Word-of-Mouth and Referral Marketing Blog

Which digital marketing channels should online brands focus on in 2020? 17 Experts weigh in

SEO, PPC, SEM, even Tik Tok – online brands have more options than ever to reach their consumers.

At the same time, with increasing competition and competence, marketers are expected to do more with less.

With that in mind, we asked 17 experts “Which marketing channels should online brands focus on in 2020?”

Without further ado, these are the results from our survey;

All 17 marketing experts are focusing on SEO, followed by Email, Video and Social Media

We surveyed 17 marketing experts and first asked them where they were going to focus their attention. Each expert could select more than one area.

To our surprise, all 17 experts indicated that SEO, or search engine optimization was going to be their main area of focus. Organic search traffic was perceived as a crucial channel for these experts.

 

They also viewed Email Newsletters and Social Networks as crucial. Their answers highlight the importance of content marketing, which can be re-purposed and shared across all three channels. Video content was highlighted as an important type of content.

With that in mind, we’ve grouped their answers into five major categories:


SEO remains a key driver of revenue and traffic; “People will always Google”

All 17 experts highlighted SEO as a key marketing channel to focus on for their brand. Four of the experts provided specific recommendations on what SEO had to offer to online brands.

Three main channels you should always take care of: social media, SEO and newsletters.

By Luciana Nitu, Planable

And here is why: people will always google things. Your audience will always look for information, so why not position yourself as the expert in your field? And why not advertise your products or services where you really know people want them? Newsletters are another powerful tool, because it’s the most intimate communication channel a brand can make use of. Social media should be mandatory no matter what. Everybody and their grandmas are there, and you can’t miss that. Don’t be everywhere. Focus on 2-3 main social media channels and conquer the world there.

Visual & Video search will be key in 2020

By Taru Bhargava, Genbook

SEO and Link building is something that we’re focussed on because of the consistent results it brings on the table. It’s true that the SEO landscape is dynamic, and while some things don’t change much (keywords in title and copy, continuous optimization, etc) there’s a whole lot of tactics that marketers can experiment in 2020, without blowing their budget or putting much work.

Take, for example, optimizing their content for visual search—images and videos. Both these will be big in 2020. Google wants to prioritize images from authoritative sites as well as video featured snippets and with a little planning, marketers can make their visual content shine.

Organic search (Google and Bing) will stay number 1 in importance

By Nikola Baldikov, Brosix

A lot of the importance comes from the way that people tend to structure their queries. It’s quite natural to write more than one search term in a string of text, particularly since we’ve been conditioned to do so through the prevalence of search engines in our lives.

This means that optimizing for organic search results is still the best bet for promoting online brands.

There’s a lot that can be done in this area, so long as businesses have a clear understanding of what their potential customers are looking for and why.

SEO is the reason why we’ve grown to 10,000 customers in three years.

By Mile Živković, Chanty

SEO is the reason why we’ve grown from 0 to 10,000 customers in three years. Simply put, we found the right keywords that people search for and got in front of people that need an app like ours. The best part is, SEO is cost effective – you make a few good moves and they pay off for months. We invested time and money in creating content and building links and it returned to us quadrupled. There is no better ROI from a marketing strategy than with SEO.


Email is cost-effective and familiar; “Email is the only channel you actually own”

Email marketing remains one of the most trusted channels simply because of its amazing ROI. One of our experts pointed out that email marketing remains the only channel you own 100%. Social media platforms or search engines may update their algorithm or terms of use and dramatically affect your marketing results. Here’s what three of the experts had to say about email marketing.

Email is the only channel you actually own

By Joel Widmer, Fluxe Digital Marketing

It’s good to focus on a mix of channels that are paid, earned and owned sources of traffic that work best for you. When you look at your conversions per channel from last year, it’s easy to decide what to ramp up in 2020.

When optimizing each channel, focus on one at a time and master it before moving on to the next. Here’s why this mix works well:

Blogs and SEO are great for organic traffic, reducing your dependence on social media and lowering your ad spend.

Email is the only channel you actually own. No matter what happens in the SERPs or ad platform algorithms, you can rely on your email list, without paying extra like you do in other channels.

Social media is great to increase discovery of your brand via word-of-mouth, especially at the top of the funnel. Foster your brand advocates in social for even better results.

Email marketing is familiar to everyone

By Angelina Harper, Really Simple Systems

Email marketing is familiar to everyone, and a large percentage of people still check their emails at least once a day. If an online brand can do segmentation of customers, predictive personalization will give great effects on sale. The customer wants to feel like you are talking directly to them, and when they feel that connection, they will explore your offer and do the purchase. That is why it is essential to follow trends in copy writing and email marketing.

