Top 8 content marketing trends for 2020
If 2019 was the year of spon con and targeted ads, what will 2020 hold?
Marketing is now a two-way street. Batch and blast email campaigns are a thing of the past; in their place stands highly personalised and user-centric content. These data-driven interactions between marketers and their audience became commonplace in the last decade, as everything from shopping habits to Facebook quiz results were distilled into personas that could be targeted for mutually beneficial results. With this new dawn now the norm, what will marketing look like in 2020?
1. Videos, live streaming and visual storytelling
A recent survey found that 80% of people now cite videos as their preferred visual medium. This means visual storytelling is now an essential marketing tool that can be utilised to generate significant returns, especially among millennials and Gen Z. Its effectiveness is based on using the power of images to directly target people’s emotions.
One aspect of videos that has gained popularity in recent years and will continue to infiltrate the marketing world in 2020, is live streaming. Live streaming’s popularity is largely due to the personal connection users feel when they are live and able to interact with the host and other viewers.
Many live streaming platforms are either inexpensive or free, making them an even more attractive and useful marketing option. 2019 was the year they became much more commonplace, with this trend looking set to last well into 2020.
2. Search Engine Optimisation and the fight for the featured snippet
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is already the bedrock of many brand’s marketing efforts. It is the best way to ensure your website, and therefore what you have to offer as a company, is best placed to appear in front of the most users.
Google’s most recent core algorithm update (June 2019) added a different dimension to this fight for first place – the featured snippet. This gives users a brief answer to their query on the first page of results, which has subsequently led to a sharp rise in the number of ‘no-click’ searches.
What this means for 2020 is that it could no longer be good enough to rank number one on Google. Instead, the featured snippet may become the most desired position, forcing brands to slightly rethink their SEO strategy.
3. Content tailored to voice search and smart devices
It is estimated that by the end of 2020 that 50% of all searches will be voice searches. Although there is not a great deal of data available for optimising content to be selected for voice answers, there are some features that are preferable for voice answers in smart devices.
When searching for a voice answer to a search query, smart devices look for longer, complete sentences, the distance from the site of the device and the google rating companies or venues may have received. It is also known that if you are in the zero position for SEO, you will be the voice search result. These are all commonplace for SEO, and ultimately the optimisation goes back to structure and content of the webpage.
4. Augmented reality
Augmented reality (AR) is the overlay of additional information, often in the form of images or animated visuals, over the real world. Some key examples of these would be the Pokémon Go mobile game and Snapchat’s filters. These not only appear over real world images, but also use facial recognition to interact with images in the real world.
AR enables experiential marketing, meaning the audience feels they become part of the brand or product. As a result, users can feel like they are part of a television show, or see what a product, such as a sofa, would look like in their home. This means the customer is involved in the marketing and having experienced the product or service, are more likely to make a purchase.
5. Personalised content
Most people have faced the, initially surprising, experience of having an advert address them by name, whether it was an email or television advert. Since its inception personalised content, has evolved from using individual first names at the start of emails to seeing sponsored Instagram content seconds after visiting a company’s website.
Now personalised content can automatically decide which landing pages a website will choose to show you, update a mail shot to include your personal interests and even create personalised products that cater to your wants and needs. Results of a survey of 1000 people showed that 80% are more likely to become a client of an organisation that offers a personalised experience.
6. User intent prioritised
User intent prioritisation means that users should find exactly what they are looking for in a search engine as efficiently as possible. This can also be extended to webpages, where organisations can make their website more user friendly by making content, such as posts, easier to filter.
Search engine optimisation plays such a critical role in the amount of traffic a website receives, meaning content should be created with user intent, and therefore search query, in mind. There are several types of web searches, and each will provide slightly different information to SEO algorithms. Just one example is transactional queries which show an intent to buy as they are a specific search for a product and may even include the words ‘buy’ or ‘shop’.
7. Conversational marketing
Conversational marketing is another way to get users engaged with the product or services that a company provides, making the experience more personalised and customer centric. With 91% of users now preferring interactive content, this trend looks set to stay for 2020.
Chatbots enable this to be done 24/7 but have the disadvantage of only having a limited ability to reply within their coding. Instant messaging with a real person has the advantage of being able to interpret and understand any number of questions or enquiries but is only available during the working hours of the operators. To get the best out of this marketing method, a combination of the two is required, although advancements in machine learning mean we could one day see a purely chatbot approach.
8. Quality and authenticity
When producing marketing content, there can be no better way to showcase your product than to give the customer a reason to trust in the brand, by providing consistently high-quality work and keeping your content authentic and reliable. No matter the advancements in automation, AI and machine learning, this will always remain at the heart of great marketing.
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