Chief Marketing Officer News (CMO)
10 mins read

A Paradigm Shift: The Biggest Marketing Trends Shaping the Industry in 2020

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

A few short decades ago, marketing trends followed a one size fits all approach. Brands could get away with presenting a single message to all of their customers, regardless of who they were.

Why? They had a captive audience. TV reigned supreme and there was no pausing, skipping, or dismissing that ad after five seconds of play.

Not any more.

In 2019, the customer is very much in control. The digital market may be saturated and extremely competitive, but those little “x” and “skip” buttons are always there and it’s easier than ever to install an ad blocker – in fact, 30% of all Americans are using one right now.

So how can you get ahead of the marketing game in 2019 and beyond?

Give your customers more of what they want.

Nowadays, advertising needs to work with the customer, their desires, interests and browsing habits. It needs to fit seamlessly into the rest of their life and identity.

Be on the cutting edge of the industry by learning about and following these 12 growing digital marketing trends for 2019 and beyond.

1. Artificial Intelligence Is Enabling Smart Automation

People are pretty negative about AI and automation lately, but it presents data-driven marketingopportunities that have never been seen before.

There are two ways AI is most useful right now within 2019 digital marketing trends. These are: analysis and action.

By using in-depth analysis of customer behavior, search patterns, interactions and more, you can gain a deeper understanding of what your customers want.

Current market trends put this into action by using AI-based technologies to automate your processes and personalize your marketing.

Some great applications include:

  • Propensity modeling – using analysis of past behavior to predict future behavior
  • Retargeting – using data about customers who clicked away from your checkout without making a purchase to recapture their interest via social media ads
  • Predictive analysis – a combination of statistical data combined with individual customer data to predict outcomes

Many of the items on this list are siblings of AI, so a combined approach is often necessary. The more your analysis is spot on, the more automation is possible which can save you time and money on your marketing budget.

2. ChatBots Aren’t Going Anywhere

ChatBots are part of AI, but they deserve their own item on this list for multiple reasons.

They’ve come a long way in the past few years, having once been clunky interactions that people used for research purposes or for fun (remember Godbot?), they’re now one of the most promising trends in marketing.

Gartner research suggests that a quarter of all customer service will be using chatbots by 2020, up from 2% in 2017. 80% of all businesses overall will be using them.

Some of the advantages of chatbots for your business:

  • Talk to customers at any time, day or night
  • Chatbots never lose patience or forget things
  • Answer questions quickly
  • Automation of repetitive, simple tasks

A great example of integrating chatbots with customer service is from Sephora, who allow customers to reserve beauty appointments with their Reservation Assistant. Whole Foods lets you search for recipes via their chatbot and both Lyft and Uber have integrated them for booking rides.

3. Personalized Marketing Is Creating Ultra-Shareable Content

In an age when people’s attention spans are short, personalized marketing is an excellent way to grab attention.

Some brands have taken this literally, and started using customers’ first names in advertising. Vimto did this by running ads before streaming TV services integrating a customer’s name, though it did involve the customer typing their name in first.

Coca-Cola’s “Share A Coke” campaign found a creative way around this by producing bottles with over 800 first names on them. It wasn’t personalized, but it was so highly shareable that the power of user generated content filled in the gaps.

Research shows that we respond to our names much more than other sounds, so perhaps they’re onto something. However, personalization need not be this blatant.

Good personalized advertising feels relevant but not invasive. A Saatchi & Saatchi campaign for Toyota got it right by matching customer data for over 1,000 different interests to provide different versions of the same ad, telling their brand story in a unique way for each customer.

A great way of integrating personalization is with Pay Per Click marketing, which allows you to filter via demographics like device, interests, age, background and more to hone your target audience.

4. Video Content Is Driving Visual SEO In 2019 Digital Marketing

Whilst Google’s algorithm is now favoring long-form written content, this only counts once someone has clicked on your page. When it comes to getting those clickthroughs and reducing bounce rates, video is on the rise as a highly effective strategy in current marketing trends.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that using video effectively simply involves embedding interest content via a video player on your site.

Does this have its place? Of course it does. YouTube is still the second biggest search engine in the world, after all. But video content also means everything from animated header images for your landing page to gifs, looping graphics and animated elements. Just including some movement on your page can really bring it to life.

