Marketing / Branding

9 mobile marketing trends to watch in 2020

Matt Shealy

Updated: Nov 18, 2021 · 10 min read

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mobile marketing trends 2020

Mobile marketing trends 2020 edition has come faster than anyone expected. With mobile marketing trends changing almost as fast as the seasons, it can be hard to plan your strategy for the coming months.

In the digital age, it’s no longer about keeping up with the best marketing strategies. It’s all about staying ahead of the game.

No worries – We’ve identified nine big mobile marketing trends that you’re sure to see in 2020. Jump on board now so your marketing efforts will lead the pack.

1. Chatbots

You’ve probably engaged with a chatbot more than once. In fact, many of you have used a chatbot more than once today. In case you’re out of the loop on this, a chatbot is basically a computer program that simulates conversation with a human user. This can be in written form, like chatting on a website, or verbal interaction, like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa.

Chatbot technology is definitely not new, but it’s becoming smarter and better every day. What does this mean for mobile marketing?


We’ll see more and more chatbots. Many organizations are already using Facebook Messenger as a chatbot interface. According to Facebook, there are over 300,000 bots on Messenger handling more than 8 billion monthly messages between users and businesses. Believe it or not, those numbers are going to grow by a lot.

So why are chatbots a big deal? A well-programmed bot can answer questions, make reservations, place orders, cancel services, and gather demographic information. And the list of bot functions keeps growing. Chatbots are truly a gateway to your customer. You’re not only engaging with the customer, but you’re also learning more about them.

Chatbots are also handy for conducting quick customer surveys. They’re easy to administer in this way and can be free from common hang-ups, like response bias. And it’s all happening automatically.

In 2020, we’ll see bots going head-to-head with mobile apps when it comes to reaching customers.

2. Fewer Apps

Not so long ago, everyone was building a mobile app for their business. From the local dry-cleaning chain to the subscription cat food service, it seemed like every business had an app. And we were downloading them like crazy.

But how often are those apps actually being used? Answer: Not that often. On average, Americans use about nine different apps per day. That may seem like a lot but consider the most commonly used apps are those that come native on your mobile device (think email, messaging, and calendar.) In the end, we’re only using a handful of mobile apps on a regular basis, even if we have a ton of them downloaded on our device.

Going forward, we can expect to see fewer mobile apps where apps don’t really make sense. Instead of building an app just for the sake of having one associated with their brand, companies are now more likely to examine the return on investment. If your customer isn’t going to use your app regularly, is it really worth the cost and effort?

Instead, organizations will move toward a more efficient way of interacting with their customer, like chatbots and other customer profiling tools.

3. Content

Traditional mobile advertising is really taking a hit. Seventy percent of people say they don’t like mobile ads (though I’m a little surprised it’s not closer to 100%.) To combat ad blocking programs and general distaste for mobile ads, businesses have turned more to content marketing.

Content marketing is definitely not a new thing, but it’s being used more and more frequently. And while the number of people who read on their mobile devices keeps growing, the average Joe has grown tired of looking for information only to find poorly written, generic pieces.

Content marketing is on the rise and with that, we’ll see more “real” content. Forget about a thinly veiled sales pitch (Hint: Your customers hate that.) Your customer wants a genuine interaction. Get rid of the robotic, outsourced articles you’re using to fill up your blog.

Instead, use content that actually offers value to your customer. Your content should be conversational easy to read, and transparent, even if it is promotional. And don’t forget to optimize it for a mobile reading experience. Remember, consumers are becoming savvier, more selective, and less patient. They won’t waste time reading a crappy article with sales links every other sentence.

4. User-generated Marketing

While we’re on the subject of transparency, consider that 86% of consumers said authenticity is an important factor when deciding what brands to support. If your brand or your marketing tactics are shady or seem disconnected, your potential customers are going to pick up on it. And they’ll probably take their business elsewhere.

User-generated marketing –- or rather, marketing your brand through real customers – is a real thing. And it works. Let me quickly clarify, I’m not talking about influencer marketing. With influencer marketing, brands are touted by celebrities or other people with large social media followings. This was all the rage for a while, sure, but consumers quickly realized they don’t entirely trust a celebrity who is being paid to pose in a bikini holding a magical tea bag.

Instead, your customers want to see genuine people engaging in real life. Here’s the proof: 60% of people said social media content from friends and family impact their purchasing decisions, while only 23% said celebrity influencer content was impactful.

In addition, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. This means user generated content that can easily be found online about your business can make or break consumers’ perception of you.

Instead of marketing with stock images and content written by someone who has never used their product, brands are beginning to capitalize on the real customer experience.

5. Voice Search

voice search

Earlier this year, a study found there were an estimated 1 billion voice searches done per month. Admittedly, that figure includes both mobile and in-home devices, but the statistic is too shocking to discount.There are plenty more stats surrounding voice-enabled searching that will probably surprise you, but I won’t bore you with them here. Suffice it to say, voice search is massive.

