After an unpredictable 2019, looking ahead to 2020 feels daunting. However, just as digital and social platforms were part of our daily conversations around the world for the past 12 months, I think it’s safe to say that will continue in the next year. In 2020, I predict the digital trends will focus on ways to drive engagement, build trust and inspire action.
- Videos continue to be important to drive engagement. Yes, we’ve all said this for years, but how people use social platforms has changed significantly in the past few years—as people increasingly distrust news on social, they are using the platform to stay engaged, be entertained and be connected. In 2020, effective videos will be key to humanizing issues and breaking through algorithms and attention spans.
- People trust people. We’re already on high alert for fake accounts and fake news heading into an election year in the United States. In the past year, we have watched platforms take action to delete fake accounts and combat the spread of misinformation—especially related to political issues and campaigns. So, while we see a rise in public scrutiny and self-regulation by some of the major platforms, as a society, we will likely start reverting back to trusting people that we know in real life (or feel like we do—hello, influencers). That puts renewed emphasis on grassroots advocacy and employee engagement campaigns to have real people engaged and mobilized to carry your message.
- Platforms and channels evolve, but advocacy remains. We’ll continue to see people and brands use their digital voice to take, and inspire, action on the issues that matter the most to them. It will be up to brands to listen to what their audiences care about and give them the timely resources and tools to make their voice heard. I think we’ll see increased advocacy efforts across all digital channels in 2020 and these efforts will be focused on local and national issues (and, of course, politics).
The fundamental element underlying these trends is data. Communicators have relied on leveraging data—mostly through social channels—to understand their audiences and design content meant to engage and mobilize them. While data privacy was a major theme and concern in 2019, in the coming year, we will see brands investing more in analytics and finding new ways to leverage data sets to create customized, transparent and credible experiences that continue to inform and achieve quality (over quantity) results.