Marketing Trends 2020: What’s Going to Happen & How to Stay Ahead

Hong Kong marketing trends in 2020

The world changes and businesses change with it – and so is the digital landscape.

2019 was the year of video content, augmented reality, influencer marketing, and so on.

And now that 2020 has arrived, no one expects things to remain the same. It’s time to re-strategize and look at everything with an innovative, forward-thinking mindset.

It’s simple: the only way your brand can remain relevant is when you’re able to adapt it to the ever-evolving digital marketing trends.

The Competitive Digital Marketing Landscape in 2019

Altimeter had some really interesting stats on how marketers have been using digital marketing to drive business results in 2019. The survey tried to identify and quantify some of the key practises that companies were using to achieve digital marketing excellence as the year progressed.

Here are the key findings in the report:


Area of Focus Key Findings
Goals About 37% of businesses quoted brand awareness as their main digital marketing goals.


26% were more interested in lead generation, while 20% wanted to improve on user experience.


The biggest challenge 55% of marketers had to contend with in 2019 was hiring people with the right digital marketing skills.




54% of marketers had trouble scaling innovations across every part of their business.


Team alignment featured at the bottom of challenges, with only 19% of marketers citing it as one of the hurdles that they had to deal with, in 2019.

The Most Desired Skills Data Analysis was the most desired skill in new hires (at 41%), followed by tech expertise (at 38%).
Top Metrics for Measuring Success


61% of marketers were quick to point out customer lifetime value and customer loyalty as the top metric for measuring their digital marketing success in 2019.
Best Performing Channel


61% of marketers said social media was the best performing digital marketing channel in 2019, while 56% thought websites were the best.
Digital Marketing Software The two most popular digital marketing software of 2019 were Salesforce (at 26%) and Adobe Marketing Cloud (at 22%).

Digital Marketing Stats in 2019

Conversion Rate

  • Only 22% of businesses were satisfied with their conversion rates. The rest ended the year believing they could have done more to improve their conversion rates — Econsultancy.
  • Videos were found to increase conversion rates by 86% — wordstream.
  • 90% of users that search online are yet to make up their mind on brand – Status Lab
  • 78% of location-based searches on mobile lead to an offline purchase – Junto.
  • 86% of users tried looking for business locations on Google maps.

Ecommerce Sales

  • Global e-commerce sales were projected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2021
  • 84% of users won’t proceed with a purchase upon landing on an unsecured website
  • B2B e-commerce is predicted to outgrow B2C e-commerce by the end of 2020

Local SEO

  • 82% of local smartphone shoppers conduct ‘near me’ searches – Search Engine Land
  • Businesses without mobile-friendly websites are likely to lose 61% of online users. More than half of the users they attract will hit the exit button upon landing, without making any attempt to check the site further — Junto.
  • 50% of users that conduct local searches on mobile make an effort to visit the store within 24 hours.

Organic Search

  • 94% of organic searches happen on Google.
  • Articles that feature on the first page of Google have an average word count of 1850 – backlinks
  • More than 50% of searches are more than 4 words long
  • 61% of marketers prioritise on SEO to grow their organic traffic
  • Organic traffic is 5.66 times better than paid searches
  • Including video in your post can improve your organic search by up to 157% – Search Engine People

Voice Search

  • 65% of online users between the age of 25 and 49 use their voice-enabled device at least once in a day – PWC
  • Voice search would have grown to a 40 billion channel by the end of 2022
  • By the end of 2020, 50% of all searches will be voice

Top Marketing Challenges for Singaporean Companies in 2019

  • Generating traffic and leads – 63%
  • Proving ROI on their marketing activities – 40%
  • Securing Enough Budget – 28%
  • Identifying the right marketing technologies and tools – 26%
  • Crafting content that target an international audience – 21%
  • Training of marketing teams – 19%
  • Hiring top talent – 16%

Why Businesses Need to Stay Updated in an Ever-changing, Fast-paced Digital Marketing Environment

Why bother changing a marketing strategy or approach that has been working for you for years?

Simple – just because something worked for you today, that doesn’t mean it will still work tomorrow.

Nothing is constant in the world of marketing. What works today might never work in the future – and that’s because search engines have never relented on updating their system.

The only way to survive and compete effectively is to stay updated. You have to find a way to stay ahead of your competition, and stay updated on the latest marketing trends.

What are the other reasons businesses in Singapore are encouraged to observe marketing trends?

