50+ Top B2B Marketing Insights From Recent Emerging Trend Reports

Leaf emerging from center of tree stump image.

Leaf emerging from center of tree stump image. Even though the “Roaring Twenties” moniker of a
century ago today takes on a more menacing new tone in light of
today’s COVID-19 pandemic, smart
B2B marketers are still hard at work
and looking ahead. The B2B
marketing world of tomorrow will be shaped by the emerging
marketing trends we have seen during the beginning of 2020, and we
already have a wealth of insight to learn from new research data
that has come out in recent marketing reports. We’ll take a look
at:

  • Impressive Results in a Growing Influencer Marketing
    Industry
  • Social Media Changes & The Rising Importance of Trust
  • The Global Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • The Role of Emerging Digital Interfaces in B2B Marketing
  • How Voice & Conversational Search are Reworking Traditional
    Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • How One-To-Few Publishing is Poised for B2B Emergence

With all these and more, let’s dig in and examine over 50 of the
emerging marketing trends and statistics that are likely to play
important roles in the B2B marketing world of tomorrow. [bctt
tweet=”“It’s vitally important to make connections between
emerging trends, your industry and society, especially this year as
we reach a tipping point for a number of technologies and trends
that will shape the world of tomorrow.” @amywebb”
username=”toprank”] Social Media Changes & The Rising
Importance of Trust We’ve written about
the rising challenges B2B marketers have faced in light of the
diminishing trust
today’s social-media-saturated consumers
place in marketing in general, and we’ve also explored a variety
of tactics
to help overcome them
. In light of this, the recently-released
Future Today Institute’s 2020 Tech Trends Report¹ expects that
social media users will increasingly place greater
importance on trust and credibility
. Another new study,
the Rival IQ 2020 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report², has
shown that social media engagement rates have fallen on
Instagram, while those for Facebook and Twitter have remained
largely unchanged
. We’ll look at influencer marketing
trends more closely in a separate dedicated section, however when
it comes to social media engagement rates, influencers saw
the second-highest engagement rate across all industries

in Rival IQ’s report, as shown here. RivalIQFBChart The report shows
that while making social media marketing inroads on Facebook has
been a challenge for brands, those using influencer
marketing have fared better than those using traditional social
media campaigns
. B2B marketers in industries seeking to
engage with younger consumers may want to start or increase their
brand
presence on Snapchat
, as seventy-three percent of
adults between the ages of 18 and 24 now use Snapchat

The overall rate of social media posting frequency is down, with
brands posting slightly less often on every channel in 2019, the
RivalIQ report shows.² B2B marketers looking to tap into some of
the most successful social media hashtags may want to consider
implementing relevant giveaways and contests, as two of the most
popular hashtags across all of the industries the RivalIQ report
examined were those relating to contests and giveaways.² Aside
from influencer marketing, multiple-photo image carousels
were also shown to have particularly high engagement