So why does it matter how people are searching for things online? Why is voice search on our list of mobile trends for 2020? Answer: Because it’s not the same as typing in a search engine.
Obviously, typing and speaking are different, but it’s a little deeper than that. First, a search done by voice tends to be longer than one typed out. Here’s an example.

Voice search: “Hey Google, when is The Chainsmokers concert at The Vogue?”

Text search: Chainsmokers concert

Second, voice searching is inherently location-focused. The goal of a voice-enabled device is to find the best one answer to the query. To do this, the user’s location needs to be considered. While standard search engines also consider location when returning search results, it’s not as prioritized.

You’re probably still wondering why all this matters. Well, it matters because of your content, your website, your entire brand needs to be optimized for voice search.

In 2020, brands will start rethinking SEO with voice searches in mind. And remember the chatbots we touched on earlier? Those guys work best when the content they’re indexing is optimized for voice searching. (Think conversational instead of technical.)

6. Micro-moments

The phrase “micro-moments” was coined by Google back in 2015. Micro-moments are those brief moments throughout a customer’s day in which they reach for their mobile device to learn something, do something, or buy something.

Micro-moment marketing is making the best of that fleeting few minutes when the customer’s attention is focused on that one thing – buying a new swimsuit, checking out hotel prices in Southeast Asia, or figuring out the language spoken in Sri Lanka.

In 2020, micro-moment marketing will tie in with some of the other concepts we’ve talked about, like chatbots and voice searches.

How can you take advantage of micro-moments? Lots of ways, really. Many we’ve already talked about, like optimizing your content for mobile readability and voice searches. Also, take a look at your customer journey. If you’re lucky enough to get a customer on the phone based on their micro-moment interaction, you’d better have the best tools in place to help them.

Capitalizing on micro-moments is all about making the best information available as quickly as possible to satisfy the customer’s need.

7. Messaging Apps

In 2020, more than a quarter of the world will be using mobile messaging applications. That number alone should give you a clear indication that mobile messaging is a huge, largely untapped goldmine of marketing opportunities.

messaging apps

More companies are making themselves available via messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and others. And consumers are loving it.

The concept is pretty simple. At first, messaging apps were used primarily for the customer to contact businesses for support. This alleviated the need for making a phone call, sending an email, or visiting a website for a live chat. The customer simply popped into their messenger and fired off a question or request.

This type of interaction worked so well, organizations realized they should reverse the flow of communication. Instead of waiting on a request or complaint from the customer, businesses now reach out proactively with product news, offers, or even simple holiday greetings. All in the name of keeping their brand at the top of the customer’s mental list. Now texting is available with some CRMs like Keap so even solopreneurs can capitalize on the trend from the same place they run their businesses.

This trend won’t come without challenges, though. In fact, it’s the only one on our list that will likely require capital investment from the business. Organizations implementing mobile messaging as part of a marketing plan will need to consider their equipment and software needs as well as the capabilities of their staff to manage real-time messenger conversations, (especially when interactions might turn into a phone call.)

8. Geofencing

The concept of geofencing has been around for a while but it’s a relatively new notion in the mobile marketing world.

In order to understand how geofencing works, we have to first assume most people have smartphones. It’s not a hard assumption, considering an estimated 272.6 million Americans have one. Now imagine all these smartphone users going about their normal daily lives.

On the other side of things is a business, let’s call them “Ice Cream Shop.” The business designates its area (or “fence,” if you will) based on longitude and latitude. For the purposes of this explanation, let’s say their geofence is a 2-block radius of their shop.

Now the two come together. John Doe ventures within Ice Cream Shop’s geofence – we know this because of his GPS-enabled smartphone. What happens next? You guessed it – John Doe gets a push notification on his phone offering two cones for the price of one at Ice Cream Shop.

Of course, there’s a downside to this, too. No one wants to get bombarded with notifications about dog grooming, Korean barbeque, landscaping services, and a hundred other things every time they walk out the door. Organizations must be responsible with why and how they contact customers, especially as geofencing becomes more common.

9. Mobile Optimized Websites

I know, I know, this one’s obvious. But it’s important enough to make our list. Mobile optimization of websites is an ongoing trend. This is especially true as we see the number of homegrown apps trend downward.

As we all know, the majority of web traffic is from a mobile device. But let’s pair that with a couple statistics:

  • 40% of users will go to the competitor after a bad mobile experience.
  • 84% of users have experienced difficulty completing a mobile transaction.

For 2020, this means rethinking what “mobile-friendly” really means. In the past, it meant simply stripping down content and removing Flash player. But it’s not that simple anymore.

Consumers are looking to have an equal (or better) experience on a mobile site compared to that of a non-mobile device. With this in mind, we’ll see organizations move to a “mobile-first” mindset when it comes to their website. The site will load incredibly fast, the need for scrolling will be minimized, and menus will become more intuitive. Enhancing the user experience is what it’s all about.

Matt Shealy is the President of Chamber specializes in helping small businesses growtheir business on the web while facilitating the connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

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