At Wavemaker North, our expert teams are active in all areas of the industry. From cinema to content, PR to programmatic display – our fingers are always on the pulse. The new decade has brought with it lots of new trends, a shake-up from Google and of course, the now-traditional Veganuary hype train. Here’s Wavemaker North’s lowdown on the marketing and media industry in January…

Veganuary fever

With more than 500,000 pledges to try veganism for 31 days since 2014, commercial brands are now realising the marketing and sales power of Veganuary in 2020. Greggs ‘raised the steaks’ on January 2nd with the release of its vegan steak bake offering. With queues around the block on launch day, it’s clear that the brand is becoming synonymous with innovative vegan foods that not only appeal to this market but a mass audience as well. More than just great marketing, Gregg’s first venture, the vegan sausage roll, is reported to have resulted in a 9.2 per cent increase in like-for-like sales in 2019.

Meat sales fell by £184.6m last year, and with products like KFC’s ‘zero-chicken’ burger being endorsed by PETA, meat-free alternatives in fast-food chains are becoming increasingly viable options. Mike Foster from the Grocer notes, ‘many vegans would never set foot in an establishment that produces real fried chicken, but if just a small percentage of the world’s fast food consumers went meat-free now and again, it would probably have a greater impact than all the vegan brands put together.’

Should brands prioritise a vegan approach in 2020? Our consumer insights tell us that now more than ever before, consumers can see through brand activations which aren’t authentic. It goes much deeper than having a vegan product, it’s ensuring the supply chain, parent company and past behaviour is not contradicting the key brand message. Consumers are more than happy to boycott or shame a brand who is not acting purposefully.

A search results shake-up

Following on from a September 2019 Core Update, Google’s January 2020 Core Update announced that Google that they were changing the way that all search results appear on desktop.

For paid search results, Google has removed the green URL link underneath the title of the ad and the ‘Ad’ tag has also been bolded and changed to black. For organic results, the noticeable change is the inclusion of favicons. These small images sit at the left-hand side of the URL and have also been changed to black in line with paid search results.

For SEO, this adds the favicon as something that needs to be optimised for on desktop and mobile alike. This may lead to an increased click through rate for Ads, as they are harder to distinguish from organic results.

Cinema: An opportunity for all audiences

2019 was another huge year for cinema and officially became the biggest global box office year of all time. ‘Avengers: Endgame’ stole the headlines at the box office, as the highest grossing film of the year and 2020 has a lot of exciting cinema moments ahead.

Daniel Craig’s previous outings as 007 have secured second and third spot in the all-time UK box office chart. But there’s more to 2020 than just Bond, there’s plenty to pull in the core 16-34 year old audience, including the Christopher Nolan directed action thriller, Tenet, and a range of films starring strong female leads such as Margot Robbie in Birds of Prey and all are expected to be within the 10 top highest rating films for the young adult audience. Returning favourites ‘Minions 2: The Rise of Gru’ and ‘Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway’ are expected to be big hitters with the family audience.

With a strong year of cinema ahead, this channel offers a wealth of opportunities as part of the audio-visual offering. Have you considered getting more out of your brands on the big screen this year?

Spotify to focus upon podcast ad sales

Spotify has launched an adtech product, ‘Streaming Ad Insertion’, that aims to turn podcasts into an advanced performance marketing channel by providing a suite of capabilities.

Spotify said Streaming Ad Insertion would deliver its “full digital suite of planning, reporting and measurement capabilities” for its original and exclusive podcasts, including data on actual ad impression, frequency, reach and anonymised audience insights on age, gender and device type. The brand claimed that it was the first time this kind of data was available to the podcast market. The product itself is still in testing phase but is expected to be rolled out in the UK later this year.

Consumer buying trends for 2020

As more consumers shop online, retailers are re-evaluating the purpose of traditional stores. Pick up in-store (BOPIS) services that benefit physical stores will grow, as 49% of consumers stated that in-store pickup is cheaper and quicker. As a result of this shift, retailers will have to be creative with what they do to retain in-store customers with more interactive experiences and pop-ups.

There’s a risk that Amazon’s exposed political and social issues may see the company losing its credibility. Brands have also been pushing back against Amazon, filing lawsuits over counterfeit products. Brands selling on the platform should be aware that more bad press may see it losing customers.

In the wellness sector, consumers are going to be looking for convenient solutions in the home, such as skincare brands which boost self-esteem. There will be more widespread adoption of synthetic and lab-created ingredients and products touting for mental health will gain traction.

As more Millennials and Gen Z shoppers shop second-hand, the fast-fashion sector will see some competition. Consumers are demanding longevity in their purchases, and the desire to find products which ‘spark joy’ will continue to dominate.  

In terms of technology, consumers will fully come to expect the ability to spend seamlessly, so brands should be able to offer payment channels which are instant. Leisure venues should explore streamlined ways to buy tickets, like Glastonbury’s trial RFID wristbands which double as tickets.  

Beyond the dog filter with augmented reality

Many of us have indulged in the latest Instagram Story sensation: Augmented Reality filters. We’ve put our fate into AR’s hands to tell us what 2020 has in store. Influencer Marketing Hub projects AR will transform the way consumers interact with brands on social media in 2020.

In 2018, Sephora expanded their app’s in-built AR filter, allowing customers to ‘try on’ their makeup brands before buying, onto Facebook Messenger. And last month, Facebook announced its Spark AR platform was available to marketers worldwide, following a survey concluding that 68 million people interact with AR content at least once a month.

With more brands embracing AR each week, this figure is projected to exceed 85 million by 2021.

Content that connects: What’s ahead for Content Marketing

With the new decade upon us and the start of the year, it’s the perfect time to look at the predicted trends for content marketing in 2020:

Interactive content & video – Experts predict that in 2020, video and interactive content is going to take centre stage. If we go by the increasing popularity and numbers, YouTube is going to be a goldmine for content marketing and advertising. Video has also become huge recently thanks to other popular platforms like TikTok and Twitch — and according to HubSpot, 54% of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.

Optimising for voice search – With smartphones and AI-powered assistants like Alexa in our lives, the use of voice search is skyrocketing. Content marketers need to focus on anticipating the questions their audience would ask in a conversational manner and create content based on those.

Conversational marketing – When you can have one-on-one, personal conversations with your audience, you learn a lot about them. Conversational marketing then comes in many forms including email marketing, live customer support, chatbots and more, all seeking these one-on-one conversations with customers.

For more expert insight, contact us here.