Hint: A lot of puns relating to eyesight.
The new year is around the corner. I’m going to skip December and the holiday rush and go right to January 2020.
Here is a shortlist of what I see as important for any business looking to stay ahead of the curve in 2020 and beyond. I mainly speak to small-medium sized businesses in Canada. Gartner defines an SMB as a company with less than 100 employees and/or less than $50M/year in annual revenue. This accounts for a pretty wide range of organization size, and most of who we serve at Navigator.
The items below are in no specific order.
For most businesses, website traffic is 50% or more. We need more attention to detail when designing website content and page layouts. Mobile phones are slow, and page load time is a top priority for user experience and should drive decision making in design, where the site is hosted and how the site is built.
We are going to see a more significant push in the popularity of SMB websites selling products online. Service as a subscription, moving retail online, gift card sales, and online bookings will be the expectation of the modern shopper. SMB’s that adopt this will benefit from increased customer loyalty local differentiation.
Social media use-case is split between advertising and posting to the page organically. Facebook has become very hard to grow a page organically as a small business but remains as one of the most powerful advertising channels available. SMB’s must collaborate with other local (complimentary) businesses to leverage each other’s following and build their community (engagement) in an organic way. I’m willing to bet that Instagram will change quite a bit in 2020 as part of Facebook’s response to TikTok, as well as new advertising tools for SMB to make promotional content more engaging.
– Twitter is dead for 99% of SMB’s, even as an advertising channel.
– Snapchat is dead for most SMB use cases.
TikTok is the new and rising platform dominant among the young demographic (gen Z). It has some key differentiators in content creation and network effects that is creating a category of its own. I don’t see this movement as a trend and it will be interesting to see how larger brands adapt and try to fit in. I’m not recommending it for SMB’s yet but definitely one to keep an eye on.
Voice search keeps growing but has not yet been adopted by SEOs or search advertisers. Google commends 90%+ of the search market, Bing continues to decline in popularity. Privacy-centric search engines like Duck Duck Go are growing in popularity but still a relatively small audience size. As an SMB Google Search remains the #1 priority (either paid or organic) for new customer acquisition. Competition in search advertising will force more sophisticated tactics in targeting and landing page experience.
Conversion Rate Optimization
CRO is a holistic practice used by larger brands that can leverage large amounts of data (ex. site traffic and large digital ad campaigns) to split test and continually improve different parts of a buyer journey. SMB’s have had a barrier to entry on this just based on budget and a typical local site website will see <5000 sessions per month. However, over the next 1-3 years, CRO will become a more significant part of the digital strategy for more advanced SMB’s using benchmarking tools and AI.
SMB brand development is a challenge. The responsibility of content upkeep is always increasing an expanding into challenging mediums like video and competitive SEO. Brands I see doing a good job are letting their content strategy define their brand and their logo/font/colours are secondary. SMB business operations today require resources to create original content (not purchased online). Looking ahead there will be an increasing amount of overlap between brand and SEO and advertising strategy. Content is at the center of this conversation.
Media & Annual Budget Planning
- Digital Ad spending has doubled across *most* industries since 2016.
- This is the decade-long transition from traditional media to digital media:
Want to discuss a digital strategy for your business in 2020?
Contact us today and we can schedule a call or in-person meeting if you’re nearby.