A growing hunger for interactive content (as well as chummier chatbots), better algorithms for targeting purchase suggestions, and a seismic shift in the online influencer landscape.
With so many factors in play and new platforms and technologies springing up, many industry pros are wondering what to expect. Here are five trends we’ll see dominating marketing and PR efforts in the new year:
1. An interactive content explosion
More than 90% of buyers are begging for more interactive content. Content marketing will shift focus to give people what they want. Expect to see more augmented/virtual reality, gamified quizzes and polls, online events and shoppable posts. If you’re spending on content, make it interactive, or you won’t keep your customers engaged—but you can bet your competitors will.
2. New roles for chatbots
Businesses will begin using chatbots to build deeper relationships with their customer base. Ask the right questions, and your digital team can learn more about consumer likes and dislikes, gather real quotes from consumers, and create authentic, meaningful engagement. Savvy brand marketers will be using chatbots and other consumer insights to springboard innovation and inspiration for developing products and services.
3. A social media influencer shakeup
In recent years, many social influencers have been earning big money from branded and sponsored content, but the big question has been whether they’re worth the investment. In 2020, the game will change for those who have bought “likes” and falsified engagement, because they just aren’t showing brands a valid, measurable return. Consumers are no longer buying into influencers who rep brands that aren’t authentic to them. Brand managers are getting smart about verifying influencers and tracking ROI, and they’re adjusting their media mix accordingly. Expect to see more micro-influencers being favored over macro-influencers.
4. ‘Brandstanding’ becoming standard
“Brandstanding” describes the evolving “activist capitalist” trend. Unlike grandstanding, which connotes being gimmicky, brandstanding stems from deep, authentic values shared by an organization and its consumers. In recent years, we’ve seen more and more brands taking strong stands on social issues, no matter the potential backlash. Studies show that consumers feel stronger connections and are more loyal to companies willing to take a position on major issues and less to those who stay out of the fray. Given the current political climate and hot-button issues, expect to see more consumers holding brands’ metaphorical feet to the fire, as they’ll often patronize brands that share their values.
5. Enhanced personalized brand experiences
Drawing on a range of digital consumer behaviors, enhanced personalized recommendations put curated, highly targeted ads directly before individuals who are most likely to buy. Ever-changing artificial intelligence algorithms make this more complicated; however, when executed correctly, new technologies will produce highly accurate customized recommendations. Savvy marketers can better understand customers and motivations for buying at each point of the sales funnel.