Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

Digital Marketing Trends for 2020

Last week, the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), Ireland published an article on 10 Digital Marketing Trends we should expect to see in 2020. Although the article is an adaptation of a similar one published in 2018, DMI’s focus has always been global so the adaptation took on a global perspective. To bring it home, we have tried to assess these trends in relation to Africa and more specifically, Nigeria.

It does not matter what industry you belong to, or what or what products and services you offer – digital marketing trends cannot be ignored. The digital marketing landscape is evolving so quickly that keeping up-to-date is becoming a full-time job.

There are not so many successful businesses that don’t have some form of online presence, even if it is as simple as WhatsApp for Business. According to DMI, new technologies and tools will come to the fore in 2020, forcing marketers to adapt in order to keep their organizations at the top.

Digital Darwinism – an era where technology and society are evolving faster than businesses can naturally adapt – is an unforgiving reality. If you as a person or a business don’t adapt, you’ll surely be left behind. The digital marketing trends to be ready for in 2020 are;

  1. Facebook May Be Peaking. Really.

Facebook is no longer the kingpin in the social media world. According to Forbes, 41% of its users are over the age of 65. Well, no surprise there. Facebook is the social media of choice for the older demographic in Nigeria. While it is by no means struggling, it’s clear that Facebook is losing ground with the younger demographics, who tend to prefer the more visual, interactive experiences offered by Instagram, Snapchat, and the rising star, TikTok. It is considered to be the fastest-growing social media platform, even ahead of Instagram. It is important to mention the uptake and growth of TikTok in Nigeria, especially among teenagers. Brands and businesses should look into how to leverage this trend.

After the data breach scandal in 2018, Facebook has lost significant credibility, with many people growing frustrated and resentful with the platform’s proliferation of fake news, political propaganda, and cyberbullying. The once-dominant force is continuing to drop in popularity with younger demographics, with TechCrunch speculating that Facebook may be dead to Gen Z.

It’s essential for digital marketers to really look at who their target market may be because Facebook may be very unsuitable for some campaigns, especially as it continues to trend downwards with younger people. Facebook is still massive, and majority of Africans continue to use it. Still, marketers should be more cautious with who they are trying to connect with and make sure their target audience is still on Facebook. If not, you could be wasting your marketing budget, targeting the wrong social media platform.

  • Instagram is a Hit with the Kids.

And young adults too! Instagram has passed its one billion user mark, which is an impressive achievement. This makes it one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms, with the coveted user base of younger demographic, especially under 30. Facebook is losing much of that cohort, due to its reputation as the social media platform for “old people.” In Nigeria, Instagram remains a social media of choice among young demography with over 65% of its Nigerian users aged between 18 and 34 years.

One potential problem that marketers should keep in mind is that Instagram recently decided to remove the likes feature from the platform. Many influencers have voiced concerns about this move, and therefore, companies should keep a close eye on the impact this will have in 2020. While it could lead to an uptick in content quality, many users may drift away from the platform in search of vanity metrics elsewhere.

  • Chatbots Will Dominate Customer Service.

Chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) software that acts as a virtual “concierge,” communicating with users and assisting them in completing their goals. Chatbots interact with humans in a natural way, primarily through the use of text chat windows, but verbal interactions are also possible. Over time, as the system collects more data insights, the AI learns more about the customers, making it possible to offer a continuously-improving service.

Everything from providing weather reports to automating some basic customer support functions can be easily handled by sophisticated artificial intelligence software. Bots allow users to get personalized, focused interactions without pulling too much from limited human resources.

80% of businesses claim they want to start using chatbots this year. When you consider the benefits, it’s easy to understand why:

  • 24-hour service
  • Instant responses to customer queries
  • No need for breaks, vacations, or overtime pay

In recent times, the use of chatbots can be observed in the Nigerian finance industry. Some banks have created an entire virtual personality out of chatbots to cater to the needs of their customers. Even the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is not left out. However, as fiery as the chatbot trend has been in Nigeria, the customer experience has fallen below expectation and the bots are seen not to be as intuitive as their operators presented them to be.

Despite the challenges, a Tidio research from January 2020 found that 43% of consumers prefer to message an online chatbot rather than to phone customer service centers when communicating with a brand. So, with businesses and customers keen for more involvement with chatbots, this is sure to be one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends in 2020.

  • Video is No Longer an Option.

If your business isn’t already using video marketing, you should get on board this year. Text-based content simply can’t compete with the power of video, especially when it comes to trying to sell products and services online.

In a mobile-drive world, especially in Africa, people are watching more video than ever before, using smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands, and what they have to offer. Think about these stats from ImpactBND:

  • 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video.
  • 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos makes them more confident and guides their online purchasing decisions.
  • 72% of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.
  • 82% of consumers prefer a live video from a brand than social media posts.

Video marketing is highly-engaging, especially if it’s live video. Live streaming is a powerful method of digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it’s the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sources, such as celebrities, athletes, and musicians, having a live stream with an influencer who is interacting directly with comments is a huge draw for an audience.

Twitch has over 15 million daily active users, most of whom tune in just to watch live streaming videos from influencers like Ninja. Arguably the world’s most popular gaming influencer, Ninja, recently signed an exclusive deal with Mixer, which was a power play by the Microsoft-company in recognition of the expected value of live video streaming in the year ahead.

In Nigeria, the power of influencer marketing can be better harnessed with live video streaming.

  • Good Content Still Matters (and Now Context Matters More!).

Content marketing continues to be an essential component of digital marketing, although there’s an increasing emphasis on nuance in content. The quality is always going to matter, but now there’s more emphasis on the context and targeting. In Nigeria, local nuances within content have become a very important tip to driving user engagement with content. Google is developing a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of online content, and so, marketers must think carefully about their target market and how they can tailor content more precisely in 2020.

Much of this boils down to the BERT update, released on Google in November 2019. The new algorithm helps the search engine giant get a better understanding of the natural language in user search queries. Advice from Google is that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.” A well-written content should match the natural language and choice of words of the target audience.

Make no mistake: Content marketing isn’t going anywhere.

That being said, Google is getting smarter, and it gives preference to in-depth, accurate, current content that is closely aligned with user intent. Companies must keep this in mind as they create new content in 2020.

This article covers 5 of the trends published by DMI, the remaining trends will be covered in part 2 of this article.

Now that you have an idea about the trends you should expect to see in 2020, how prepared are you to leverage them? Do you need to reassess your digital communications plan for the year? Do you need to upskill to be better equipped? Take a quick look at the DMI’s Certified Digital Marketing Professional program offered by Simon Page College of Marketing to see if it is a good fit for your needs.

Christiana Aina
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