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Digital marketing advances in 2020

Digital marketing has exploded over the last 5 years, and this is predicted to continue into 2020.

First some good news: many of your competitors will not be serious competition – they’re just not adapting fast enough. Many companies are worried it is too late for them to adapt, and things are moving too quickly, so are doing nothing. These will easily be left behind, especially into 2020.

Using advancements in technology will enable you to cut staffing costs, and accelerate growth much faster than your competitors.

Top trends in 2020:


Video is predicted to remain the most powerful advertising medium throughout 2020, and will make up nearly two thirds of the total display ad spend (non-social). Experts don’t see this domination slowing down over the next 5-10 years, so businesses need to get to grips with video or face extinction. 72% of businesses say that using video in their marketing has improved their conversion rate.

With so much choice available to consumers, trust in a brand has never been more important for consumers. Product videos are ideal for businesses to produce, as watching them helps 52% of customers to feel more confident in buying online.

Video is also impacting SEO, with Google rating sites containing video much higher in search results. Impressively, you are 53x more likely to find yourself on the first page of Google Search Results if your site includes video.

Messaging Apps

The big three (Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and WeChat) have more combined users than Facebook or YouTube, and many consumers expect businesses to have a presence here. 55 billion messages are sent via WhatsApp every single day, so it makes sense to market your business in a place where your consumers are spending their time. It also has a place in customer service, allowing direct and easy contact for customers to get in touch with businesses.

The growth shows no sign of slowing into 2020, with more and more business jumping on the messaging bandwagon.


You will have heard AI being talked about for a few years now, and it is finally having a noticeable impact on digital marketing.  This comes in the form of providing specific product recommendations, email personalisation and content creation. 

Also, chatbots (which have been around for a little while now) are predicted to have a surge of capability and usage in 2020, to provide around 85% of customer service. Already 2 out of 3 consumers don’t know they’re interacting with a chatbot rather than a person.

Location marketing

Real time targeting based on a consumer’s location isn’t new, but is promised to grow quickly over the next three years.

When a consumer enters a pre-determined area near a fuel station or restaurant etc., they will receive a text or push notification containing offers, incentives or information to attract nearby people into the business. B2C companies with physical stores should particularly look at integrating this into their future marketing plans.


Not heard of it? Chances are you’ll have done it. It’s the name given to that moment you turn to your smartphone or tablet to take find or buy something you want or need right now. There are four basic micro-moments:

  • I want to know
  • I want to go
  • I want to do
  • I want to buy

Google describes the best way businesses can take advantage of these as ‘be there, be useful, be quick’. Rather than the typical customer journey of awareness, consideration and decision, today’s consumers are much more likely to act on their needs in the moment. Take advantage of this before your competitors do by identifying your consumers’ ‘I want to buy’ moments, and work out how you can be there delivering relevant content.

Carefully consider your user experience – is it quick and easy? Modern consumers have little patience, and can change their mind if the process isn’t super straightforward and speedy.

Programmatic Advertising

This basically refers to the use of AI to automate your ad buying. You’ll be able to target ultra-specific markets, achieve a higher conversion rate, and reduce the cost to find new customers.

According to eMarketer, by 2020 86.2% of digital display ads in the USA will be programmatic.


A boom in influencers reach over recent years has led to brands flocking to partner with them and get in front of their audience. Despite consumers being aware that influencers are paid to promote products, it is still considered more authentic. Recently Iceland dropped their TV ads in favour of influencer marketing, working with Channel Mum and their vloggers, and as a result enjoyed an increase in their approval ratings, going from 10% to 80%.

Digital out-of-home advertising

Digital boards are everywhere these days – alongside roads, in tube stations, shopping malls and town centres. A 12% increase in ad spend is predicted for this medium in 2020, which is partly due to the rapidly evolving technology including geofencing, tracking, retargeting, personalization, attribution, and measurement.

The ability to bid programmatically on ad space on digital boards is also starting to grow, which contributes to the growth in ad spend.

Smart speakers & voice search

Voice shopping in the USA is predicted to have a $40billion share in 2022, and predictions say that 50% of all searches will be via voice in the next 12 months. Whilst it’s important to produce audio content so you don’t get left behind, it’s also worth noting that advertising through smart speakers won’t be far behind the surge in use.

Focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and remember that the keywords people use in voice search will differ to typed keywords. 


Obviously, this is not a new aspect of marketing but consumers in 2020 are expecting far higher levels of personalisation in emails, recommendations, content etc. with 64% of consumers being highly annoyed with un-personalised emails.

Luckily, targeting has never been more accurate. Cadbury’s recently created a personalized video campaign matching users to a Dairy Milk flavour based their Facebook profile, age, interests and location. The campaign resulted in a 65% CTR and a 34% conversation rate, proving the personal touch works.

Visual search

This is less engaged with by businesses currently than the other areas we’ve discussed but is predicted to explode over the next few years. 62% of millennials are more interested in visual search than any other tech, and with millennials now making up a quarter of the UK population, can your business really afford to ignore this?

The technology is already being used - you can snap a photo of anything and find local shopping results, price comparisons and more. Some examples of visual searches and results are:

  • Film posters will bring up showtimes, trailers and more
  • Business cards will give you the option to save the contact info and assign them to a contact.
  • Books will throw up reviews and buying info.
  • Landmarks, buildings or paintings will provide you with history, information and details.

Augmented Reality

There are many reasons to get on board with this – which does differ from virtual reality. Great examples are IKEA’s Place app, allowing customers to see, move and walk around furniture in their own home before they buy it, and L’Oreal’s Virtual Artist which allows you to see how various make-up in different colours will look on your face. It is predicted that by 2022 25% of enterprise companies will deploy AR in their marketing.

This is an overview of the marketing trends set to overtake the industry in 2020 and beyond, but for more info come and visit the Northern Business Expo on 17th & 18th March 2020. Attend free digital marketing key skills workshops, Google Digital Garage’s masterclasses, and so much more all for free – just get your free ticket now!

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