5 Digital Marketing Changes That You Need To Be Ready For In 2020
Digital marketing will change drastically this year and, sadly, a lot of marketers aren’t going to like most of the changes.
Every year, marketing gets more competitive and more expensive. That’s just a fact that most of us have learned to live with.
Google is the only company that seems to be making more and more money every year, and their annual revenue just keeps going up!
But I digress…
One of the major reasons why we are seeing such a huge change in digital marketing has to do with the adoption of innovative technologies. Another reason is that the Internet is quickly becoming saturated.
Right now there are almost 2 billion websites online. That means that there is one website for every four people on earth!
Now that you know some of the reasons why we’re experiencing such massive shifts in digital marketing, it’s time to take a look at how digital marketing is actually going to change the way we do things in 2020.
1. A New Take on Search Engine Optimization
This is going to be one of the most drastic changes that will take place this year.
Most marketers are going to hate it, but SEO is now moving toward voice search. This means that SEO simply won’t look the same. In the past year, only about two out of every five adults used voice search at least once a day.
But, in 2020, it’s estimated that over half of all searches will be through voice search. And this isn’t just going to be people talking into their laptop or cellphone microphones.
30% of web browsing isn’t even going to take place on devices with screens!
People are going to be using Google Home, Alexa, and similar devices more often to search online. Voice search is one of those topics that marketers wish didn’t exist, but we’ve come to a point where none of us can ignore it anymore.
The reason is that being on the first page of Google doesn’t mean anything when you consider voice search. Google’s either going to pull content from your site or they won’t.
It’s as simple as that.
Also, voice search has much lower conversions because users aren’t going to your site. Google just gives them the answer that they are searching for.
This is how it is – at least until we, as marketers, can figure out a way to solve this. But, rather than viewing voice search in a bad light, try to think of it this way:
Most marketers aren’t going to be prepared for it, which means that it’s your chance to gain a lead on your competition.
Make sure you gobble up all the traffic before the entire market shifts to using voice. In future articles, we are going to take a look at how you can maximize the traffic you get from voice search.
2. Even More Complex Algorithm Updates
In 2018, there were a total of 12 updates, and although that sounds like a lot, it actually isn’t. The year before that saw 13 updates being released, and there were 11 in 2016.
This means that Google has been rolling out 12 updates every year, on average. Keep in mind that these figures combine both confirmed and ‘unconfirmed’ updates.
Taking a look at some of the older updates, Google’s Panda 4.2 in July 2015 was hated by a great many marketers, but it wasn’t that bad.
All the search giant did was to get rid of the majority of spammy sites that had low-quality content online.
They were trying to avoid ranking websites that had tons of 300-word posts on their blogs – most of them duplicate content. No one could blame them for that.
And the Google Penguin 4.0 update that came in September 2016?
If you had spammy links, instead of penalizing you, Google would simply devalue those links. This means that if you were into shady practices like buying a lot of backlinks and you got caught, instead of your entire site getting banned, those links would simply be devalued instead.
Looking at the latest algorithm updates, it’s easy to see that they are now even more complex and a lot harder for even the most tech-savvy marketers to beat.
That’s because technology is evolving so fast. Search engines no longer have to only look at metrics such as content and backlink counts to determine if your site ranks well.
Now they can look at a wide variety of user metrics including the following:
If users are spending more time on your website than on the other ranked sites on the search engines
If people are bouncing off your website and going back to the search engine listing page
If your brand queries are increasing over time
If people find your website appealing (if your click-through rate is higher)
In order to beat Google and the other search engines, you’re going to have to change your mindset. You have to accept that it’s no longer a question of understanding Google, but one of understanding Google’s users.
The goal of Google is simple:
To find the websites that users love more than the rest, and rank them at the top of the search engine results pages.
By doing so, they make it more likely that their users will keep coming back and using their service, which increases their overall revenue.
If you were to put yourself in the users’ shoes, you’d have a much easier time of this.
Your first step would be to realize that whenever someone conducts a search for a particular keyword, they are not just performing a simple search, they are looking for an actual solution to a specific problem that they have.
When you can understand the INTENT behind their search, then you will be more likely to effectively solve all of their problems.
There are tools that you can use to help you with this, including Ubersuggest, which shows you the long tail phrases that people are searching for. This is a simple way of finding out all about the problems they’re trying to solve.
Once you have this information, you’re now able to create the absolute best experiences, products, and services that your audience will love.
This is a great way of making your website continually rank well, even as the algorithms get increasingly complex!
