If you're preparing your 2020 marketing plan, you may be wondering what trends you should focus on this year. In this article, SEO and Content Marketing expert Stacey MacNaught sheds some light on three of the key marketing trends to expect in 2020.
1. Amazon will win more product searches from Google
Recent research suggests just under a quarter of UK product searches start on Amazon, while US research found that over half of product searches across the pond start on Amazon. Subsequent research from the same e-commerce platform found more people would begin looking for gifts on Amazon than on Google in the UK. The marketplace has ultimately become a product search engine. However, this varies from product to product and seasonality also plays a role.
Over 2020, we expect to see more consumers turn their attention to Amazon as a first port of call on product searches, probably at the expense of Google. This is by no means the sounding of the death knell for Google. The search engine is still pivotal in marketing, but where product-specific queries are concerned, there’s likely to be a further shift towards Amazon in the coming 12 months.
What does it mean for retailers? Well it emphasises the need for marketplaces to remain (or become if they are not yet) a key part of any e-commerce marketing strategy. Don’t switch your attention away from search engines - just make sure you’re marketing wherever your audience is searching. And now that’s a combination of search engines in their traditional sense and also third party marketplaces like Amazon.
2. Tracking will get harder
Whether you’re focusing on paid search, SEO, social media marketing or a healthy combination of the lot, Google Analytics and other web tracking platforms are essential to understanding how your marketing is performing. It’s vital to understand what’s working and what’s not.
But tracking is getting more complicated and it won’t get any easier in 2020. Cookie Compliance and GDPR makes businesses nervous about the use of tracking cookies. There’s a range of measures being taken by businesses at the moment. Some are going 'by the book' and are getting opt-in before applying tracking cookies. Others auto-opt-in but give people the option to opt out. Some still just apply them by default with no warning.
Are we likely to see a high profile case of a businesses landing in hot water over cookie compliance? Maybe in the next couple of years. But 2020 could well be the year in which we see more businesses go by the book and start seeing permission to apply tracking cookies, resulting in fewer fully tracked sessions and more restrictive data. This means we’re going to be relying on better data analytics who can draw conclusions and extrapolate from more limited pools of data.
3. More marketers will work for themselves
The rise of the micro business in the UK is quite astounding, particularly those micro businesses made up only of the owner. Homeworking is on the increase and it’s thought that up to half of employees may work from home at least on occasion by the end of 2020.
In marketing, this is particularly commonplace. Marketing can easily be a remote role in many cases which is what makes marketers such good candidates for becoming freelancers or working as employees from home.
This means two things for marketing departments in 2020:
- To retain your top employed marketing talent, you may need to look at more remote working options if you are not already. This may involve implementing watertight remote working policies to help keep things moving smoothly.
- You may find you have access to very good third party marketing talent on a freelance basis (rather than going through huge and sometimes costly agencies). Freelancers can very often offer more cost effective day rates given the lower overheads, meaning there has never been a better time to source talented marketing consultants without necessarily having to go through large organisations to do so.
We should anticipate more marketing teams working remotely or separately as they’re made up of a combination of freelance consultants and in-house remote workers. It’s great news because it means access to marketing talent is no longer restricted based on geography. If the best person for the job just happens to live down the road from your business - great. But how often does that really happen?
What about innovative tech in marketing?
Along with the above, it's worth mentioning voice search and VR. These progressive technologies are improving consistently and becoming embedded gradually into the day-to-day lives of people. But it doesn’t mean they’re an immediate concern for businesses, as lots of voice search currently centres around actions in the home or information queries.
Are consumers frequently asking Google to go and find the the best running trainers, or recommend a solicitor or piece of HR software? Not so much. And perhaps this will change in time with screened voice assistants like the Echo Show and Google Home Hub. It’s a similar story with VR and AR; for a big retailer of eyewear or maybe even headwear, then perhaps some sort of AR 'try it on' offering would be a worthwhile investment in a bid to get more sales online rather than in store. The same can be said for furniture retailers, some of whom already use AR to show users what a piece of furniture might look like in their own home. But for most businesses, AR or VR are unlikely to be essential elements to be looking at in 2020.
About the Author
Stacey MacNaught is an SEO and content marketing specialist from Oldham, Greater Manchester. She is the Co-Founder of MacNaught Digital and speaks regularly at global marketing conferences. She's been writing copy for businesses since 2006 and has been managing SEO for companies across the UK and Europe since 2009.