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4 need-to-know digital marketing trends for 2020

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Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and with the new year bringing many more advancements, you must be aware of the changes we expect to see this year. Here, Marc Swann, Search Director at Glass Digital discusses the top digital marketing trends to look out for in 2020.

Digital marketing has grown rapidly in recent years, with statistics from Statista showing that expenditures within the market increased by over £6bn from 2007–2016, rising from £2.81bn to £9.2bn. And, with predictions that this spending would rise by a further £12.8bn in 2019, it's clear that the industry is still thriving. 

But, how will this continue in 2020? According to the Advertising Association's Advertising Pays report, online advertising will account for 62% of all UK advertising spend this year. And, this is thanks to several digital marketing trends that will be taking off in 2020. Here, I will be sharing the top 4 digital marketing trends you won't want to ignore this year.

1. Voice search

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Voice search has grown significantly in popularity since Apple introduced Siri back in 2011, making it not only a must-have feature for smartphones but also other mobile devices, like tablets and speakers. And, as PwC has revealed that 65% of 25–49-year-olds are already using voice-enabled devices at least once a day, it's particularly important that digital marketers are optimising content to sufficiently adapt to voice search. 

There are a number of ways you can look at this. For one, you'll need to ensure all of your content is natural and conversational. This is because voice search isn't just about keywords, it's about semantics and clearly building content that relates to what your readers are searching for. As a result, all of your content needs to be written in a natural way that mimics authentic conversation and choosing natural-sounding keywords.

65% of 25–49-year-olds are already using voice-enabled devices at least once a day 

Secondly, you musn’t rule out any long-tail keywords as is usually done in traditional search because of the reduced search volumes. As voice search is more conversational, people's search queries are increasing in length. For example, a past query of "make iced tea" would now take the format of "how to make iced tea at home" with voice search, meaning that the typical keyword length is also getting longer. So, make sure you're not excluding these from your content. 

With voice search on the rise, it's also particularly important that yours or your clients' websites have structured data integrated into them. This is because structured data is one of the signals used to find direct answers, so having this in place means search engines can crawl and understand your data more efficiently. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

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The UK's AI market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35.9% across the period of 2020–2025, according to a report by MarketWatch. And, while some may be struggling to understand the benefits of automation in business, this is actually good news for marketers as it allows for better personalisation. 

This is because AI promises to give companies better control over their data and a greater capability to analyse it, as well as being able to work with predictive analytics to help marketers make their next moves. On top of this, a rise in the popularity of AI means marketers will be able to manage real-time customer interactions across channels.

 The UK's AI market is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 35.9% between 2020 and 2025​

Although smoother and more efficient data control and analysis is the bread and butter of AI, many more marketers will be interested in the personalisation advantages the technology has. These new insights, in turn, are likely to make for better customer retention and loyalty, boosting the popularity of products and services as a result. 

3. Influencer marketing

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The influencer marketing industry has grown massively over the past couple of years, from being worth $2bn back in 2017, to being predicted to be worth $10bn in 2020 (Digital Marketing Institute). And, as social media becomes a more and more integral part of our lives, we can expect to see influencer marketing growing with it. In fact, the same report by the Digital Marketing Institute revealed that not only do 46% of shoppers depend on the views and recommendations of influencers, but 40% of these have bought something after seeing it advertised by influencers across social media. 

For digital marketers, this means investing in work with influencers should see a significant boost in sales. And, with the tools that brands use to evaluate these influencer engagements continuing to step things up, the influencer marketing sector is likely to benefit from an increased insight into consumer behaviours and how successful brand campaigns are when they use influencers.

The influencer marketing industry has grown from being worth $2bn back in 2017 to being predicted to be worth $10bn in 2020

If you've never worked with influencers before, 2020 is the perfect time. Although this tactic can be very effective, it's important that you're selecting the right influencers to represent and advertise your brand. So, don't simply pick the loudest voice and person with the biggest following: micro-influencers can be just as effective. These are influencers with a smaller following but who specialise in specific content and have a highly responsive audience.

Similarly, if you're already well established with influencers and want to use them more in 2020, opting for a couple of micro-influencers can ensure you can narrow the type of shopper you're targeting. 

4. User-generated content

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User-generated content (UGC) is increasingly popular, particularly via Instagram. UGC refers to images, videos, audio or any other content which has been produced by consumers rather than brands or companies themselves. And, while UGC has obvious benefits for brands and marketers in that it requires less time spent planning campaigns and allows you to preserve resources for other projects, a survey by AdWeek revealed that 85% of consumers find UGC more influential than brand content. So, whether you're completely new to UGC or have been doing bits and bobs over the past couple of years, it's particularly important that 2020 is the year to be getting on board with it.

85% of consumers find UGC more influential than brand content

There are a number of ways you can encourage UGC, with the most successful typically including an incentive for the users creating content. For example, asking your customers to tag them in videos and images of them wearing or using your product and offering prizes for the best three will ensure you gather plenty of great UGC. This, in turn, will convince others to buy your products, maximising profitability and strengthening your digital marketing campaign.

Digital marketing is expanding and evolving, and with so many technological advancements upon and ahead of us, you'll want to make sure you're ahead of the trends this year. Follow the advice in this guide and you should be well on your way to creating a great digital marketing strategy.

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