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Not so long ago, concepts like optimization for voice search, data-driven marketing, artificial intelligence, etc. seemed to be extremely ambitious and even somewhat ridiculous to many. However, today, they are a part of everyday reality for online marketers. It is evident that business owners, who want to remain relevant and competitive in a landscape that is increasingly being dominated by online activities, must remain aware of the developments around them and rapidly adapt themselves to changes in the digital marketing environment. The need to be aware of changes extends to all businesses, regardless of their size and industry. Some of the top digital marketing trends in 2020 that marketers should especially note to help them to meet the challenges in 2020: 

Artificial Intelligence 

If you have not yet woken up to the potential, 2020 may very well be the year when artificial intelligence will make its dominance in marketing apparent. According to experts, AI is already taking charge of many simple tasks and is likely to emerge as the core of global business in the years to come. Gartner predicts that in 2020, AI technologies would be present in almost every product and service. For example, the Knightscope K5 robots that Uber and Microsoft use can read auto license plates, patrol parking lots, collect data and report suspicious activities to predict and foil crimes. Some of the top reasons for embracing AI are the ability to analyze search patterns and buying behavior, using data thrown up by social media and blog posts to understand better, how customers discover and buy products and services. Chat bots, which are increasingly becoming common already, use natural language processing abilities to understand the needs of customers and respond to them just like a human being. AI, which is already finding use in communication, customer product recommendation, email personalization, content creation, and e-commerce transactions will become even more popular and help businesses to cut the cost of staffing and providing a competitive edge that will propel business growth. 

Chat bots 

While chat bots have been in use for some years now, they have now advanced a lot in terms of technology that allows them to process natural language using artificial intelligence. This allows websites to incorporate chat bots that can chat round-the-clock in real-time with customers in a way that is impossible for them to figure out that they are having a conversation with a machine. Industry surveys reveal that by the end of 2020, as much as 85% of customer service will be powered by chat bots and in another two years, help businesses to save more than $8 billion annually. According to https://www.forbes.com  2020 could see more users speaking to chat bots instead of using the keyboard. The biggest benefit of using chat bots is that you can offer round-the-clock customer service without incurring extra staffing costs and provide instant responses to user queries from a huge repository of knowledge in a uniform and consistent manner. Customers also gain a lot when they interact with chat bots, as not only are they available round-the-clock but also, they do not have to give the details of their buying history and do not have to deal with temperamental call centre agents. 

Conversational Marketing 

Customers, especially those buying online are notoriously impatient and want answers to all the questions they have on various aspects of the product or service immediately. As a result, contemporary digital marketing is fast becoming increasingly conversational with businesses and customers engaging with each other on a one on one basis in real-time in a conversational manner that demands immediate responses. Conversational marketing, unlike conventional strategies, is now available across several channels, which means that now brands can interact with customers on devices and platforms that customers choose and not restrict customers to platforms and time slots of the brands’ choosing. Since contemporary customers expect to find everything they demand immediately and are not willing to wait, conversational marketing techniques allow businesses to make themselves available on a broad spectrum of platforms so that customers are more likely to have the chance of interacting on a channel of their choice. The beauty of conversational marketing is that not only do brands get the opportunity of enhancing user experience but also obtain greater customer feedback to foster a higher degree of engagement and loyalty, according to the top digital marketing agency Auckland 

Programmatic Advertising 

Programmatic advertising involves artificial intelligence to buy advertising that targets more specific audiences. One good example of programmatic ad buying is real-time bidding. Since automation is much faster and efficient, it translates to higher conversions as well as lower cost of customer acquisition. The technology is so disruptive that according to eMarketer, over 86% of digital advertising in America is likely to be programmatic by 2020. The reason why programmatic ad buying is so efficient is because unlike manual advertising campaigns that take into account only a select number of targets like location, keyword, the time of the day, etc., it can factor in hundreds of signals to customize the advertisement according to customer profiles and even target customers with identified behavior or lifestyle habits, given sufficient data to work with. 

Personalization 

Businesses desiring to stand out even in the most competitive of sectors will find personalization a very effective key for unlocking customer potential. In 2020, it is expected that businesses will pay greater attention to content personalization across all communication channels they employ, including websites, email, social media, and more. At the end of the day, the personalization also leads to the customization of products and services as per the expressed needs of customers and their preferences. Not only do an overwhelming number of customers find personalization of communication very appealing and claim that they are more likely to transact with businesses offering personalized experiences but also tend to become annoyed to find themselves at the receiving end of the communication that they know to be generic. A good conversation is only possible when there is context, and personal touch conveyed in real-time. 

Conclusion  

As all digital marketers will appreciate that the only thing constant in marketing is change; those marketers who keep on dwelling in the past or even get stuck in the challenges of the present are surely going to miss taking advantage of the future to stay ahead in the game. Embracing new technologies as well as strategies and tools for understanding customer expectations and requirements is the order of the day for survival and success. 

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