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12 Digital Marketing Trends and Innovations for 2020

Updated: Jan 29, 2020

Written by: Alex Membrillo Content from:

Technology has turned the world into a global village in terms of effortlessly connecting people from different countries and cultures. In the digital era, sharing information is easier than it ever has been before. Each year, new tools and technologies have emerged and the marketing technology landscape has swelled to 7,040 solutions. Marketers can now choose from a dizzying array of options to connect to new audiences, promote their products, or build brand loyalty.

According to eMarketer, “worldwide digital ad spend is predicted to reach over $375 billion by 2021.”

To keep up with your competition, you must keep up with the trends. Take a moment to think about technology’s impact on your business and how you can take advantage of it. What new tools, technologies, or platforms can you use? Are there ways you can streamline operations? Improve customer support and customer experiences? Optimize lead acquisition? What tools do you actually need? What’s just fluff and unnecessary overhead?

Critical analysis will help you identify what you should invest in now, what you should cut, and where your industry is moving in the future. Don’t get left behind and continue with the status quo. Your business will grow if you proactively engage customers in new ways and retain them through excellent experiences.

That being said, we’d like to share 12 digital marketing trends for 2020 you should watch out for:

1. Chatbots Take Off

Many companies will continue using a chatbot, they’re effective software programs that interact with website visitors and customers. Chatbots communicate naturally with people viewing the site and can answer their questions in real-time.

Chatbots either use verbal interactions or chat windows to help web users find what they’re looking for.

Hiring an individual to monitor and communicate with visitors on your website can be expensive, but chatbots save costs by answering common questions on your behalf. And subsequently, customers tend to appreciate the personalized service and getting their questions answered quickly.

Additional Benefits of Using Chatbots in Digital Marketing

It Saves Time: Unlike humans, a chatbot can provide answers quickly to all kinds of questions. And quick responses mean that customers can make decisions faster.

Customer Satisfaction: Unlike humans, the chatbot doesn’t need time to rest. Any time the customer wants information, it’s right at their fingertips. And as the chatbot responds more accurately, your sales conversion rates will increase as well.

Good Humor: A chatbot is never moody. You will never hear customers complain about being turned away. They are unbiased, clear, and informative- all the qualities that make your customers feel at ease.

2. More Brands Use Private Messaging Apps to Connect Directly

As 2020 approaches, many companies will start shifting their focus on how to better use private messaging apps. Smartphone apps like WhatsApp, Viber and WeChat have already gained massive popularity. Instead of using emails, cutting edge companies are adopting the use of private apps as well as private messaging groups.

Major brands are already undergoing experiments in monetizing messaging apps and soon enough, customers will be able to pay for products directly through messaging apps. Sending and receiving money will be much easier.

Some applications like WeChat Pay have already made significant progress in making it easier to pay online; WeChat, Venmo, and PayPal users are already getting into the habit of using these types of apps to transfer money to their peers.

3. Next-GEN SEO is Here

Right now, a lot of different changes are taking place in the search engines industry and updates are happening constantly. These changes have profoundly affected the user’s search results.

Most notably, Google’s BERT update has made a major impact on the SEO world. The BERT abbreviation stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It’s a deep learning algorithm that’s related to natural language processing. Google is striving to make its search engine smarter and improve its ability to understand the complex nuances of language and the searcher’s intent. According to Google, BERT will affect complicated search queries that rely on context.

Here’s what Google says: ” Well, by applying BERT models to both ranking and featured snippets in Search, we’re able to do a much better job helping you find useful information. Particularly for longer, more conversational queries, or searches where prepositions like “for” and “to” matter a lot to the meaning, Search will be able to understand the context of the words in your query. You can search in a way that feels natural for you.”

What does BERT mean for you?

If your website is poorly written and lacks clarity, you may see a decrease in traffic. There isn’t a quick fix or tactic to bolster rankings. Instead, you need to remember that your website is for people, not just algorithms. Think about why people come to your website. What is their intent? Now, answer their questions as clearly as possible and organize the information in a logical manner. When you write for people, you’ll see success.

Every new algorithm comes with different benefits or problems, depending on how you look at it. As always, Google’s algorithm updates are focused on improving the search experience and giving people the best possible answer to their question.

Therefore, you will see in 2020 and beyond that the quality of search results will improve dramatically.

4. Personalization Moves Beyond the First Name

Many companies are dabbling in personalization, but only a few are excelling at it. Giants like Amazon, Target, Netflix, Nike, and Spotify have the data and analytical prowess to develop highly customized experiences. Customers are given relevant messages at the right time and place—and they love it.

