It’s almost 2020, and by the looks of it, digital marketing (DM) is here to stay. What’s more, it is estimated that the digital software industry will see an increase of some $74.96 billion over the next few years and that, by 2022, 87% of marketing budgets will be dedicated to digital marketing.
This projected growth only means one thing. To survive and thrive, businesses will need to move with the times and increase and diversify their DM spending.
However, choosing the right type of DM to invest in can be tricky. To help you start off 2020 on the right foot, here is a breakdown of six key trends that will shape the market next year.
Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning, chatbots are becoming better at communicating with consumers by the day. Many even consider them superior to human customer support for the following reasons:
- Chatbots are cheaper than humans. No further explanation needed here.
- Chatbots are also more efficient. They need no time to rest and can answer questions in real-time 24/7. That is particularly important in a global market with customers based in different time zones.
- Chatbots save time. They don’t need as much time to think, formulate their answers, or consult with colleagues as humans do. They don’t forget and they provide quicker responses, thereby helping customers make decisions faster.
- Chatbots are always in a good mood or, rather, appear to be in one. They always treat customers with respect and are to the point, informative, and unbiased.
All of the above leads to more personalized service, improved customer satisfaction, better ratings, and, eventually, higher profits. And with chatbot communication becoming more natural and sophisticated with every passing minute, it’s no wonder that companies will continue to embed chat windows or verbal interaction options on their websites.
2. Private Messaging Apps
The use of private messaging (PM) apps to communicate with customers has been gaining in popularity and is expected to expand even further in 2020. Businesses now commonly use PM groups and mobile apps, such as WhatsApp, Viber, and WeChat, instead of or in addition to email. For instance, customers and businesses currently exchange a staggering 20+ billion messages via Facebook Messenger per month.
Furthermore, many brands plan to monetize PM apps and allow customers to buy products and services directly through them. The mobile app WeChat Pay has made paying online easier, and users of Venmo and PayPal can already use these apps to send or receive money.
PM apps also help businesses tap into the growing demand for personalized marketing. Their overall effect leads to:
- Direct and fast communication with clients
- Increased brand and product awareness
- Better client relationship-building
- More flexible customer support
- Boosted sales
For quite some time now, big market players such as Amazon have relied on ever-increasing personalization to great success. Small and mid-sized businesses are catching up on the trend too, and over 90% of online advertisers will resort to some type of personalization by 2020. What’s more, we might even see an influx of entire personalized websites as soon as 2021.
Given that 70% of consumers now expect tailored content and product suggestions, personalization is not just some fad but a lasting benchmark in DM. Some ideas that you should consider incorporating into your business include:
- Address customers by their first name in all forms of communication.
- Analyze consumers’ behavior and recommend similar or related products based on their purchase history.
- Use personalized email campaigns, which have been shown to receive41% higher click-through rates compared to traditional emails. Consider using email marketing tools, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, as well as automation engines, such as HubSpot and Pardot.
- Collect data on consumer buying habits and interests through surveys or studies.
4. Voice-Powered Search
Voice assistants, such as Alexa, Google, and Siri, are now a standard feature of most smartphones and PCs. In fact, over a quarter of U.S. adults own a smart speaker, and 50% of all searches in 2020 will be voice-powered. Therefore, you should definitely consider using a voice search in your DM strategy.
In addition to being popular with consumers, voice assistants can add value to your SEO, speed up AI deep learning, and help build a mobile-friendly space. However, to make the most of voice-powered search, keep the following points in mind:
- Use long-tail key phrases that mimic real-life conversation (i.e., “How to make broccoli cream soup”) instead of short keywords (i.e., “broccoli cream soup”).
- Use full, grammatically correct sentences.
- A conversational tone works best.
- Think of common questions that people might have regarding your products or services and provide detailed answers.
5. Insights-Driven Marketing
Insights- or data-driven marketing uses consumer analytics to boost performance. Companies that use analytics are 23 times more likely to both attract new and keep old customers.
While there are many analytics tools on the market, Voice of the Consumer (VoC) techniques is a particularly exciting development. These include building online customer communities and platforms that can deliver key insight into consumer preferences and behavior. A great example is Red Bull’s use of the insight platform Vision Critical.
6. Smart Bidding in Google Ads
Automation has long been a staple in digital marketing. However, the Google Ads updates that were officially announced at the 2019 Google Marketing Live event suggest that automation and smart bidding will continue to grow even further.
While Google Ads already relies on deep learning to optimize bids, the recent changes aim to maximize conversions by:
- Optimizing bids by letting you choose conversion actions at the campaign level
- Allowing you to optimize bids across multiple campaigns using a set of desired conversion actions
- Allowing you to set bids to change automatically at the beginning or end of a sale
Tools such as AI, next-generation SEO, hyper-targeted ads, interactive content, and consumer analytics can truly level up your business and skyrocket its performance. Companies worldwide have been quick to realize this, as the DM industry should reach more than $375 billion by 2021. That would amount to 49.6% of the total media ad spending globally. That means that digital marketing is not only not to be ignored but should also be the cornerstone of any successful marketing strategy.