  • To keep up with new ways of shopping and researching products and services online.
  • To stay updated on the ever-changing consumer behaviour and priorities
  • To stay ahead of your competition. By keeping your finger on the pulse of what’s latest in the world of marketing, you’ll always be one-step ahead of your competition.
  • Listening and responding to the changes that happen will help you save a great deal of your marketing money.
  • To stay relevant in your niche market.
  • Businesses that stick to only one marketing strategy are likely to hit a plateau. Their business will stagnate and they wouldn’t know what to do to get things rolling again.

It bears repeating that things change all the time in the world of marketing. Blink, and you’ll be left behind and forced to play catch-up.

It’s for this reason that we’ll be listing some of the most crucial marketing trends in 2020 – alongside their examples and different ways to adapt.

How to keep Yourself Updated on Emerging Digital marketing Trends

Beside stumbling across a post such as this, here are a few ways to update yourself on emerging digital marketing trends in Singapore:

Be Active on Social Media

There’s no better way to stay updated on emerging digital marketing trends than keeping your ears and eyes open on what’s happening on social media.

Marketers are ever-generous with information, and one of the channels they use to dish out important digital marketing pointers and emerging trends is social media.

Here are a few ways you can use social media to stay updated on emerging digital marketing trends:

  • By connecting with the professionals in your industry on the various social media channels.
  • By following the executives of the brands that you admire on LinkedIn and other social media channels.
  • Creating a list of top influencers on Twitter. They offer the perfect opportunity to learn about the industry’s best practises and emerging trends in the digital quarters.
  • By using hashtags to tracks trending topics on Twitter
  • By Joining Facebook groups that are relevant to your field or industry.

Start Attending Industry Conferences

You can start by finding a trade organisation near you and join. It’s also important that you start attending industry conferences (within and outside your field). Besides learning, these conferences offer a perfect opportunity to network with fellow trades people within your locality.

These conferences and trading organisations also offer invaluable insights on what other people in your field are doing to innovate their businesses and beat the competition.

Besides connecting you with industry pros, these events also try to bring in keynotes with lots of stuff to teach you and keep you updated on what’s new.

Google Alerts

It’s sad that you still have to be reminded to set up Google Alerts at this time and age.

All you need to set up Google alert is a Gmail account. You can go ahead and set up Google Alerts to be automatically notified whenever Google stumbles across a new search engine result relating to that topic.

This is something you’d want to do as early as now. You can use the alerts to track a specific service area or product, watch what your competition is doing, and to be updated on the type of content that other businesses within your niche are publishing.

Marketing Blogs and Newsletters

Marketing blogs like mediaone’s churn out detailed and well-researched articles that focus on educating their readers on key digital marketing trends, new data, best industry practises, and so on–there’s no limit as to what you can learn from these blogs.

Frequently visit these blogs and websites and find out what’s new with them. It’s even better if you can afford to subscribe to their newsletter so you can be instantly notified whenever they post anything new. Alternatively, consider using a free RSS tool such as Feedly, which automatically notifies you every time the blog publishes new content.

Stay in Touch with Your Team

Never underestimate your team and what they can do for you. If your team is the type that’s always angry for information, you can bet they have their eyes out on emerging digital marketing trends.

A better approach would be to create a community or forum where members of your team meet to share industry findings and articles, whether it’s a weekly newsletter or internal blog. Remember to also use Slack to keep the lines of communication on emerging digital marketing trends open.

Top Marketing Trends to Watch in 2020

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is Here to Stay

2020 might be the year when people finally realise that AI is here to stay and take dominance. There’s so much that AI could do that the world of marketing has yet to realise.

First, AI is already taking over many of the simple jobs you know.

Examples include Uber and Microsoft, which use Knightscope K5 bots to patrol large outdoor areas and parking lots to predict crime and pre-emptively prevent it. These bots can read number plates, sense suspicious activities, and collect data reports to send to the owner.

R2-D2-like robots, which go for about $7 an hour, are also replacing human guards, and so on.

There’s no denying that the world is yet to realise the full power of AI, and that’s what awaits us as the year reels on.

Why Businesses Need to Adopt AI

Your organisation should be interested in AI for the following reasons:

  • AI allows you to obtain and maintain a competitive advantage
  • It allows you to transition into new businesses
  • Businesses that utilise AI will join your market. You have to adopt it to compete effectively with them or to gain an edge
  • Some of your competitors may already be using AI
  • You may be forced to use AI to cut on unnecessary cost
  • Some supplier will begin offering AI-driven products or services
  • Some customer will start requesting for AI-driven offerings

With AI, you can analyse search patterns, consumer behaviour, and even use data from social media and other platforms to find out more about how customers interact with your products and services.