Amazon grew its business by analyzing customers’ behaviors and promoting products based on intelligent assumptions and the user’s past purchase history. It showcases products that a person may be interested in by putting forth similar or complementary products in a Recommendations tab, and Amazon found that this upsell tactic works in getting more business.

Personalization is truly the future of digital marketing. And these days, it’s what consumers expect…one study even shows that 79% of consumers feel frustrated if the content their viewing isn’t tailored to them.

According to Gartner, by 2020 at least 90% of online advertisers will start using marketing personalization in some shape or form. And by 2021 there will be a significant increase in fully personalized websites.

Personalization is truly the key to a successful digital marketing campaign in 2020. According to Dale Carnegie, “a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

This quote says it all in terms of the importance of personalization. This is one of the reasons why companies and marketers address you by your first name whenever you see it in your emails.

It is ultimately the best tool for increasing conversions, and this is the reason why some marketers have been leveraging it for decades to improve their marketing efforts. One study shows that personalized email campaigns receive 29% higher email open rates and 41% higher click-through rates than traditional emails with no form of personalization.

That means if you haven’t tried out personalization in your digital marketing strategy, then you’re leaving a lot of benefits on the table. Here are some reasons why:

The primary benefit of personalized marketing is having the control to reach a specific group of customers. And by collecting user data from list segments, surveys, or studies, you’re better positioned to create more relevant and effective email campaigns towards targeted audiences based on their buying habits, interests, and behaviors.

For example, if your target audience likes movies and general entertainment, you can embed pop culture references when sending your emails, creating blog posts, or even in your email opt-in forms to deliver a more personalized experience with your content. Hopefully, your audience will appreciate the references and better relate to your brand which will ultimately boost conversions.

5. Advertising Targeting Improves

Companies use digital ads to market their products, but have you ever come across an online ad that was straight up annoying or had nothing to do with you? Not only do online consumers tend to ignore these ads, but they may also end up hating the product and doing everything in their power to stay away from the brand.

Forbes magazine states that because of this overwhelming digital connection, unrelated ads or brands that keep on bombarding people with their irrelevant ads will be disregarded by 49% of people.

But on the other hand, people love great content.

If your brand consistently sends tailored messages, then 36% will respond by buying the product.

Many companies are aware of this trend and are already planning accordingly. And we’re predicting right now that by the year 2020, most companies will be targeting precise audiences and users will only be viewing (and responding to) hyper-relevant ads.

6. Voice-Powered Search Accelerates

As the growth in technology continues to increase rapidly, we will start to see more people using smartphones with voice assistants.

Features like Google, Alexa, and Siri are useful in digital marketing. Voice assistants can search for things, read text loudly, and even voice dictate text messages for you so that you can be hands-free.

Voice search is also essential when using it for your business. It’s helping in the growth of a mobile-friendly movement and adding value to local SEO. Voice search also boosts the use of artificial intelligence and prioritizes semantics of searches.

Tips for Voice-Powered Search Optimization

a). Understand the Language: When people use search engines, many use long sentences with specific keywords. Therefore, to optimize the opportunity to be found in voice search results, use longer keywords and complete sentences(think of what someone would ask a friend about a specific product or service).

b). Be Conversational: When implementing voice search in your website, use an engaging conversational tone when creating the text but remember to use complete sentences and be grammatically correct.

c). Answer Questions: Most people use the internet to get information, whether they are researching a product or service that they need or are trying to Google an answer to try to cheat in a late-night trivia contest. Therefore, think about this when creating content for voice-powered searches. Include any questions that people may ask concerning your products and provide detailed answers.

7. New Channels and Media Help Brands Form Authentic Relationships

Now, more than ever, people are carefully evaluating where they spend their money. They want to invest in brands that respect and value their business. No one enjoys feeling like a number or a checkbox. They want brands to show that they’re listening to them and considering their ideas, feedback, and criticism. It all boils down to forming authentic relationships with your customers. Here are a couple of ways you can do that:

Companies will have to work with influencers: Just recently, studies show that about 86% of women consult social media before deciding on a product. Consumers want brands to be honest, friendly, and helpful. Their social media interactions tell them a lot about a brand and how they value their customers. Influencers are essential for shaping consumer perceptions.

If a brand gets positive feedback from other users, then it’s likely to bring in new users.

Companies must produce video content: A survey done by Wyzowl indicates that about 95% of people have watched a video explaining their products or services.

Through publishing self-made videos, companies can directly engage with their customers. They can use video to share personalize stories, challenges, and successes. All of which helps to humanize the brand. When consumers can see the people behind a brand, they tend to trust the brand more. They’re more willing to hear messages from them and invite them into their social media feeds and email boxes. When you embrace transparency and show it through creative video content, you’ll connect with your target audience, form authentic relationships, and grow your business.