across industries, especially those on Instagram, which will
re-serve carousels to users who didn’t initially engage.² Even
so, engagement rates on Instagram were uniformly
down
, with an all-industry median that fell by 23 percent
from 1.60 percent to 1.22 percent, as the following Rival IQ chart
shows.² RivalIQIGChart B2B marketers
running campaigns on Twitter may wish to stay the course, as social
media engagement on the platform stayed the same for the third year
in a row.² Impressive Results in a Growing Influencer Marketing
Industry Recent report data has shown that influencer
marketing has garnered impressive results
, helping lead
the way to swift growth in the industry. Influencer
marketing is expected to grow to some $9.7 billion in
2020
, representing an increase of more than 50 percent for
each year since 2016, according to the recently-published
Influencer Marketing Hub 2020 Influencer Marketing Benchmark
Report.³ The report’s estimated year-over-year growth for
influencer marketing is shown below. InfluencerMarketingHubChart01
Influencer marketing has seen high advertising dollar values, a
trend that continued in 2019, with average earned media value that
increased to $5.78 from 2018’s level of $5.20, as shown here.³
InfluencerMarketingHubChart03
Influencer-marketing-savvy businesses have seen even higher
returns, as much as $18 in earned media value for each
dollar spent on influencer marketing
Large
brands have seen a continued shift to using
micro-influencers
, and the most recent Influencer
Marketing Hub report shows that during 2019 these firms utilized
some 300 percent more micro-influencers than in 2016.³ With the
strong performance seen in 2019 by influencer marketing, it should
come as no surprise that 79 percent of respondents in the same
report said that they plan to dedicate a budget to influencer
marketing in 2020, as shown here.³ InfluencerMarketingHubChart04 The
portion of marketing budget dollars brands are spending on
influencer marketing has also risen, with some 80 percent
noting that they intend to spend at least 10 percent of their
entire marketing budget on influencer marketing
.³ Others
said that they will spend nearly 40 percent of their
marketing budget on influencer marketing
, as outlined
below. InfluencerMarketingHubChart05 A
full 91 percent of survey respondents saw influencer
marketing as an effective form of marketing
, with the most
common gauge of influencer marketing success being conversions and
sales, according to the report.³ As with social media marketing,
influencer marketing has been shown to be particularly partial to
Instagram, with some 87 percent using the platform.³ When it comes
to B2B marketing, however, LinkedIn has remained far and away the
most-used platform, as a similar 87 percent of Inc. 500
firms used LinkedIn for social media during 2019
, topping
a list of how the fastest-growing U.S. firms are using social
media, outlined in a recent UMass Dartmouth report.
Influencer marketing has seen significant grown over the past year,
as the Influencer Marketing Hub report reveals 380 new
influencer-marketing-related platforms and agencies entered the
market over the last 12 months
, which is outlined below.³
InfluencerMarketingHubChart02 The
influx of new influencer marketing platforms and agencies is a
testament to the trust-building — and ultimately the success
rates — of influencer marketing, yet those focused
specifically on B2B influencer marketing are exceedingly
rare
. Luckily for B2B brands seeking top-caliber B2B
marketing agencies specializing in influencer marketing, market
research firm Forrester has maintained a report, and
TopRank Marketing was honored to be listed as the only B2B
marketing agency offering influencer marketing as a top
capability
in its “B2B
Marketing Agencies, North America, Q1 2019
” report.
Additional influencer marketing report data shows that:

  • Along with rising use of micro-influencers, nano-influencers
    — with under 1,000 followers — have seen impressive results,
    especially on Instagram, where they have seven times the
    engagement rate
    (7.2 percent) than mega-influencers who
    have more than 100,000 followers (1.1 percent).³
  • Twitter nano-influencers saw 1.4 percent engagement, while
    mega-influencers saw only 0.3 percent of their followers providing
    tweet engagement.³
  • 84 percent said that they had increased the volume of
    content they created over the past two years
  • 72 percent said that they found the quality of
    customers gained through influencer marketing as better than from
    any other form of marketing
  • Some 40 percent said that they used third-party influencer
    marketing platforms.³

A primary challenge faced by those using influencer marketing has
unsurprisingly remained finding good influencers. 23 percent found
the task very difficult, 62 percent said it was of medium
difficulty, and just 14 percent said finding appropriate
influencers was easy.³ Our CEO Lee Odden recently shared
5 Key
Traits of the Best B2B Influencers
,” a helpful resource for
B2B brands looking to get started in influencer marketing. [bctt
tweet=”“B2B influencer marketing is activating internal and
external subject matter experts with engaged networks to advocate
and co-create content of mutual value that drives measurable
business goals.” @LeeOdden” username=”toprank”] What marketers
hope to achieve through influencer marketing was also examined in
the Influencer Marketing Hub report, with 40 percent
looking to increase brand awareness
, 36 percent to drive
sales, and 24 percent to help build a resource library of
user-generated content.³ The same report also looked into how
marketers measure influencer marketing success, with 39
percent seeing conversions and sales as the primary
benchmark
, 34 percent viewing engagement campaign metrics,
and 27 percent seeing success from views, reach, and impression
figures, and outlined below.³ InfluencerMarketingHubChart06 Rival
IQ’s recent report data also shed some light on the success of
influencer marketing, showing that as we previously mentioned in
our social media observations, influencers increased their
engagement rates on the often-tricky Facebook platform. A 10
percent increase in photo post engagement among influencers helped
achieve the rise in Facebook engagement rate.² Influencers
also achieved above-median performance on Instagram
, in
spite of seeing a 25 percent drop in engagement on the platform,
and consistent Twitter performance as shown below.² RivalIQTWChartVideos and
status updates were the most engaging types of tweets on
Twitter
among influencers according to the Rival IQ
report, topping photo and link tweets, as shown here. RivalIQInfluencersTWChartThe Global
Impact of Artificial Intelligence Artificial intelligence will
continue to have a global impact in the future, according to the
Future Today Institute report, which found that:

