media profile of the company, they go ahead and click on the picture. The site then directs the customers towards the Nordstrom website. The customer can choose to try the outfit by scheduling a home visit by a Nordstrom appointed stylist.

Via the Omni-channel marketing approach, the companies are looking at increasing the number of their touchpoints with the customer.

Takeaway

You need to be on the top of the tide to gain the maximum number of customers in the fast-paced digital marketing world. The trends listed above will dominate the genre of digital marketing in the year to come. Crafting an effective digital marketing strategy by hiring a professional digital marketing company will aid you in gaining an advantage over the competition.