8. In the MeToo Era, Consumers Demand Transparency

Research indicates that companies producing transparent and easy-to-digest information are likely to retain 94% of their customers.

However, how you handle a customer’s private data is vital. In 2018, the GDPR policy was more actively enforced to ensure that companies handle customer data transparently.

This means that there will be more emphasis on this in the future; companies will be required to be completely transparent on what kind of information is being shared to promote their products.

Here’s a Tip on How to Improve Transparency

  • Establish your company’s core values.

  • Make sure that selling is not your only goal.

  • Be an open book to your customers- tell them as much as you can about who they are doing business with.

  • If customers raise some concerns or questions, respond immediately.

  • Be able to take constructive criticism from your customers and respond in a friendly, non-judgmental tone.

  • Create space and encourage people to give different suggestions to help improve your products- facilitate a community around your brand.

9. Single Marketing Software Providers Dominate

As I mentioned at the start, there’s an enormous number of marketing technology solutions out there. And the average enterprise is using up to 91 marketing cloud services.

This number is overwhelming, which is why many companies are switching to one software solution that contains all the tools that they need. HubSpot is a perfect example of an all-in-one marketing software solution, as is Marketo, Pardot, and ActiveCampaign. Other companies, like MailChimp, who historically only provided email marketing services, are now adding marketing automation capabilities, landing page builders, and ad platform integration. Consolidation among solution providers is accelerating in response to the user’s desire to have all of their marketing tools under one umbrella.

Soon, many enterprises will be using a single marketing software provider.

In case you’re wondering if paying and implementing a marketing software tool is beneficial, here are the benefits:

  • It reduces tedious work: It helps in getting rid of repetitive duties and helps you establish a daily routine.

  • Streamlined marketing efforts: You can keep track of where you’re at in the buyer’s journey with your customers and can communicate with them more effectively.

  • It improves accountability.

  • It makes customer management more manageable.

  • You can document progress much faster and easier.

10. Artificial Intelligence Infiltrates Digital Marketing

The name “Artificial Intelligence” is exactly how it sounds; it refers to robots or machines having the ability to work like humans. AI uses a combination of different features such as chatbots and voice assistants to quickly find answers.

For instance, Alexa and Siri are voice assistants that provide excellent customer care. Just like a human, they can take orders from the users and work behind the scenes on their behalf.

The AI robot does this by using sensors and human inputs to gather facts about a situation and can also collect/store the search data to improve the user’s future experiences.

Cardinal Digital Marketing even has an AI-powered healthcare marketing software called Patient Stream that allows doctors and healthcare providers to monitor and streamline their advertising campaigns.

11. Growth in Digital Marketing Spend and Technologies

TheDrum indicates that by 2020 and through the next few years, the global digital software industry will grow by $74.96 billion. Consequently, more money will be channeled towards digital marketing. CMO predicts that by the year 2022, around 87% of marketing budgets will be spent on digital marketing.

In fact, this growth in digital marketing will result in a form of marketing referred to as “Agile marketing”, which is a form of marketing that measures how efficiently a brand or company is at achieving its marketing goals and objectives.

An agile marketing team develops winning strategies and theoretical results to inform its stakeholders with the purpose of implementing it quickly. There’s no perfect way to implement the agile methodology in your organization (although we’ve found that a hybrid seems to work best).

Essentially, growth in digital marketing translates into the speed in which new products and services are developed and distributed to meet customers’ needs.

Agile marketing is growing in popularity on social media since brands and marketers have spent the last few years figuring out how to connect and communicate on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and others. These social media channels provide enormous insights and data into what types of content work and how best to create it.

Want to leave agile marketing tactics to the experts? Cardinal Digital Marketing Agency can help! Contact us today.

12. More Focus on Customer Retention

In the coming years, companies will also start to divert their attention from acquiring new customers to retaining their existing ones.

These companies understand that it takes less money to keep existing customers happy and will channel more effort in the middle and last stages of the buyer’s journey. Because collecting better data and focusing on market segmentation helps save costs.

Retaining customers helps increase revenue because when you keep your existing customers then they tend to tell their friends and give you referrals. Loyal customers are also likely to be more direct and honest with you regarding any issues or problems, giving you a chance to improve your brand.


If you are operating a business, it’s important to know about current marketing trends and be able to stay on top of where digital marketing is headed in the future.

And just like Amazon, you can start personalizing your products, using social media to answer questions, and implement video marketing to gain trust and show your brand’s transparency. Remember, if you are handling any client data then transparency is critical. And there are plenty of marketing software systems that can streamline all your online activities and customer relationships.

Need help putting together a marketing strategy that meets the trends of the future? Then reach out to Cardinal Digital Marketing Agency and let us help you get your business to the forefront of your target market.

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