Digital MarketingSEO

20 Hottest Digital Marketing Trends to Watch Out for in 2020

hottest digital marketing trends - 2020

A drastic change has been observed in the last few years, whole digital marketing strategies evolved. As 2020 is approaching the digital marketers started picking up the right pace to get ready for new strategic updates. You can no longer ignore these digital marketing trends going into 2020. This high-tech digital marketing era considering artificial intelligence, machine learning, social media automation, marketing automation, programmatic advertising, and a lot more.

So, let’s discuss 20 key digital marketing trends you should watch out in going into 2020:

Search Engine Optimization Trends to Focus on

SEO is the foremost part of digital marketing and yet remains a mystery for digital marketers as one can’t get enough of it. Just when you think you’ve made the right strategy for your SEO, Google updates the algorithm. Such situations demand that you consider a few ground rules to prepare yourself for the upcoming trends.

Google shopping, which was a free service earlier, is now a paid feature since Google began commercializing its searches and results. The top search engine spots were organic, now again it’s paid. Unaware of this transition, Google’s audience continues to stick to the top results.

You have to be extremely agile in picking up the plan to stay ahead of the competition.

seo-trends-2020 - SEM Updates

Do you know what’s coming up?

Google receives over 63,000 searches per second on any given day. That’s the average figure of how many people use Google a day, which translates to at least 2 trillion searches per year, 3.8 million searches per minute, 228 million searches per hour, and 5.6 billion searches per day.

Google updates its algorithm almost every day without any prior announcement or notice. This makes it very difficult for digital marketers to cope up with the fluctuating (can consider using dynamic in place of fluctuating) SEO updates. Google enhances its search results every now and then. ML-based pattern analysis probes the search queries to answer in a particular manner.

Have you noticed that if you look something up on Google in the form of a question, it throws up a featured snippet? In the same manner, it gives a precise list of tools if you look for a list. It uses featured snippets to enhance its results if you try to pull up specific names or stats.

Those days are long gone when you would optimize the sites for keywords and make necessary arrangements to tailor the page according to those keywords. The smart, AI-powered search engine now analyses the site with respect to the nature of particular search terms and organizes the search results to provide the most relevant information on SERP.

Some major digital marketing trends you should be ready for in 2020:

So, Let’s discuss each of the trends in detail.

#1 Blockchain in Search Engine Advertising

Isn’t it amazing that advertisers can directly connect with publishers to advertise the brand and pay them fairly! Yes, it could happen with blockchain technology. Blockchain evolving the way people were doing the advertisements lately.

In programmatic advertising, blockchain going to play a major role in next quarter. Big firms already working making it happen. A lot of blockchain developers are implementing the applications and blocks to increase the efficiency of payment systems in the advertising and publishing industries.

blockchain in digital marketing - SEM updates


Blockchain brings transparency, reduces the extra cost or commission to the platform and increases the profits through search engine marketing or advertising.


Source: economictimes

#2 Artificial Intelligence in Customer Engagement

AI-powered tools will be supporting customer engagement with the help of virtual assistants, automated calls, customer feedback analysis, audience behavior analysis, helping customers providing the required information for better customer experience.

AI-tools are automating the campaigns based on past trends and helping digital marketers making the right decisions. Generating helpful customer insights and giving the right support is the value AI-tools bringing to an organization.

AI bots – Chatbots going to take place instead of human interaction with customers for each and every query. Tools like Acquire’s AI chatbot

AI Analytics – Analyzing the customer data and making the insights to help marketers in campaign planning and strategy building like,

#3 Machine Learning in Digital Marketing Strategy

The days are gone when digital marketers were sitting and analyzing a huge collection of data and reports to develop the right marketing strategy. Now, machine learning brings a change in analysis and reporting. ML-powered tools will help with generating the right insights based on the customer’s data and testing new strategies to define the failure or success of any campaign. Some major areas where ML playing a big role:

  • Better search engine results – Question answers, featured snippets, lists, videos, etc.
  • Lead scoring – Analyzing the consumer touch-points and assessing the lead quality
  • Data analysis and reporting – Campaign recommendation based on the data
  • Trends analysis – Analysis of the past data and generating insights for decision making.
  • Natural language processing – Sentiment analysis
  • Content personalization & recommendation – Syndicating the right content to the right audience for better engagement.
  • Customer servicing – Studies indicate, that 57% of major executives believe this is the area where machine learning can be most beneficial.

