This year we have read hundreds of blogs and listened to many hundreds of podcasts between the team and we see 2020 as one of the most exciting years. With some real players in the industry challenging the Facebook & Instagram juggernauts we are excited to see what happens. Add voice search to that along with the popularity of VR & voice search and we see a really fun time ahead for social and search.
These trends call on brands to a new way of communicating around their identity. How is it articulated at a connected time and a multi-screen where everything is consumed massively, and if possible, quickly? What will be the innovation, the use or the approach that will make tomorrow’s communication? We researched different leaders in the sector to find out what they think is the next trend in digital communication to come.
1) The emergence of new conversational platforms
It will not have escaped you, alongside the behemoths of the web, Facebook and Google (with YouTube), new platforms have emerged creating new uses for consumers, and therefore new issues for brands. TikTok, Twitch, Discord and of course Fortnite are trying to reshuffle the cards of digital communication.
“Faced with the slowdown in Facebook, other new and old platforms will take over conversations, boosted by the use of younger audiences, predicts readers. Youtube, Twitch, TikTok, Discord and even Fortnite become new hubs this time focused on the use of video, audio or video games.
The commitment (and reach) of social media in the midst of change, representing both an opportunity and a challenge for brands. Especially since on the other side, a certain platform explodes thanks to its features and unique uses.
People do not use TikTok “to follow the news” or to “look at photos of friends on vacation”. The difference is that it is pure and addictive content that is separate from any pre-existing interest. Welcome to the future of social media
TikTok will steal the show from Instagram in 2020, the Chinese social network, formerly Musical.ly, “has grown for 2 years like no social network so far (the champion being before them was Instagram). With more than 500 million active users, it was initially set up a very aggressive recruitment strategy (via millions of dollars spent on advertising amongst competitors). The platform is monetized and “now provides advertisers with a strong and powerful platform: in-feed ad formats like Instagram, multiple influencers, and engagement figures far above the norm. With Instagram, whose influencers are questioned, where the “likes” could be hidden and where the commitment is down, and Snapchat that just returns to growth (+ 13 million new daily users in three months , Ed), it’s a safe bet that 2020 will be the year of TikTok “.
2) More data = more creativity
There is a need for digital advertising creation. The more you are sophisticated in digital marketing – with data, personalisation, etc. and the total abandonment of mass marketing mechanics – the more we segment messages, media, target groups, and the more we tend to believe that the media drives creation: that is, the good place at the right time to the right people.
It is now necessary to combine the best of creative advertising and ultra-personalised marketing: The more sophisticated marketing is, the more we can become efficient from a profitability point of view: the money you earn in click rate performance is not absorbed by the time needed for customisation. Sometimes, the best ROI comes from a good old interruptive message that makes the audience laugh. This is where creativity comes into play. The goal of the ad game is still to be noticed and to appear in consumer journeys in a way that is not entirely seamless. If your ad is part of the decor, it is certainly not of quality.
For the past ten years, new technological and digital solutions have been used to “renew brand storytelling,”. This permanent and hyperactive flow – an incredible source of creativity – can distract us from the crucial element of any digital communication: technology must sublimate creation to reveal the right emotion. And so do not “order” the creation? “Today, the production of content has reached such a volume – especially on social networks – that it has become standardized to a point of rupture: the content foils the same recipes, and the brands lose their singularity. Web and e-commerce platforms are also concerned by this standardization of the customer experience. “The same old and tried-and-true recipes – which have proved their worth – tend to standardize content and creation. Paul Gruber sees “the challenge of tomorrow” for a creative and technological agency: “Put innovation at the service of brand identity. Whether vocal, social, interactive, web or augmented, mastery of technology requires an ever greater demand for craft and meaning. The only alliance so that emotion remains the heart of expression of brands. “
Companies all rely on technological solutions that fluidify these experiences (augmented reality, app, VR), “but in doing so, we are making the customer experience a convenience, a banality. The courses are the same, the technologies are the same, the brand and all that makes its singularity dilute in the functional, until disappearing.
This standardization of the use of technology is “a real point of alarm and a challenge” for brands that will be solved only by “creativity and hybridization between the culture of the brand and that of technology This is what is called at Isobar, the Creative Experience. That is, the ability to build memorable experiences, using technology to imagine products or services that create value, driven by powerful storytelling.
