Top Marketing and Advertising Trends in 2020

January 10, 2020

Welcome to 2020! The next four months will see a surge in job listings and potential to land an exciting new position, whether you're currently employed or not. A new decade means new trends and new skills to learn. Of all the most highly sought after qualities employers look for in prospective employees, your willingness to learn new skills ranks at the top. Now, having said that, we need to caution that the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia predicts a one-in-three chance of a recession this year - although down from last year - which, along with the trade war, could impact hiring. However, current projections are unlikely to affect your ability to snag a new job.

With that noted, what are this year's marketing and advertising trends that the most competitive applicants, like yourself, need to be knowledgeable in or motivated to learn?

Mindful consumption must be part of the calculus:

It's no longer possible to separate politics and the environment from consumer behavior. Social media has made brand reputation management incredibly challenging as information, and sometimes misinformation circulates through communities at dizzying speed. Don’t Panic, a creative advertising agency based in London, insightfully reports that businesses run the risk of letting an enormous opportunity for meaningfully engaging with their stakeholders go to waste through greenwashing, or paying lip service to ‘going green’ without integrating sustainable processes and resources into the supply-chain. Brands that don’t walk the talk face lost trust and revenue from skeptical consumers. With the crisis on our minds, the 20s will feature demand for ethical production and consumption that corporate social responsibility charters must be capable of scaling. Exciting changes await.

Advertiser-funded programming (AFP):

Streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Hulu are thriving. Ricky Gervais infamously reminded a room full of the most accomplished artists of this at the Golden Globes. Because streaming services skew the traditional broadcast TV advertising model, marketers have begun to re-emphasize paying to integrate brand messages into entire shows and programs aired on Netflix and its competitors. Think about sponsored content, product placement, and, in some cases, creating entire shows around a brand, and you've got the AFP model.

Social media search and second screen social:

Advertisers once scorned consumers’ wandering eyes during a program or commercial break. Then the idea of second screen social came along. Second screen social refers to viewers of media who simultaneously view an ad or program while searching for images, messages, or products in that program on social media platforms. This creates an opportunity for marketers to capture and convert traffic coming from these referrals.

Voice search hits its growth spurt:

You can safely bet that asking smart devices questions will become a major feature of our digitalized culture. At the moment, 20% of mobile searches are conducted by voice. Patròn provided a fascinating example of a branded search: users asked Amazon Echo to "ask Patròn for a cocktail recipe." This form of specialized search raises brand awareness, engagement, and satisfies brand purpose. The result for Patròn? Between 6,000 to 7,000 user sessions on the Echo, many of which came from returning users. We expect voice search to be a key growth area.

Visuals add seasoning to search and content:

Voice search couldn't cause us to overlook the importance of visualization. According to an eMarketer survey, 62% of millennials are more interested in the ability to search by image (a visual search) than they are on other forms of search, like shoppable content and augmented reality, or try before you buy. In fact, "content with images increases a view rate by 94%". Pinterest is leading on this front by shoring-up its visual search and shop functions.

Personalization in the decade of right to be forgotten law:

This is a tricky one. Even though "80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer personalized experiences", Pew found that 81% of surveyed United States residents say,  “the potential risks outweigh the benefits when it comes to companies collecting data." New right to be forgotten laws in California and Europe will spark the correct conversations for advertisers and marketers this year. This is among the top three most impactful adtech and martech topics this year.

Navigating Instagram's ‘Explore Feed’:

The 2019 Instagram algorithm update and announcement that 'likes' would no longer be on public view threw brands and agencies into a blender of confusion this year. If you felt the sharp edge of these developments, Instagram's new 'Explore Feed' feature might help blunt some of the anguish. Explore Feed is specific to an individual user's past photo likes and comments. The feed is tailored to a user's interests and content that Instagram hopes will keep said user on the platform. Brands will have the option of paying to advertise in a user's feed.

Live streaming services dominate most of our preferences:

Ah, live video and podcasts. Few things are more exciting than feeling like you're part of shaping content as it’s being filmed or recorded. The live streaming industry is expecting an overall valuation of over $70 billion in 2021. Plenty of growth opportunity for video and audio production specialists here.

As we've mentioned before, taking time to learn new skills, meet people in professional groups, and keep abreast of industry innovations are simple, but effective methods for keeping yourself competitive in the market. Treat your future self generously by staying well-rounded, eager to learn, and forward-thinking!

Happy first quarter and warm regards,