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3 Digital Trends to Look out for in 2020


As the months turn colder and we approach the end of 2019, it’s the perfect time to reflect on current digital marketing strategies and whether more can be done in 2020 to extract value. As an immediate marketing channel which is in a constant state of flux, we are able to be reactive with campaigns and strategies more than with any other medium. However, in order to take full advantage of this flexibility, it’s key to revise campaigns in order to make full use of market trends.

Today, I explore three of those trends that will be more important than ever in 2020.

Don’t ignore the over-50s

There are currently more than 23 million people aged 50 and over in the UK - representing 33% of the total population. More importantly, this 33% own 80% of the UK’s total disposable income, meaning the over-50s market have huge spending power and are a prime audience. However, we continue to see hesitance when it comes to utilising digital marketing to target this section of consumers.

One of the key reasons for this is that people often stereotype the 50-plus generation as technophobes. Yet, time and time again, this belief has been proven to be incorrect as the over-50s have shown themselves to be the fastest digital adopters of any generation. The ONS study, Internet Users, discovered that “recent internet use in the 65 to 74 years age group increased from 52% in 2011 to 83% in 2019, closing the gap on younger age groups.” Another ONS study, Internet Access - Households and Individuals, also revealed that “for the first time, more than half of adults aged 65 years and over shopped online, at 54%.” So, it’s clear to see the potential value of this consumer category is there.

And, this market value isn’t going to decrease in the coming years. A recent study by the Mature Marketing Association, which looked at those aged 40-50, found that just under half of those surveyed regularly visit websites looking for product inspiration. And, as revealed in Internet Access - Households and Individuals, 40% of 35-44-year olds had shopped online eleven or more times in the three months prior to the 2019 survey.

It’s been the default to target primarily the Millennial and Gen Z generations with programmatic and search campaigns, but we need to ask ourselves why we are doing this? Especially when, from a digital perspective, over-50s not only exist in the online environment, but have more spending power.

Read More: Is age really a non-issue?

THE PUSH to have first-party data-driven campaigns

In the 2019 Digital Trends Report, conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, it was revealed that “over half (55%) of marketers say they have prioritised better use of data in the previous year”. Investing in this kind of customer experience technology offers a range of benefits, especially when it comes to marketing automation. Harnessing the data is one thing, but intelligently and swiftly being able to analyse it and implement changes is still something that can be a hassle.

Especially as, in the modern climate and with larger investments being made than ever before, relying on Google Analytics alone feels insufficient. For the best results, companies must look to run multiple data technologies at the same time (of which Google Analytics is just one example). All of which must feed into a central location or data management platform to be analysed succinctly and efficiently.

At Accord, our web-based data visualisation tool, LOOP, makes cross-examining a range of data from multiple technologies easy. Combining CRM integrations, digital analytics, call tracking technology (for online and offline), media data and attribution modelling integrations, LOOP offers a one-stop-shop that showcases the bigger picture. Using LOOP allows you to fully understand your customer behaviour and the existing value they have. Once the customer value has been established, it becomes much easier to use those findings to create data-driven campaigns which are precisely targeted and crafted to receive the desired results. Once implemented, it then becomes easier to examine the results in real-time and tweak as needed.

Having your marketing activity overlaid with first-party consumer data may seem simple in practice, but without a central data management platform which works to make analysis easy for you, it can feel like an uphill struggle. In 2020 and moving forward, it’s going to be more important than ever to prioritise learnings from first-party data and utilising a tool like LOOP will mean you’re starting on the front foot.

Read More: Digital data - get a grip!

Growth of Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Something that is being discussed heavily in every industry right now is the potential effects of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning. Even outside of marketing, people are inquisitive as to how the growth of this technology could change the landscape of all jobs. In a digital sense, we’ve found this growth spurred on by the increasing interest in first-party data, as it allows that information to be translated into real-time actions instantaneously with no need for human interference. This makes applying learnings from data into currently operating strategies much more seamless.

One area where AI and machine learning plays a massive role in how we work is within Paid Digital channels. At Accord, we have already seen a huge migration away from manual bid strategies – now around 90% of budgets are handled through AI and machine learning capabilities. In turn, this takes the pressure off and allows search strategists to spend more of their time focusing on long-term strategic optimisation.

And, with the massive advances in AI and machine learning, it’ll be interesting to see how this area develops and the other ways it can be utilised to improve campaigns. As with anything, adopting a new practice as early as possible is incredibly advantageous, and there is no better time to start implementing it than now.

Read More: What does the future hold for digital marketing?

Rather than completely new ideas, these are merely evolutions of existing trends that grow in importance as the digital landscape progresses. As the market becomes more granular, complex and sophisticated, it’s easier for us to see the importance of them and why, in the coming year, they should be fully embraced.

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