Predicting the future is never easy; however, small business owners and marketers need to do it every day. Business owners and digital marketers need to know what media and which platforms will be trending in the next year so that their brands will resonate with their audience. The success of your efforts in business will depend to some degree on your ability to look into the future and know these things ahead of time. When it comes to digital marketing, looking at present trends is a great way to see what shape the coming year will take. To this end, let’s look at six specific digital marketing trends that will affect your business in 2020.

Voice Search Marketing

The move towards voice searching has revolutionized the way that digital marketing is being done. The fact that over half of all searches will be conducted through voice search in the coming year is something that your business cannot ignore.

The Google search algorithm is becoming increasingly sophisticated all of the time and now, more than ever before, it is targeted on matching a user’s search intent with results. If you want to achieve better results in the search rankings, then you need to consider the nuances involved in optimizing for voice searches, rather than just for particular keywords, as in previous years.

You can optimize for voice searches by thinking more about how natural language use works. Focus on question strings such as who, what, why, and the like, and more conversational search terms when you are optimizing.

Expanding Metrics Beyond Google Analytics

With more complex and diverse data available for use these days, Google Analytics is increasingly becoming less favored as the go-to platform for quick quantification. While you can expect that Google Analytics will still come in handy for tracking familiar metrics that play an important role in gauging the success of your digital marketing strategy, such as web traffic, there are other services that you need to be exploring as well.

Try playing around a bit with Google’s Data Studio and expanding on Google Analytics. With a more diverse set of features and tools, you may find that this platform provides you with better insight into your marketing data.

Machine Learning &  BERT

With so much buzz surrounding AI these days, it is not surprising that the SEO world is starting to be changed by this trend. In fact, Google’s most recent search algorithm update is the largest change to its search system since RankBrain was introduced 5 years ago. The latest algorithm is known as BERT, which stands for ‘Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers’, is currently impacting the results for about 1 in every 10 search engine queries. BERT will also impact featured snippets and is being rolled out globally, in all languages.

Google has stated that BERT will help its search engine to better understand the true meaning and the context of the words that are used in searches. With a better understanding of the nuance and context of words in searches, Google will be able to provide more accurate results for users. Essentially, BERT is Google’s neural network-based technique for NLP (natural language processing) pre-training. This means that BERT will help computers to understand language in the same way that humans do.

For example, Google has noted that when users are searching for “2019 Brazil traveler to USA needs a visa”, the word “to” and its relationship to the other words used in the search query are critical to understanding the true meaning of the query. Until now, the Google search algorithm would not understand just how important the word “to” is in this context and would provide search results about US citizens traveling to Brazil. Now, as Google has explained, “with BERT, Search is able to grasp this nuance and know that the very common word “to” actually matters a lot here, and we can provide a much more relevant result for this query”.

In 2015, RankBrain was Google’s very first AI process for understanding search queries. It considers queries and the content of web pages to gain a better understanding of the meaning of words. It’s important to note, that BERT will not replace RankBrain, but will be used in addition to Rankbrain as an extra tool in Google’s ranking system.

In terms of coping with new digital marketing trends and your approach to SEO, Google has already stated that you cannot optimize for RankBrain and the same can be said for BERT. In a recent tweet from Google’s search liaison, Danny Sullivan, he advised that you should simply “have good content”. The Google algorithm focuses on quality content above all else. To stay ahead of the game in 2020 and beyond, focus on creating content that is unique, engaging, informative and that offers value to your readers. With Google focusing more and more on understanding the true meaning of search queries, producing great content will be the key to your SEO success going forward.

Virtual Reality

One exciting digital marketing trend to keep an eye on is the use of augmented and virtual reality. With the potential for wide application, augmented reality is currently being used by many retailers in unique ways. Ikea, for example, is deploying the technology to provide customers with a preview of what furniture will look like in their homes, without the need to lift and assemble everything first.

Ultra Personalization & Experience Economy 

Turning web traffic into paying customers has been the essential problem of digital marketing since its inception. The most effective strategy to date is to make your product recommendations personalized for each visitor to your site. Since the experience economy paradigm has made the customer focus more on the interaction and relationship they have with your brand, than the product itself, the more tailored you can make the overall experience that your customers have with your brand, the more likely that they will be loyal returning customers as well.

Quality Content

Even with all of the bells and whistles that get added to the digital marketing toolbox with each passing year, there is no substitute for great content when it comes to building a successful online presence. In the coming year, it is important to make sure that you maintain a strong focus on how engaging your content can be and aim to begin a conversation with your audience.

Great content demonstrates the authority and credibility of your brand while engaging the reader. It grabs and holds the attention of search traffic that is coming to your site, encouraging them to react to your content and follow links to find out more about what you have to offer. Having a good mix of standard content and video content is also a good idea. Video content, including live video content, continues to play a major role in building your page rankings and driving traffic. Video content can be used as a tool to tell the story of your brand and it can be a very effective content medium to engage your audience and connect with your target demographic in a meaningful way.

Jump On These Digital Marketing Trends Early and Get your 2020 to a Great Start

With some weeks left in the current year, there is still time to get on board with some of these digital marketing trends that will shape the digital marketing industry in the near future. The more of these trends that you can include in your digital marketing repertoire, the better results you can expect to see in 2020. Get in touch with our expert digital marketing team today at Mikesell Digital Consulting and let us help you to improve your marketing strategy in 2020 and beyond.