3. Building on Multiple Channels
You’re probably familiar with Dropbox, a company that is worth many billions of dollars.
You most likely have it installed on your device. When Dropbox first came out, their strategy for acquiring new customers was to use Google AdWords and it cost them between $200 - $300 for each new customer!
And yet, Dropbox only costs about $60 a year, which means that the math simply didn’t work out.
Who pays $300 to get a customer who’s only going to pay them a fifth of that amount? And even when those customers pay that $60, it’s not pure profit.
That’s why the company decided to use growth hacking instead.
Now, Dropbox gives you more free space the more people you invite to use their services. That is an amazing example of growth hacking – and that’s how they became a multi-billion-dollar business.
These days, if you designed an invite flow like that one to grow your company, it just wouldn’t work that well. That’s because you can no longer build companies using a single channel the ways that Dropbox did.
And do you recall how Facebook did it?
Whenever you signed up, they would send an email to each and every contact on your list, inviting them to check Facebook out (even if you didn’t particularly want them to…)
That single channel was responsible for growing Facebook into the multi-hundred-billion-dollar business that it is today.
These days, if you receive an email from a friend inviting you to join some new social network, you’d probably ignore it, right?
Again, this proves the point that you can no longer build big businesses by leveraging a single marketing channel.
But what exactly does this mean for you, as a marketer?
First, the most popular, profitable marketing channels get saturated really quickly, and you will definitely have tons of competition.
Because of that, you have to leverage as many channels as you can if you want to see real results in the long run.
If you’re using a single channel, you won’t be able to compete in today’s marketing arena – let alone grow your business.
Using multiple channels also has the advantage that if something happens to any of your channels (like an algorithm change, or social media ban), your business won’t be affected too much thanks to your diversification.
So, even if you absolutely adore a particular form of marketing, don’t rely on it. It’s vital for your long-term success to adopt an omnichannel approach to your business marketing.
4. Bloggers Will Have To Work A LOT Harder!
As previously mentioned, the web is now saturated.
There are just too many websites. There are almost 2 billion sites, and more being created every day! Of course, a major portion of those sites online are dormant and they don’t get updated.
But, out of that 2 billion, almost half are blogs. This means 1 out of every 7 people on the planet has a blog.
When I first got online more than two decades ago, there weren’t so many people online building sites or producing content.
The number of people using Google wasn’t that high, either.
But, Google loved content anyway (mostly because they didn’t have enough of it in their index…) and that’s how everyone started saying that ‘content is king’, because Google would rank you due to the one simple fact that you were producing high-quality articles.
But, in time, Google obviously no longer had a content shortage.
In fact, they now had too much content to choose from. That’s why now they can actually afford to be so picky about which sites to rank or not. It’s no longer about backlinks or even optimizing your website’s on-page code.
These days it’s all about providing the best experience for the end users.
This means, for instance, that the great and powerful Google will rank fresh content over regurgitated content. If you’re writing about stuff that dozens of other bloggers have already written about, then you’d better make sure that you put one heck of a unique spin on it otherwise, Google will simply ignore your content.
It’s going to take a lot more work to get Google to notice your content this year than ever before.
5. More Focus on New Content Types and New Search Engines
We’ve already established that content which is text-based is saturated. You could spend months, and even years trying to get your content ranked.
But there’s another form of search engine optimization that you could use to get results very quickly.
In fact, you could see results within just a few days! This means that on this search engine, you could rank at the very top, and get actual traffic from those rankings.
Can you guess what that search engine is?
That’s right, YouTube!
If you’re only relying on Google for traffic, then you’re missing out on a lot of potential visitors to your site. YouTube search can be big for your traffic generation efforts, depending on the niche you’re in. And on that channel, you won’t get nearly as much competition as on Google.
If you have a podcast, it’s also much easier to optimize for the iTunes store.
The bottom line is that you shouldn’t simply focus all your marketing efforts on Google. Find some of the less saturated forms of content (such as video and audio) and optimize for the less commonly used search engines like iTunes and YouTube instead of focusing only on text.
A lot of experts are predicting that 2020 is going to be one heck of a crazy year, as far as marketing is concerned.
They are convinced that what worked before will become null and void in the new year as technology continues to become more sophisticated, and with the advent of things like AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning.
But don’t be afraid!
As long as you continue to learn and adapt, and if you take the concepts that you learned here and start working on each of them right now, your ride will be much smoother in 2020 and beyond.
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Updated: Originally published January 21st 2019