Outlook 2020: Digital trends to watch out for in the year ahead

From focus on data interpretation to brands taking a regional approach & hyper-personalization, industry experts share their predictions for 2020

e4m by Shikha Paliwal
Updated: Dec 24, 2019 11:03 AM  | 7 min read


Digital trends

It was a year of significant strides in the digital advertising and marketing space and of challenges due to the economic slowdown. Voice, AR, VR, AI and content marketing were some of the buzzwords this year and the outlook for 2020 remains on similar lines.

As technology gets more sophisticated and brands more serious about the digital medium, experts share what digital trends, in their view, will define the year ahead.

Take a look at what the industry experts have to say:

Chetan Asher, CEO, Tonic Worldwide

In 2020, we will see platforms like voice and application of machine learning maturing. Voice is increasingly seeing wide adoption but 2020 will see it really take off in my opinion. As connected devices go mainstream, voice will gain wide acceptability and we will see innovation in the way advertisers use the medium. While there is so much talk about using data, we are not fully seeing how effectively data is being used to develop creative communication. Interpretation of data will be in focus and we will see it being leveraged better. Influencer-led content will have the same momentum but authenticity will play a big role in all communication. Consumers will seek more authenticity and will push us to change the way we communicate.

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea

The year 2020 will witness brands taking a regional approach to cater to the demographic and linguistic audience in non-metro cities. With heavy internet penetration, the next 100 million digital incumbents will consume content in regional languages, using neo-social apps, leading to increasing demand in regional advertising on digital mediums. The rise of AR and VR will create immersive advertising environments to make a brand’s storytelling innovative, inventive and ahead of the pack. Voice searches will continue to change the way people search for and find brands to interact with. Brands seeking recognition, in the long run, will need to incorporate voice technology into their digital marketing strategies to cater to the fleeting choices and preferences of the changing consumer needs. Content marketing coupled with storytelling will bring about a much larger shift in the world of digital marketing as a whole. By 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second, leveraging the colossal amount of digital data to empower story-telling.

Pratik Gupta, Co-founder Foxy Moron

I think 2020 will be the year for digitally evolved agencies and clients. Hyper-personalization of content through all digital platforms should be the biggest trend this year. Along with the innovation on digital, Voice, OTT, Social, Progressive Web Apps, the use of Hyper-Personalisation are also going to be imperative. While the entire ecosystem believes that the consumer does not want to see advertisements, I believe that ads and communication served to an exposed cookie pool at the right time and at the right place is the future.

For one, we will be working on creating workflows, technologies and teams to cater to this need for brands and consumers alike.

Almitra Karnik, Chief Marketing Officer, CleverTap

Prioritising customer retention will be the most significant trend for 2020. Every company is looking to increase profits and will turn to innovative tactics, including AI, AR/VR, and phygital to keep customers engaged. As the most significant commercial opportunity to deliver memorable experiences, Artificial Intelligence will be pervasive in almost every new software product and service. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will similarly take the centre stage in 2020 as companies use these technologies to delight and retain users. Phygital — the seamless integration of marketing efforts across physical and virtual spaces — will usher in a shift in the shopping experience, both on- and offline. In fact, the promise of connected devices for capturing data and delivering amazing shopping experiences is materialising even now.

Neena Dasgupta, CEO & Director, Zirca Digital Solutions

All digital advertising irrespective of channels will move towards Business Outcome solutions. A brand should no longer be paying for layers of technology but rather for the value offered. My trends are - Content in relation to consumer, Adtech and Martech getting closer, programmatic redefined, search becoming stronger and creatives becoming important.

Mihir Karkare, EVP, Mirum India

Relevancy. No matter what format or media platform the brand chooses, if the communication does not have relevance for the customer, the communication will be ignored... or worse - trolled! We are in the age of personalization where sending the right message at the right time to the right person on the right platform positively impacts the ROI of the marketing campaign.

Akhil Nair, CEO, Big Trunk Communications

In the build up for the next year, we are committed at constantly exploring ways to stay ahead of the game in 2020 to provide value to our esteemed clients. Digital Marketing is a rapidly evolving field that requires agility to be successful in, but with the ever-changing trends and new technologies this can be easier said than done. While a number of digital marketing trends come and disappear into thin air, there are a few that are set to stay in the new year, helping businesses to reach their target audiences in new ways. The top digital trends for 2020 that we should prepare to master should be - short effective videos, voice search, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Podcast, AR and VR.

Tushar Khakhar, First Executive, AGENCY09

The coming year will see a lot more of raw content, the need to be real is even more. Brands will try to be more honest and authentic in communication. Transparent, real life brand experiences and personal brand stories will be on the rise. In the world of forced endorsements with influencers and fake reviews, authentic content will be prioritized.

Agam Chaudhary, CMO, Digitalabs

It'll be a combination of Voice AI and ML that will rule 2020. While at the heart of any good digital campaign lies a good story, these will define the What, When, How and Where it needs to be told.

Shrenik Gandhi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, White Rivers Media

2020 shall surely be a game-changer for digital marketers. With a plethora of new trends and challenges on the way, the coming year will help businesses in gaining a competitive edge, generate leads and improve the relationship with their existing customers.

Arpan Jain, Executive Creative Director, Geometry Encompass

Digital is revolutionising how consumers shop, its driving marketers to rethink their go-to-market strategies. Tech-enabled shopping carts, interactive displays, AI-enabled voice assistants and intelligent simplified payment methods via smartphones are just a few trends that are redefining shopper marketing strategies. Unlocking creativity, by innovation and optimisation of the consumer journey in the moments that matter will lead to increase consumer engagement and define commercial success. Consumers are increasingly thinking about the environment in their daily lives and want to make more informed decisions about their consumption and its effect on the environment.


  1. Mondelez incorporated augmented reality in the units that stocked their gifting range during Diwali festival. An interactive TV screen would reveal the contents of the pack that a shopper picked up at the shelf, showing a variety of their favourite products inside.
  2. Doconomy launched a credit card that tracks the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the product purchased and caps the climate impact of the user’s spending. It directly calculates and tracks the impact one’s purchases have on the environment in a bid to make users reduce the carbon footprint of their consumption.
  3. Based on the insight that Indian consumers are in the habit of bargaining for a better price, Flipkart, India’s biggest e-commerce retailer, created a voice-based experience enabling customers to haggle for a better deal during its month-long Big Billion Days Sale promotion. The Haggle Bot used Google voice assistant technology to allow shoppers to haggle down prices of certain limited-edition products during the sale.

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