2020 Advertising Trends You Should Expect to See

Every year, some advertising tricks and trends come into play and seem to be at the forefront of all big company marketing campaigns. Others stand the test of time and appear over and over because they work. As we move into 2020, there are a few trends you can count on and should learn well so you can apply them to your business.

Digital advertising spending is expected to grow to $517 billion by the end of 2023, so you can almost count on it being greater than offline spending. That number should only increase as more people buy smartphones and use them to connect to the internet. While hard copy advertising isn’t dead and probably never fully will be, there is definitely a place for more online advertising for greatest impact.

Let’s look at a few trends likely to stay or appear in 2020 and some examples of how brands are utilizing these techniques. Study the patterns and figure out which strategies make the most sense for your company.

1. Increased Artificial Intelligence

It seems as though artificial intelligence (AI) is suddenly a buzzword everywhere you go. From smart speakers that help us find a recipe to websites that let us build a template with a few quick answers, AI is taking the world by storm. It is also taking over advertising in many ways by offering in-depth information about what customers want. It can even personalize the experience through apps that learn what someone’s preferences are and offer ads based on past purchases.

If your company isn’t already looking at AI to improve the customer experience, now is the time to invest in it.

2. Social Media

Social media has become increasingly popular as an advertising medium. There are around 3.2 billion users on social media, ensuring there is an audience for nearly any type of business out there. Even better, you can create ads that target specific demographics based on age, location, gender or even interests. Social media is already a popular advertising platform, but it will continue to trend into 2020 and well beyond. The actual sites that are most popular might change, but social media is here to stay.

AirAsia often creates eye-catching ads on Facebook and other social media sites. Look at this ad and how it grabs attention because of the pop of color. The call to action of “Grab Free Seats” is strong and draws users in. The ad works well, especially when the company targets users likely to take it up on the offer.

3. Open Composition

Throughout 2019, the open composition look has become more popular. Expect to see more of this in 2020 in advertising, particularly online. The open composition look is free of harsh edges, and elements don’t line up perfectly on a grid. Instead, the items are more fluid and meant to work better on different screen sizes. However, the look also works for billboards and even in magazine ads.

4. Large Format Printing

Even though some advertising trends change, expect to continue to see large format printing such as billboards, ads on the sides of buildings and big banners at trade shows. These will likely always remain popular because they grab attention. While they are less targeted than online options or direct mail, they also make up for that in the sheer number of users that see them. Expect images to become more realistic and big. Trends such as full-page width backgrounds you’ve seen on websites repeat on billboards.

KFC spicy chicken

KFC had a brilliant large format marketing campaign that took the flames from things such as racecars and space shuttles and replaced the flame image with spicy chicken nuggets. The images are sharp and interesting. The user knows at a glance what the ad is selling.

5. Voice Search

About 25 percent of adults in the United States now own a smart speaker such as Alexa or Google Home. How does this translate into an advertising trend? First, your site should be voice-search enabled, or any ads you have may fail when the person tries to access it via their speaker. However, you can also gear advertising toward this trend by sharing that you are voice search enabled.

6. Shoppable Posts

In the past, you might share an image on social media with a link in the comments so people could visit your site. This is becoming more streamlined, so the images themselves are clickable or provide information such as pricing. Even though the technology still has limitations, expect this to change. More things will become automated as the popularity of sites such as Instagram and Snapchat increases.

FreePeople does something really interesting with its clothing posts. Click on an image and you’ll get a description of the items worn, along with a price and a clickable link to order. This makes the entire experience interactive for your customers and also allows you to put an ad out there that doesn’t necessarily look like one. Instagram pairs perfectly with this option, but you may see similar possibilities shortly with other social media platforms.

7. Immersive Experiences

People are starting to really embrace virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. If you go to a movie theater, you can pull up an app and play a game by interacting with the big screen in front of you. Other brands advertise by creating an experience when you place your phone over an ad or walk into their store. Expect AR and VR to become more popular and think of ways you can pull customers in by using these expanding technologies.

8. Personalized Advertising

New research shows that people are 80 percent more likely to buy something when a brand makes the experience personal. As we move into 2020, personalization is the name of the game. Technology allows marketers to tap into not only the generalized preferences of buyers but also more specifically into the needs of the individual. Have you ever pulled up an app and been greeted by name and offered some new items you might like? This is the type of personalized advertising trending on into the next year.

9. Position Zero

One of the more recent trends in online searches has to do with people pulling up information and not even clicking on any of the search engine results. Instead, they gather the data from the bullet points, get the answer they want and move on.

Unless you’re trying to make a living from advertising impressions on your website, you can still use this trend by working your brand name into the top of the search results. You will need to work on your content and include bullet points that summarize what people most likely search for related to your brand. You still get your name out there and make impressions, just in a different way.

Continual Change

Advertising trends change continuously, so even though we can study what is popular now, it’s impossible to predict every new type of marketing that might come along. Pay attention to what the bigger brands are doing in the way of their ad strategies and study your competitors. If you pay careful attention, you’ll be able to predict upcoming trends on your own and grab hold of the ones that work best for your business.

Lexie Lu - Guest writerGuest post by Lexie Lu

Lexie is a graphic designer and UX strategist. She loves taking her Goldendoodle on long runs and checking out local flea markets. Visit her blog, Design Roast, and follow her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.