Digital Marketing Trends 2020

Advertising, Social Media, Website & UX

By Sharanya Venkatesh on 11/19/2019

Welcome to your essential guide on what Digital Marketing Trends to watch out for in 2020 !

Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving. Some trends are just that- trends, they get a lot of play but don’t end up affecting the industry. While others are able to make a lasting impact. In our Digital Marketing Trends 2020 round-up, we will focus on these sustainable trends. You may have heard of them before, but we will discuss how they impact your marketing efforts in 2020.

We’ve researched widely reported trends to compile an effective list of the Top 8 Digital Marketing Trends that you will need to incorporate into your strategy in 2020:



Social platforms with a specific purpose (e.g. TikTok, LinkedIn) and tools such as podcasts have received increasing attention in 2019. They are likely to continue their growth trend in 2020. The momentum of TikTok is huge, considering the user expansion in comparison to Instagram or Snapchat (see image). Other platforms to watch out for are LinkedIn, which has developed to be far more than a mere job portal. Similarly, Pinterest that stacked-up its advertising options throughout 2019. Facebook’s last anchor, Instagram, is likely to continue its commercialization.

Digital Marketing Trends in 2020 for social media platforms

The rapid growth of TikTok compared to Instagram and Snapchat.

What this means for you: Detailed Planning & Optimization
Since the social media landscape is changing more rapidly than expected, brands should carefully research both new channels to explore (such TikTok for younger audiences) and new forms of advertising on existing channels such as Instagram (Shopping functions, Ads in stories, etc.). This means you can now have a more targeted social media strategy that reaches a niche audience on each platform. Further, the ongoing commercialization of the landscape may add pressure to increase your social advertising budget. While this may be the case, we still recommend that you optimize your organic efforts first.



Mobile usage proliferates further in 2020-  traffic from mobile devices accounts for over 50%  of internet usage worldwide. Therefore, most online platforms are flooded with vertical videos. These videos have up to 70% lower costs per view compared to square videos. The introduction of 5G will enhance this development strongly as users will be able to use video and live functions to stream from nearly anywhere at any time.

Messenger platforms will also become invaluable for marketers: First, customers prefer live chat (41%) over e.g. phone (32%) or e-mail (23%). Second, the global usage reached a tremendous figure in 2019- 1.6 billion on Facebook Messenger and 1.3 on Whatsapp. Moreover, messenger marketing can yield open rates of up to 80%.

What this means for you: Greater Integration & Reduced Costs 
Despite the promising statistics above, these tools are still under-utilized by marketers. We typically advise brands to adapt their content by integrating more vertical videos, social media “stories” and live content on their channels. This is a great way to reduce production costs while increasing engagement.

We often recommend integrating chatbots into your customer service. predicts that 85% of all customer interactions will the without humans by 2020. The time to make the shift is now! 



Personalization moves from a trend to a necessity in 2020. Every touchpoint needs to make a customer feel recognized and well-received. This means that there is a greater dependence on not only data-collection but also a system of integration.

With greater data comes greater responsibility, of course. Your customers know that you have data about them. But, how you protect their privacy is going to be a prime factor in 2020.

What this means for you: Integrated Insights
For example, if you’re in the retail clothing business- you will need to recognize a customer’s preferences whether they interact with you on your website or in a retail store. This means that the data you have has to be accessible at all levels- from your analytics teams to people on your retail floor. With GDPR in Europe, other regions may follow suit. This means that you will have to seek customer permission to collect data, be transparent in the way you store and use it. Lastly, you will have to have data security and privacy protection measures that at the very least match industry standard requirements.



With the rise of programmatic advertising, more and more marketers are able to save time by relying on AI software to purchase ads for them. As a result, they can focus their decision making on the more strategic aspects of advertising. In addition to personalization, the next mobile generation- 5G will allow even more ads to flood the internet. This will lead to the ongoing pattern of greater clutter in the marketing landscape in 2020.

The industry will also be affected by blockchain and the so-called “Ads.txt” software. These are programmatic tools to help combat fraud advertisements. Lastly, out-of-home as well as TV advertising will allow for more and more programmatic structures.

