Each year, companies reflect on the changes the year has brought them, and 2020 is no different. As this year comes to a close, more businesses than ever are grappling with changes that they may not have felt prepared to make but that the COVID-19 pandemic demanded of them. The process of digitalization was one of these changes.
Digital marketing has become increasingly important to companies in the past two decades as more of the population uses the internet daily. Yet, with both employees and customers homebound, there became no other way to connect with people outside of digital marketing. In this blog, we’ll discuss the 10 ways that digital marketing has changed in 2020. Let’s get started.

1. Without digital marketing, there is nothing else

As noted above, digital marketing is now the only way to connect with consumers. Between stay-at-home orders, quarantine, and isolation, you don’t have customers going to stores regularly. Everyone shops online!

This means all marketing has been done digitally, and companies have had to compete for customer attention. After all, if your company is sending out marketing emails, so is your competitor. Companies have to figure out what their audience is seeking, why their product/service is different, and how they can address customer concerns through digital means.

2. Empathy in digital marketing is a must

Everyone dealt with something in 2020. Whether you or your loved one had COVID-19, you lost your job, or you began homeschooling, you saw the impacts of the world deteriorating around you up close and personally. And as such, everyone needed a little bit more empathy in their lives. While businesses absolutely suffered and still need support, no one wanted to support a business that acts like life is normal. Digital marketing had to change to focus on customers’ needs (rather than the product or service itself!).

3. The format of content matters when digital marketing is concerned

TikTok has absolutely boomed in 2020. You may be thinking, “We’re an X company…what does TikTok have to do with us?”

The answer is…everything. TikTok maybe Gen Z’s new favorite media, but it also represents how brands are staying current. The smart companies keep an eye on the different marketing formats that are available and take advantage of what’s available. Companies this year used formats like TikTok, Instagram, short-form Facebook content, video interviews with industry experts, webinars, etc. Sometimes standing out as a brand means going to where the people are!

4. Integrated channels and campaigns can help your digital marketing efforts reach more people

In the past, companies would focus on the channel that was performing the best for them. In 2020, however, it’s best to create integrated campaigns that run across several channels. A good example of this would be launching an educational webinar on your website and running promotions for it on your social media, creating an email campaign, making social media ads, posting a blog about it, and talking to customers directly if applicable. This will allow your digital marketing efforts to reach the maximum number of people.

5. No digital marketing method is perfect

We’ve seen a lot of things in 2020 and imperfect digital marketing is one of them. The good news? That’s now okay. You don’t have to have studio lights or a high-tech camera. Plenty of companies have more laid-back campaigns than ever, and consumers aren’t batting an eye. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not perfect!

6. User-generated content continues to triumph in the digital marketing world

User-generated content, also known as influencer marketing, has become hard to top in 2020. This type of marketing emphasizes using key leaders in a particular audience to amplify a particular brand message to a larger market and boy does it work! Often, these individuals are celebrities, YouTubers, or Instagram personalities who have a niche following that would like a particular product or service. Because much of the market relies on peer-to-peer marketing, it proves successful!

7. Chatbots helped make digital marketing possible

Okay, Chatbots may not be brand new, but they were certainly a vital part of digital marketing in 2020. Research showed that Chatbots powered around 85 percent of customer service and allowed consumers to get 24-hour service and instant responses to simple inquiries. If you’ve ever needed help on a website outside business hours, you know how much of a game-changer this can be!

8. Customers want personalization in any digital marketing they receive

Did you know that 63% of customers are highly annoyed when they receive generic advertising blasts? And 80% say that they are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences.

Remember that every other business is following the same digital marketing strategy that you are. They’re sending email blasts, they’re running social media ads, they’re trying desperately to connect with customers. Because of this, customers barely glance at their emails or ads anymore. They click through blindly because they don’t expect anything special. Go the extra mile and personalize the content you’re sending to your customers. This will make them stop, look, and remember your company!

9. Video marketing has entered the digital marketing scene

Videos improve version rates and make content about companies easily shareable. Over half of consumers say that watching product videos make them more confident in online purchase decisions. This makes a big difference in 2020 when there wasn’t the option to go into a store and take a look at what you’re buying. Video marketing is a popular new way to get customers information about a product.

10. Social commerce has expanded

Both social media and e-commerce are rapidly expanding, and now social commerce has merged both. A great example of this is Instagram’s “Instagram Checkout,” which allows any user to complete a purchase from within Instagram. These new integrations have e-commerce brands hopeful that customers will stick around and purchase rather than abandoning the product because they have to switch to an app or sign into a store.

We’ve all abandoned our carts before…would this help you push through and purchase?

Final thoughts

This year has been one for the books! What other ways have you seen digital marketing change in 2020? Has it impacted your business personally? What changes do you think may stick around permanently even after the pandemic is over? Only time will tell.