Email marketing and social media are still the most important marketing channels for 2020.

By Nick Dimitriou, Moosend

Email marketing is no surprise here. While it’s one of the first digital marketing channels out there, emails have proven to be a powerful ally for every type of business. Leveraging email marketing will give your company a direct line of communication with your email subscribers. Then, all you have to do is to send them amazing content that will either nurture or incentivize them to click on your CTAs and convert into loyal supporters on your business.

What you should also keep in mind is that emails are also one of the most cost-effective channels out there with DMA’s report showcasing that email ROI has shot up from approximately $40 to $55. Simple, effective and accessible, emails are the sharpest arrow that every online business should keep in their marketing quiver no matter what.

Now, social media is another popular channel that is constantly evolving. What makes it part of my top marketing channels is that it not only integrates with email marketing but it also allows businesses to build and nurture a massive audience of followers that they can slowly turn into loyal customers.

As popular brands have shown us, social media is an exceptional channel whose popularity and success lies in consumers’ love and frequent engagement with it. Using platforms like Facebook, Instagram or the newest child of the social media family, Tik Tok, is the perfect way to promote products, build your brand image and create “hype” about your company in the most cost-efficient way. Furthermore, let’s not forget that as a marketing channel social media will also give you access to a large number of influencers and their audience. By leveraging every opportunity that social media has to offer you’ll manage to build bonds with your social media followers, engage them better and even give you the means to provide excellent customer service and deliver amazing user experiences.


Social Networks are key to building a brand

Moosend’s answer provides the perfect segue into another highly-recommended channel: social media.

Tik Tok was mentioned no less than 8 times in our expert’s round-ups. It’s clear that social media remains one of the most potent platforms for growing a following and building a brand.

But which social media networks should you focus on? Three experts each have different answers:

It always depends on your target audience – but social networks are still effective

By Veronika Vaghina, X-Cart

I bet you know from your own experience that once you want to learn about a company, you’ll look it up on social media in the first place.

It seems reasonable to start from the basics: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Guess there’s no need to explain why I picked those channels.

So I’d love to talk more about Quora and TikTok as people tend to not pay much attention to them.

Quora is a Q&A site where people from all over the globe ask and answer each other’s questions. And it’s an awesome place to drive traffic from once you learned how to do it right (check out our Quora Guide). You’ll share your expertise with people who actually need it, adding relevant (it’s vital!) links to your resources.

TikTok is a one-year-old rapidly growing video-based social app. It’s amazing for your brand awareness. Just check this video by Chipotle. I loved it!

(Ed: We had some problem embedding the Tik Tok video, so here’s the YouTube instead)

TikTok is popular among both young people and adults. There you can create and promote your own account or use influencer marketing. Good luck!

YouTube and Facebook stand out among networks

By Andre Oentoro, Breadnbeyond

When it comes to choosing marketing channels, there’s a lot to be wary of. But, looking to the latest social media statistics, YouTube and Facebook have the potential to be worth-considering marketing channels for online brands in 2020.

As the second-largest search engine worldwide, YouTube is now pulling in over 1.8 billion monthly active users. That means marketing your brands on the platform has the potential to gain thousands, or even millions, of views in a short time. That’s a short-cut to boost your brand’s online visibility.

On the other hand, Facebook, with its 2.45 billion monthly active users, also offers a massive opportunity for brands to get the limelight they deserve in 2020. With its advertising features like Carousel Ads, Facebook Messenger Bots, Facebook Pixel, Targeting Options, etc., it makes it easier for you to manage the marketing campaigns all in one platform.

For B2B businesses in 2020, LinkedIn will be most effective.

By Robb Fahrion, Flying V Group

LinkedIn is becoming one of the most effective social media platforms for B2B businesses to generate new business or exposure. Due to the fairly friendly LinkedIn algorithms, content reach on LinkedIn tends to go much further than content published on other sites like Facebook. Not only that, but LinkedIn is a place where businesses and business people are ACTUALLY looking to do business. This is the whole point of the platform.

Over the past year, we have seen engagement on LinkedIn skyrocket and the network has done an incredible job rewarding accounts that promote great content and drive engagement. Our team has generated countless amounts of leads on LinkedIn by using features like LinkedIn articles, consistent LinkedIn posting, InMail, and just connecting with like-minded individuals in which each user can benefit from the exposure to each others thoughts and opinions.

