Top Digital Marketing Trends for European Universities and Schools in 2020
Chatbots will continue to be an important part of digital marketing in 2020. This AI-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors.
Surveys show that:
- Chatbots will power 85% of customer service by 2020
- Top benefits of chatbots are 24-hour service (64%), instant responses to inquiries (55%), and answers to simple questions (55%)
- 63% of respondents prefer messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand
- By 2022, chatbots will help businesses save over $8 billion per annum
- 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2020:
Many customers prefer interacting with chatbots as they are responsive 24/7, give answers promptly, accurately recall your entire buying history, and never lose patience. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks – which means that you can focus on more important work.
Many brands already use chatbot technology, including rideshare brand Lyft. You can request a ride from Lyft via chat (Facebook Messenger and Slack) or voice (Amazon Echo), and their chatbot will let you know the current location of your driver:
Passengers can use the app to choose the type of ride, make a request, track the location of the car, send friends a time estimate of their arrival, and make payment.
If you want to stand out in 2020, you need to personalize your marketing – and that means personalized content, products, emails and more.
Consider these personalization stats:
- 63% of consumers are highly annoyed with generic advertising blasts
- 80% say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences
- 90% claim they find personalization appealing
Kevin George from EmailMonks asserts that “personalized, triggered emails based on behavior are 3x better than batch-and-blast emails.”
When you want to study examples of the power of personalization, it’s hard to overlook Netflix and Amazon, with their tailored recommended products or movie titles. Here are a few other companies that are successfully using personalization today:
- EasyJet launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to build personalized stories, which then suggest where they might like to travel next. About 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
- Cadbury’s created a personalized video campaign that matches a Dairy Milk flavor with users based on data from their Facebook profile, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6% conversion rate, proving that the personal touch works.
- Starbucks uses a gamified mobile app that draws on data like purchase history and location to get as personal as possible, allows customers to customize their drinks, and encourages further use with its rewards system – which skyrocketed their revenue to $2.56 billion:
Video marketing is one of, if not the, most important marketing trend today and likely for the next 5-10 years. These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2020:
- 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video
- 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate
- 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions
- 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video
Video is by far the most popular way customers want to learn about new products:
One of the issues that marketers have faced in recent years is the growing shift to mobile devices. Those long-form sales pages and emails of yesteryear are fading fast because they’re simply too difficult to read on small mobile screens. However, video can present the same information in a format that works perfectly regardless of the device.
If your site includes video, it’s 50X more likely (50 times!) to drive organic search results compared to text. Why? Because people find video content more compelling, so Google pushes pages that include videos higher in the rankings.
One of the best things about video marketing is that it makes it easy to reformat your content. Imagine that you’ve recorded a video for your YouTube channel. Instead of just publishing it on YouTube, you could also:
- Get it transcribed so you have a text version of the video
- Publish the transcription on your blog under an embedded YouTube video for better rankings
- Upload the raw video with the transcription as subtitles to Facebook (native Facebook videos get a much higher impression share and engagement than shared YouTube videos)
- Turn the transcription into a standalone blog article with a short rewrite and addition of relevant stats and images
- Rip the audio alone and use it as a podcast episode
- Use video thumbnails in your email marketing campaigns and the word “video” in subject lines to increase open rates by 19%
Here are some other video marketing trends that are gaining more and more traction:
- Live video is particularly popular with a large number of businesses who use it for interviews, product demos and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as life in the office, how products are made, company events, etc.
- 1:1 video is when businesses or marketers create personalized video messages rather than make phone calls or send emails. With the decreasing cost of film equipment and increasingly high-quality smartphone cameras, this is easier than ever.
- Video SEO. YouTube and other videos are displayed in the SERPs, so video optimization is becoming much more important – like using text overlays and closed captions, in addition to your description, title and file names. Check out this guide to learn more about YouTube SEO.
- 360-degree video content. This trend towards a more interactive experience is on the rise – just look for the circular symbol in the top left corner to start sliding the moving image left or right as it’s playing, like this 360˚ video from Hong Kong Airlines (香港航空):
Social Messaging Apps
If you think social messaging apps are just for sending emojis to your friends, take a look at these numbers:
- 1.3 billion monthly users are active on Facebook Messenger:
- 10 billion messages are sent between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger every month
- WhatsApp has 1.6 billion active users and 55 billion messages are sent via every day
- The top three social messaging apps – WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat – have more combined users than Facebook or YouTube
These statistics show the popularity of social messaging apps, and since people are spending more time messaging each other, it makes sense to market your company’s products and services where your potential customers are hanging out.