Machine learning in digital marketing


Even different marketing & advertising platforms already started exploring the opportunities to implement machine learning on their channels. Like Google searches are now smarter and accurate, the search engine now understands the nature of the query and gives the desired results for better engagement. The ML-powered engines are now working on their algorithms to provide better data and insights.

#4 Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) Advertising

If you have recently noticing 3d advertisements are going viral on the internet and the advertisers are enjoying the attention to these new advertising strategies.

AR-VR in digital marketing

Recently Coca-Cola came up with the augmented reality campaign. In this campaign they used animated AR stories for branding

#5 Visual Search or QR Code Technology

By using the visual recognition technology and smart image processing market players like Google Lens, Pinterest, Snapchat Filters, Samsung’s Bixby Vision, bringing a huge transformation in the traditional way of digital marketing.

Google lens - visual search optimization

Visual searches are very common these days, but now the bigger challenge is how you will leverage this technology to build your brand and drive traffic to your website. Now even your camera could work as a search bar for your search queries.

Now companies using this technology to leverage their paid campaigns and website traffic. Like Google image search, Bing visual searches are driving huge traffic to the sites by using image recognition technology.

#6 Security Compliance to Protect Customer data

GDPR, CCPA, and other security compliance are making online data safe and secure to use. Now marketers can’t misuse the audience data for black hat digital marketing techniques. They can’t capture the behavioral data without consent.

GDPR in marketing

The regulatory authorities are now taking more precautionary actions and initiatives to secure the data available online. Now you can’t just buy and sell the customer data without their concern. A lot of compliance is coming the way to digital marketers.

#7 Predictive Analytics & Multi-channel Attribution

Predictive analytics and multi-channel attribution platforms are gaining popularity and will continue to do so in 2020 too. These concepts are based on data mining and machine learning help marketers make the decision, predict future events based on the data.

predictive analytics in digital marketing

Source: Revuze

The predictive analytics platform helps you prove ROI and improve results. Tools like TrackMaven, Adobe marketing cloud, Tapclicks help you track the conversion from various channels, help you understand the cross-channel attribution.  These tools can increase customer retention rates by 10-15%.

multichannel attribution

Marketing attribution software that shows the impact of every customer interaction that the business participates in.

#8 Omni-channel Marketing

Omni-channel marketing is not new, but it’s still an area where digital marketers are figuring out the ways to utilize Omni-channel marketing. A customer wants to connect with a brand on various channels, everyone is not everywhere, but every potential consumer is available in some digital platforms.

Omni-channel marketing allows you to explore those platforms where you can engage your audience, and give them a delightful brand experience, you can retain the customers by being in touch with them.

According to the ClickZ survey –

omnichannel marketing


Customer retention rates: 90% higher for omnichannel vs single-channel

omnichannel marketing 2

#9 Mobile-first Indexing

Even before checking the desktop version of your website, Google first inspects the mobile version of your website even before checking its desktop version. By doing so, it gives preference to the sites that have a higher mobile speed test score. You can test your site here.

mobile friendly site - 4-min

How frequently do you run the mobile-friendly test or mobile page speed test on your website?

Google does not penalize your site if it’s not mobile-friendly, but if you check your website’s analytics you will find that more than 50% of the visitor’s land on your website through a mobile device. If your site is not mobile-friendly, your ranking will be lower than your competitors.

Making a light version of your website, which loads in a fraction of a second, could bring a lot more traffic to your website. It enhances the customers’ experience when on the site.

Who does it impact the most?

People make searches for a local business using their mobile devices most of the time. For eg.,- if you are offering home-décor or plumbing services or are running a café in the area, you are most likely to get impacted by not having a mobile-friendly business website. But it’s a good idea for all business owners to make their sites mobile-friendly to boost their digital marketing performance.

Make sure you follow these guidelines while making your site mobile friendly:

  • The buttons should be bigger and clean – It will help users to click on the right call-to-action
  • The image should be compressed. You can use tiny png or jpg files which reduce the image size by 80-85%. It reduces the load time too. Squoosh is a tool you can use for this.

