Eight integrated media trends for 2020

The 20s looks to be another roaring decade, says Olga Fleming CEO of Y&R PR.

We are entering the 20s and, if predictions are to be believed, it looks to be another roaring decade. Here are 8 integrated media trends sure to shake up the communications field in 2020.

Media distrust will shift marketing dollars: The year-over-year shift of marketing dollars is dizzying. Every year we talk about following the trends in marketing spend trying to decide who gets what percentage of the pie.

Comms pros need to be wary of the continued shift away from earned editorial opportunities towards paid sponsorship integrations. In an era of media distrust and companies’ growing reliance on paid integrations, news organizations and even talk shows are working harder than ever to ensure their editorial are completely separate from ad sales teams and to make clear the seemingly blurry lines between them.

Rethink complicated: Companies are simplifying their organizations, including external comms. This was seen with the Doritos ad campaign where they didn’t even need to include the product name in the commercials — resulting in much talked about and shared social buzz. Simple is definitely "the word" going into the 20s. If a concept is too difficult to explain, it just won’t work.

Bite-size or binge-worthy: In our fragmented landscape, brands are feeling the pressure to adapt to consumer consumption habits by creating both bite-sized and long-form, binge-worthy content.

Creating short-form content to be consumed in the moment via TikTok, Snapchat, or Instagram Stories is a great way for brands to experiment with highly engaging temporary content, that offers a deeper insight into the company’s culture.

In an odd twist, even podcasts are being converted into video content for YouTube. A few of our favorite podcasts recently started releasing an exact copy as a video, and noted it was because younger demographics prefer to consume video content over audio. So, make sure to keep your target top-of-mind when choosing format.

Micro-influencers and social groups: Social media is shifting as people move from following brands and popular influencers towards following micro-influencers and topics that are important to them.

In the eyes of consumers, big influencers = big brands. But micro-influencers, people already part of their existing social networks, are proving that authentic relationships result in a higher level of trust and engagement.

In 2020, brands should train employees on how to become micro-influencers in their communities. Consumers are more likely to tune in or engage with their friend or neighbor over a big brand on their social feed.

Leave organic at the farmers market: If you didn’t use paid social, you were left behind in the last decade. In a completely saturated ad market, where everyone else is implementing the same social strategy, the successful brands are ones that integrate strong paid strategies and prioritize high-quality creative.

The days of organic content are almost completely behind us. There are billions of social media users across dozens of social media platforms and even though those numbers are decreasing, there are still hundreds of brands vying for their attention.

Shopping on social: If the holiday season was any indication, social commerce will be the new normal. Any way brands can make that experience easy for consumers will be incredibly successful.

Time is precious and if someone must download a separate app or go to a different website to buy something, they are less likely to purchase.

Facebook is working with advertisers and marketers to integrate ads into WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger where brands can deliver messages without driving users having to download something. Helping people seamlessly purchase within a social platform will lead to an increase in new product discovery in 2020.

Privacy, security, and AI: Although a hot topic in the EU for years, data and privacy issues only recently started trending stateside, notably after the Facebook data breach. Consumers are far more cognizant and concerned about where information is stored and what content they share.

We’ve seen a rise in AI technology among social media platforms like TikTok to personalize discoverable content for its audience. Expect to see AI trending beyond content curation to data segmentation, creating a filter on fake news, and better monitoring of sensitive information.

The rise of the side hustle: It seems everyone has a passion project or hobby that has turned into a "night job." Uber is a great example of a business benefiting from the rise of the side hustle.

For communicators, it means target audiences are more complicated. We need to be aware of their full universe, including how they spend their time outside of normal working hours. Understanding the side hustle phenomenon will help us connect to customers in places and through channels we haven’t thought of before.

Olga Fleming is CEO of Y&R PR. Courtney Walker an MD and Jon Hendl, and EVP and deputy director also contributed to this piece.

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