7 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2020


For brands to win consumers in 2020, it’s all about providing personalized experiences – both online and off.

For instance, although Millennials and GenZers dominate consumer markets across industries, real the challenge brands face is how to get an understanding of their consumer behavior outside of digital networks.

So, in order to optimize marketing efforts in our hyper-connected world, it’s key for brands to strengthen their decision-making with actionable real-world intelligence.

Marketing expert and founder of TopRight, Dave Sutton, lists the seven key marketing areas which will be ascendant in 2020:

1. Seizing on Customer Experience

As consumer attention spans continue to drop, personalization at scale will be the need of the hour. According to a recent report published by The Economist, marketers will seize on the customer experience in 2020 and usher in a dramatic rise in the use of personalization, combining consumer data-backed services with a prospect’s physical context. This has been a challenge in the past, but with companies providing richer context by merging online and offline data, 2020 will be the year of data-driven personalization.

2. Abandoning Email as Primary Communication

During 2020, direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies will see email unsubscribe rates grow to reach an all-time high of 40% or more. With platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Google becoming increasingly expensive, brands are going to be forced to find alternative channels to communicate with their customers, which means an over-reliance on email that will cause mass unsubscribes. Brands will reassess their marketing strategies and modernize more traditional engagement approaches in order to maintain customer loyalty while creating meaningful ways to reach their customer base. In an era of personalization, this will leave DTC brands with limited options. Without email to fall back on, they must adopt new channels that can create a direct relationship and drive engagement.

3. Automating Conversational Commerce

Although not a new technology, voice search is gearing up to be a significant player in terms of how customers search and interact with brands. The latest statistics show that 71% of mobile users aged 18­–29 use the voice assistant on their smartphone. Marketers will need to ensure that they are utilizing conversational queries appropriately by having content to match it as well as updating pay-per-click keyword selection to include variants.

4. Keeping Content King—but Making ROI Queen

With content still at the top for the new year, expanding the types of content used will be important to stay ahead of the pack. Immersive content such as live video and augmented reality (AR) are set to be the main players in this arena. Recent research carried out by Digital Marketing World suggests that live video will make up 13% of all internet traffic by 2021. With video already prevalent across social media allowing consumers real-time engagement with the brands they love, adding AR will create another level of interaction. It will give brands the option of allowing a deeper look into their products with demos and tradeshow presentations. All of these content marketing capabilities will put marketers on a path to seize the customer experience— but with more pressure than ever to prove ROI.

5. The Year of Realistic A.I.

My personal view: 2020 will not be the year we all get replaced by robots! Be prepared for major milestones regarding AI in 2020. Private companies, especially startups, will increasingly feature their AI capabilities in a bid to raise capital. However, 2020 could be a slow year for AI. Although it continues to improve every day, the distance between marketing and reality is still wide. Companies need to continue to invest in infrastructure that can handle AI capabilities and APIs to connect data together that can train and feed algorithms. Automating using chatbots or smart scheduling systems is still a wise and time-saving move, and AI is an essential part of our marketing future, but the technology may not be quite transformative in 2020, despite how much progress we’ve made. Not to worry, however, major advancements will be made! The wait may just be longer than expected.

6. Doubling Down on SEO Investments

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is here to stay, but how you optimize your content may need to change. Position-zero rankings are something you need to be thinking about when creating optimized content. What is a zero-point result? It’s that “featured snippet” that appears at the top of the search result page, known as “position 0” since it’s above search result 1. By revisiting your content strategy and focusing on any FAQ copy, you can enable search engines to pick up your snippets and make sure they’re displayed at the top of organic searches. This strategy could aid you in appearing twice in both the featured snippet and search results. Recent reports coming out of Google suggest that they may be abandoning the zero-search algorithm—but I would not be surprised if we see it re-emerge in 2020, perhaps in a more sophisticated form.

7. Feeling the Need for Speed

It’s a fact that 25% of users will abandon a page that hasn’t loaded fully within four seconds. And, if a user does abandon your site because of slow page load speed, it is quite likely they will never come back. If you focus on improving load time, you will see your site’s performance improve and your customers returning.

About the Author

Dave Sutton

With the founding of TopRight in 2007, Dave Sutton championed digital marketing and story-based strategy for major clients like Coca-Cola, Boeing, MillerCoors, Arby’s, and JP Morgan-Chase, among others. His work with leaders like Sergio Zyman, Jim Champy, and Michael Porter, his appearances on Fox Business News, and his features in Forbes, Fortune, and Harvard Business Review have shown Dave to be a preeminent thought leader in a changing field and one of the most sought-after strategists in the world today.

Published in TopRight.