#10 Video optimization for SERP

Google’s smart AI pattern analysis and natural language processing system analyses the videos to find the right fit for video searches. Adding the right structured markup when uploading a video on your webpage helps Google understand the most relevant video content to display in the search results.

Youtube optimization - 6

The title must be descriptive and relevant to what exactly the video contains. Adding a transcript with the video, providing major highlights covered in the video, etc., helps viewers understand the nature and the relevance of the video. However, Google’s text-matching algorithm is capable of extracting insights from the video itself, so it’s better to provide the well-prepared information to Google.

video optimization

#11 Audio & Voice Searches Optimization

Voice recognition system – More and more users are taking to voice commands to perform searches on Google. In the era of automation, the machine analyses the nature of the command and takes the necessary action accordingly. Amazon’s Alexa, Google dot, Google AI assistant, Apple’s Home pod, Echo, Siri, Cortana, and million other voice command devices are transforming the way you performed SEO a few years ago.

voice search optimization


Voice search optimization commerce sales reached $1.8 billion last year, per OC&C Strategy Consultants. They’re predicted to reach $40 billion by 2022.

voice recognition - SEO

One in five consumers (19%) have made a voice purchase through Amazon Echo or another digital home assistant, and another third (33 percent) plan to do so in the next year, per Walker Sands

Coice search optimization statistics 2020

How does it work?

Using natural language processing, the machines are now able to understand the queries and take the right action. You can optimize your site for these commands.

How you can optimize your site for voice search optimization?

  1. Optimizing your site for longer phases to match the search terms could bring you the voice traffic.
  2. Most companies are optimizing their FAQ pages and using the right structured markups to provide information to Google in the form as requested by their users.
  3. Adding the relevant facts and statistics to that answer asked by a user in the search engine, with reference links could enhance the ranking.
  4. Adding variations of the main query to capture more search terms and getting ranked in the search results.

#12 Podcast Optimization

Podcast gaining popularity at a great pace worldwide, Podcast optimization will be the new way to promote content and create a brand online.

Podcast optimzation

Optimizing the transcript of the podcast for a specific set of keywords will be a new challenge for the marketers. Distributing the podcast content and optimizing it for different channels to rank in results in Spotify, iTunes, etc. going to be a tough job.

#13 Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for Better UX

PWAs are web app but give the feel like an app, it’s a web technology to give app-like experience to the users. As the progressive web apps are now supported on desktop too, you should take it really seriously. Google gives weight to these apps. These are user experiences that have the reach of the web. And, these apps load almost instantly in any network, these are too fast and smooth, and engaging.

progressive web apps

Source: Thinkwik

#14 Featured Snippets with Structured Data Markup

Have you noticed that when you search for a list of tools on Google, it gives you the list in the featured box, called featured snippets? You can also get your content featured in that box by following some set of rules.

Google Featured snippet - best practices

How can you do it?

The structured schema markup language is a very underestimated element in SEO but a very powerful tool to make your site stand out from your competitors. Markup tags help Google understand the structure of your information on a specific page with every detail on it.

A great tool for this is

#15 Exceptional Content Creation for Audience Intent

Google already announced that authentic content would be a major ranking factor.

Searching terms and getting a wide range of content is a very obvious thing now. But creating a very long, detailed, well-written content is going to be a new challenge. The word range for amazing content is increased now, to gain higher engagement and attention, your content should be at least 2000-3000 word long minimum.

content word length-v1

The longer the better! Content should be very long and visually appealing to gain traction and engaging the audience.

#16 Audience Experience on Your Website

Even with all the SEO elements in place, you might still notice the high bounce rates and lower conversion rates despite a good amount of visitors on your website.

User experience is your possible culprit. When you have everything right and yet fail to make any progress towards your digital marketing goals, it’s time to work on the UX. The time users spend on your website adds value to your Google search ranking. It signals Google that the particular page is more relevant to the specific query which helps enhance the ranking.

What are the things that you should be looking at?