An exciting example of AI and what it could do to your business are chatbots. It goes without mentioning Mastercard, which created the Facebook messenger bot. With this bot, you can easily decipher what a customer is interested in and respond to it like a real person.

Suffice it to say it’s just a matter of time before AI starts driving many of the services you know. Here are a few areas that AI may prove to be of great help in:

  • In basic communication
  • In product recommendation
  • In Email personalisation
  • In content creation
  • In ecommerce transactions

AI in Search Functionality

It’s no secret that search engines are among the biggest users of AI.

A few years back, fake SEO specialists devised different ways to beat search engines through shady SEO practises. That’s how Black Hat SEO tactics were born. They devised all manner of tricks that they successfully managed to use to trick search engines into ranking them high. They were the masters of keywords stuffing, invisible texts, cloaking, link spams, and so on.

Search engines wised up to these ploys and resorted to using AI and that marked the end of these tricks. They were able to use AI in their algorithms, and which they’re currently using to stop these manipulations and rank sites more effectively.

So how does this Affect How Marketers Optimise Their Content for Search Engines? Here’s some sobering fact about how the whole thing comes into play.

Search engines are designed to help users find exactly what they can to look for. It’s through machine learning that these search engines are able to facilitate that. This works great for marketers because it means they’ll be evaluated right.

The best and most relevant content will be ranked high. Optimising your content for the search engines will still work, but more priority will be directed on the quality of content you produce. Meaning, it’s time you forget about everything you know about SEO and instead direct all your effort on producing quality content — and that’s how you’ll be winning it big with SEO in 2020.

AI in Sentiment Analysis

AI plays a critical role in sentiment analysis or social listening. It is what systems use to read human emotions and understand the underlying feeling behind every text. Again, it’s what you use to find out what your target audience thinks about your products and services.

At some point, you’ll want to find out whether people are reacting positively, negatively, or neutrally to your products – and that’s exactly where AI comes in handy again.

You can use it to monitor social mentions and weigh in on the opinions that people share on social media or blogs.

In so doing, you’ll be able to discover negative content sooner enough before its effects take a toll on the image of your brand. You should also be able to evaluate customer support and develop a better understanding of how customers feel about your products or brand.

AI in Hyper-personalisation

Perhaps you didn’t know about this, but you could use AI to improve your engagement rate by personalising user experiences.

First, publications use AI to deliver tailored content based on people’s search history, interests, and location. For instance, you may use it to come up with personalised content suggestions and product recommendations.

AI also allows you to automate advertising. It’s what you also use to segment your email list so you can start targeting each group with personalised email marketing campaigns.

Social Media Marketing Trends in 2020

In Singapore alone, more than 85% of the population have signed up with at least one social media account – about 3.5 million people have an active Facebook account, with YouTube breaking the record with upwards of 4 million active users.

That explains why social media is considered an important part of every marketing strategy in Singapore, and apparently one of the marketing channels any serious marketer wouldn’t want to lose sight of.

Social media also allows you to authentically connect with your target audience at a personal level, thus humanising your brand.

A Quick Overview of the Current State of Social Media

You’ll agree social media has evolved a great deal. The vanilla social media marketing strategies that worked wonders a while back no longer cut it in the modern world of social media marketing.

Snapchat was the first to introduce the content of ‘My Story.’ Instagram would then follow suit, followed by Facebook a few years down the line.

It didn’t take long before YouTube stepped in with its own version of “My Story,” Reels. And now we have TikTok making waves. Users get to create videos right out of thin air for a less polished but more authentic look.

These stories aren’t meant to last, which leaves marketers with a very limited window of opportunity to act out, lest they miss out on important opportunities.

The Benefits of Using Social Media Stories

  • To increase brand awareness
  • Allows you to stay in constant contact or engagement with your followers.
  • It offers a cost-effective ad solution
  • Increase your webpage traffic
  • It offers a perfect opportunity to target a younger audience

Pointers on How to Run with Social Media Stories in 2020

Remember to add polls to the stories you come up with. You could run the stories alongside polls that ask users about their opinion on something. This offers a perfect opportunity to build anticipation around your brand, product, or services.

You may also use stories to target local customers. If you’ve been keen on observing, you must have noticed that consumers use stories to search for businesses within their locality. Take Instagram stories for instance. They have a story icon for viewing recent stories that have been used alongside a particular location sticker.

In addition to that, you have the option of using hashtags for events or places to generate a similar effect and drive the bulk of your users to that destination for more info.

Permanent Social Media Content

Social media stories are more ephemeral. They have a short-term effect and a very limited window of opportunity to be effective.

