Predicting marketplace trends is not an exact science, but one tenet always holds true – the only thing that is constant is change. So said Heraclitus around 2,500 years ago and so say we today.
The marketplace itself is constantly shifting focus on what it deems most important, and we discuss here some of those that we feel will either remain important or come to the fore in the near future, but one thing is unchanged – that the key driving force in all this is Visual Content.
Covid-19 Pandemic Update:
Your customers and their needs are always changing, but we have seen this happen faster in 2020 than at any previous time.
As well as the article below, Splento has now produced a free report on brand engagement, explaining what you can do to re-engage your customers in this post-pandemic world.
It’s completely free and is downloadable by clicking below:
1. Live Streaming to Mobiles
According to Digital Information World, by 2021, 13% of all internet traffic will come from live video. Video media has already made its mark across all social media platforms, but the emergence of live broadcasts is already a trend having an increasingly large impact. Almost every predominant social platform now supports live streaming.
By 2021, the live streaming industry is predicted to be worth $70 billion and that means significant growth of this sector during 2020. If you are hovering on the edge, deciding whether to jump into what will become the most impactful marketing trend in years, then now is the time to do it.
And it’s not just live video – it’s live video streaming to mobile devices that is the important point here – reaching people where they are, not waiting for them to come to you. Cisco predicts that traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for 71% of total IP traffic by 2022.
The emphasis in 2020 will be on mobile-first.
This is, of course, finally made possible by the roll-out of 5G networks. Simply put, 5G means mobile internet connections will be faster than most consumers’ home broadband speeds.
Once upon a time, the video was not a feasible marketing tool for many, as it could only reach a small percentage of the mobile market. 4G was a game-changer, but 5G makes streaming live video as fast and reliable as a simple text message, so it’s safe to say that the day of the live broadcast has arrived.
2. The Importance of Telling Your Story
If live-streaming video is the major marketing trend for 2020, the next question is ‘what are we going to stream?’
The answer to this is to tell your story. Your story about your business, about your product or service; how it started, how it came about.
Sophisticated consumers can see through standard advertising and in the world of fake news they are seeking authenticity. Telling your story or showing what goes on behind the scenes of your business, is a great way to engage customers and prospects with an authentic message.
This study demonstrated how the public can tell the difference between stock photos of generic people and real staff from a company website – and the difference translated into extra business for them.
Stock photos definitely have their place, but genuine images – custom stock images (or better, video) – convey transparency and reality. And with 74% of customers buying a product online after watching a video about it, this should be a vital element in your 2020 marketing strategies.
The demand for storytelling was clearly demonstrated in 2019, when Instagram won over a huge number of Snapchat users, simply by creating its own ‘Stories’ feature.
3. Increasing Social Responsibility
A part of your story-telling strategy should be showing how your products and business are socially responsible.
Sustainability is a big issue now and will only become more important during 2020. 85% of US and UK consumers expected companies to invest in sustainability in 2019, up from 64% in 2018. And the trend continues to rise.
So when you are planning your visual media output for this year, keep keen on green. Focus on how your products are sourced sustainably, how you have improved your approach to recycling, or how your service provision is more socially responsible than your competitors.
Climate change and saving the planet is on everybody’s mind and this will only increase this year; by revealing your socially responsible side, you will win favour and clients.
4. The Growth of Content Experience
Content experience is the natural expansion of content marketing. Whereas the latter are the words and images on your web page, for example, the former considers how consumers interact with that content.
It’s about creating a personalised experience for each individual who comes into contact with your business.
Netflix is a content experience entertainment platform. The content is the same for everyone, but how that content is presented is tailored to each viewer.
With more consumers becoming used to this type of treatment, the most successful businesses of 2020 will be the ones who provide end-to-end content experience for their customers.
Will this involve more time and energy? Yes. Will this demand more high-quality visual content than most companies currently have invested? Without a doubt. But it’s what the consumer now demands and those that don’t provide will be left behind.
Which leads us onto…
5. A Focus on Engaging, Immersive Marketing
“Marketing that works is marketing that people choose to notice.” (Seth Godin).
Using any kind of video increases business – in fact, companies using video are growing 49% faster than ones that don’t. But a massive 81% of marketers also agree that interactive content is better than static.
Interactive marketing itself used to be relatively simple – if the customer buys X then recommend Y. But in 2020 we will be seeing the development of more sophisticated engagement with customers.
Generation Z customers want interactivity. They want control over their content – and we don’t just mean voting to determine the outcome on “reality” shows.
Handing over content control (or at least, the illusion of it) will grow exponentially this year.
Engaging content through online advertising this year will increasingly involve games, polls, contests, quizzes and interactive videos.
Generation Z, it seems, want to be able to have a choice over the plots and endings of shows and movies, in the same way as they currently enjoy with their games.
This trend offers some amazing new opportunities for marketers, particularly for those who are the early pioneers of combining interactive video with live broadcasts.
6. The Development of Intelligent Mobile Shopping
2020 could well be remembered as the year that intelligent visual-recognition shopping came to the forefront.
No-one will argue against the huge impact in recent years of voice-activated devices (such as Alexa and Siri). These are being seamlessly integrated into shopping practices and it is becoming normal to make an ‘audio purchase’.
The next step is to have more two-way audio interaction, but this is already starting to be superseded by the visual equivalent.
With increasingly adept visual recognition software, we are seeing the start of the ‘snap-and-buy’ purchasing model.
Consumers can already snap a photo of a barcode of an item and immediately then order it elsewhere online on their mobile; the next stage is to just photograph the item on your smartphone and conduct a visual search for the same-or-similar product.
Snap a photo of a jacket in a shop window and immediately be directed to a website where you can complete your purchase. The era of visual tech has arrived.
7. The Rise of Consumer-Led Marketing
We’ve had the era of celebrity endorsement and we have seen the development of influencer endorsement. This is already starting to wear a little thin and what is coming in its place is consumer endorsement.
Honest customer reviews are becoming more important as they are becoming easier to write and upload. Amazon has a customer star rating for everything; websites such as Trustpilot and TripAdvisor are incredibly popular because people trust the opinions of other people like themselves.
This is another reason why Content Experience and engagement will become so relevant this year; part of the communication process with consumers must be asking for (and getting) customer endorsements.
Recent research shows that 85% of consumers trust an online customer review as much as they do a personal recommendation. This makes sense – via Facebook and other social media platforms we are engaging increasingly with strangers on a personal level and making friends with those we have never met; developing trust in an online stranger in a way we would never consider in person.
But don’t just allude to reviews and customer testimonials – collect them into a testimonial video and use it as a part of your next interactive campaign.
Bill Gates wrote “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” (The Road Ahead, 1996).
These trends we have outlined above have been emerging for a number of years already, in line with the developments in technology required to deliver them.
That technology is now here and established, which is why 2020 will see market leaders adapt to take advantage of it.
Take steps now to ensure your visual media content is diverse enough and of a high enough quality meet the demands of today’s market. For those that do, the payoff will be far-reaching.
Read more here about how to leverage visual media in your marketing; or for a visual content check-up, or if you have any other questions, contact Splento today.