  • CTA – small changes make a big difference! Making minor updates in your call to action, such as re-writing the command, resizing the button, placement of the button in the first fold, sticking the button to the sidebar, could really show some good signs.
  • Internal site linking – Are you sending the visitor to the right page on your website? If not, then you are losing a returning visitor! By adding proper internal links to your new blog posts, older relevant posts, suggesting the right whitepapers, etc., could actually help keep them engaged on the site for longer.
  • Image caption and right ALT tag.

#17 New Link Building Tactics

How many of you were relying on social bookmarking, article submissions, directory sites, etc., for website traffic? I know most of you were.

But what you should do now?

  • Guest blogging – Connecting with high-quality sites for more authority backlinks.
  • Collaborations & associations – sponsorship, collaborations with top brands to gain attention.
  • Build credibility – Generate more customer data, reviews to increase the website credibility.
  • Q&A & Community building – Participating in communities and helping people with high-quality information.
  • Update business Listing with Latest information – Now you can add latest posts, new images, testimonials and insights for user reference on your business listing
  • User-generated content (UGC) – When your customer advocates your brand, nobody denies the effectiveness of it. The more user-generated content you have for your brand, the more credibility and reliability you get.

A few tools you can use to enhance your SEO and link building tactics are Majestic SEO, Screaming Frog, Ahrefs, SEM Rush.

#18 Technical SEO or On-page Optimization

Google announcing updates every now and then, because of that digital marketer observing the ranking fluctuations in the search engine. Mobile is the new trend, the more you optimize the site for mobile devices, the more you will see the better ranking in the result page.

Technical SEO will never get outdated, the elements which need to be optimized can change, but SEO is important now and it will be in 2020 too.

The major things the digital marketer should be focusing on:

Site speed – your website should open with lightning speed, the size of the site should be very light and compact.

JavaScript optimization for asset magnification

AMP – Accelerated mobile pages to give better website experience to visitors.

#19 Online Reputation Management

Do you have negative comments and lower reviews on your business listing? Google’s AI-powered algorithm might demote your listings because of poor customer service or too many complaints. Be prepared for that or take some precautionary actions to control the damage.

Do you know how your prospects become your customers? A potential prospect becomes your customer by going through a buyer’s journey.

What makes them pick your brand over the others?

Reputation. Your online reputation convinces a buyer to turn into your customer. Online reputation is very important these days. Every consumer goes through online reviews, and recommendations before making a purchase. Google lists the local businesses based on customer reviews, the numbers make people prefer your brand over others.

online reputation management - 3

Building the right brand image by garnering great reviews on your business listing plays a major role in your SEO. As the Google search engine is smarter, you can’t fool it by creating fake reviews. Providing amazing products and services is the only you can get it right. Google search engine analyses all the ratings and creates snippets out of it to help customers make an informed decision.

#20 Influencer Marketing

Companies are introducing their platforms and networks to the mass influencer, micro-influencer outreach for branding. Sites like Upfluencer, Hypr, AspirelIQ providing the opportunity to an advertiser to reach out to the top industry influencer to support their product, services and building their brands.

According to research, the influencer marketing industry global ad spend will rise to $5 to $10 billion by 2020

influencer marketing 2020

Artificial intelligence is transforming the way people were doing influencer marketing lately. Now it’s more automated and smart.

influencer marketing 2020 - 2 

Conclusion: Are you prepared for digital marketing in 2020?

Your strategy should be continuously updated in accordance with the changing market trends. You can’t win without having the right digital marketing strategy on your plate. Search engine optimization is a major player that gets you more business through digital marketing in the long run.

AI, ML, Blockchain technologies are transforming the traditional way of digital marketing. Being updated with the latest tools and platforms to leverage your digital marketing strategy would be the right choice. Exploring the different aspects of digital marketing by experimenting with each platform will help you stay ahead of the competition.

About author

Richa Pathak is Founder & Editor at SEM Updates – The Digital Marketing Magazine. She is an emerging digital marketing influencer, a creative consultant & a corporate trainer. With a decade of experience in working with B2C & B2B brands across the globe, she is also a featured author in top-10 marketing magazines globally. She offers various consulting, training, & mentorship programs to share her knowledge. Richa's principle - Plan, Execute, Learn, Implement, Repeat! Digital marketing is Richa's passion & love. She is an innovator & wants to explore more, learn more, try different tools, hacks with various campaigns. She loves reading non-fiction books and does nature photography.


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