No area of business moves as quickly as the world of media does — and the digital revolution has only quickened that pace. With digital ad revenues now above the $100 billion mark, companies can’t afford to ignore how online content is changing.
Although there’s no way to know exactly what the new year will mean for media, change and upheaval are all but certain. In order to stay ahead of the curve, check out these four trends poised to shift the media landscape in 2020:
#1 — Truly Customized Content
Content and email marketing have been shifting the digital landscape for years now. But email campaigns customized with the recipient’s name are no longer enough to satisfy readers. A new content revolution is coming, this time with the help of artificial intelligence.
Advances in AI are allowing content to be generated dynamically for specific individuals and audiences. Programs now exist that can shift content based on who’s reading or viewing it. Content that cites user-specific challenges and opportunities is coming.
#2 — Increased Brand Activism
The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year for 2019 was “climate emergency.” Combined with the rapidly approaching presidential election, 2020 will likely be the year that social activism becomes a table-stakes approach to branded content.
Expect brands to become more vocal on social media about their socio-political stances, and for corporate social responsibility to become a focus of their blog content. Watch for partnerships with influencers who are known to speak out on issues relevant to the sponsor brand.
#3 — Maturation of Micro-Influencing
Seventeen percent of businesses spend more than half of their marketing budget on influencers — a number expected to increase in the coming year. The last decade has seen social media influencers ascend from fringe notoriety to genuine stardom, and the media world is only just starting to catch up.
Take video ads. Although brands have talked about authenticity for years, only recently have they shifted away from big names in their own video content. Video companies like TubeScience now recommend that performance videos include actors who look and sound like their audiences. Diversity drives a sense of authenticity, brands are discovering.
#4 —Strategies Centered on User-Generated Content
As authenticity becomes more important in the media world, brands are realizing something about user-generated content: it’s both cheaper and more effective than the content they create themselves.
An incredible 90% of shoppers say they’re influenced by user-generated content. As brands recognize that, expect them to devote more space on their blog and social feeds to media created by users themselves. Be on the lookout for brand-user partnership opportunities, such as user-generated content contests around product launches.
#5 — Consolidation of Traditional Media
As more media goes digital, less money goes to traditional platforms. Although that has been happening for some time, it’s likely to hit a fever pitch in 2020.
Late last year, Gannett acquired GateHouse media, the first and second largest newspaper chains the country. The result is a snowball effect, where the largest media groups pick up even more steam. As the audience of other traditional channels declines, similar consolidation is likely to happen in television, radio, and outdoor advertising.
Consolidation means certain channels will be dominated by just a few media companies. Although niche players will always exist, getting those choice placements will require brands to build relationships with the most important publishers.
While 2020 might not produce the next Twitter, it’s important to stay agile in your media strategy. Trends change faster with each passing year, and by 2021, the landscape may look totally different. For better or worse, the 2020s have just begun.