In today’s age of digital transformation, marketers need to keep on top of digital marketing trends to achieve their business goals and develop and nurture customer relationships. Marketers must inform their inbound marketing strategies with current trends to ensure they remain relevant in today’s dynamic digital age. As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 looms on the horizon, we’re looking towards the major digital marketing trends that will shape the year.
In this article, we’ll share our predictions for the most important digital marketing trends for 2021. From technological advances to shifts in consumer behavior and demand, 2021 is guaranteed to be an exciting year for digital marketers. Let’s get started!
Why are digital marketing trends important?
Keeping up with digital marketing trends is crucial for growing your business and ensuring you achieve your goals. Whether you’re a small or large business, digital marketing trends should always inform your strategies.
Digital marketing trends inform about what is trending in your market niche, as well as on a larger global scale. They offer valuable insights into technological advances, customer behaviors, and the changing landscape of communication.
When marketers leverage digital marketing trends to inform their own strategies, they’re ensuring they’re staying relevant and aligned with what customers have come to expect from a brand experience.
Changes in the social media landscape
As the world becomes more and more connected, social media remains a powerful platform for marketers to increase their reach, generate leads, and stay engaged with loyal customers.
Social media plays a huge role in keeping people connected to their friends, family, and favorite brands. However, social media platforms are saturated with content, which means marketers need to stay on top of trends to inform their strategy and stand out.
2020 has been a dynamic year for shifts in social media trends, mainly due to the global pandemic which meant people were spending more time inside, working from home, and checking in with loved ones. In fact, 46-51% of US adults were using social media more since the outbreak began.
Customer retention has become a major priority for most marketers, and as the world continues to adapt to life in a global pandemic, marketing teams need to continuously ensure their strategies align with trends.
Some social media marketing trends for 2021 that marketers should use to inform their strategies as we move into the new year include:
- Audiences will continue to demand complete transparency from the brands they interact with online, so marketers will need to ensure the information they are providing is clear, accurate, and always in line with their brand message.
- Further AI developments are likely to inform social media communication strategies (more chatbots and virtual assistants).
- Customer support through social will continue to grow as people turn to social media channels for real-time help.
Social media is a cost-effective solution for marketers to drive customer responses and attract leads. If your business isn’t leveraging the power of social media already, now’s the time!
2020 saw video marketing gain huge traction in both B2B and B2C sectors. In 2021, this trend will continue as text-based content can’t compete with the power of video to attract, engage, and delight an audience.
In today’s digital world, smartphones are almost extensions of our bodies. On average, millennials spend an incredible 5.7 hours per day on their phones! People are using their smartphones to communicate, to shop, to find information, and even to work. One of the main forms of consumable content that’s most accessible to smart-phone users is video.
Marketers have been using video content for a while now. In 2020, 92% of marketers reported that video is an important part of their digital marketing strategy. What’s more, 66% of people said they’d rather watch a short video to learn about a product or service, while just 18% would prefer to read a text-based article or website.
In 2021 we’ll likely see an acceleration in video marketing as it adapts to involve artificial intelligence (VR and AR) and combines with influencer marketing and live streaming (more on that soon) to create a powerful visual tool to boost engagement and improve CX across digital platforms.
Other trends in video marketing to look out for include bigger brand investment in 360-degree video, live-streaming, webinars, and live VR for more refined, immersive, and customer-driven video marketing tactics.
If you’re on any kind of social media, then you’ll probably recognize the importance of influencers and how they’re aligning themselves with brands in a relationship that benefits both parties. With 87% of people reporting influencers have inspired them to make a purchase, digital marketers need to leverage influencers to boost engagement and leads in 2021.
In 2021 we’re likely to see brands continuing to promote their brand messages and products with brand ambassadors on visual platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, Facebook, etc. What’s more, the use of influencer marketing is increasingly augmented with shoppable content for more efficient and convenient user experience.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has been crucial to effective digital marketing for a while now. So what can we expect from SEO in 2021?
Algorithms are constantly being updated to respond to developments in user behavior and enhance CX throughout the customer journey. This means that it’s important for your website and other platforms to keep SEO at the forefront of content for all stages of the funnel.
The constantly evolving nature of SEO means that it’s something digital marketers need to keep on top of every year, but going into 2021 there are a few key trends to keep your eyes peeled for. These include:
- Factoring in user experience (UX) signals into search engine rankings to ensure a consistent and efficient experience across multiple touchpoints and reap the rewards of better search engine visibility.
- Increased focus on understanding audience intent and the questions they’re asking and natural language queries through conversational AI platforms (voice search and voice assistants).
- Optimizing content to achieve coveted zero-click search rankings
Machines are catching up with the way people want to search, shop, and interact with their devices. One thing is clear: people like to talk!
Voice-activated devices like Alexa, Siri, and Google continue to rise in popularity, with a whopping 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile. As this trend becomes more widespread, digital marketers will need to use voice search trends to inform their strategies and content creation.
Marketers who want to target voice search users need to consider adopting a conversational approach to tone and keywords as voice search queries yield fewer (often singular) results than text-based searches.
The omnichannel channel approach
Omnichannel marketing is the process of ensuring customers and prospects have a seamless experience with a business or organization across multiple channels and devices. “Omnichannel” has been a buzzword in marketing fields for years, but in 2021 it’s a more relevant marketing strategy than ever before.
90% of customers expect consistent interaction across multiple channels, and to be able to switch between them as they please. Today customers are engaging with brands across multiple touch-points, including email, apps, and social media; often at the same time.
As we continue to see developments in AI and machine learning, companies can better leverage data and use it to further personalize omnichannel experiences.
In 2021, consistent and cohesive customer experience across channels is essential for businesses to meet customer demands, increase their purchase frequency, and maintain their loyalty into the future.
Content is (still) King
Sharing content in the form of blog posts, social media posts, eBooks, videos, etc. remains a powerful way to deliver long-term value for businesses. Although content marketing will remain a crucial digital trend for businesses to stay on top of, we will likely see changes in how organizations share content.
Developments in AI and machine learning, increased voice and image search use, and SEO trends are likely to impact content success in 2021. Always remember to consider these two rules before filling up your editorial calendar with content for the coming months:
- Content should be valuable and relevant
- Quality over quantity
A trend within content marketing that is rapidly gaining traction in the digital world is interactive content, which refers to content that people can - you guessed it - interact with online. In fact, 93% of marketers rate interactive content as a highly effective method for educating prospects and customers.
In 2021 we’ll see brands leveraging technological innovations and experimenting with interactive content like quizzes and polls, augmented reality advertisements, and engaging VR and 360-degree videos that require the view to swipe, click, and interact with.
In today’s world consumers are bombarded with content left, right, and center and business success mean standing out among a sea of competitors. Interactive content generates double the amount of conversions than passive content and provides an overall more engaging, immersive, and memorable brand experience.
Looking to the future
Digital marketing trends for 2021 reflect an overarching trend that’s likely to remain at the heart of digital marketing operations across the board: putting people at the center of what they do. Personalization and empathy will remain crucial to marketing strategies.
The year 2020 brought with it increased uncertainty and new anxieties about life in a global pandemic. In 2021, Marketers will need to stay well informed about trends and external market conditions to continue to build strong customer relationships, fulfill their needs, and ultimately achieve their business goals.
Are you ready to start developing your digital marketing strategy for 2021?
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