  • Between 2020 and 2024 the global AI market is expected
    to grow 20 percent annually
    between 2020 and 2024.¹
  • Worldwide economic growth generated by AI may hit an
    astounding $16 trillion
    by the end of the 2020s.¹
  • A daily data-creation total of some 463 exabytes is expected by
    2025, roughly the same as 77 billion Netflix movie streams.¹

    Sorting through and utilizing vast amounts of data
    is likely to
    continue as a prime challenge to B2B marketers in the years ahead.
    By the end of the decade some 50 billion devices may also
    be online
    , generating huge amounts of data.¹
  • By 2022 the AI chip market is expected to quadruple, to $6.7
    billion, up from $1.66 billion in 2018.¹
  • Significant funding is being invested for AI initiatives around
    the world, including Softbank, which in 2019 launched a $108
    billion fund targeting AI startups.¹

The Role of Emerging Digital Interfaces in B2B Marketing In coming
months and years B2B marketers will see greater opportunities in
the realm of emerging digital interfaces including augmented and
virtual reality (AR and VR), devices that we increasingly wear
instead of just carry, and other technology that can help take

experiential content
to the next level. The Future Today
Institute report data shows the following trends of interest to B2B
marketers:

  • $18.8 billion is expected to be spent on AR and VR in
    2020
    , climbing to some $200 billion by 2024.¹
  • Over 1,000 wearable devices are presently available.¹
  • $370 million in wearable device sales is forecast by the end of
    2020.¹

Questions such as how B2B firms can interact with consumers via
wearables and what relevant data can be gathered about them will
only grow as marketers enter largely uncharted wearable data usage
territory. [bctt tweet=”“In coming months and years B2B marketers
will see greater opportunities in the realm of emerging digital
interfaces including augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR),
devices that we increasingly wear instead of just carry.”
@lanerellis” username=”toprank”] Voice & Conversational Search
Rework Traditional SEO B2B marketers face challenges in making
their content discoverable to audiences using changing
technologies, and some of the new report data shows the following
opportunities and trends:

  • Traditional SEO is increasingly expanding into new realms, such
    as with voice search optimization (VSO)
  • Search query intent and searches based on
    conversation
    or even what a consumer is looking at are new
    challenges in search.¹
  • New types of searches will require B2B firms to implement new
    forms of optimization in coming years.¹

One-To-Few Publishing Poised for B2B Emergence B2B marketers are
likely to see an increased demand for digital methods to make more
meaningful connections with smaller, relevant, and loyal audiences:

  • The use of more personalized content in the form of
    newsletters, podcasts and niche networks
    will increase,
    especially those that are infused with authenticity.¹
  • Closer online communities such as those in Facebook and
    LinkedIn groups will become more important than ever.¹
  • Limited-edition content such as pop-up collaborative
    newsrooms focusing on hyper-relevant and specialized
    topics
    are expected to become increasingly
    important.¹

How Will You Implement Emerging B2B Marketing Trends? These are
only some of the emerging marketing trends that will combine to
play important roles in B2B marketing beyond 2020, with others such
as our “Top
10 B2B Digital Marketing Trends in 2020
” also offering helpful
insight to guide your efforts. We hope you’ve found the trend
data from the Future Today Institute’s 2020 Tech Trends Report,
Rival IQ’s 2020 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report, and
Influencer Marketing Hub’s 2020 Influencer Marketing Benchmark
Report to be helpful. Forming a smart and successful B2B marketing
foundation takes significant amounts of time and effort, which
leads some brands to work with a top B2B marketing agency such as
TopRank Marketing. Check out our B2B
marketing resources
and discover why leading brands such as
Adobe, LinkedIn, Dell, 3M, Slack, and Monday.com have chosen to
work with TopRank Marketing. Sources: ¹ Future Today
Institute’s 2020 Tech Trends Report
²
Rival IQ 2020 Social Media Industry Benchmark Report
³

Influencer Marketing Hub 2020 Influencer Marketing Benchmark
Report

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50+ Top B2B Marketing Insights From Recent Emerging Trend Reports