3) The monetization of instant messengers, which have become central
The next trend of digital communication will be the “Messengerisation” of existing social platforms. Facebook is conquering the monetization of private conversations. This has become a trend confirmed by Zuckerberg: the growth of interactions on the platform is now seen through private exchanges, via couriers and groups, in contrast to a disengagement on public flows. ” Indeed, these conversations under radars have become a major issue for Facebook since the dark social now represents the majority of content shared online, according to a recent study.
“2018 having been a major turning point for the image of Facebook, it is time to focus on other areas that flows to public content expensive to control and expensive advertising to check, he explains. On the Chinese model WeChat, Facebook will take advantage of this situation to reconcile his messenger Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and thus constitute a new colossus with more diversified sources of income (trade, transaction, subscription, currency with Libra) than advertising. This rapprochement will be just as much a field of transactional and conversational opportunities for the brands as a “rampart at the risk of dismantling against the backdrop of a monopoly in the US,”.
With the monetization of platforms, we see the opportunity for advertisers to move from “a role of product supplier to that of a service provider. For example, it’s about making a Whatsapp number available to access an ultra-personalized tip. The brand is thus passed from mayonnaise maker to coach cook. “A nice service proposal,” he says. Just like last spring, Fitbit, a specialist in the connected coach watch, offered fitness programs directly integrated into a chatbot.
“Each of these services can also collect information about user habits and expectations,”. And this is the nerve of war because we can not conceive of a relevant service proposal without an acute knowledge of its use. “
The stakes of the brands on the social networks could be summarized to be interesting before being interested, to make his mark useful and to explore new business models (from the product to the service) according to him.
4) Click clean
Last year, as we have shown, societal issues are superimposed on those of companies. “With 2% of global CO2 emissions – more than air transport – our digital business has shifted from the promise of a greener world to the anguish of a scary contribution to global warming,”. The subject of digital pollution will quickly become one of the parameters that must be taken into account in the digital strategy of brands. Just like yesterday consumers were wondering if the promo leaflet in their mailbox was worth the amount of paper and ink used, they will legitimately ask tomorrow if it’s worth it to receive your newsletter or why your site is so resource-hungry and bandwidth.
Our daily business mails represent as much CO2 emitted in a year as 1000 km by car, [and this for 20 emails per day only]. A Google search to get to your site: it’s as much energy spent as an hour with a low energy bulb. He recalls Greenpeace’s “Clicking Clean” report, evaluating the energy performance of the world’s leading digital players. Netflix, Twitter or Spotify are pinned when others, like Google, “do better because they use massive amounts of renewable energy.” Like Facebook, which is planting its data centers in Iceland to take advantage climatic conditions to cool and / or supply these infrastructures.
Soon all sites, services or digital content brands will also be judged by consumers with the prism of their carbon footprint. Fortunately, there are solutions to improve the energy balance of digital productions: green accommodation, clean code, eco-design of sites, carbon offset of video productions, etc. “
A more virtuous and eco-friendly approach that will be rewarded: “The good news is that it goes in the direction of performance, but the challenge is to designers who will have to combine frugality and desire creation. Consume less, but better, it looks like the future of the planet passes by there.
5) The social commerce
After the monetization of the couriers and platforms, comes in its wake the “social commerce”. A trend emerges, even if it’s been 15 years that attempts to implement a trade feature are taking place. “About ten years ago: Facebook was already allowing brands to create an online store, so we were talking about E-Commerce,”. At the time, it is clear that the feature was boring. Was it too early to use? Was it related to the fact that e-merchants were content to copy and paste their online sales experience on Facebook, without taking into account the reasons why people spend time on the social network? Without adding any value compared to the experience on their website?
“Today, many platforms are truly engaging in social commerce and this trend is here to stay.” A trend now known as “shoppable posts”. Not a trademark post on Instagram without the mention “See the products” which then redirects to their e-shop. Instagram has also launched “Instagram Checkout that allows you to make purchases without leaving the platform. On the Pinterest side, the “Shop The Look” feature allows platform users to search and purchase products directly from the fashion and interior design pins.
Of course, before the appearance of these features, other technologies have helped to democratize social commerce, such as visual recognition on Snapchat in partnership with Amazon.