Here are a few useful hints:

  • Use subtitles for your videos – most people will watch them silently on social media
  • Share! Embed your videos on Twitter, Facebook and in your social messaging marketing
  • Repurpose, but know when to stop (nobody wants to see the same content over and over again)
  • Use autoplay only on silent, or not at all

Optimizing your video content can maximize your SEO, so make the most of it!

5. Social Messaging Apps Are Providing Optimized Customer Service

Social messaging apps include apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat – all of which have more combined users than YouTube or Facebook.

SMS marketing has been around for a long time and social messaging apps are now following suit. It’s now possible to market directly to users of social messaging apps via automated (or not automated – it’s up to you) messages straight to their inbox.

To get an idea of the reach of this, consider these stats:

  • Facebook Messenger has 1.3 billion users per month
  • WhatsApp has the same amount of users per day
  • 55 billion messages are sent per day via WhatsApp

If someone likes your Facebook page for a product, event or service, you can send them automated messages about it via Facebook Messenger.

However, there is good evidence that customers will engage with brands proactively as well. Sephora took advantage of prom season to allow young customers to view beauty tutorials by chatting to one of their chatbots on Kik, leading to over 600k interactions with the chatbot and further engagement with their other online and social media platforms.

6. Micro-Influencers Are Changing The Face Of Influencer Marketing In 2019

According to BrizFeel, more than 50% of social media users say that they follow some kind of influencer or celebrity.

Over 90% of marketers also say that they’ve found influencer marketing effective.

However, customers are wise to IM now. There’s evidence that trust in social media influencers is diminishing and the strategy is becoming less effective – at least if marketers follow the same trends that worked five years ago.

What will influencer marketing look like in 2019 and the next few years?

Digital marketers are starting to see the advantages of a layered approach. Targeting influencers at all levels can help you to reach a much broader range of customers than only going for the top influencer. With this, we’re seeing the rise of micro-influencers – those with between 10,000 and 50,000 followers.

A brand that used micro-influencer marketing to great success was Saladworks, who launched their first chain in Atlanta, Georgia by using 16 paid and unpaid micro-influencers who contributed images, Instagram stories and coupon codes to raise awareness of Saladworks’ new menu items. They reached over 380k followers.

7. User Generated Content (UGC) Is Driving Brand Engagement

UGC is any content that users upload, such as selfies, videos and vlogs, and written content (e.g. reviews, blog articles, testimonials).

Used properly, it’s a hugely powerful inbound marketing tool that can drive a 73% increase in email clickthrough rates and a 50% rise in engagement across social media campaigns. 

When a customer interacts with a hashtag, that’s UGC. When they post a review or vlog about your product, that’s another example.

The reasons for the rise of UGC are similar to the popularity of influencer marketing: it builds trust for the brand based on evidence from real people. UGC is IM’s slightly less polished younger sibling, as the people making content for you will be regular people who aren’t paid to endorse you.

However, this has its own advantages. A combination of IM and UGC can be an excellent strategy for businesses that want to maximize their appeal to customers.

This doesn’t mean you can’t offer incentives, however – in fact, this is one of the best ways to launch a successful, sustainable UGC campaign!

An example of great UGC was National Geographic’s Wanderlust competition, which showed how this is one of the most powerful trends in marketing. The competition invited users to submit photos under a hashtag for the chance to win a photo expedition to Yosemite National Park and generated 63K posts on Instagram.

8. Visual Search Is Taking Over Digital Marketing in 2019

In 2011, Google Image Search introduced its reverse image search function. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it allows users to upload an image and search for similar ones online.

Since then, businesses have realized the huge potential for advertising and current marketing trends are moving in the direction of favoring visual search options.

Some excellent examples of visual search in new market trends include:

Pinterest Lens

This allows customers to take a picture of an item to find where. to buy it online. They can also find pinboards with similar and related items.

Google Lens

Using AI, Google Lens applies descriptive labels to objects that a customer has snapped with their phone, including buildings and landmarks, famous paintings, books and business cards.

It goes further than that. Customers can also look up book reviews by scanning the cover of a book, or save contacts from a business card by scanning the card with the app.


