06 February 2020

What are the real trends that will shake up the digital marketing scene in 2020?

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There are plenty of articles making predictions, but what is one voice compared to many? We rounded up the top digital marketing trends that are predicted to dominate in 2020, and brought them to our network of consultants to get their take. Who better to trust but the digital marketing experts working in the field everyday at top European brands?

Trend #1: No doubt a-bot it?

The predicted trend: Chatbots

Chatbots have been a growing feature for many online spaces, but the use of chatbots will skyrocket like crazy in the near future. Companies must build one or bust!

What our consultants have to say: Yes, but…

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 suggesting that the prediction was way off, and 5 meaning they wholeheartedly agree, Ariad consultants gave an average score of 2.91. This is just below the center, showing that they’re not jumping directly on or off the bandwagon for this trend this year

The general consensus on chatbots could be considered cautiously optimistic. There is agreement that the use of chatbots is growing, but a lot depends on how they are implemented. There is a need for structured, accessible data, and there’s a lot of intelligence to build. As Terry Jacques puts it, “The use of chatbots will grow. Definitely. But grow 'like crazy'? I'm not so sure.”

(Want to read about all the trends in one report? Download the full 2020 Digital Marketing Trend Review for our consultants' take on 5 different trend predictions.)

Jovi Verheyen has a similar take, doubting that the use of chatbots will grow as much as some sources predict. “The technology is too immature to build chatbots that end-users can use without friction. The chatbots that are being developed right now generally lack depth. These chatbots focus on only one user journey and alienate all other users with different questions/problems who cannot be helped and need to contact a brand via different channels.”

“Direct communication is important so that the customer can feel he/she is being helped or guided, although it is more important to build something that works instead of just providing the possibility.”

Stijn Haesendonck, product owner and project manager

Marketing specialist Samuel Caink also argues that some industries could see a lot of success, while others might be slow to adopt. "It depends on the industry, but people are more and more aware of chatbots too. It was the same with interactive menus by phone. In the end if you have a real issue, you want to speak with someone."

"Chatbot use is rising, but it depends on how you use it. If you want the full package for a chatbot, it can be very costly to build the intelligence and be sure that it is smart enough to answer correctly--it’s a lot of investment that you have to make. In fact, some studies also show that after 5 questions, people lose focus and want to speak with a real person," shares another Ariad consultant. There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution for every company. But there definitely are solutions for every company!

It's important to consider the customer need, your resources, and the most effective design. Ariad consultants understand this balance, and know there are quality solutions that can fit each organization. "Depending on your business, you have to find what is the correct balance. For example, you can build a decision tree with a chatbot-like approach and you'll be surprised by the outcome! This way, you don’t need the full engine... it’s more about conversational design instead of the techno 'chatbot'."

Expert insight into more trends

To find out our consultants’ opinions of four other top digital marketing predictions for 2020, along with the trends they think will be even more important, download our 2020 Digital Marketing Trend Review. You’ll get insights into where the digital marketing field may be headed, as told by the ones helping to build it.