Digital Marketing Trends in 2020 Businesses Should NOT Ignore

We made it, to yet another decade (YAYY!) and we’re excited for what’s to come! As we welcome this new era of digital marketing, we look at the top trends to watch out for in 2020.


There was a time when AI, data-driven marketing and visual and voice search engine optimisation were so far-fetched and ambitious that marketers didn’t even consider them to be possible tools for their brands’ success. Now, these technologies are in an upward trend.

The development of these trends are so fast paced, there’s no stopping its rapid advancement. Here, we explore the biggest marketing trends of 2020 that brands shouldn’t ignore.

Shoppable Posts

Social Commerce or Shoppable Posts are the types of social content where we can purchase a product or service. This is a brilliant way for businesses to bring their social media followers to their websites. People already use social media to research about a product (e.g. types, brands, functions and reviews), so this feature perfectly creates a call-to-action to convert the curious consumer into a customer right there and then.

It isn’t new in the social space but with Instagram’s announcement of the Checkout feature early last year, 2020 will see an increase in its use.

Chatbots and Conversational Marketing

Chatbots are what brands need right now. Let’s face it – consumers are impatient. Hubspot’s recent study on Live Chats found that 82% of consumers want a response within 10 minutes of when they ask a question about marketing or sales.

This is one of the reasons why chatbots have been in demand in recent years – and it will continue to grow in 2020. Consumers prefer chatbots over other means of contacting a business as they are responsive 24/7 and can accurately record messaging and purchasing history.

Despite the rise in chatbot demand, people are also looking for a more human approach. Conversational marketing is a real-time, one-on-one connection between brand marketer and consumer.

Businesses can build stronger relationships with their customers with conversational marketing. Through messaging apps and third-party tools that allow chat boxes installed on their websites, it allows us to enhance the user experience.

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online advertising with the use of AI. This automation makes transactions efficient and more effective, streamlining the process and consolidating your digital advertising efforts into one technology platform. Ad placement, media buying, performance tracking and customer targeting are examples of programmatic advertising.

It is effective as it uses automation, therefore it’s faster, more efficient and helps businesses acquire more customers at a lower cost.

Video marketing and Vlogging

Video marketing is the most important emerging trend. Smart Insights study says that 72% of people prefer video content over text when learning about a brand.

Any form of video content, from short films to explainer videos, guarantee a boost in social reach and engagement for as long as your business properly utilise your social media platforms. One example is the live broadcast feature of Facebook and Instagram. This allows brands to launch a live streaming event where viewers can participate by leaving messages in the comments section. LinkedIn has also launched a live stream feature early last year, which is has been especially helpful for B2Bs.

Another type of effective video content is the Vlog. Unlike explainer videos, vlogs have a more personal touch to it. Viewers love it because it’s relatable and more human.

Visual and Voice Search

People are now using search engines on a whole new level. With voice and visual search tools now developed and made available to all, businesses need to bump up their game with their approach on SEO.

Marketers need to ensure that their brands’ online presence are rich in optimised images and less technical keywords.


Ultimately, AI is the key driver in today’s marketing. It helps businesses understand their customers’ behavior and search patterns by analysing and monitoring data from social media platforms and other websites.

Despite this, businesses are keen to focus on people as well, not only in technology. According to marketing expert Michael Brenner, “there is a pushback against the increased digitisation and automation of interactions between brands and consumers, and a desire to make marketing more human again.”


Is your business up-to-date with these digital marketing trends? Which ones have you already implemented? Let us know your thoughts!

Instagram Likes No Likes. What does this mean for Aussie businesses?

The social media giant recently announced that it has rolled out a trial to hide the number of likes on a user’s post. The user still gets to see who have liked their posts by clicking on “and others”, however no other account can see this figure. The change has been implemented in seven countries including Australia.

The reason behind it?

“We want Instagram to be a place where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” according to Mia Garlick, Facebook Australia and New Zealand’s Policy Director.

By removing the number of likes, their goal is to also “remove pressure” on its users. According to reports, the test also aims at determining how it will benefit the user experience by making them focus more on sharing content of things they love, rather than acting on the pressure of gaining a certain number of likes.

