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February 14, 2020

Digital Trends to Watch in 2020

Nate Hook

At the dawn of a new decade, we stand at the precipice of what lies ahead, while taking stock in years gone by, where so much in the digital landscape we know today came into its own. Social media, voice search, user experience, artificial intelligence, and even the modern digital sales funnel all where fanciful ideas, or just starting their rise to prominence.

In the last ten years we have extrapolated the foundational desires that traditional marketing always urned for and turned them into data-driven, socially, and behaviorally aware, engines powering an enormous share of our commerce driven world.

Now, and especially heading into this new decade, most of those ideas are top priorities for marketers, and the concepts behind them will continue to influence and power markets in 2020. Here are 3 critical trends to invest in, and apply to your success, in the iconic year to come.

User Experience is the Great Equalizer

For brands, creating and optimizing the user experience for your audience across your touchpoints is central to marketing success. It will be one of the key differentiators in 2020 and beyond.

UX is a human strategy, created  by  humans  for humans, when approached with best practices. And this asks marketers to think beyond brand standards such as graphic styles and corporate color palettes,  it’s  the  subtext  of all elements, a gestalt, where the sum of the parts  are  greater  than  the  individual   pieces.

If you do one thing in 2020, just as it is with financials, consider hiring a third party to conduct a UX audit of your marketing channels to examine how everything from the UX of content, to the UX of your websites, apps, and products  work to  move  your   audience  from a  point  of  discovery  to  a  point  of  advocacy.

Social Doubles Down on Its Place in the Sales Funnel

While there are many predictions that social commerce will up-end  the  ever  growing world of e-commerce in 2020 (hint: it won’t… yet), one thing will be very true in the  next year,  social  commerce  will  be  all  the  buzz.

Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, TikTok – the list will continue to grow and social platforms will continue to invest in this as a means of becoming increasingly aware of what makes us tick. In many ways, it’s one of the last pieces of the puzzle   for social media companies. If you are looking to tap into this trend this year, it’s important to keep in mind something from user experience parlance,   your    audience’s    “mental  model.”

Our behavioral patterns in social media are more attuned to immediate action, not weighty consideration. In that, target products that are  a combination of best seller (widest appeal)  and   least   expensive   (frictionless purchases).

You might even elect to more heavily weight your least expensive items in total mix as these will be the easiest for social consumers to rationalize for this mental model of  commerce.

While social commerce isn’t new per se, expect social media companies to double down on their efforts in the next year. Social media is already one of the top discovery tools for brands, and as social commerce ascends to greater acceptance among social media users (up from 23% in 2018 to 31% in 2019*), 2020 could see social media more firmly plant itself within a greater share of the sales funnel.

Notable Trend Mentions

With TikTok’s arrival, social entertainment has become a much broader category, and the way we have started to create as well as consume this kind of social media content has changed the playing field. Instagram, not to be outdone, is testing its own TikTok-like features in Brazil. Titled Reels, this feature is integrated into the app and lets users to much ofwhat they can do on TikTok inside Instagram.

This is notable as the growth of TikTok has been explosive and this is in large part due to the addictive nature of the short video-based content, where a whole new field of amateur content producers have already risen to fame in producing relatively unpolished content – unlike their influencer counterparts on other social channels.

While TikTok itself might not last in the long run, what it has impacted in the social space will endure and brands should be  working  with their agency partners  to  strategize  how  to shift a portion of their work to this social entertainment style of content in authentic ways.

2020 will be an iconic year, and we will be tracking and sharing our perspective as the year progresses. In the digital and social space, there is never a dull moment, and opportunities abound for brands wishing to stay ahead of the curve on changes that will impact now and in the future.