Software as a service (SaaS) has been around since the 1960s, believe it or not, but only recently has it entered most people’s lexicon. Also called cloud computing, SaaS is a business model in which customers pay to use software that is hosted on a remote computer.
One of the most common examples of a SaaS company is, of course, Salesforce, the popular customer relationship management tool.
Because of its flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, more and more companies are entering the SaaS market. These are the most common SaaS applications:
- Customer Service/Support
- Human Resources/Talent Management
- Software Development/QA Testing
- Business Intelligence
- Governance, Risk & Compliance
- ERP/Manufacturing/Supply Chain
To give you an idea of where things are headed, here’s a snapshot of the global SaaS industry:
- It will see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.22% between 2019-2023
- The market size will grow by USD $60.36 billion during 2019-2023
- It is expected to reach $157 billion in 2020:
Trend #1: Feature Marketing Will Rise in Popularity
SaaS solutions are evolving and companies are continually adding new features, tools, and plug-ins to their products. However, in feature marketing, SaaS companies create parallel products. These products offer added value to the same audience but are independent of their main product.
SaaS business owners must collect feedback from existing customers and work on the suggestions to improve their existing products. As Gert Hattingh advises:
“Make sure you make it easy for your users to give feedback, listen to their feedback and implement changes if it’s feasible. You can then use these new ‘features’ to sell your SaaS product/s to look-a-like audiences, who will most probably have the same problems as the user that suggested the feature/change.”
The addition of new features also offers an opportunity to create additional content for your website. Fresh content improves SEO, sending more traffic to your website, and thus helps you acquire more customers.
Trend #2: Video Marketing Will Be Mainstream
By 2020, online videos will make up 85% of all consumer Internet traffic in the U.S.
Video is something marketers and business owners can no longer ignore, and SaaS companies need to understand that text-only content is slowly losing its importance next to video content. Why? Because “one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.”
The power of the moving image is obvious: Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video. Moreover, videos increase the average time spent by your customers on your website and help reduce the bounce rate, thereby strengthening your site’s position in the organic search results.
Trend #3: Native Advertising Will Be Widely Adopted
With around 26% of Internet users blocking ads on their devices, the loss of revenue due to ad blocking is expected to reach just over $12 billion in the U.S. alone in 2020 (up from $3.89 billion in 2016).
These numbers indicate that display ads might not be as effective as it used to be for SaaS products. However, native ads will be widely adopted in 2020.
Reaching your prospects when they are making a decision will be the key to converting them. And since mobile users interact (i.e. tap, swipe or click) with their phone around 2,600 times in a day, you need to engage with mobile audiences during their micro-moments, those “intent-rich moment[s] when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do or buy.”
Trend #4: AI and ML Will Be Used for Hyper-Personalized and Data-Driven Marketing Campaigns
The artificial intelligence as a service (AIaaS) market is expected to reach $6-7 billion by 2023.
Many SaaS companies have started leveraging AI to improve user experience, particularly with the use of chatbots, and 80% of B2B marketers predict that AI will revolutionize their industry by 2020.
Some of the possible applications of AI and ML in SaaS marketing include:
- Hyper-personalization (both on- and off-site): AI and ML use behavioral and real-time data to create highly contextual messages that are relevant to the user.
- Data-driven optimized marketing campaigns: AI can process more data than humans and, combined with ML, AI can optimize marketing campaigns to boost ROI.
- Dynamic pricing packages: With machine learning, SaaS companies can adjust pricing based on various factors such as supply, demand and competitors’ prices. This will help SaaS companies increase their profit in both low- and high-demand situations.
- Predictive analytics: AI and ML analyze past data and predict which prospects are likely to convert, as well as churn rate and customer lifetime value.
- Intelligent email content curation: This can help marketers segment email lists based on the data and personalize subject lines and email copies.
- Detailed consumer profiles: It will provide marketers with a more profound knowledge of their potential customers, enabling them to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time.
Trend #5: Unbundling Strategies Will Improve Conversions
Platform unbundling is one of the most disruptive SaaS trends that is set to dominate the industry in the coming years.
SaaS companies are beginning to realize that not all the functionalities on their platforms suit every prospect’s needs. That’s where unbundling strategies are so useful.
In unbundling, companies break their products into smaller parts that solve a specific problem. When companies focus on solving a particular problem, they can optimize the user experience.