At 21 Handshake, we have a lot of great content in store for you in 2020 – and season 3 of our awesome podcast! Last season we spent plenty of time talking about our 9-step digital marketing system, which takes businesses through everything they need to become brand powerhouses. If you missed a lot of those episodes, episode 68 includes a great summary of the process, while other episodes dig into specific steps in more detail.

But this season we’re going to start with something a little different: Discussing the big marketing trends of 2020, and what businesses should know when making plans this year. We’ve divided the trends into several major categories, and are ready to jump in!

1. Content

This isn’t really surprising, but yes, content is going to remain very important in 2020! In fact, the importance of content is only going to increase, and creating the right kind of content for today’s internet will remain a constant goal.

What does the “right kind” of content look like? Well, all different types of content are great, but it should always help your brand build expertise, authority, and trustworthiness (EAT for short, if you like acronyms). User intent is also very important – Google’s main focus these days is the intent of those making searches. That means if your content addresses intent with very specific answers and helpful information, Google will tend to favor it. This also means there’s less room than ever for fluff or empty content that doesn’t serve a good purpose.

2. Social

In 2019, it was hard to look up anything about social media without running into the latest news about privacy. Privacy issues led to lots of new plans for almost every major digital brand last year, from Facebook to Google. But where does that leave us in 2020? Well, a lot of the privacy chances in planning will be implemented, which could mean big changes for some platforms.

However, it’s also important to note that public content continues to grow and become a more competitive field. Public feeds that are easily available to large groups of people (think Twitter, Instagram, and – for now – TikTok). Yes, you can still create private groups or send content that’s only for your subscribers, but 2020 is a great year to focus on more public content that can reach a wider audience.

3. SEO

Google’s BERT update in fall 2019 was designed to help the search algorithm better understand more complex searches and conversational, long-tail terms. In other words, Google is working to make its search engine understand more complicated questions, and provide more accurate results. For example, if someone searches for “can you get medicine for someone pharmacy,” Google’s algorithm is smart enough to know that the user wants to know about regulations, laws, and policies regarding medication pickup, not just a list of nearby pharmacies.

For businesses, that means they can embrace more complex content and explanations, confident that it will still benefit their SEO. It’s also more important than ever to understand how your audience thinks, the words they use when the search, and the exact answers they want from your brand or industry.


4. Website Trends

This is a great trend, but works a bit better with show instead of tell, so take a look at 99 Design’s big website trends for 2020 and the examples they provide. If you’ve spent a lot of time online in the past year, many of these trends won’t surprise you. Dark modes are hitting it big, photos and graphics are merging to create new styles, and use of white space, as always, is important. Take a look at sites and start thinking if your own website needs a revamp based on what you see!

5. Video

Video is, of course, still huge. Advertising spent on online video is expected to grow from $45 billion in the United States in 2019 to $61 billion by 2021. But as marketing videos become even more common, they are also differentiating more clearly through different tactics, especially when it comes to consumer appeal. Longer videos help engage people already involved with a brand. Targeted videos recommend specific products or services, and may including location-based content. Interactive videos let people choose what they want to watch. There’s a lot of room for creativity here, and more brands need to recognize that if they want to stand out! What creative videos can you create in 2020?

6. Bonus Trend: Your Own Brand!

Forbes calls this trend “brandscaping” and it’s a big one for businesses that have been around for a while but haven’t changed their marketing strategy much in years. The concept behind brandscaping is that marketing is tough! Whatever you’re doing for advertising and content, a lot of other businesses are doing the exact same thing: So how do you avoid getting lost in all the noise? Brandscaping is about pruning back the parts of your brand (content, design, communication channels, everything) that aren’t making a difference – things that are too general, or a little confusing, or just unnecessary. That way, the business can focus on the parts of their brand that are truly exciting, different, and useful. It’s a great practice for companies that really want to start standing out.

Exciting stuff! But how do you know which trends to pay attention to? Well, that’s where 21 Handshake comes in: We’re thrilled to announce our new service approach, COACH by 21 Handshake. If your business needs some accountability, if you want to know exactly what to do next as you navigate marketing, then our coaching program is for you, and you can find out more here.

Did you love this episode? It would be great if you helped spread the word in 2020. Leave a review and share with a friend if you can! Thanks, and until next time.