Well folks, we’ve almost done it – made our way around the sun 20 times since that whole Y2K panic. While there are certainly plenty of new threats and worries as we enter the third decade of the 21st century, there are also an enormous amount of opportunities online.

Maybe it’s just us but online marketing feels poised for a big shakeup in the coming years. We’re polishing up our crystal ball and offering some wildly speculative thoughts on online marketing trends. They say hindsight’s 20/20, but here are some foresights into 2020 too!

  • More Voice – Whether using a smartphone, home assistant, or other mobile device, people are becoming accustomed to searching and shopping by voice. The keyboard has only been with humanity for 146 years. It might not be with us many more. On a related note, text-to-voice readers are becoming more common too.
  • More Video and Visual Media – In a trend that partners up nicely with voice search, video usage continues to increase and shows no signs of stopping. You may be reading this post, but reading is going out of style. Lament it, fight it, but there’s no denying that most people prefer wrapping their eyeballs around pictures and moving pictures. We encourage you to make video a priority in your practice this year – off-the-cuff posts for social media, nicely shot team member bios, a professional tour of the office, etc.
  • More Apps – This may surprise you: 90% of time on mobile devices is spent on apps. Most of this app usage is from the big players online – like Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and YouTube. This is certainly not us pitching that you absolutely need an app for your practice to be successful. App marketing is its own beast and you need to have something that users not only want to seek out and download, but want to continue to use on a regular basis. That’s a tall order for a small medical practice. But keep in mind that placing content on the most popular apps can help to keep you connecting with the increasing number of app users.
  • More Threats – You already know the world is a pretty scary place these days. Online scams, hack attempts, ransomware and security exploits are on the rise. We combat this with real-time security monitoring and monthly plugin updates and vulnerability assessments for all client sites. While most of our clients do not have payment or financial data on their sites, hacks attempting to access patient communications or information can cause serious concerns for HIPAA and other privacy protections.
  • More Cost – For several years, the big PPC players (namely Google and Facebook) have offered quite compelling ROI for their advertising opportunities. This wasn’t out of the kindness of their hearts – they wanted to build huge market share and leverage marketing investments away from traditional media. In the past year, we’ve seen ad rates slowly uptick in many markets. PPC still remains a strong investment in most cases, but prices are on the rise now that much of the competition has been wiped out.
  • Less Website Traffic – We talked about this earlier in 2019, but the fact is that your website is now only one of many touchpoints where patients learn about you online. It’s competing with time spent on social media and mobile apps. That’s not to say having a website will become irrelevant in 2020. You absolutely need a website that represents your practice well. But growth in website traffic is harder and harder to come by – and could be exacerbated by an economic downturn.
  • Less Desktop Use – If you’ve taken a look at where your website visitors come from any time in the last 3 years (or read last month’s blog), you should already know that most people visit your site on a mobile device. Many people still use a desktop machine for work, but for personal information and research, a mobile device is so much more convenient. We expect to see visits from desktop to drop below 20% of traffic for many of our clients in 2020.
  • Fewer Channels – The digital landscape continues to diversify in many ways, but the endless expansion of social media networks, online shopping sites and mobile apps may be finally cooling off. That’s not to say there won’t be a new Instagram or Snapchat that gains momentum in the coming years. But there is a lot of pressure on existing channels to remain financially viable, and with any kind of economic downturn, it might cause more traditional media to go all-digital and knock out newcomers and startups that are struggling to gain a foothold.
  • Less Patience – Lightning-fast load times are just the norm for the World Wide Web these days. No one will wait more than three seconds for your site to load. People are also becoming accustomed to having high quality user experiences everywhere they go on the web. If your site looks dated or isn’t super intuitive, it doesn’t matter how fast it loads. An engaging, effortless user experience will be essential for your web presence in 2020 and beyond.
  • Less ROI? – Notice that crafty question mark we added at the end of this one? But seriously, ROI is the name of the game for your online marketing effort. Put simply, you spend money to make money. And for the past 15 years, online marketing spend has had one of the best ROI’s of any marketing tactic. Will strong ROI hold up in the face of a possible economic slowdown, increased cost of tactics, and fiercer competition? Only time will tell – our crystal ball just isn’t that good!
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