Digital Marketing Trends to watch out for in 2021

The global mayhems of 2020 are going to profoundly be felt in the digital marketing landscape of 2021. Brands are facing a whole new terrain of consumer behaviour, reshaped by leaps forwards in mass social media movements and technology. It was an interesting year for digital marketing as it gave a push to augmented reality, mobile marketing, digital animation, video content, and influencer marketing and voice search.

Consumers are opening up to experimenting with digital formats, trading brand loyalties for availability of stock and performance marketing coming into picture. Digital eventually became dominant as marketers pivoted towards virtual platforms shifting from traditional marketing.

Given the rapid onset of new technologies, behaviours and trends, skilled marketers must look even further into the future. Below are 2021 marketing trends that all savvy marketers should keep an eye out for!

  • The New King of Social: Video Marketing

People’s boredom levels have increased while sheltering at home and many have turned to short form videos for entertainment. TikTok is now the preferred platform for Gen Z, while Snapchat implemented major redesign, and Facebook launched Instagram reels to grab the attention of the users.

Given the boost in social media consumption by the users, brands have redirected their budget channels to these platforms. In 2020, Social media accounted for almost 25% of total marketing budget, a rise of 15% from 2019. Given the love for all things quick and catchy, brands are looking to target younger customers by investing in short form video strategies and execution.

Developing short form videos may seem deceptively easy, but balancing branded messaging with the carefree tone associated with short form videos will require customer research, creativity and strategy. Generation Z has an attention span of 8-seconds and its high time to start experimenting with how to best communicate your brand purpose, product values and call to action in a short and snappy method.

The way shoppers’ research brands and their products on social media is evolving and we are likely to see social shopping become more popular on these short form video platforms. With 40% consumers saying that they would shop directly through social media platforms, your brand will want to explore creative ways to incorporate social media into your strategy.

  • The New Challenge: User Privacy Protections will Impact Targeting

In 2020, the implementation of the privacy acts meant that brands advertising on Facebook experienced a sudden inability to target the millions of shoppers in the world, which created havoc on their ad strategies and return on investment. The privacy act which limits how companies are allowed to handle the personal information of shoppers’ reflects a growing concern for user privacy protection. 86% consumers are worried about their data privacy with baby boomers and gen x being the least trusting.

The way the industry currently tracks, targets and retargets customers will undergo major changes and challenges. Marketers must toss-out their old playbooks and prepare for the new changes. They need to pay close attention to consumer privacy and consent by reading up on the latest news. Marketers need to set up a meeting with their marketing automation platforms representatives to discuss how the potential privacy changes might impact your pipeline. They need to start conveying the value proposition of data collection to consumers so they feel reassured that their privacy concerns are not neglected.

  • The New Industry Norm: Marketing Automation

With digital marketing technology growing, it should come as no surprise that we all will witness marketing automation becoming an industry mainstream. The customer journey is dynamic and fluid, with dozens of Touchpoints across multiple devices that have sophisticated attribution models which predict outcomes and calculate return on investments.

As a company grows, it becomes impossible to track these numbers manual. That’s where a marketing automation platform comes in play. 67% of marketing leaders prefer leveraging marketing automation tools. Through the automation soft wares, developers can regularly release new digital capabilities and 2021 this will further evolve, allowing marketers to better convert leads generate personalized content and track results.

  • The New Expectation: More Personalization

A study showed that despite widespread concerns about consumer privacy, 72% shoppers only engage with personalized content and marketing. Shoppers are shunning and unsubscribing from mass- blasted email campaigns while choosing personable web pages over simple ones.

In 2021, marketers will need to customize their communications and experiences based on their interests, preferences and behaviour. One way of creating engaging and personalized communications for social media is by understanding what the consumers want and delivering their requests.

  • The New Focus: Featured Snippet on Google SERPs

Appearing on top on relevant Google searches has been the Holy Grail of SEO. Different SERP results have acted as vehicles from the map pack to the shopping results to featured YouTube videos, all while competing with sponsored content from paying customers. A ‘featured snippet’ of highlighted text, which Google uses to attempt to answer the user’s questions, without the user clicking on anything is the new trend to focus on.

This presents as a problem to digital marketers, because if users get the answers without clicking on anything, how do you put the brand message in front? The challenge is to rank for the featured snippet, providing just enough information to peak interest and get the user to click for more content.

 

  • The New Form of Purchasing on Social: Shoppable Posts

46% of Instagram users purchased one or more products that were featured on their page through a sponsored brand. We expect social media platforms to explode as a channel for E-Commerce sales, with simple integrations to allow users to complete their purchase without leaving the app or switching to another app.

  • The New Sound of SEO: Voice Search

Voice search is the next frontier of SEO and more users prefer to talk into their search bars instead of typing. Whether they use voice activated AI assistance on their desktops of use their smartphones like walkie- talkies, they prefer voice search. Experts are discovering that voice searches yield different results than text searches. In 2021, it is expected crack the code of SEO for voice search and captures more of the organic market share.

  • The New Capture of SEO: Image Search

Thanks to Google Lens, a ground breaking image recognition AI algorithm, search engine marketing is moving out of the domain of words and into the domain of videos and pictures. Google Reverse image search was only the beginning; users can now enter images into Google to obtain an arena of contexts.

They could click a picture of a plant and enter the image as a search to find out more details about the plant and its species. They could upload a friend’s Instagram image and geo-target their exact location. Image searching represents another stream of traffic for digital marketers to hack into and insert their clients’ brands.

  • The New Age: Ephemeral Content

Snapchat pioneered the idea of ephemeral content i.e. content that only lasts for a minimum period of time before disappearing into the ether. Snapchat users alone create 1 million snaps per day whereas other social media platforms noticing the popularity of snaps, rebuilt their app and responded with analogues like Instagram stories and Facebook stories.

In 2021, digital marketers will need to get creative to tap into the consumers attention devoured by ephemeral content. The structural disadvantage of ephemeral content is that is cannot be reused making it even harder to automate.

 

  • The New Virtual Truth: Virtual Events

Due to the new method of communication and engagement of brands, events became a virtual necessity. As we move into 2021, many events will stay virtual not only because of continued safety concerns but also as a result on investments gain in 2020. Companies found that by going virtual, they opened up their events to an entirely new set of audiences as it was more accessible than in person events.

For virtual events, visa issues, travel restrictions and financial costs are not as much of a concern as with in-person events. Many companies found that due to lesser restrictions in attending these events, it leads to higher attendance and more participation, which means lower cost for more people and a higher return on investment.

The key is to get creative and drive engagement through great speakers, rice content and fun filled courses. In 2021, virtual events will continue to be a popular route to engage with a broad set of customers as companies see the many benefits of online events as well as their return on investment.

In a year filled with unprecedented changes, digital marketing has evolved to match new habits and demands of brands and consumers. 2021 will be the year of continued digital transformation and engagement where the innovative use of technology, marketing strategy and creative ideas and thinking will make or break the brands.

It is important to keep in mind the above trends and start shifting resources, kick start brainstorming sessions and conducting research.

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