I’m late to the 2020 welcome wagon, but here we are and welcome aboard! A new year brings new trends in marketing, and I’m going to go through a few of my best guesses for what we’ll see (and continue seeing) from our favorite brands.

Social Media Content Shifts

Changes in social media are like the sands of the sea—innumerable. From what I’ve seen in 2020, there seems to be a shift in the style of content that people are sharing, especially on Instagram and Youtube. Over the last few years, we’ve seen hyper-stylized content being produced, but now I’m seeing more authentic pieces surfacing. Less studio lighting, more natural light. Less Photoshop, more reality. This doesn’t mean that curated pieces won’t be popular, but this trend is attached to Millennials’ desires for truth. No one wants to see perfection all the time. It’s depressing. This year is all about the makers and their stories instead of superficiality. 

Another social media trend on my radar is shopping. If you’re like me, it’s now instinct to click on a photo to see if you can purchase any of the items. Instagram and Pinterest, in particular, are seeing rises in purchases directly through their platforms. And why not? After all, convenience is key. Want that new couch from that pop-up shop across the country? No problem. Brands like Nike Sportswear, Warby Parker, Nordstrom and more are loving the trend, and I don’t expect it to see decline any time soon.

Technology-Powered Communication

If you’ve seen Ex Machina, you know we’re doomed for failure when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI). But maybe not. As a 2020 trend, AI isn’t manifesting in the grandiose ways that were once predicted. A major trend continually growing is chatbots and voice assistants. Calling a car or checking a savings account is as easy as texting—just look at Lyft and Mastercard, who offer SMS transactions.

Voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Cortana have been on the rise, and they’re only getting more streamlined across various businesses and industries. Websites are integrating with voice search technology too, creating a whole new spectrum of brand voice.

Oh, and what about planning and designing interior spaces? Hello, Ikea Place. Thanks to AI, you can now download an app and see what furniture looks best in your house. Some apps allow you to see paint colors and floor options as well. Feeling like Judy Jetson yet?

Digital Video Storytelling

Last on my list, but certainly not least, is digital video content. For a generation obsessed with experiences, it makes sense that we are seeing a rise in immersive video (like Interactive 360º). Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have played a role in attracting new audiences to unexpected places and things, like musicals, international destinations, outdoor activities and sports games. And though it’s not easy to produce, it pays off in the end.

Also on the rise for the last couple years, and I predict will continue growing, is live streaming. Brands have expanded far beyond a simple Facebook Live video and recognized the ephemeral spirit that producing live content can foster. It’s the new radio or TV, where people can gather around to watch and share special moments in life. Brands can then save their videos for a multi-platform placement strategy.

For storytelling, a big trend for 2020 is User-Generated Content (UGC). Coke mastered this idea with their “Share a Coke” campaign that buzzed with personalization, and it’s taken off ever since. It’s easier to ask users to share their photos or video content with a rallying cry, and those assets are free marketing vehicles for your brand. And though UGC can sometimes produce duds, the best can be incorporated into your videos for paid media placements, putting the persona into your brand personality.

And that’s it! There are so many trends that will continue blooming over the year, so pick the ones that fit best with your brand and its goals. The advantage of having an agency like Designsensory on your side is the ability to step back and see when and where to use trends within your marketing and media plan. Get with us to craft a new 2020 vision.