Some of these social media platforms have an option for posting fleeting and permanent posts. Permanent posts are a little different because they stretch over a wide span of time.

For instance, Instagram has a permanent wall that you can use to publish posts that aren’t limited by time.

For platforms that allow you to create both ephemeral and permanent posts, you can use the combination to showcase the personality of your brand with an added twist to it.

It’s also important that you err on the side of succinctness and clarity. Don’t overcomplicate things with excessive graphics and wordiness.

Booming Influencer Marketplace and Platforms for Businesses

Influencer marketing isn’t a new trend. But it’s here to stay, and boom as the year develops. Influencers are paid huge sums of money to promote brands and products. The number of social media influencers has been on the rise lately, and so is their demand.

Influencers are much cheaper compared to the cost of running a paid ad campaign. They also deliver better marketing results, besides hinging you close to a huge variety of marketing goals.

Also, unlike ads, they’re not just limited to generating leads.

You don’t have to collaborate with 1 or 2 influencers, but work with a network of small and relevant niche influencers. That way, you’ll be able to develop better engagement and reduce your overall spend.

This is a strategy that marketers should consider adopting in 2020. If anything, they’re better of working with a string of smaller influencers than investing in just one celebrity figure.

Micro-influencers are the In-thing

2020 should be the year when you decide to take full advantage of micro-influencers. Let them expose you to their audience and stretch your brand awareness.

Remember, you’re not just limited to celebrity figures or the big names you know in the industry.

If anything, anyone with a niche following – however small it is – qualifies as a micro-influencer. These influencers may have a small following, but their posts tend to have a bigger punch because of their high levels of engagement.

Micro-influencers are no special people. It’s just that they have identified a niche and chosen to be super-active on the platform. Meaning, their posts get to be viewed as a recommendation from a friend or family member, which increases the chances of conversion.

If you’re looking for the most effective way to take advantage of influencers in 2020, micro-influencers are the way to go. Of course, you’ll be tempted to look at the number of followers each one of them possesses. But what’s even more important than followers and all that is their level of engagement.

Look at the number of clicks, likes, subscribers, and comments their posts are attracting, instead of how big their following is.

Micro-influencers are also good for creating social buzz. Plus, they’re more cost-effective and easier to bring on board compared to celebrities and the big names in your industry.

Chatbots for the Personal Touch

As the popularity of chatbots continues to rise, it’s just a matter of time before they become the mainstay of customer support.

Chatbots save time. Users can directly talk to one of your customer representatives and get the information they need really fast.

They can accumulate user interaction data and add it to a CRM database to serve marketing goals. They also offer a rounded view on your customers so you can understand them better and be able to offer personalised services.

Chatbots are expected to pick up in 2020, and as one of the most important segments of digital marketing.

Here’s what surveys have to say about chatbots:

  • Chatbots will cover 85% of all customer support services by the end of 2020
  • 64% of cite the 24-hour convenience as the top benefit of using chatbots, while 55% are quick to point out the instant inquiries and responses as their main benefit.
  • Another 55% think chatbots are better because they’re a straightforward way to respond to simple questions prospects and consumers have.
  • 63% of users prefer using chatbots to contact a business or brand.
  • By 2022, chatbots will be helping businesses save upwards of $8 billion a year.
  • 80% of businesses have made a mental note of adopting chatbots by the end of 2020.

Social Commerce is the New Retail Therapy

It’s not uncommon for businesses to sell their products and services on social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Also, as it turns out, social commerce is fast-becoming the new retail avenue for business, bound to get even stronger through the year.

Social commerce might soon become a retail channel competing on the same scale as ecommerce stores and marketplaces. And this is the year this trend to hit the mainstream, having started with some of the social media channels introducing pro-selling features such as shoppable posts.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Trends in 2020

The top inbound marketing priority for 61% of Singapore marketers looking to grow their organic presence is SEO.

As one of these marketers, how do you plan to improve your organic presence through SEO? What are some of the SEO trends to observe and factor into your new SEO strategy?

Consumers Love Voice Search Trends 2020

Just as it was predicted a few years ago, voice search is fast picking up pace, with different studies predicting it will be accounting for about 50% of all voice searches by 2020.

As voice searches continue to grow in popularity, companies have to rethink their digital marketing strategies.

Here are a few stat findings they might need to consider:

  • 50% of online searches will be conducted via voice by the end of 2020.
  • 55% of homes will at least own a smart speaker by the end of 2022.
  • 72% of people that currently own voice-activated speakers use the device almost daily.
  • Voice shopping is estimated to catapult to $40 billion by the end of 2022, from the current $2 billion.

