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2020 Digital Marketing Recap

2020 Digital Marketing Recap

2020 has been an interesting year to say the least.  With all of the change and craziness that has come along this year, there has also been new opportunity.  Here is a look at the year in digital marketing: trends that emerged, ideas that came to fruition, and where most companies focused their digital efforts.

Forced pivot 

This was easily the defining trend of the year.  Of course everyone, in practically every field, had to stop on a dime and completely change course in March of 2020.  This forced adaptation to a quickly changing world continued to varying extents throughout the rest of the year as well.  Digital marketing is always pretty quick-paced, but this year the need to adapt reached a whole new level.  

It was clear that some companies handled this need to pivot better than others.  There were 2 divergent trends that emerged.  Some brands adapted quickly and used this opportunity to come up with new revenue streams and digital marketing strategies.  They produced virtual events and experiences, new opportunities to shop online, and more.  For others, the pandemic and ever-changing regulations were overwhelming, and digital marketing efforts tended to get left by the wayside.  Thus, this year saw both some of the most engaging and least engaging social media channels and digital marketing campaigns in recent history.   

Online ordering uptake accelerated 

Online shopping is not new.  The share of shopping and ordering done online has been steadily increasing for a few years.  The convenience of placing orders from home has become more and more appealing to consumers.  What makes this trend notable for 2020 is that the state of the world has rapidly accelerated the growth of online shopping.  While it was already on an upward trend, nobody would have predicted just how quickly it grew this year. 

New platforms 

Another notable development in digital marketing this year was the emergence of new social media platforms, namely TikTok and Instagram Reels.  The popularity of both grew exponentially over the course of the year.  While the two platforms are not identical by any means, they do have many similarities.  Both feature short-form videos and are especially popular with members of Gen Z and younger millennials.   The emergence of these new ways of sharing has been important for brands that target these younger demographics.  Finding ways to use TikTok and Reels to market has been a big focus for some companies in 2020. 

Mobile functionality 

As online shopping in general is increasing, so is shopping on mobile devices in particular.  With this in mind, many businesses invested in upgrading the mobile functionality of their websites this year.  There was a time not so many years ago that the vast majority of websites were a complete headache to use on mobile browsers.  Now, we are seeing more and more companies putting in the time and resources to make their sites mobile friendly.  Companies that do have apps or mobile-friendly sites have a huge advantage in this time of online buying.

Videos make sales 

Last but not least, one final trend that dominated the field in 2020 was video marketing.  YouTube and other similar sites have long been a great potential source of income for businesses.  This year, more brands than ever took advantage of this.  Videos tend to make more of an impact than just photos or text when it comes to online marketing, and can have a very meaningful impact on sales.  A whopping 76% of adults in a Brightcove study actually said they have made a purchase after watching a marketing video.  The use of videos to capture attention online looks to be a trend that will be continuing for quite some time beyond the end of 2020 as well.

So there you have it.  A look back on this crazy, unprecedented year through the lens of digital marketing.  As we enter 2021, we are looking forward to seeing what trends and innovations will capture the attention of the marketing world next. 

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