Brand8 PR’s 2020 predictions

Brand8 PR’s 2020 predictions

Written by Josh Westerman

As we come to the end of another year (and decade for that matter!), what trends should be influencing your strategy over the next 12 months?

Our team has offered its expert insights into what we think will be big across PR, content, social and search in 2020.

The rise of corporate responsibility strategies

Ryan Lewis, account director

Greta changed everything in 2019. The 16-year old Swedish girl, Greta Thunberg has single-handedly changed the game when it comes to communicating and talking about climate change and society’s need to act.

Her empowering speeches and passion have mobilised millions and at the same time caused world leaders to resort to bullying and trolling the girl because they fear her so much.

2020 is a significant date when it comes to corporate environmental targets and a milestone by which many brands will measure their progress and set more goals for the future. Expect several companies in 2020 to launch and relaunch environmental and corporate responsibility strategies for the future as well as innovating products and services to minimise the impact on the planet.

Context is king

Josh Westerman, content manager

In 2020, expect to see more emphasis being placed on the contextual relevancy of the content.

Google is developing and becoming more human in the way it understands queries (see the latest BERT algorithm update as the prime example of this) and that means a change in how we approach written content. It’s all about curating content that meets the needs your audience, not Google, so getting the right context is key – it’s less about the keywords themselves, but what the keywords mean in different contexts when being searched to improve visibility.

It’s worth noting however that BERT is a tool which is constantly evolving and learning how to understand more natural language, so expect its contextual intelligence to further improve as we move through the year.

Removing likes from social media

Todd Duncan, social media executive

This year, one of the most talked about topics was Instagram removing the ability to see the like count for posts. The idea stemmed from unfortunate cases of social bullying and to downplay the importance users place in receiving validation on their content – we’ve all been guilty of checking a post every two minutes to see if it’s attracted likes.

Trialled in markets such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and Ireland, users’ likes are beginning to be hidden globally. Instagram hopes this will remove negative connotations that it’s linked to poor mental health and allow users to focus on creating content.

Instagram isn’t the only platform to trial this either. Facebook has begun minor trials and Twitter has confirmed that it will be looking into removing favourites all together.

Podcasting – the growth and growth

Pete Finnegan, account manager

My prediction for 2020 is the continued growth of podcasting. Right now, there are currently 700,000 active podcasts with more than 29 million episodes and the variety of topics, formats and lengths of the audio content make it an attractive proposition listeners and brands alike. Stats prove that the demographics that listen to podcasts are highly coveted by businesses.

If you’ve got a point of view or expertise on a subject or field and a way of creating one, then it’s the ideal platform to get it across. From a PR, content and social standpoint, it’s an area to explore, grow and develop in 2020.

UGC influencing consumer decisions

Emily Neilsen, social media manager

On Instagram alone, 2019 saw users trust User Generated Content (UGC) 92 per cent more than traditional ads and organic content, with 81 per cent saying UGC has influenced their buying decisions.

With the ever-increasing rise of influencer marketing, 2020 will see a rise in the use of UGC content from micro-influencers and more importantly ‘everyday people’ and customers, regardless of their amount of followers, on business social channels to build a stronger sense of trust, and drive more engagement and sales.

Increased use of chatbots

Natalie Walker, account manager

It’s estimated that in 2020 more than 85 per cent of online customer interactions will be handled without a human, due to chatbots increasing abilities to imitate human conversations.

Next year, it is expected that the effective software programs will be used even more, especially across social media and communications platforms, to save time for businesses and customers alike and increase customer satisfaction.