News and insights • Posted on 16 December 2019

Coming Up in 2020: TBB'S Digital Marketing predictions

As we wave goodbye to another innovative year in digital marketing, the crew looks to the year ahead and considers what we’ll be keeping a close eye on in 2020 – and how these insights and growing trends might impact your marketing strategy.

Speed is crucial

How fast your website loads has always been important. Users don’t hang around when a page is struggling to load – that hurts sales and conversions. But it’s becoming an even bigger deal and needs to be prioritised with budget set aside. Aside from the obvious user and conversion benefits, there are other factors to consider too. Google is switching most websites to mobile-first indexing. In other words, it reads your website and ranks it on mobile first, before looking at desktop. A website loads slower on mobile in most cases, so additional work is usually required to optimise how a page loads for that type of device. Speed can indirectly hinder or benefit how your website ranks in Google, due to good or bad user experience signals. Google Chrome is starting to roll out a visual flag for whether a website is slow or fast. Google Ads uses speed as a factor in quality score, which affects the efficiency of Ad spend.

Andy McCaul, managing director

Video content marketing rises still

According to WARC’s Marketer’s Toolkit 2020, 81% of marketers expect their investment in online video (including social) to increase in 2020 and it’s easy to see why. Video content allows businesses to clearly and quickly present their brand, tone of voice and messaging in one place – and in a digital world where a mass of content is available at the touch of a button, it’s important to strive to make content easily digestible but still as engaging as ever.

Brands will need to ensure that if they decide to invest in a video content strategy, the content is the right fit for them. They’ll need to think about their specific audience and if they’ll respond to video content positively or not. Personalisation will remain of high importance, even within video content, and consumers will expect that content is relevant to them and gives them a reason to purchase or get in touch.

Ruby Ribbons, account manager

The value of split-screen design

It’s riding the wave of popularity and split-screen design will likely make headway into 2020. It offers an unconventional format for designers, whereby they can split the screen into two vertical columns and each side can have equal space in the limelight. Website content can be above-the-fold, eliminating the need for users to scroll. This way they can find what they’re looking for pretty quickly – with fewer clicks.

Split screens offer designers the independence to experiment. From bold typography to funky animations and illustrations to prominent call-to-actions, this technique can help to define the brand and shout about a lot more than before. It definitely works for websites that aren’t too heavy on the content, when there’s a need to promote two things or if they both warrant dual importance. Split-screen design is definitely becoming an interesting layout solution for hero areas to a website. This is a technique for designers to introduce into designs, all the while retaining an awesome visual experience.

Charlotte Allen, UI/UX designer

The battle for Google’s featured snippet

Brands shouldn’t miss the opportunity to win the featured snippet with content. Aside from the fact that Google’s rewarding these succinct, crystal-clear solutions, user experience depends on high-quality, genuinely useful content. But while the featured snippet is great for users, who receive answers to their questions instantly, it does a pose a bit of a dilemma for content creators working tirelessly to drive traffic to their brand’s site. In theory, your content will be written so well and include topics relevant to that initial query that it’ll win the featured snippet and go on to earn the user’s click through. In reality, maybe they’ll click, maybe they won’t. However, it needn’t always be about driving traffic. There’s a lot to be said for branding benefits, awareness, credibility – the list goes on. And, importantly, if you’re not optimising your content in an attempt to win the featured snippet, it’ll go to one of your competitors.

Carrie Webb, senior writer

Businesses should harness the power of TikTok

If it seems like TikTok has come out of nowhere, it has! The social video app, launched in 2016 by Chinese company ByteDance, has racked up millions of downloads globally. TikTok allows users to share short videos and is often referred to as a ‘lip-syncing’ app. However, it’s better known for its act-out memes backed by music and other sound clips, which get reproduced among its young users.

Like YouTube and Instagram, TikTok has recently opened its doors to influencers, meme creators and brands. If your brand is targeting younger audiences like generation z or millennials and you are able to create original content for TikTok that fits the style and culture of the app, it could be worth the investment.