Overall, it’s expected that more people will begin using voice searches as the year progresses.

What’s “near me” Localised Searches

82% of online shoppers add the term ‘near me’ in their search queries. This may come as a shock to you, but if you have yet to optimise your site for localised ‘near me’ searches, this should be the year you integrate it into your marketing campaign.

‘Near me’ searches have seen exponential growth in the past two years.

Here are some important stats touching on this:

  • The use of “near me now’ phrases has grown by about 150% over the past two years. Examples include “gas refills near me.”
  • The use of “near me today/tonight” phrases has grown by about 900% over the past two years. Examples include “eateries near me tonight.”
  • The use of phrase with “now” + “near me’ has grown by about 200% over the past two years. Examples include “where can I find a liquor store near me, now?”

Smart Speakers Drive Voice Search

Businesses have no option but to optimise their websites for voice search. As with SEO, this offers a perfect opportunity to create awareness around your brand.

2020 is the year that we expect to see more businesses exploit this potential. We expect to see more businesses experiment with smart speakers to drive more leads and increase sales.

Jetson is one of the pioneers of voice search in the ecommerce space. They’re one of the early runners in this, having created voice-enabled devices that customers can use to make purchases.

Position Zero Wins the Game

People no longer obsess about propelling their site to position 1 in the SERPs. It’s like the goal post shifted – and now, the new desired spot is position #0.

Position Zero – Position 1 is no longer the top spot on a search engine results page (SERP). Position zero or ‘#0’ is where it’s at! This highly desired position features text from your website and is now the top spot.

2020 is going to be the year when everyone will be fighting to get their site to position zero. For those who don’t know, position zero is the spot that occurs immediately after the first search result.

It’s a post summary or listicle with relevant answers to your search query. It’s what you should be aiming at this year as you work on SEO.

The Need to Optimise for Rich and Featured Snippets

Rich and featured snippets have been with us for a while now – bringing considerable changes in the SERPs and how online users interact with it.

Featured snippets refer to the search results that display additional information about a webpage. Usually, they appear after the first organic result or what’s commonly referred to as position zero.

This is what you should be thinking about optimising your site for in 2020. Remember, there’s only one way to achieve this – you have to provide clear answers to some of the common questions that users ask.

Both featured and rich-text snippet are meant to help you increase your Click Through Rate (CTR).

Quality Content Always Rules

Quality content should sit at the centre of your SEO strategy.

For all we know, users are more interest in content that’s relevant, useful, and timely. So, it make sense that Google would want place content that meets the above criteria at the top of its result pages.

People bombard search engines with pressing questions, and it’s your job to provide them with the answers that they need.

Quality content must be well-researched, written with the best grammar, and follow a logical structure that’s easy to both read and navigate through.

Search Engine Marketing Trends for 2020

There will be Less Control with Google Ads Automation

One of the biggest trends of 2020 in PPC ads is automation. It’s among the things that every PPC marketer will be working on in 2020.

Google will introduce more automation and capabilities, and marketers will be quick to test them out. Plus, there will be more marketers creating these automations on their own or turning to third-party features and tools.

Marketers have to evaluate these automations and weigh in on them to determine if they’re good for their marketing needs or Google itself.

Offer to Help Your Customers Learn and Grow Instead of Worrying About Direct Sales

Smart marketer must strategically speak to their target audience at specific touchpoints. While 2019 was the year that marketers appeared to be more focused on targeting their audience, 2020 could be the year when they finally learn to speak to them.

PPC will be less about forcing your marketing message on your audience. Meaning, marketers will be forced to worry less about direct sales, and start worrying about how their offerings are of help to others.

So, forget about paying the top dollar for a top position with a poor offering, and instead focus on helping your customers learn and grow – even if its means paying to do it.

Don’t Restrict Yourself to Google and Facebook

Google and Facebook may be the dominating search engines, but people are spending a tremendous chunk of their time on other platforms as well, especially TikTok, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Don’t ignore these platforms, instead try going to where your customers are.

This is not to say that you should go on plastering your ad on every platform that allows you to. What it means is that you need to dedicate some time to understanding your customers and where they can be found most.

After you’ve identified a platform, the next thing you want to do is test it out and find out if it’s good for business.

Stay Ahead of Marketing Trends

2020 will be a busy year for marketers. It’s the year that many of them will learn to embrace change and accept it as a natural part of life. If there’s anything 2020 will teach you is that you should learn to look ahead and strive to embrace new strategies, technologies, and tools. To start adapting to these changes as early as possible, just contact MediaOne! Our experience team will take care of all your digital marketing needs.