2020 is a big year for both us and the digital world. As an agency, we’re celebrating an incredible 20 years since Cite formed and to commemorate this momentous milestone, we’ll be going back in time (watch this space). But for now, this blog is about looking ahead. My name is Charlie, I’m a Digital Marketing Executive at Cite and after speaking to a few members of our Client Services team – we’ve set some digital predictions for 2020. 

Moving forward with voice

Firstly I asked Simon, our Client Services Director, on what he believed will be big next year. For him, it’s all about voice search – not just with physical assistants but across the digital ecosystem.

“It would be great to see the technology put to use for the wider good – the tie in between Amazon and the RNIB is a nice start. There’ll be lots of similar uses out there that companies can make use of to benefit their users.”

Simon pointed me in the direction of this pretty bold statement: by 2020, 30% of web browsing will be screenless. Personally, I’m a big fan of voice assistants, there are five Amazon Echo devices where I live – connecting the home and making it smart. I also regularly use voice search on my smartphone. And I’m clearly not the only one. Globally, smart speaker shipments grew almost 200% YoY in Q3 of 2018 and in a recent survey 34% of people who currently don’t own a voice assistant are interested in purchasing one. We’re all a part of these statistics, we even have a Google Home at Cite!

More child-friendly platforms

Next, I sat down with Ryan, our Search and Paid Advertising specialist, he made a prediction I wasn’t particularly expecting. Rather than discussing an advertising trend, he explained that “social platforms are finally admitting that they can’t feasibly protect all children, so we’ll see more channels designed just for under-13’s in the coming years.” Which, in short, is pretty true.

When it comes to children’s entertainment and social media, there seems to be a huge push over recent years. YouTube’s kid-friendly platform has been knocking around for roughly five years, with the additional release of a web-version this year in the midst of child privacy concerns. We’ve also seen Facebook create Messenger Kids, giving children a place to communicate without overwhelming or exposing them to the (often) intense nature of social media.

Marketing, straight to their inbox 

Then it was over to Ravi, one of our account managers. It’s no secret that private messaging is rapidly growing for advertisers and he is fully aware of this. Whilst email marketing remains effective, private messaging channels and apps (like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp) have become a prime way to reach customers in 2019. And Ravi reckons this will expand in 2020. Simply because it gives brands a personalised, humanised and meaningful way to communicate with their audience. 

In my case, I have ended up subscribing to multiple automatic WhatsApp accounts, including agencies, brands and even bands. When something happens, I get a message – straight into my inbox. 

“I haven’t really used WhatsApp much, mostly because of the age demographic I fall into, but it has been a useful new way to get updates recently. I find it easier, living a busy life, to read an easily-digestible message than having to open a long-winded email.”  – Charlie

WhatsApp alone has over 1.5 billion active monthly users, why wouldn’t you want to tap into such a large audience?

Update: 16/12/19 – WhatsApp are now banning bulk-messaging, but there are other ways to market via inboxes through display advertising.

Say ‘Bot?’

Over the past few years, chat bots have been thrown around as this big-new-thing. However, only a handful of brands/businesses are really investing in the technology. This should and will change next year says our account manager Stephen.

When members of the team and I attended Leicester Digital Live, the talk from Jim Rowe on chatbots was a favourite. It opened our eyes to the immense possibilities that could be achieved. 20 years ago, completing a purchase with no human interaction through a social platform was not even fathomable. Stephen says “we’re having an increasing number of conversations with clients about potential uses for this technology.”

Disrupting industries with social commerce

And last but not least, my own prediction. Let me start by saying that throughout 2019, we’ve seen immense changes across social media but one of the most meaningful developments is the introduction of social commerce – primarily with Instagram leading the way, introducing Instagram Shopping and trialling in-app checkouts. My 2020 prediction; social shopping is set to boom. 

This new phase of social media, built around commerce, first hit home when listening to a Social Minds podcast, after a discussion about the death of traditional websites. 

In 2020, I can see in-app checkouts and a more complete buying process being rolled out alongside a bunch of other actionable commerce abilities on Instagram. We’ve already seen small additions like the ‘donate’ tag on Stories, it’s all about integrating buying-functionality throughout the app in the right ways – so we don’t have to leave for other services. On Instagram alone, we can now book a holiday. Or, sell our old stuff to friends and family. And I haven’t even touched on all of the things Facebook is doing on their app. 

The way businesses decide to respond and adapt to these new changes could be make-or-break. Social commerce is actively disrupting, restructuring and creating entire industries.

So, that’s a wrap. We’ll keep you posted on new trends via Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram

Looking to kick-start your 2020 strategy with a fresh new approach? We’re helping brands, across multiple industries, to succeed online – think of us as your very own digital department or extended team. Get in touch now.