What’s shaking up digital this year?

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Digital marketing is constantly changing and it’s hard to keep up with the amount of trends and new technologies that are released every single year, especially if you’re a not-for-profit. The important thing is to ensure you take an omni-channel marketing approach to reaching your customers to ensure your brand stays relevant.

And keep in touch with your customers, what are the trends, what tools are they using today, make sure you do your research. Finally always measure your success, use attribution models to unite digital data with other data to obtain a holistic view of the customer and their buying habits.

Although the five trends listed here aren’t anything new, they will still be relevant in 2020 and can help you fuel your marketing strategy to help you achieve great results and create distinction.

Strike a balance between public and private engagement

Customers are demanding more intimate social experiences and companies are responding to this need. In 2019, Mark Zuckerberg announced “The future is private”, revealing his vision to unify Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Last year Instagram launched ‘Threads’, a camera-first messaging app that allows users to connect with close friends in a dedicated private space.

Brands are responding to this trend saying that the shift in thinking to private social channels has made them rethink their content strategy. But customers still want that public social media interaction too discovering entertaining posts, events and reading news through public social feeds.

Those brands that can strike a balance between driving awareness on public feeds and then delivering meaningful deeper relationships on private channels will be the most successful. For example, you can now create Facebook or Instagram ads that send users directly into a private conversation with your business on Messenger or WhatsApp using the Click-to-Messenger feature. This can help you to drive growth for your business.

Influencer marketing will continue to grow

Influencer marketing has been a digital marketing trend for several years now. And it’s a win-win for brands who get it right as it’s much cheaper than running paid advertising campaigns and it also delivers great results. However, big-time influencers are now calling the shots and they are starting to become pretty pricey.

In 2020 small businesses and not-for-profits will start working with the micro-influencers as they are more affordable and often have a better engagement rate than the more popular top-tier influencers.

Because micro-influencers have less followers, they can dedicate more personal time to each one and they aren’t overloaded with sponsorship offers either. It’s also easier to specialise in a niche with micro-influencers as they often represent a niche themselves.

A micro-influencer usually has about 30,000 followers and an engagement rate of about 60 per cent.

Invest in User Generated Content

Brands leveraging user generated content (UGC) is not a new trend, but it is a trend that can help brands grow.

It sells more product and gets more people excited about a product and brand. UGC is any content that has been created and published by unpaid contributors. Often these contributors are fans who promote a brand instead of the brand promoting itself.

What’s great about it is that it’s free and is considered much more authentic than branded content. It can help your brand seem more trustworthy and can-do wonders for your image.

It should definitely form part of your omni-channel marketing strategy. Often customers are promoting a lot of great messages that you might not be aware of. Stackla is a great tool to use to
discover the best visuals from any social network that your customers are sharing and there are affordable options for not-for-profits too.

Stand for a purpose

Brands are using purpose to create deeper connections with customers, to help communities and to attract and retain talent. Those that do this well are achieving great results and seeing a return on investment.

Purpose-driven brands witness higher market share gains and grow on average three times faster than their competitors, all the while achieving higher employee and customer satisfaction. Gen Z and the Millennials demand brands to have a deeper sense of purpose today they want them to do more than just sell products, whether this is giving back to the environment or helping people who are less fortunate.

Dominos is a brand who has demonstrated this well. They helped to fix the potholes in a road in a town called Bartonville in Texas. They stated that the potholes were damaging their pizza – they even used GoPros to show the damage that was being caused. At the same time they fixed the roads for a local community. Demonstrating how they’re focused on the greater good of society, which delivered some great results for them.

This trend is only set to strengthen as young people around the world are growing up with a deeper sense of purpose than previous generations and are seeking out products that directly support causes about which they care.


In early 2019 TikTok was the most installed app and currently has over 800 million monthly active users, with 69 per cent being aged between 16-24. Gen Z spends around 46 minutes a day consuming videos that are typically 15 seconds long and mainly music videos or funny content.

But wait before you think this is a new opportunity for your business, 60 per cent of its users are currently located in China, the take-up of the app hasn’t been as popular with other countries.

With the demographic the app is perfect to promote universities and their range of offerings. The University of Florida was one of the first to be on the platform. It now has over 71,000 fans and over 945,000 hearts and has become the first verified university account.

So, if you aren’t trying to target Gen Z in China with authentic funny playful content, this probably isn’t going to be right for your brand. You’d be better off focusing on other digital marketing channels to help your business grow like Instagram (if you need to reach Millennials).

Something to watch out for – Instagram are releasing a new feature called ‘Reels’. This new functionality will enable Insta users to set 15-second video clips to music and share them as Stories.

Will the hype last with TikTok? Only time will tell, but recently released numbers show that the number of sign-ups is starting to slow down. This is one to watch in 2020.

Other trends to keep an eye on include voice search, augmented and virtual reality and artificial intelligence. Many small businesses and not-for-profits think this type of technology is out of reach for them, but things have moved on and there are affordable options available in the market. As for voice search, if you already have a great SEO strategy in place you will be fine in this space.

The main takeaway is to always keep up with the latest technologies and trends and discover how you can use them to help your not-for-profit stay ahead of the competition and create distinction.