Taking a look at some digital marketing trends

As 2020 continues to roll along, marketers everywhere are asking the same important question: What happens next? Out of all the possibilities on the horizon, which digital marketing trends are going to take the baton and lead the race forward?

SEO trend: Structured data

Structured data is not new, but how you can use it in 2020 is. With the rise of zero click searches (featured snippets, rich snippets and knowledge graphs) and user-focused content, your website’s structured data is more important than ever.

What does that mean? Structured data, also known as schema markup, is a type of code that makes it easier for search engines to crawl information on your website and better understand its content.

There are many tools to help you set up schema markup. Schema.org and Google Structured Data Markup Helper are great resources. They offer templates to create your custom code.

But structured data is not a set-it-and-forget-it SEO tactic. New types of markups are continuously being added. Even if you set up structured data in 2019, you’ll need to take another look to confirm you’re optimizing your website for the right content and current SEO trends.

Take time to identify the keywords users are searching to generate clicks to your site using Google Search Console. Then analyze the search terms your competitors have for featured snippets. Using this list of terms, you can update your structured data and optimize on-page content to help boost your SEO rankings.

Social media trend: The rise of TikTok

The landscape of social media marketing changes nearly daily as the number of users across all platforms continues to grow. Roughly 3.5 billion people were active on social media worldwide in 2019 (about 45% of the population), and that number will undoubtedly rise in 2020.

While it’s easy to identify the big guys — Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn — it can be difficult to determine which new social media trends are worth the time and effort for your brand. One candidate that’s risen to the top is TikTok, a video-based channel taking the Gen-Z crowd by storm.

In early 2019, TikTok became the third-most downloaded app globally, surpassing 1 billion downloads worldwide — more than both Facebook and Instagram. As of October 2019, TikTok was reporting 500 million monthly active users worldwide. For reference, that’s more than Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Leaked advertising sources point to nearly 800 million active users, putting the platform closer to Instagram in that metric (Sources: statista, HubSpot).

Taking your brand to a new platform can be scary, but the numbers show that if there’s a new horse to hitch your wagon to in 2020, it’s TikTok. Just make sure your target demographic is young: 60% of the channel’s U.S. audience is between 16 and 24 years old (HubSpot).

CRM trend: Business intelligence and the evolution of CRM

Although digital marketing has been around since the invention of the radio, the collection of real-time, user-level data has only been on the scene for the past decade or so — and it’s getting more in depth with each passing year.

Now, marketers are finding themselves with access to vast amounts of data across the array of platforms and channels included in their marketing tech stack.

Sounds great, right?

Absolutely. But here’s the catch: The more channels and platforms you collect data from, the more siloed it becomes. That can negatively impact your efficiency and data-driven decisions.

That’s why it’s crucial to start investing in business intelligence tools, such as Google Data Studio or Tableau, that can help consolidate data into easy-to-read dashboards. They’ll give you the ability to capitalize on all of the data generated through various channels and better measure the overall impact of each of your campaigns.

Data privacy trend: Data privacy in the era of transparency

The California Consumer Privacy Act took effect this year. With that, data privacy will become an even more important issue for brands and consumers in 2020. According to a recent survey by PwC, 44% of CEOs rank data privacy among the top three policies impacting their business.

The CCPA comes on the heels of the General Data Protection Regulation, which took effect in 2018 and prohibits organizations from collecting and processing personal data without a lawful exception. In this new era of data transparency and privacy, organizations must comply or risk facing increasing fines. It’s been nearly two years since GDPR came into force and, according to a new report, $126 million in fines have been imposed so far.

In view of these harsh penalties and a shifting consumer climate, transparency and preparedness are the best course of action for marketers moving forward. From this point on, you should be working to integrate data governance and privacy into all of your core operations — from HR and marketing all the way to IT.

Doing so can help you cultivate trust with both employees and consumers, and it can benefit your business.

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