As a digital marketing agency, it is important to continually monitor trends, review previous trends, and observe how they are being adopted or whether they are just a passing phase. From various research reports and surveys of tens of thousands of marketers in agencies and companies, we have compiled the following highlights from these reports. 

By Christopher Smith, Sha-Izwe Communications

Proxy metrics – ‘Likes’, engagements and video views not of key importance any longer

In a recent announcement, Facebook said that proxy metrics such as ‘Likes’, engagements and video views are not of key importance any longer and should not be made relevant in reporting metrics. Facebook is putting more emphasis on customer conversions to sales.

What are Conversions to Sales – When an advert is converted to a sale

Facebook regards sales conversions more important than likes or reach. Facebook has been offering off-site and on-site conversions for years now. Off-site conversions trigger when a user sees an advert and goes into the physical brick-and-mortar store. The trigger can occur when the buyer uses their loyalty card in the store which references their mobile number or email address when making the purchase. On the other hand, an on-site (online) conversion is when a customer sees an ad and makes the purchase online. Many marketers are now optimising their campaigns on conversions rather than likes and ‘shares’.

Stories – Business says these are affective 

Facebook rolled out disappearing posts in 2017 called Stories which are predominantly used on Instagram. Data suggests that more than one billion accounts now use stories globally. It appears that businesses using stories are having success: 57 percent of brands believe that stories have been “Somewhat effective” or “Very effective” as a part of their social media strategy. Facebook has also hinted that in the years to come, brands (businesses) will only be able to post onto stories. Stories which appear at the top of Facebook and Instagram feeds are placed vertically as opposed to horizontally as in traditional feeds, allowing users to add GIFS and stickers to images and videos.

Influencers – Companies still uncertain about their value

Influencers continued to be used by companies in 2019, with 68 percent saying the strategy has been “Somewhat to Very Effective”. Still, 23 percent of brands are unconvinced about the impact of influencer marketing. Instagram remains the preferred and most effective platform for influencer campaigns. Finding Influencers, maintaining relationships with them and evaluating the value that they bring is challenging. Many companies have said that clear deliverables are what they struggle with in terms of influencer relationships.

Video – Facebook now the Preference

The majority of brands prefer video content on Facebook over YouTube. Instagram is the 3rd most popular video platform. However, the majority of brands are not utilising Instagram’s IGTV which is intended to compete with YouTube, allowing users to upload longer videos. Most brands are not using live video like they did when it first launched. However, individuals, such as business coaches, are using live video effectively for webinars etc.

SEO – We see prioritising voice search as an important requirement

Only 12% of companies are optimising their website for voice search and don’t see it as a priority for 2020. Companies have said that they are finding higher competition in the Google Search Results Page and it is becoming more of a challenge to rank in Google searches, where there is now a lot more competition. Most companies have reported that they are completely dependent on Google for leads. Therefore, we see prioritising voice search as an important requirement.

Google Ads – Increased spend in 2020

Companies have reported that they have increased their budgets on Google Ads and will be spending even more into 2020.

SUMMARY- Increase website traffic and boost conversions, Not increasing Likes

The majority of marketers say that their main goal for 2020 is to increase traffic to their clients’ websites, and, to boost conversions on these websites as well as in brick-and-mortar stores ie generate actual sales, which is a significantly greater challenge than simply increasing ‘Likes’, engagements and video views. In addition, SEO and Google Ads will remain a key focus for generating leads in 2020.