The digital marketing trends to look out for in 2020

Instagram and YouTube are channels that can’t be ignored by businesses and marketers

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 04, 2019 A picture taken on September 4, 2019 shows logos of US social networking websites Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, displayed on smart-phone screen, in Lille, northern France. Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is funding research aimed at changing the way information circulates on social media -- with the goal of combating online violence, hate and disinformation. Dorsey on December 10, 2019, announced he would fund an independent team of five architects, engineers, and designers -- dubbed Bluesky -- to develop an "open and decentralized standard for social media." / AFP / DENIS CHARLET
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As digital and influencer marketing continues to grow and evolve, professionals in the industry need to be ahead of the curve by being creative and trend conscious over the coming year.

Throughout my career, we’ve worked with many businesses, collaborating with a number of influencers. Looking ahead, partnerships with content creators and social influencers will not slow down but gain further prominence as the preferred marketing channel of businesses globally and within the Arab world.

As the year draws to a close, it’s important to take note of digital marketing trends that will take centre stage in 2020:

TikTok to grow in prominence

Instagram will not lose its popularity, as longer video content shared on its Instagram TV (IGTV) platform, garners more engagement by users and viewers. However, social media app TikTok, is growing in popularity, especially within the youth population. Launched in 2016, TikTok allows users to create and share videos. The video service run by social media giant ByteDance is now the third most downloaded non-gaming app, according to marketing intelligence firm SensorTower. TikTok is an ideal platform to reach younger demographics, and we could predict that more brands would want to reach their audience through the channel next year.

Influencer marketing is here to stay

The past few years have proven influencer marketing isn’t a fad. Whether it is advertising products, services, or government initiatives, influencers are the go-to channels for many businesses. Businesses are realising the effectiveness of reaching more focused groups as opposed to mass audiences, and that it’s more about quality than quantity. They’re opting to work with micro-influencers, or those with less than 100,000 followers.

Data is king

In the past, brands didn’t focus so much on metrics. But that’s changed now that Instagram and other apps are providing business pages with detailed analysis of their audience and their engagement on the page.

Brands realise that just because a certain page has thousands or millions of followers, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are real. Numerous online agencies offer followers at competitive prices, that can be delivered in a matter of hours.

Instagram, and other apps allow users to access to data that highlights demographics, interests, and engagement of each post. That provides businesses with transparency, which allows them to evaluate the success of their marketing efforts.

Metrics and data are important not only for businesses, but also for influencers themselves, to better understand their audience and know which posts receive more engagement. That effectively allows them to adjust their approach accordingly. Data helps users grow.

Video rules

The production and consumption of video content on social media platforms has risen exponentially over the past couple of years. Videos on YouTube viewed on mobile devices reach more US audience members than any TV network, with over 1 billion hours watched every day, according to statistics published by YouTube. Videos are also becoming shorter and shorter. In 2018, the average video was 4.07 minutes long, 33 per cent shorter than 2017 videos, which stood at 6.07 minutes, according to the 2019-benchmark report by Canadian video platform for businesses, Vidyard.

Businesses and users’ engagement

Instagram stories, and other features on different social apps, allow businesses to interact and engage with their audience. Social media platforms are essentially another customer service front and can’t be ignored by businesses that want to operate in the digital space. Consumers not only want to see images of the latest products, but they also want to see the real side of brands: aspects of what happens behind the scenes, insight to the lives and personas of owners, and interactive Q&A sessions with the founders. A day in a life posts are also quite attractive, and is finessed by Kuwaiti social influencer and entrepreneur Ascia Al Faraj. One-minute videos of how her day is spent, and how she is managing her beauty business have traction.

Digital marketing in 2020 will likely be more focused and transparent, set to see additional engagement between businesses and their audience.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi

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