It’s a fact that social media influences our mental health. A 2018 survey from the Pew Research Centre found that about 40% of teens in the US feel pressure to only post content that had earned a specific number of likes and positive comments on social media platforms.

Considering these findings, Instagram has taken action to help resolve the issue by rolling out a few changes, including:

  • a new notification system to combat hate speech
  • updates on account disable policies
  • a new feature called “Restrict” to prevent bullying
  • and now, adding to this list is the “No Likes” test

How will the recent Instagram changes affect Aussie businesses?

The changes won’t have much effect on the way brand and influencer accounts (now called Creator Accounts) access their own data analytics. Instagram has said that analytics tools and other measuring platforms used by businesses are still able to track the number of likes on a post. However, social media marketers who use Instagram as their main platform will need to adapt. It’s no longer just a simple numbers game of “how many likes” and “how many followers”. Instagram strategies for businesses will need to be revised.

Humans are inherently social and follow a herd mentality, so if likes per post is a key metric you report on for your accounts, be prepared to see an overall drop and set new average benchmarks. The logic is simple – when users don’t see likes on a post, they are generally less likely to engage with it themselves.

How do we keep up with the pace of this ever-changing platform?

As a business owner, or a digital marketer, how can you adapt to these changes? Are you currently measuring your Instagram account’s success simply based on the number of likes on your posts? If so, have you considered different ways to measure your success apart from this metric?

This change is likely to stay. But don’t fret! You can generate successful outputs without having to feel pressured on the number of likes you get. Forget everything you know about Instagram post likes. Start paying more attention to your post reach, shares and clicks. These are metrics to identify whether users view your content to be “worthy”, and are key indicators of whether they will continue to take further actions with your brand.

It all boils down to how businesses will rethink the way they analyse data and the kind of content they put out there in order to drive a wider reach to achieve your business goals, and focus more on sharing content that drive sales, boost brand affinity and loyalty, and encourage user engagement in the long term beyond just post likes.

“While it’s a huge change to Instagram as we know it, it’s definitely not unwelcomed and it would serve to filter out a lot of ‘noise’ to ensure quality of content.” says Michelle Chiu, the founder of DOMIN8 Marketing.

“Instagram, social media, and digital marketing in general is a forever changing landscape. As a business owner or marketer, it’s just a matter of taking time to keep up with the latest updates, and being quick to adapt to new techniques and strategies. If your marketing budget allows, it would be helpful to gain insight from industry experts and specialist agencies.”

What do you think about the changes? How has it affected your social media performance so far?

Let us know in the comments below – we’re keen to hear about how it has impacted each brand!

Data should NOT define your marketing strategy

Now before all the big data advocates out there challenge me with arguments for the importance of data in marketing, let me just clarify one thing: I myself am very big on data. In fact, every project I enter into, my first two questions are always: 1) “How are we tracking this?” and 2) “How are we using the data to improve?”. So believe me, the purpose of this post is not to tell you to stop using data.

With the aid of technology advancements collecting data is now easier than ever, from every phone tap to even the slight twitch of an eye while browsing a website, marketers now have access to all facets of consumer behaviour along their buying journey.

Companies are fast realising and leveraging on these opportunities by shifting large portions of their marketing budget towards the acquisition of analytical software, and even building entire new departments for this sole purpose. So much so that data has become a single focal point to drive marketing forward.

Yes, data’s now a crucial part of strategic marketing, but should never be the ONLY determining factor of your strategies. Here’s 3 simple reasons why:

1. The traditional stuff worked before (and still do).

Television, radio, billboards, print – the traditional methods of advertising were purchased based on estimated viewership and circulation, and little to no empirical data to support their spending. Without direct linkage from an ad to the conversion, accurate ROI was hard to prove. Yet these were the main ways companies interacted with their audiences.

Who hasn’t seen a Coca Cola billboard and felt thirsty before? There’s no denying that these traditional methods were, and still are, effective ways to get brand messages across. While success is harder to measure, they should not be overlooked in the digital age.

2. Consumers are humans. With emotions.

We can spend all our time looking through data to find patterns and leverage on them to maximise our ROI until we reach the point of diminishing returns. However, all it takes is a slight change in consumer sentiment to send all our patterns out of whack.

