As technology’s rate of evolution – and level of public consumption ­– continues to swell, strategies for tapping into the consciousness and pockets of potential customers must constantly be reexamined.

Identifying actionable and profitable trends is a fluid process. Measurable data combined with industry insights help, but we’re taking it a step further to make it much easier. Here’s Corporate Marketing’s list of top things to consider for online marketing success in 2020. 

Zero is the New One

So, you pore over analytics during the day, then wake at night with new SEO strategies percolating in your head. You massage your message and tweak your keywords and optimize your copy and….

…for the first time ever, more than 50% of Google searches result in zero clicks!

Soon you discover that your target has been walled off. SERP delivered the goods at the top of the page, thank you very much – no need to visit your site!

You’ve been there, right?

According to Search Engine Journal, the zero-click phenomenon affects not only SEO specialists, but also brand and content creators. And zero-click on SERP reportedly rises to nearly 63% on mobile, where voice searches tend to revolve around direct location or information queries; i.e., “pizza near me,” or “when is Mother’s Day?”

According to Cyrus Shepard, Founder of Zyppy, marketers need to shift their perspective to focus more on visibility, and less on actual blue links.

“More and more brand marketing is happening on Google itself, and not necessarily on your website,” Shepard told Search Engine Journal. “Smart marketers will need to learn how to adapt and take advantage of this by getting more strategic about the information shown in search snippets.”

Some suggested zero-click battle strategies to increase visibility:

  • concentrate on creating more relevant and engaging featured snippets
  • implant newer schema data on your website
  • give those favicons a one-over for possible optimization.

Voice Inquiries and Mobile Immediacy

The average U.S. adult spends about three hours per day on their smart phone, according to eMarketer. That’s spurred more voice searches among on-the-go users expecting immediate results.

In response to the proliferation of mobile search, in 2019 Google made mobile-first indexing the default for all new domains. They didn’t stop there. Now that it’s 2020, Google is already in the process of re-indexing older websites the same way.

According to Business 2 Community, marketers and web developers need to ensure their mobile and desktop pages have the same content, and that both versions have the necessary metadata.

Meanwhile, Convince and Convert encourages optimizing your site for voice searches through mobile. Along with optimizing your own snippet, they suggest thoughtfully structuring your content with H2 and H3 headings, then providing concise answers below each subhead. That makes it easier, and more likely, that Google search will feature your relevant information.

eSports Presents New Playing Field

The scourge of conscientious parents in past generations, video games are now featured in college curricula and garner $90 million per year in broadcast rights.

Video games are also fertile territory for digital marketers to cultivate younger, tech-savvy customers.

Ad revenue through eSports is expected to hit $213 million in 2020, according to research from eMarketer, and audience reach is expected to rise to 46 million people by 2023. That’s more than triple the average viewership for the 2019 World Series.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau predicts eSports will eventually achieve “total domination” of live sports. We think they’re right.

“As 5G rolls out and every device becomes a real-time gaming device, the eSports domination will be complete – at least with younger audiences,” writes Eric John, deputy director of video with IAB.

Applying AR to Nudge Conversions

Speaking of 5G, CNET reports that Qualcomm expects the network to expand and go mainstream in 2020, when more than 200 million 5G smartphones will ship. With consumers receiving information up to 100 times faster than 4G, more advanced interfaces – and marketing opportunities – will be in the hands of consumers.

Enter the world of augmented reality (AR), where marketers can manipulate their target’s real-world surroundings to spark conversions. IKEA already has an AR app that lets online shoppers “place” potential new furniture in their homes. Trade website AR Post expects scores of other retailers to follow suit.

AR effects can also now be implemented in Facebook ad campaigns. Since AR is traditionally viewed more favorably by younger demographics, Business Insider believes deploying the technology over Facebook can be viewed as an experiment in older generations’ receptiveness.

Meanwhile, Statista projects Augmented and Virtual Reality ad revenue to hit $18.8 billion in 2020 – then surge to nearly $200 billion over the next five years. Familiarizing and tapping into those technologies now could prove pivotal for future profits.

(Good) Content is (Still) King

No matter what product you sell, service you offer, or website you plan to optimize, the materials you cultivate and craft to present your company’s story are essential for success.

And that comes down to content. Content is what consumers want. It’s also the commodity that few companies devote the resources to adequately cultivate.

“High-quality content allows you to show your expertise and communicate with your customers from a place of authority,” according to Forbes’ Marketing Trends for 2020. “Your content is also what search engines provide to searchers online, so continuing to produce high-quality content is a must.”

Search Engine Journal ranks high-quality, optimized content as one of its top SEO trends in 2020.  But for some, developing such content may entail deviation from traditional SEO paradigms.

According to Jesse McDonald, Global SEO Strategist for IBM: “The goal of switching the mentality to more of a topic-focus is to create content that addresses an entire conversation holistically, as opposed to just worrying about the single keyword a page should be targeting.”