What this means for you: Speed & Accuracy
Brands can benefit from programmatic advertising by making their processes more efficient. For instance, if you are in the FMCG market, online ads on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon can be driven by programmatic advertising. Ads can be steered automatically to leverage the in-built algorithm of the platform on which they are run. In this way, you can improve your bidding for ads based on your budget and resources.



Marketers are used to segmenting customers based on demographic or psychographic factors. These will still be effective techniques. However, segmentation will also need to be driven by a third dimension in 2020. This dimension is the customer journey.

If you think about it, you cannot have the same communication strategy for a new customer as you would for customers who are your superfans. In an ideal journey, customers go from the consideration stage to purchase to repurchase to becoming advocates for your brand. However, a lot of times customers can churn at any given stage. 

What this means for you: Better Lifetime Value (LTV)
Understanding what stage customers are in and tailoring communication to them will help improve retention. For instance, if you understand which customers are advocates, you can incentivize them to refer you to their peers. On the other hand, if customers have missed a purchase at an expected interval, you will need to ensure that you offer them information or a compelling offer for them to stay with you. Over time, focusing on customers at every stage of the journey will help you develop these into long-term relationships thereby increasing customer LTV.



Thought Leadership has been a big driver in content marketing. Digital Marketing in 2020 means moving past thought leadership into the territory of digital expertise. Thought leaders are industry experts that high-level and therefore seem inaccessible to the end-customer. 

A digital expert, however, is within reach. Imagine having a digital expert who chats you through your online shopping experience. Alternately, the expert can guide you through a process such as setting up your home garden for the first time. Digital expertise ranges from chatbots to influencers to one-on-one coaches.

What this means for you: Scalability
This 2020 digital marketing trend allows you to make one-on-one customer interactions much more scalable. Chatbots are of course, limited in the personalized, customer service they can deliver. But, hiring experts who can answer customer questions in real-time makes your customers feel valued. For instance, let’s say you offer a very trendy piece of clothing on your website. When a customer sees this, they may have questions on what contexts it may appropriate to wear this in. They may also need guidance on how to pair them with other clothes or accessories. This expert can provide suggestions and make a case for them to purchase the item while they are in the consideration stage.



Artificial Intelligence is increasingly used by marketers in congruence with customer data. These resources together can help them anticipate next steps in their customers’ journeys. In 2020, if you want to know what your customer is doing next, start by analyzing his past. Look into behavior such as purchases or search queries. 


Due to AI, obtaining and analyzing customer data will become more efficient in 2020.

What this means for you: Greater Reach Combined with Greater Responsibility
As we noted earlier, you have to make sure you stay within the confines of privacy laws when it comes to using AI & data. Always ask for consent and deliver transparency. On the bright side, using AI offers companies several tools to enhance target marketing. Marketers can optimize the time of delivering an advertising message or offer personalized product recommendations. Over time, ML (Machine Learning) can learn your customers’ preferences so that your campaigns become more and more refined and personalized.



In 2020, if you are not measuring the outcome of every marketing effort, you are behind the times. With the increase of martech resources such as data, AI, and machine learning, it has become not only necessary but also easier to build metrics around campaigns.

Marketing technology will offer avenues for companies to get quantified results on everything from SEO to social media marketing to in-store interactions with your sales staff. 

What this means for you: Benchmarking & Measurement
Every interaction produces a data-point. Collating and analyzing these data points over time reveals patterns in consumer behavior and allows for companies to predict behavior. For instance, if you are a large university, you can analyze applicant data over time to predict whether a certain applicant will accept a place in a program. Similarly, it can help you predict which alumni will be the most connected to you in the future. Measurement also enables you to create benchmarks, set goals and chart your progress over time. If your email campaign has a 6% open rate on average, you can introduce AI to deliver emails at different times to customers. When you do this, you can compare your open rate to the average to see how much of an impact your strategy has made.


We hope that our Digital Marketing Trends 2020 and more importantly their applications have given you a roadmap for setting yourself up for success in the coming year. If you want to keep up with the latest in digital trends, subscribe Watersky Digital’s newsletter.

Find our Digital Marketing Trends of 2019 here.

We wish you a successful start into 2020!
See you next time.

Best digital regards,