Consumers are emotional human beings, and should never be seen as just a big pile of data waiting to be deciphered.

Don Draper may be fictional, but if there’s anything we can take away from Mad Men, it is this: “Advertising is based on one thing: Happiness. And you know what happiness is? It’s freedom from fear. It’s a billboard on the side of the road that screams reassurance that whatever you’re doing is okay. You are okay.”

For a campaign to be successful we must connect to our target audience on the deeper emotional level, identifying a need or desire and finding a point of relevance to communicate our product as the solution. Use emotions to create a bond between our brand and our customers, so that even when sentiments change, they will still come to us to satisfy that underlying need.

3. Don’t kill creativity by repeating history.

Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is formed.

Keyword: new.

Yes, collect the data and use them to make decisions. Just be mindful that all that does is tell us to repeat something that was done before based on higher performance. Historically.

One cannot innovate if we keep following the same routines, so as marketers we must always challenge ourselves to look away from what’s been done, and identify whatelse can be done to take our campaigns up another notch.

Conclusion

Data analytics have opened up many new ways to refine our marketing strategies, but should not be the defining factor of all our activities. To stay on top of the game and be resilient to changes, we must understand the lingering success of traditional media, stay true to our target markets’ craving for real human connections, and keep an open mind for creativity.

Trust your gut instinct, and support it with data.

Pokémon GO: Built on Collective Memories & Emotions

Having spent a good part of my childhood in Hong Kong, I remember being excited every Mid-Autumn Festival, because I would have the chance to go to the park and hang out with other kids until late at night, roaming around and showing off our awesome blown up lanterns attached to a plastic tube handle.

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It’s been a long while since I’ve participated in this especially because I moved away from the city for a number of years, but it has always been something I reminisce about every time the festive period came around. It is undoubtedly part of the Collective Memories (集體回憶) of all Hong Kong children. Ahh, the good old memories.

Fast forward to today, Day One of the launch of Pokémon Go in Hong Kong. Being the typical millennial that I am, I decided to explore the streets of my neighbourhood to do some hunting and test out the game.

Everywhere I walked were people with their heads down focused on their phones, some exploring solo, some as couples and some in groups of friends. In fact, when I reached the park opposite my block, I noticed that I was reliving my childhood moments from Mid-Autumn. Except this time around instead of lanterns dangling off plastic tubes, it was brightly lit smartphones attached to portable powerbanks. And the ‘kids’, well, are probably the same kids that I would have hung out with some decades ago.

As I was washed with an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia, this strange correlation made me realise one thing. The game’s success is built on Collective Memories.

For those that have played it you’d know it’s overly simple. Open the app, walk around until you see a Pokémon appear on your screen, swipe Pokéballs at it until it’s ‘captured’. Repeat.

The game’s popularity is not because of the gameplay itself, nor is it the graphics or storyline (what storyline?). It is because of the childhood memories of the the millennials, and the sense of nostalgia and belonging the game brings. I myself reconnected with a friend I have not seen for several years just because we happened to be playing Pokémon Go in the same park by chance, and I also noticed strangers on the street connecting with one another over the game. It’s the feeling of ‘hey I know what you’re up to, you’re awesome too’, and the ability to bond and be a part of this community.

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The result?

Within three days of its release, Pokémon Go attracted more users than Twitter.

As of mid-July 2016, the game attracted just under 21 million daily active users in the US, surpassing Candy Crush saga’s audience of 20 million and making it the biggest mobile game in US history.

Also share prices skyrocketed for Nintendo, albeit being a case of mistaken identity. But that’s another story.

Key takeaway for your business?

It is estimated that millennials will be spending $200 billion annually by 2017. So if you wanna be the very best, like no one ever was (please excuse the reference), you need a thorough understanding of their behaviour.

Pokémon Go is a golden example of how millennials consume products. They act on feelings and emotions. Genuine connections with a brand are more convincing for them than any sales or marketing tactics that they are targeted for.

So find relevance in your product for your target market, activate emotional responses. Be convincing in your communications, and build genuine relationships with them.

That’s the only way to catch ’em all.