Business development · 4 March 2020

Major digital trends to watch out for

With an increasing reliance on tech and mobile, the need for brands to both understand and maximise the latest digital trends has never been greater.

In fact, a recent survey of 1,000 UK consumers, carried out by Green Park Content, found that the vast majority of consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 were heavily influenced by the appeal of branded content, with 69% of those saying that they would make a product purchase after seeing it online.

That said, how can brands maximise both content and other forecasted digital trends to make 2020 their most lucrative year yet?

1. Presenting impactful digital experiences

A strong level of continued development is forecast for E-commerce in 2020, with the UK’s digital marketplace showing a 12% year-on-year growth according to analysis conducted by Mary Meeker in her latest trends review.

Furthermore, the most recent marketing and advertising cycle published by Gartner Digital includes 22 burgeoning technologies for companies to consider utilising for digital experiences, media, messaging and content.

While many of the featured technologies are not expected to hit the mainstream in the next five to 10 years, the most significant of those that are anticipated to do so within a two-to-five-year timeframe is personification, real-time and conversational marketing.

Personalisation is an approach whereby relevant digital experiences are delivered to individuals based on their supposed membership in a defined customer segment, as opposed to their personal identity. It has become an increasingly popular method for digital brands in recent years.

Meanwhile, real-time marketing encompasses a variety of long-integrated techniques, like marketing automation and personalisation in response to customer behaviour and has already been adopted by many businesses with high digital maturity.

2. Opportunities to capitalise on digital media

online tools

There is a growing need to review the digital media opportunities that are available to firms as they move into 2020, not just over paid media, but owned and earned too.

Facebook, Google and LinkedIn are already proven to be among the strongest and most reliable digital platforms out there, and further research on the global revenues of US-based advertising platforms shows how investment is increasing across all of them.

For example, between the first quarters of 2017 and 2019, there was a 1.4x increase in Google’s revenue from advertising, taking it to around £35 billion at its highest point, while Facebook showed a 1.9x rise across the same period, moving total revenues up to just shy of £20 billion.

A longer-term trend that is also presenting steady development is the use of mobile interactions, with more and more industries become heavily dependent on them.

This growing demand is set out in the Merkle Digital marketing report, which reveals that an astounding 84% of overall clicks now come from mobiles or smartphones. These findings suggest that there is an ever-greater need for businesses to optimise their landing pages for mobile-centric audiences.

3. The nature of digital content

Trends related to how content is marketed are well portrayed by research overseen by the Content Marketing Institute. The organisation’s most recent forecast for 2020 aims to examine the popularity of certain B2B content marketing techniques and concludes that 69% of the highest-achieving companies documented their content marketing strategies.

A further 44% had adopted centralised content marketing groups, while 95% of those included had installed metrics to measure the effectiveness of their content initiatives. Meanwhile, 88% of the firms included in the statistics were shown to have prioritised the informational requirements of its consumers rather than focussing on sales and promotional messages, while 74% had created content that was specific to particular stages of their customer journey.

What does this tell us?

We can conclude that 2020 is well on its way to replicating and even surpassing the successes made within the digital marketplace over the last 12 months. Industries such as E-commerce are set for continued growth, as are the internet powerhouses like Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.

Meanwhile, new and exciting practices will be brought to the fold, as more and more firms discover the benefits of personification and real-time marketing. Businesses will shift in increasing numbers from more traditional digital mediums in favour of making and expanding upon mobile interactions, as consumers increasingly surf the web while on the go.

As the gap between supplier and consumer narrows and becomes more transparent, more and more organisations will also begin to publish newly-centralised content marketing strategies that are tailored to address these changes, which, when done right, will help to reduce firms’ paid media costs.

There is much to be learned from trends such as this, and businesses are urged to jump on board now to be in with a chance of keeping up with the ever-changing digital landscape.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Sven Lung, formerly founder and CEO of BrandAlley, is CEO at Green Park Content, which creates brand publishing platforms for brands including Unilever.

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