2020 has been a tricky year. And it is not even over. We’ve still got a few months to go, which will be a reflection of how things have changed this year. With COVID-19, lockdowns and quarantines, the economy took a hit. Customers changed their purchasing behavior and marketers need to adapt. Unless you’ve lived under a rock, you would have noticed that social media usage has increased during the pandemic and that you should keep an eye on a few digital trends.
Why digital trends? Simply because the pandemic forced people to stay at home, which increased their content consumption. For example, Instagram usage increased by 14%. TikTok saw a 78% growth compared to 2019. Thus, marketers quickly understood that TikTok as well as video content were one direction to go in in 2020.
With budgets squeezed, a recession on the horizon and the high street suffering, customer engagement, acquisition and retention are crucial. Marketers are revising their content strategies and following those five digital trends during the second half of 2020 might just help them reach their goals.
Social responsibility as well as holding brands responsible is not a new thing. Following ethical practices and paying attention to societal issues has been a focus for a lot of companies. Indeed, customers are more and more looking for sustainable solutions and want to shop with sustainable brands.
This has led brands to seek more sustainably sourced products, choose greener delivery options, go cruelty free or make charity initiatives a part of their corporate responsibility strategy. COVID-19, the scale of the crisis as well as the Black Lives Matter have put the spotlight on social responsibility more than ever before.
Brands that shied away in the past from incorporating social responsibility in their marketing strategies are now compelled to address it. Otherwise, they risk to appear tone deaf and to lose a lot of customers in the process. Customers want brands to use their platform and influence for good.
More brands are addressing social issues, issuing statements as well as ensuring that their teams and campaigns are diverse and have representation. It is thus clear that during the second half of 2020, we will see more content in-tune with the current events. We can expect brands to respond better to crises and do so in more meaningful and measurable ways.
Some major brands have taken the necessary steps to ensure they create more inclusive and diverse campaigns and ads, work with diverse influencers and offer good representation in their marketing initiatives. Safety measures in the wake of the pandemic have also been strengthened.
It is no secret that video content is on the rise, even more so now that TikTok is on a popularity ride. Youtube had already cracked the trend down a few years back and is a great way for small businesses to promote their products or services. Video content is moving and therefore eye-catching. It is longer, captures the attention more easily and usually has a better conversion rate than other content formats.
Youtube for example sees 5 billions hours of videos watched a day and reaches more millennials than TV channels and networks. Video content is exploding and will make up more than 82% of all consumer internet traffic. 47% of millennials get their video content online. Which they can now find on different platforms.
Youtube is one. Instagram with IGTV, stories and now Reels is another. Let’s not forget Snapchat which is very popular amongst Gen Z or TikTok which is growing at an exponential rate. Video content is entertaining and addictive. It requires a bigger time investment, more attention and has a higher retention rate..
As a consequence, one can assume that customers would be more receptive to video ads or product placements in video content. There is a reason why so many brands work with vloggers on partnerships and collaborations. The pandemic and lockdown also saw the coming of home made video content.
Outfit ideas, recipes, dances, book recommendations, more and more niches are giving a go to video. It is one of five digital trends not to miss in 2020 and one that marketers can make use of, especially as we are approaching the Cyber Friday and Holiday period.
Shoppable posts are getting big and if you are a small business looking for new ways to sell your products online, look no further. Shoppable posts and checkout are new features on Instagram that allow users to shop directly within the app without having to leave it and go on another website.
People can directly checkout, enter their payment details and buy on Instagram. This makes the customer journey much faster and the purchase much smoother. Products are directly accessible to customers who can buy them after the tap of a finger on a picture. Customers want to skip as many steps as possible.
Instagram checkout can help decrease bounce rate or cart abandonment, which can be really high on a website. Social commerce allows businesses to reach more customers. It also reduces the barriers to purchasing.
To set up Instagram shopping, you must have a business account linked to a Facebook page. Instagram shopping will link up to your Facebook catalog. You will also be able to tag products on Facebook and make them shoppable. Until now, product tagging led to the product page on a brand’s website. Now, customers can check out directly on Facebook or Instagram.
Fourth of those five digital trends for the second half of 2020 is UGCs or user-generated content. UGCs can be a powerful marketing tool. They can take the form of customer photos, influencer post, testimonials and reviews, etc. They act as social proof that your products are worth it and make a brand more trustworthy.
People tend to trust word of mouth and family or friend recommendations more than any other source of advertising. They are great at convincing prospective customers to buy. 90% of consumers say that user-generated content has an influence over their purchase decision. UGCs on Instagram have a 4.5% higher conversion rate than non-UGC posts.
In an age where lack of authenticity will make people unfollow, UGCs help humanize a brand and improve authenticity. They can help convince customers to buy as well as help a brand’s discoverability online. 25% of search results for the world’s biggest brand relate to UGCs. 86% incorporate UGCs in their marketing in some ways and 61% of marketers say authenticity is what makes content marketing more effective.
The use of UGCs is being pushed further with brands hiring influencers as models in photoshoots and campaigns. Or increasing their influencer marketing budget. 93% of marketers see an improvement in brand exposure through influencer marketing, which is the number one source of UGCs.
Website page speed
The pandemic and staying at home made people spend more time online, browsing the internet and visiting websites, either from their laptops or phones. However, one thing that did not change is that the number one reason users leave a website within a minute of landing on the page is a slow-loading page.
A page that needs more than three seconds to loads is deemed slow. The Google algorithm does not like slow websites, nor does it like a high bounce rate. While the former worsens the latter, the combination of the two can penalize a website and hurt its search ranking. They can also affect conversion rates negatively.
It is thus crucial for brands to have fast-loading websites. This is easily achievable. Indeed, optimizing images and compressing large files will ensure the website loads faster. Using a cache plugin as well as removing inactive plugins will also help. Minifying and combining files will also help to fasten a website.
It is also a good idea to reduce the number of internal redirects as it will speed up your authority in Google and page load speed. A fast-loading website might be the one difference between a high and low bounce rate.
As we enter the last few months of 2020, marketers must adapt to the current context and change their content strategies accordingly. Incorporating those five digital trends will help increase engagement on social media, conversion rates as well as customer retention.