The year 2020 has been full of unprecedented events and upheaval. In the business environment, there have been significant changes in terms of operations. More people are working remotely than ever before. These trends will likely carry forward next year as well. There is a greater demand for flexible working hours within medium and large-scale businesses. The pandemic has also brought in a wave of digital transformations as companies had to adapt to the new normal. In a recent FlexJobs survey, 65% of respondents reported wanting to be full-time remote employees post-pandemic and 31% would prefer a hybrid remote work environment. The statistics infer that 96% of employees have shown an inclination towards some form of remote work. The same survey highlighted that 27% of workers stated that the ability to work from home is so crucial to them that they are willing to take a 10% to 20% pay cut to work remotely in the near future. Additionally, 81% of the participants said that they would be more loyal to their employer if they had flexible work options.
In terms of technology, 2020 saw a massive increase in the augmentation of innovative technology like AI, machine learning, data-driven policies, and advanced analytics. To remain competitive in a cutthroat digital ecosystem, companies have to adopt the latest trends into their corporate framework to meet the changing expectations and requirements of new-gen customers.
Here is a list of trends that dominated 2020:
Top Growth / Digital Marketing trends
Digitally aware customers expect personalization from brands they support. Business leaders and marketers have emphasized the need to personalize content and customer experience to stand up to the expectations of customers.
Third-party cookies are gone
With a renewed focus on privacy, we are witnessing a diversion from cookies, especially third-party cookies, to secure the digital landscape from data breaches. Tech giant Google announced in 2020 that they will phase out third-party cookies from the Chrome browser within the next two years.
First-party data is valuable
First-party data is collected from a company’s own audience and are much more reliable sources of data that help marketing teams to predict future behavior trends. First-party data is helping marketers to create better retargeting campaigns.
Privacy management programs have been a top priority for businesses in 2020. Since the introduction of GDPR in 2018, 60 jurisdictions have implemented privacy and data protection laws. These include countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Panama, the U.S., Singapore, and Thailand.
Rise of new advertising channels
Marketing channels like social networks, webinars, and email newsletters have helped businesses to expand their digital reach exponentially. Platforms like Tiktok, LinkedIn, and Q&A site Quora have played a crucial role during the pandemic as an advertising tool for companies as well as mediums for the dissemination of vital information.
Top Web Development trends
The number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks in 2020 doubled each quarter, highlighting the immediate need for stringent cybersecurity measures. Firewall, data encryption, access control, and anti-malware software are some measures that businesses can use to protect themselves from external breaches.
Contact Form 7 vulnerability in WP
WordPress plugin called Contact Form 7 had a critical bug that allowed unauthenticated adversaries to take over a website running the plugin or possibly hijack the entire server hosting the site. The bug exposed 5 million websites on WP to cyber attacks. The critical bug was fixed through the release of the new plugin version 5.3.2.
JAMStack architecture has grown in popularity in web development due to its better performance, higher security, easier scaling, and superior developer experience. JAMStack supports static and dynamic websites through third-party API providers such that it maintains a serverless architecture.
Motion UI design helps create intuitive user interfaces that guide them through the pages and create a pleasant experience. With increasing emphasis on the user interface, motion UI is set to explode in the near future.
Progressive web apps and AMP
PWAs are increasingly becoming more popular due to their ability to create an in-app experience within a browser. PWAs are also easier to develop than native apps. AMP is helping improve mobile page speed significantly. This stripped-down version of HTML has been rolled by the likes of Twitter and Google to improve customer experience.
Top App Development trends
Native apps reign supreme
Native apps are definitely here to stay. Its great performance, excellent UI/UX, higher security, and easy scalability make it a pleasure to use. Native android apps have the advantage to be configured very rapidly because they have to be compatible with a single platform.
In 2020, Apple dropped some brand new API updates for SwiftUI. In this iteration of SwiftUI, Apple has introduced new lazy horizontal and vertical stacks which prevent performance issues as it loads content as and when required.
Rise of tvOS apps
The new tvOS system, developed by Apple, has several features such as the ability to scroll the UI through multi-touch gestures on the touchpad remote as well as Siri integration into the framework. The tvOS apps are web-based and offer 4k resolution, Dolby Vision, and HDR10. These apps provide an elevated, immersive, and engaging experience for viewers.
AR and VR technology
AR and VR technologies are being used to create the next generation of apps. Companies like Sony, Facebook, and Samsung have already launched their VR-enabled devices. This market segment is set to grow as it continues to help companies improve their engagement levels, virtual experience, and customer loyalty.
Wearable apps and devices are so popular because of their convenience. They are connected to the internet and provide constant online availability, making human lives easier.
Top Digital trends
Audio search has become the new mode of web surfing for new-gen consumers. More people are using voice-activated assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Cortana for search queries. In fact, in 2020 50% of all searches in the US were audio searches.
AI and Machine learning
AI and machine learning will continue to grow in prominence and creep into every aspect of the business ecosystem. AI is powering everything from smart home automation, CMS software, CRM systems, customer service, hyper-personalization, and more.
Personalization is a vital element of digital marketing which is key to customer retention and acquisition. Every piece of content, product recommendation, and customer interaction must be personalized to reflect the personal taste of the customer.
Customer experience was termed as the most exciting business opportunity of 2020. Organizations across various industries have invested heavily to improve their customer experience.
Conversational marketing and chatbots
Conversational marketing is a new, personalized approach to doing business online. It is about moving buyers through the marketing and sales funnels by using the power of a real-time conversation. Chatbots are extremely skilled to handle basic, customer interactions and enhance engagement between the brand and the customer.
Top SEO trends
BERT is here to stay
BERT, the neural network-based NLP, is one of the major changes brought in by Google in recent years. BERT is helping Google to understand languages better, which would ultimately help the search engine to highlight more relevant results for searches.
Mobile-friendliness impact on Search Rankings
Mobile-friendliness has become a very important ranking factor that impacts a website’s search ranking on Google. Optimizing websites and apps to be mobile responsive has become crucial for competitive businesses.
The prominence of featured snippets
SERPs are always evolving and featured snippets have proven to improve brand awareness, web traffic, and revenue. A featured snippet can gain a business 31% more traffic than a search result without a snippet.
Priority on local search listings
Local SEO is a vital digital marketing strategy for businesses. Using local keywords can drive local traffic to a business and boost revenue.
Semantic search benefits both users and search engines. It cuts down on spam and low-quality content as well as makes search more intuitive, which helps users find results that more closely match what they are looking for.
Technology is ever-evolving and businesses have to continuously adapt to keep up with emerging trends. At Alkye, we offer a wide array of digital marketing and tech services to clients that add value to their business, grow their digital outreach, and enhance their digital experience.