News and thoughts from the bench

Top 5 2020 Digital Trends

Posted on: March 7th, 2022 by Dana Bakich / Guest Posts

Over the past couple of years, we’ve started to see a big transformation in how social media is utilized. With more people and brands online than ever before, the demand for our attention as consumers, donors, and brand advocates becomes harder and harder to attract and retain.

With more people online, there’s also more data than ever before about our engagements and behaviors. Social data is the world’s largest business intelligence database.

There’s a lot to be said about the future of social media and digital marketing. After working in this industry and doing some research, I’ve put together my Top 5 2020 Social Media Trends and why they matter.

Top 5 2020 Digital Trends

  1. Digital Detox
  2. The Next Generation — Generation Z
  3. Nano and Micro-Influencers Emerge
  4. Building Communities
  5. The Power of 5G — Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality

Digital detox


Have you checked your screen use time recently?

If you’re anything like me, it’s a shocking reality to see how many hours are spent looking at our phones. According to a report from Talkwalker, there have been more than 78,000 conversations surrounding social media wellness in 2019.


Content saturation:

People are realizing their habits and making a more conscious effort to not be online 24/7. As marketers, this means QUALITY over QUANTITY with our social media posts. Really dive into what your audience(s) are talking about, how they’re talking about your brand, and find authentic ways to engage.


This goes back to your WHY.

What is your brand all about?

Do you come across as a human or a corporate brand?


Sprout Social and Keyhole are my go-to listening tools to tune further to what’s resonating the most. Sprout Social provides a more full-service platform that includes content management, publishing, analytics, and social listening. Keyhole focuses purely on listening using advanced hashtag tracking and social media data.

If your organization is a nonprofit, both offer discounted rates.


The power of video:

Video is here to stay and the rise of long-form meaningful video is proving to be very powerful. All of the social media platforms are heavily investing in their video tools. That means you should be as well.

80% of videos produced are under 5 minutes, but these account for less than a third of video engagement. Videos longer than 15 minutes account for 50% of video engagement but only account for 8% of all video content produced.

People LOVE to binge a good series on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney +…ALL the platforms. The difference between most social media platforms (YouTube excluded) is you’re not typically going to Facebook or Instagram to watch something.

When someone is scrolling and does come across a video, ideally you want them to stay engaged for as long as possible and then feel inclined to take action.

You should create content that entertains, educates, and evokes emotion.


The next generation — Generation Z


Generation Z will make up roughly 20% of the workforce and 40% of consumers in 2020.

For clarity, people defined as Gen Z were born between 1995 and 2015. They are currently between 4–24 years old and equal nearly 74 million in the U.S.


This upcoming generation is tech-savvy, craves innovation, personalization, brand purpose, and transparency.


They were kids when the economy was hit hard and see right through any fake news and advertising blitzes. I love the fact that they’re asking the tough questions and aren’t afraid to speak up.

They want to be advocates of brands that STAND for something. Not once a year, but every day, they want to affiliate themselves with organizations that care more about the world and their employees than the bottom line.

In 2020, I think we’ll see a lot of new tech emerge and we need to be nimble and open to testing the unknown to see what works to communicate where our audiences are. is a go-to for any teen or young adult related research. Outside of their platforms designed to help teens do good, they also have an agency that provides excellent insights.


The new influencer market: Nano and Micro-Influencers


You’re an influencer!

Not joking. In 2020, it’s ALL about the nano and micro-influencer space. If you have 500 to 10,000, you are now an influencer.

This sounds like common sense, but PEOPLE buy from PEOPLE. Why?

Because someone’s had an experience with a product, cause, place and we TRUST the people closest to us. The days spending $500k to an influencer that probably has bots for ⅓ of their following is over.

Pros of working with nano and micro-influencers:

Less risk

Easier to work with

Lower cost

Significantly higher engagement rate

The influencer space isn’t going anywhere, it’s just evolving. According to the, brands make an average of $5.20 per $1 spent on influencer marketing. It still works.

Before running an influencer campaign, it’s important to establish what your goals are. What does success look like to you? Is it overall brand awareness, website traffic, ticket or product purchases, donations?

I highly recommend using if you’re planning on using Instagram as your platform to run the campaign. It’s only $20 per month and provides the ability to search for influencers AND track campaign metrics.


Building communities

At F8 (Facebook’s Developer Conference) in 2019, Mark Zuckerberg spent a lot of time talking about Facebook Groups. As social media has continued to grow, our need for community increases.

Communities are about being more than a brand and creating true human interest. It’s not easy and it takes time to build a dedicated community online. In the long term, by creating a group, you’ve allowed people to connect deeper around a specific issue, cause, or product. This is invaluable.

Here are a few examples of different content ideas for groups:

Provide support from your brand on a specific topic

Open the floor to allow support from other members

Exclusive deals and/or reveals (you can track exclusive codes with Bitly links to understand your Facebook Group conversion rates)

Host Influencer or Staff Q&A’s

Test or showcase exclusive video content and get feedback

In 2020, I’d challenge how you can invite people into a more meaningful relationship with your brand.


The power of 5G — Artificial Inteligence and Virtual Reality


The launch of 5G is really exciting as it opens the door to entirely new interactive experiences and a greater ability for personalization.

5G will be 100x faster than 4G. That means not only the speed at which we can consume content online will be greater, but also the experiences can be much more immersive.

This is where AR and VR will really kick into play. Snapchat filters were a great introduction to AR for the masses. To place objects over your face or on a desk in front of you is just the beginning.

Lowe’s has a Holoroom where they teach people how to complete DIY projects.

On #GivingTuesday, Oculus partnered with St Jude’s to create a VR “Hall of Heroes” telling the inspiring stories of cancer patients.

IKEA’s Place App uses AR to allow you to place true to scale furniture in your house for inspiration and motivates purchase.

Warby Parker recently released an updated app using face-mapping to allow customers to try on glasses at home.

If you want to start testing AR technology, I’d highly recommend Adobe Spark’s AR Studio. It’s free and allows you to create your own Instagram filter.

If you’re a nonprofit looking to get involved with VR, check out Oculus’s program, VR for Good. They partner filmmakers with nonprofits to tell powerful stories.

I’m excited about the potential the new decade brings in 2020. There’s always going to be new technology and social media platforms shifting their priorities as consumers evolve.


My Biggest Takeaway, be NIMBLE, be ready to explore the unknown, AND listen to your audience. Now more than ever before, invest in listening data and actively engage with your audience. Not only do they expect it, but your organization will become irrelevant if you don’t.


About Dana Bakich:

Dana is the CEO and Founder of Positive Equation as well as a member of The Bench’s roster. She equips nonprofit and purpose-driven marketing professionals with the strategies and tools they need to build impactful digital strategies.