Emma Heslop, account director

Test, test and test again

Data-driven ad strategies have been around a while but will continue to play a big part in optimising the performance of campaigns going into 2020. Google and Facebook seem to be the quickest in rolling out new strategies, probably due to the huge amount of data they have collected on their audience. It’s a good idea to test new strategies if they apply to your campaign – if only on a small scale to start with – to see if they have a positive impact on performance. By testing right away, you can establish a first-mover advantage and run the strategy before your competition catches on.

Mark Jenkins, digital marketing manager

Influencers – do they really influence?

Influencer marketing has grown exponentially over the last few years with the number of social media profiles increasing every month and the industry projected to be worth over $6.5 billion according to 2019 figures. It’s hard to ignore. However, according to media agency UM, people are more reluctant than ever when it comes to influencers. In a study of 56,000 active internet users, the agency found only 4% trusted information that came from ‘influencers.’

But consider the recent frenzy grime star Stormzy caused with a tweet about the general election. He urged everyone to register to vote which brought a massive 236% spike in voter enrolment, around 150,000 of which were young people under 25 – Stormzy’s target demographic and social media following.

Influencer marketing is a matter of choosing the right influencer for the product/service you are trying to promote and making sure their audience is the right demographic for your company.

Max Singh, digital marketing intern

Driving awareness of social media wellness

In 2020, you’ll see more platforms implementing changes that aim to have a positive impact on their users. Facebook has responded to concerns that the like button and emojis are undermining the mental wellbeing of its users and has opted to hide metrics. Twitter has also jumped on the bandwagon and given its users the option to hide tweet replies. Plus, they can also hide content that may be perceived as abusive or offensive. By reducing the focus on likes, creators (and businesses like yours) are being given the opportunity to refute ‘popularity contests’ and instead the emphasis is on new types of creative and quality content best practices.

Grace Lenihan, account manager

The rise and rise of machine learning

Marketers need to understand machine learning and learn how the machine thinks and interprets language. Adapting with technology and understanding machine learning will allow you to create a much more strategic business plan resulting in long-term value and growth. Machine learning helps businesses gather as much statistical data and insight as they need, which means they can find patterns and better-predict for the future. Use machine learning for many benefits, including building customer relationships, foreseeing customer requirements and providing customers with relevant information. All in all, by making data driven decisions, this is going to help businesses earn more money and save money at the same time.

Joe Vickers, account manager

A focus on progressive web applications

Subsequent to my prediction last year that we would see further adoption of front end web frameworks, React has continued to dominate web developers’ choice. However, Vue.js has made a resurgence this year after releasing a major new version. As a result, we have seen an increase in the percentage of websites across the entire world wide web using a front-end JavaScript framework to nearly 1%. I predict this will only continue to increase as progressive web applications continue to replace mobile web apps, and these frameworks are the golden key to creating feature-rich and powerful web applications.

John Bell, web developer

Prioritising staff wellbeing

I’m not just a creative director at TBB – I’m also part-owner and therefore responsible for the wellbeing of the crew that works here. While I’ll continue to focus on design and creative output at The Bigger Boat, I also think next year will be huge for keeping a check on how people feel in the workplace. It’s already a hot topic but with more and more big brands taking a real interest in the welfare of employees, it’s only a matter of time before this becomes the norm and much more commonplace. I’m not just talking about a bowl of fruit, office massages and running club. Of course, they’re all great ideas but it goes much further than that. Staff members trained to spot people who appear to be struggling mentally, for example, and unique ways to combat stressful situations and the risk of burnout. I’m hopeful we’ll see more companies adopting mental health first aiders, break-out areas, flexible working hours and work-from-home days to make work life easier to manage in today’s fast-paced, hectic world. We shouldn’t expect people to work all hours and be stressed out – that’s when people make mistakes. As employers, we should want and encourage the best for our hard workers. If that means making things easier to cope with, what’s wrong with that?

Doug Main, creative director

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Written by Alison Croston

Partnerships and growth director Ali ensures potential clients are paired with the right services and solutions to propel their business to the next level.

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