Still, “it is the uses that have truly evolved to leave opportunities for social commerce. These uses have developed and democratized in particular via the Digital Native Vertical Brands (DNVB), these famous brands that were created in direct-to-consumer mode and pure-player mode, with no other choice but to sell online “.
6) The podcast as a banner of quality content?
Another trend that will not surprise anyone, the audio and especially the podcast. The underlying trend is inherent in his discovery of the podcast almost three years ago (he now hosts the podcast Generation Do It Yourself): quality content. Social networks have entertained us for 10 years, in every sense of the word. They divert users to platforms that attract a lot of attention and generate a sort of intellectual pollution, a permanent snacking. Unlike this intellectual food that is not really good, makes you fat and silly, people tend to turn to intelligent content. “
This trend is a response to the frantic race to visibility of recent years that has leached us all. Having had the impression of being stupefied for years by television and social networks. Even if the TV makes a small form of withdrawal, when social networks remain an important vector to distribute this type of content. “
Indeed, finally integrated as a separate category of Spotify, and accessible in Google search results for a few weeks, the podcast will finally benefit from the visibility it deserves!”. Its format, particularly adapted to mobility situations, is “to be explored to offer new content that addresses several digital challenges:
– Feed your content / service strategy
– Respond to platform issues (Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, …)
– Serve your SEO strategy
7) The live for all
Initiated by the sites for adults, then by the contents video games (this chronology being without relation), the lives are rebuilt a youth via tools of conversations and monetization advanced. Live is everywhere and brands will have to learn to master it, to make it an interesting tool for the audience and effective for the business. In China, Taobao is leading the way with its mix of influence and trade.
8) The content factory
Some content, type long form advertisements, are the subject of brief and are produced by the agencies. But the brand is faced with another problem with its different voices and the multiplication of channels, “it must be always on permanently with its audiences.” Thus, it is obliged to produce volume quality content to support all his speeches on very different channels, he says. “The stories on Facebook, Snapchat or Instagram have also exploded the syndrome.” For the brand the challenge is to produce at the right price for the life of these contents, from a few seconds or minutes to a day, while maintaining a recurring production and a steady flow. Without failing to adapt to the peaks of charge which requires to be ultra reactive.
Brands are forced to organize themselves to respond to this problem, otherwise they can not be reactive enough to their audience and infiltrate communities of interest at key moments, he believes. The content factory is the industrialization of the professions of the image to the services of these new stakes and problems. It’s going to grow among advertisers, it’s obvious. “
9) Google’s no-click and the end of SEO traffic generator … but visibility generator
A study conducted by SEO specialist using data collected by Jumpshot * (marketing analysis company) showed that users click less often on search results of the California engine because, in most cases , the preview displayed by Google contains the answer to their query. According to data provided by Jumpshot on over a billion queries, the number of searches “zero-click” done on Google (by US users) has increased steadily over the past three years (+12 % compared to the first quarter of 2016).
What threatens the balance of online media and brand sites? Not necessarily since in the first quarter of 2019, 41.45% of searches made by Google have resulted in organic clicks to sites not belonging to Google, which is not nothing. However, Google tends to give up its search engine role to become an engine of answers. As for brands, the challenge is obvious and what they lose in traffic, they can gain visibility: “In fact, for each click on a result paid in Google, there are 11.6 clicks to organic results. SEO is far from dead. However, the share of clicks available to publishers and websites is dwindling, but their ability to “influence” still exists. The study predicts an increase in “On-SERP SEO” requests, ie “the practice of optimizing the results page in Google to deliver the desired message by a publisher, brand, or organization.” The information is transmitted while remaining on Google, without going on the third site.
10) Commitments & commitment
At one time, brand commitments were synonymous with low engagement on social networks. This year, however, we have noticed a growing desire on the part of brands to commit to the planet, to people, to better meet their aspirations.
Digital is the best medium for conveying these commitments because “it allows everyone to express themselves freely, to communicate in different possible ways, to viralize a subject in a very short time by being concise or on the contrary to take the time and explain all the dimensions of its commitments, and finally to involve others. And that’s good because all societal commitments are on the social side, and most of the most committed movements start there, like: #prayforamazonia #periodsarecool #climatestrike, and so on.
Digital has this facilitating role that allows anyone to “ask the questions they want to a brand, in the most transparent way possible.