Social messaging apps can be very useful in sending messages to customers directly, as they allow personalization and add value to the user experience. In addition, people expect businesses to have a presence on messaging apps because it’s a direct and easy way to interact with them. In fact:
63% of customers are more likely to return to a company website that has live chat.CLICK TO TWEETReasons for your brand to use messaging apps include:
- Cultivate contact
- Deliver information
- Boost sales
- Involve people in events
- Regain potential customers
- Provide support and assistance
Visual search can take the user experience to a totally new level: People can upload an image to conduct a search and get more specific results.
A) Pinterest Lens
Not surprisingly, Pinterest has jumped on the visual search bandwagon. They came out with Lens, a visual search tool that allows users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products or view pinboards of related items.
As Marketing Land puts it, it turns your phone’s camera into a search bar:
Since the launch of the beta version, Pinterest’s Lens now recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion objects, has inspired over 600 million searches on Pinterest’s mobile apps and browser extensions, and has seen a 140% uptick from launch day.
Pinterest has continued to update its functionality:
- They introduced Pincodes, a QR code-type technology that enables you to find inspiration while you’re out shopping or flipping through your favorite magazines.
- They launched Lens Your Look to take the guesswork out of outfit planning.
- They partnered with brands like Samsung to bring visual search to its latest smartphones and Target to allow customers to search their catalog using related products they see in the real world.
- They’ve fully automated Shop the Look, a feature that helps users buy products from companies that work with Pinterest, so you can, for example, buy a pair of jeans you see in a picture.
- They launched a bunch of new tools to help merchants sell their products, including Catalogs, which lets anyone upload and convert their entire product catalog into shoppable Pins.
Make sure you are optimizing for visual search, because (not surprisingly) the top search categories for Lens are:
- Home decor
B) Google Lens
And Pinterest is not the only one with visual search. Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects and landmarks through a camera app. Here’s what you can do when you take a photo of the following items:
- Apparel and home goods: Find similar products and where to buy them.
- Barcodes: Use a barcode to find info about a product, like where to buy it.
- Business card: Save the phone number or address to a contact.
- Book: Get a summary and read reviews.
- Event flyer or billboard: Add the event to your calendar.
- Landmark or building: See historical facts, hours of operation, and more.
- Painting in a museum: Read about the artist and learn more.
- Plant or animal: Learn about species and breeds.
As CNet says, “Google Lens is turning into what Google Glass never was” when it comes to real-time augmented reality.
CamFind is another visual search mobile app which enables you to search for anything from your phone simply by snapping a picture.
Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can directly search via images to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc. You can also take a picture of a movie poster and CamFind will show you movie information, trailers, showtimes and local theaters
D) Bing Visual Search
And with Bing Visual Search, you can search for a specific element within an image without having to go through all the current hoops.
For example, say you’re looking for kitchen decoration inspiration and an image attracts your attention. You click on a thumbnail result to get to the “Detail View.” The overall décor is great, but you’re particularly interested in that nice-looking chandelier. Wouldn’t you love to know where you can get one just like it? With Bing Visual Search, now you can.
As per Social Media Today:
- 62% of Millennials are more interested in visual search capabilities than any other new technology
- Images are returned for 19% of search queries on Google
- There are over 600 million visual searches on Pinterest each month
Marketers can get the edge on competitors by jumping on the visual search trend in 2020 to draw customers and serve them the perfect product.
Social Media Stories
To keep it all straight, here’s a social media stories timeline:
Since these types of stories disappear after a set period of time, this is a great opportunity for marketers to make good use of FOMO (fear of missing out).
The benefits of using social media stories include:
- Increased brand awareness
- Constant engagement with followers
- Increased traffic to your web page
- Opportunity to reach younger audiences
Get inspired by some of these ways to use social media stories:
- Use polls within Instagram Stories
- Add links to your social media Stories
- Take advantage of Snapchat geofilters
- Add location tags
- Add mentions for other brands and your fans
- Give live video a try when creating Stories
- Invite followers to explore more with clear call-to-actions
In November 2019, Google rolled out some major updates to its search algorithm. The updates included the new BERT system, which is designed to aid Google in its efforts to understand the natural language that people use in their search queries.
The advice from Google’s John Mueller is that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”
In fact, content marketing is so important that 88% of B2B content marketers agree that creating content makes their audience view their organization as a credible and trusted resource:
Stats from Content Marketing Institute:
- Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads.
- Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
- 615 million devices now use ad blockers, which means your ads are not being seen by as many people.
- Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.
- Content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods.
Even amid all the innovation, content marketing remains a reliable, powerful way to attract new customers to your site and build relationships with them in real, quantifiable ways that deliver long-term value for your business.CLICK TO TWEET
With Google continuing to value well-researched, regularly updated articles, many leading businesses will continue to invest heavily in content marketing throughout 2020.
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