A similar concept to Google Lens, CamFind labels things that customers take photos of.

A great piece of marketing integration for this app is that users can take a photo of a movie poster and CamFind will provide information on ticket prices, local showings and reviews.

9. Voice Search Is Growing More Competitive For Digital Marketing

With the popularity of Alexa and Google Assistant, marketers are becoming aware of the need to brush up on their knowledge of voice-based SEO and the differences between this and text based search.

Voice search is more competitive than text-based search, as the assistant usually only gives the customer a single result.

Nevertheless 20% of Google mobile searches are voice-based, and as customers use their phones more and more, this is only set to increase. It’s predicted that half of all searches will be voice searches by 2020, so this will be one of the biggest 2019 trends in digital marketing.

What does this mean for brands?

Soon, brands will be able to purchase ad space on Alexa and Google Assistant and will start producing their own audio content to integrate with these assistants. 

Embrace these visual marketing trends now and you could gain a significant edge over your competitors.

10. Brands Are Embracing Transparency To Build Trust

Transparency as a marketing method might seem like an odd concept, but with a saturated market comes mistrust. There are thousands of businesses doing the same thing as you, so how can you stand out?

One way that brands can build trust with their customers is to be more transparent about what they’re doing and showing the customers “behind the curtain” of their brand.

Some ways to do this include:

  • Sharing your mission in your brand story (beyond making profits)
  • Talking about your commitments to the environment or ethical supply chains and what you’re doing to make sure you’re on top of these
  • Sharing your team’s experiences on blogs, vlogs and social media posts

By showing your customers the human face of your organization, you can generate warmth towards your brand.

11. UX Optimization Is Everything

In the early 2000s, having a well-designed website was enough to give you an edge over competitors. In the age of scrolling text bars, flashing graphics and ugly menu design, anything that looked slick and modern was a plus.

Now, it’s easy for anyone to design a passable website in a relatively short period of time. A professional website is a must, but this alone won’t convince customers to stay on your site.

What makes the difference is the user experience. One of the top digital marketing trends for 2019 is to focus on your UX.

Elements of UX include:

  • Loading speed of your website
  • Menu design and placement
  • The balance of information on your landing page

How can you improve all of these things?

It’s sometimes difficult to get into the mindset of a customer when you’re familiar with all of your own content. You can hire someone to do a website audit and/or use tools like Optimizely or Monetate to do an A/B split test. Keep honing your content down to what is most effective.

12. Augmented Reality Is Providing New Uses For Existing Tech

Augmented reality in is exploding as a new digital marketing trend in 2019, and for good reason. Facebook has recently changed its algorithm to favor person-to-person interaction rather than business posts, giving marketers an incentive to offer users a great experience that they will want to engage in and share.

Augmented reality is a close cousin of virtual reality, but has a significant advantage in that it doesn’t require any special equipment or software.

Some great examples of AR in marketing include Home Depot’s app that allows customers to see how a paint color looks on their wall, or Timberland’s virtual fitting room.

What these have in common is that they provide real value to the customer rather than just being a gimmick. Follow the same principles for your brand and you can benefit from one of the best new digital marketing trends of 2019.

Action These Top 2019 Marketing Trends For Maximum Results

With customers having more and more control over the media they consume, marketers are needing to be more tuned-in than ever before to the mindset of the customer and what they want.

Now that you know the top new marketing trends for 2019, where do you go from here?

If you’re not sure how to take action, see some of our case studies for examples of how we’ve helped businesses like yours grow. 

Book a free consultation with us today and start seeing those numbers climb!

Questions? Comments? Ideas! We’d love to hear from you! do not hesitate to drop us a note 😊

Eveline Smet

Founder & Growth Strategist

Eveline is our founder and the one who eats strategy for breakfast. She is in charge of budgets, KPI’s and growth plans. During her high school years, Eveline was wearing baggy pants and listening to 2PAC & Biggy. We have proof. Just ask. If you ever catch her looking off into the distance, it’s either because she wants to order sushi or she’s hungry thinking of ways to increase your profit. She’s also the biggest victim of marketing. But the biggest office sweetheart.

More content like this?

Sign up to receive first dibs on guides, sales, exclusive content, events and more!

Related Resources

You might also like