Lightful predicts digital trends for 2020

Tereza Litsa
Digital Engagement Manager
16 Jan 2020

It’s that time of the year that we love thinking ahead to predict the digital trends that will affect us over the next 12 months. We’ve asked #TeamLightful to share their thoughts so these are our digital tech predictions for 2020.

Video content will dominate

Video content on social media is the most engaging form of content which I think will soon dominate most platforms. In the last few years, we have seen Facebook and Instagram develop ways of sharing videos on their networks alongside TikTok being released in 2016. YouTube has always been a video platform and I feel that going forward these networks will be used in combination to generate more stories and long-form content. According to a Cisco study, by 2022 82% of all online content will be video content. This shows how important the video will be for us in the years to come. You can start off by using stories on Instagram and Facebook for content or for advertisements.

Emma Moore – Relationship Manager Team Lead

Going beyond likes on social media

Social media is changing and platforms are already testing the idea of hiding the number of likes we’re receiving on every post. The initial experiments were considered “positive” so this year could make a big shift in the idea of social media marketing. In a world that we’re not focusing on the number of likes per post, we will start paying more attention to the engagement and the community building. In terms of the charity sector, it is time to be more strategic on social media. There’s no need to be on social for the sake of it without clear objectives. As social platforms could gradually move away from counting likes, it’s time for all of us to revise our key metrics and how we’re defining our social media success.

Tereza Litsa – Social Media and Content Manager

The first age of the machine

This year, the start of the new decade will see us emerge from the fourth industrial revolution into the first age of the machine. We will see extensive and creative use of data through new ML and AI techniques, the continued march of blockchain into our everyday lives, the decentralisation of the net and the rise of alternative ‘pocket’ communities. We will also see a move away from data theft into data destruction so we should expect an increased focus on data security, data rights and encryption as we move through the decade ahead.

Ben Simpson – Project Director

Personalisation built into strategies

Personalisation is not new – but so many organisations (of every sector) are still struggling to make it work. In a post-GDPR landscape, personalisation could almost be seen as a dirty word especially for charities – but it’s nothing to shy away from.

The digital task charities are most likely to be able to do are communicate with donors and suppliers (that’s 91% according to the Lloyd’s Charity Digital Index) so it’s essential that personalisation is built into your strategies.

I’m not talking about getting your merge fields right on your next appeal email (although that’s very important), I’m talking about the idea of segmenting your audience so you can personalise your communications in an effective and meaningful way. You shouldn’t talk to your volunteers in the same way you talk to your donors, or indeed your prospects.

Getting started with personalisation is easy: record the fields you need in a CRM (get one if you don’t have one), create segments in your mailing tool (you might use MailChimp, for example) and create versions of your next communications (this might be your newsletter)

For social, it’s even simpler – but you’ll need to go back to basics. Create personas around your key target audiences (your existing followers might not be the audience you actually need to meet your objectives) so consider what your personas might be. Nickie Wren, head of marketing at has come up with a great persona template you can access here. (Thank you, Nickie!)

Tom DeFraine – Relationship Manager

Younger charities will lead the way in data-led customer experience

According to the Lloyd’s UK Business and Charity Digital Index 2019, only 51% of charities are building in accessibility functions into their websites, and 63% do not plan to adopt customer data targeting or data analytics. This means charities are missing out on two crucial areas: they are not customising journeys to reach people who want to hear from them and are not making their services optimal for those who need them the most. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the younger charities are driving the change in this area; the same report suggests 45% of organisations don’t think digital is relevant. I believe we will see some remarkably dynamic campaigns in 2020 with some fantastic donor experience built into their strategies. These will play a key role in informing our best practice going into the new decade.

Brendan Rodgers – Digital Marketing Manager

AI and chatbots

The wide use of AI has been slowly creeping into our everyday lives for some time now. The charity sector is so often slow to pick up on the trends of the commercial sector, usually due to budget restrictions and not lack of creativity. But as technology develops and becomes more widely available, charities will begin to capitalise on tools and software that were once only available to rich corporates – this will be the case with AI technology. One of the simplest uses of AI is chatbots. Chatbots can use a combination of existing data and artificial intelligence to interact with audiences via a chat interface. Some can even accept donations! Messaging apps are growing fast, and this presents a huge opportunity for charities. If your Chatbot can handle donations, registrations and give out information about your programs and services, your organisation now has a useful tool that interacts with potential supporters 24/7.

Pumulo Banda – Relationship Manager

A low -code and no-code revolution

In today’s modern digital age, more and more people want to ‘create’ and ‘do’ but don’t necessarily have the technical skills to ‘build’. How do we solve this? Through low-code and no-code solutions. It’s common for websites to be built through Squarespace and Wix and we’re now seeing their app equivalents entering the market. For example, the tool Glideapps allows you to build a high-quality app through Google sheets. Absolutely no coding required.
It will be interesting to see how these type of tools will disrupt industries/ job roles. By cutting out expensive developer fees and using free tools- will industries, like the charity sector, be able to create more digital products? Will we see product managers not only overseeing products but also building them? And ultimately, will this be a good or bad revolution?

Serena Chana – Junior Product Manager

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