This year our brand at Flying V Group will be making LinkedIn an even bigger priority in 2020. The community is so strong and the access to decision makers for B2B businesses is unparalleled. Here are a few quick tips to get you started: build out a robust profile, try to post original content or unique shareable content regularly, build connections and send a note along with them, and interact on others posts to drive visibility for your own profile!


Video Content surges in importance

Our experts also emphasised the importance of video content – not just as an end to itself but also in support of SEO (for video search), social networks & ad spend (as video content is far more engaging than visual or textual content).

Webinars were also highlighted as an overlooked avenue. Here are our experts:

To reach millennials, use videos – and focus on Tiktok & Youtube

By Jitendra Vaswani, BloggersIdeas

Most of us recognize exactly how important video clip advertising is getting crucial for brands in 2020. Video platforms such as YouTube as well as TikTok can function as the most effective advertising network for the millennial’s. It is hard to capture millennial’s’ focus, given their busy lives as well as visual content is much easier (and also quicker) to take in as well as has a long-term perception. Likewise, millennial’s and Gen-Zers take pleasure in producing and also publishing videos, thus offering a significant chance for online marketers to engage them in web content development.

For producing a enticing video marketing technique for the millennials, you might:
Tell your brand tale with compelling videos or short films.
Invite customers to produce and also share their videos to involve even more and also develop a partnership with your brand name.
Utilize trending music as well as hashtags to develop your brand name’s video clip content.
How-to videos are a great method to showcase your product or services to your target market

Build a loyal audience and a brand on YouTube

By Jeilan Devanesan, Venngage

YouTube is a great marketing channel to harness for building building brand awareness. Especially early on, when establishing your brand, it’s important to start gathering as much visibility in your niche as possible.

This is where YouTube comes in. As a channel where the primary goal isn’t acquisition, you can focus on building a loyal audience. By building a familiarity with your brand, through your expertise on YouTube, your audience are more likely to convert to customers.

Simply put: the more people who know about you, the more people who are likely to use you.

Webinars

By Milosz Krasinski, Chilli Fruit Web Consulting

Webinars offline is the way to go. Look how Semrush has gained their international presence via influencers and doing webinars in different languages as well. Google trends also proves the fact of webinars popularity over the time.


Finding the right mix of content

Four of our experts struck out on their own and recommended a more nuanced mix of answers. From Customer Experience to Visual Content to finding the right mix for your niche, they offered their own opinions.

First find the right channel for your niche.

By Kosta Bankovski, Netpeak Software

I would recommend focus on those channels where your customers spend more time or look for a service/product. No need to focus on Quora if your customers are CEOs of big enterprises.

A lot of companies want to cover all the channels with at least some content. I think it’s a wrong strategy. Identify your customer portraits, research their behavior, and then target on the most popular channels for them. If any channel doesn’t perform well for some period of time, cut expenses you make to work with it.

You always have things to spend money on with much better ROI, no need to continue doing something if it doesn’t have a required level of profit.

Visual Content – it’s what mobile searches look for

By Bogdan Klopov, Visme

As I know a lot of research has shown that people prefer visual content to plain text. it pretty enough to check such image-focused platforms as Instagram and Pinterest to see the proof of this. Such companies are investing in visual search technology as well.

Images are 19% of Google search results, and 62% of millennials say they are more interest in visual search than any other new technology. It’s much easier to remember images than text.

Adding visual content (such as infographics and videos) to your articles not only makes it more interesting and attractive, but it can help your message to be absorbed better too.

Customer experience is one of the most important factors.

By Georgi Todorov, GetVoIP

What makes a great CX? Friendly service, easy payment options, good mobile experience and other factors.

This means you should pay attention to customer experience management in your business, because it is vital in order to keep your customers.

New year, 2020, will be a year of customer and it wont be about persuading people to buy a product from you. It will be about how to provide and manage a fantastic customer experience.

Success comes from balancing Owned and Paid media

By Merve Ogan, DAN Global

Those channels are composed of owned and paid media. We believe that first of all, you need to strengthen the organic channels such as SEO, content marketing, social media posts and e-mail marketing since it is the way you can improve the volume and the performance without paying any cost.

While improving the site organically, it is also important to support your strategy with the paid media. In doing so, you can increase the number of the acquisition and have an opportunity to develop different strategies to convert those users into your customers.

Here, paid media channels which are ppc and display (Facebook & Google specifically) are the most important ones. Since most of users spend a huge amount of their time on social media and Google, those channels can enable you to be at right place and right time to reach our target audience.


Darren Foong

Darren Foong

Darren works on Growth at ReferralCandy. He spends too much time reading fiction, performing improv, and doing things that don't scale. One day he hopes to be quite interesting.