The way businesses build their brand, and promotional campaigns changed for good in 2020 as a global pandemic drastically changed everything.
As a result, marketers no longer had the luxury to build expansive campaigns. The ones that learned to be nimble and adapt new strategies quickly are still in business. A quick look at last year’s laundry list of ‘unprecedented’ developments tells us that technology marketing moves very fast.
It is now more challenging than ever to predict consumer interests and behaviors. The only way marketers can survive 2021 is to be flexible and transparent in the face of adversity.
The same old methods won’t work any longer. Drawing up a well-rounded campaign now requires marketers to be more agile and customer-centric when promoting their brand’s offerings.
Know which channels work for you. As per MarketingCharts, social media accounted for up to 13% of the advertising budgets for 2020.
According to Forrester, in 2021, the customer service interactions via digital avenues are projected to increase by 40%. It also anticipates that, on average, the digital brand channels numbers will surge from 8 to 11. This makes it practically indispensable for companies to incorporate digital marketing in their marketing strategies.
Here are some of the must-follow digital marketing trends to look out for in 2021:
With all that hype about chatbots, modern marketing has become all about clear and engaging conversations. Customers want it, and brands that deliver it win.
When customers have a question or concern, 82% of them expect an “instant” response. Essentially, conversational marketing enables real-time, one-to-one, between customers and marketers.
Unlike conventional tactics, this type of marketing is now leveraged by many brands and across multiple platforms. It allows them to interact with customers conveniently: on media, devices, and time schedules preferred by the customers and are best suited to them.
Today, customers expect to instantly find their preferred products and want their queries to get answered quickly. And as businesses prepare for a digitalized future, they must find ways to be available and accessible and communicate the way their audience prefers to.
Ultimately, the primary purpose of conversational marketing is to improve and enhance the overall user experience with a feedback-driven approach that fosters greater loyalty and higher engagement.
Chatbots, a software program, interact with site visitors and customers and the naturally sounding way in real-time.
This strategy can help businesses save significant recruiting people from communicating and engaging with the visitors on your website on an ad hoc basis. A chatbot is personable, unbiased, and informative.
This, in turn, enables buyers to make faster and informed decisions and ensures that users feel heard and are treated as individuals.
If you are not leveraging chatbot applications, it’s well-advised to get onto it as the artificial intelligence trend will likely continue to rise in 2021. 67% of the companies stated that deploying AI-enabled technology helped them create a better and unique experience for their customers.
While the decision is also contingent on different factors, the increasing popularity of artificial intelligence will lead more companies to incorporate this digital marketing strategy trend.
AI-powered software applications practically facilitate brands with a unique voice and enhance their interaction with customers.
Companies like Swiggy and Amazon have leveled up their digital marketing game and, ultimately, their customer service by leveraging customized AI-powered chatbots.
In addition to responding to the FAQs, these chatbots keep track of previous conversations and naturally interact with visitors. So, upgrading to AI-enabled chatbots is a requisite to ace your overall marketing game in 2021.
Tangentially, and detrimentally for many marketers is the fact that link building as a means of driving SEO will continue to diminish as AI becomes more prominently weighted in search algorithms as well.
Video marketing is one of the most effective ways to inform customers about your products and services. And interestingly, it is by far the most preferred way customers wish to learn about a brand’s offerings.
This is not merely restricted to YouTube. You can leverage the power of video marketing in several other ways to increase a higher engagement level. For example, you can make an entire video post or conduct a live broadcast session on social media.
Additionally, if your website has more video content, it will drive higher site traffic than text. This is because the audience finds video content more compelling and visually appealing than simple text. As a result, Google push sites that comprise videos.
Video marketing is relatively more straightforward, too, as it just requires you to reformat the content. However, it is essential to transcribe the video content and publish it under the video post.
92% of the marketers already leverage video content and states that it’s an integral part of digital marketing strategies.
Video marketing helps persuade and entice the audience to a specific brand that drives conversions. This is because customers are more likely to interact and engage with videos than other forms of marketing, such as written content or a blog post.
Video marketing trend is likely to remain a growing avenue for brands to connect with their audience and ultimately drive conversions. Therefore, it’s imperative for businesses to incorporate video content in their digital marketing tactic in 2021.
While influencers and content marketers exist within various social media platforms, Instagram tops the brand-partnership preference.
Nearly 79% of the brands leverage Instagram for their influencer marketing campaigns, followed by Facebook at 46%, YouTube at 36%, Twitter that accounts for 24% and 12% go for LinkedIn, as stated by Business Insider.
Along with the rise in the influencer marketing efforts by many brands, many novel tools and apps have provided creators with ample resources to create compelling content and reach out to the right people.
In 2021, this combination will undoubtedly lead to a successful year for brands and influencers/content creators alike. If you are dabbling to partner with an influencer, now is the right time to invest your time and resources.
Furthermore, there are other influencer related trends that you can look out for in 2021. This includes building long-term alliances with influencers, focusing on inclusion, and ensuring diversity in your influencer programs. There is no doubt that the right affiliate programs can help you promote your brand-related content.
Platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc., amongst others, have significantly helped brands target the right customer base. However, it is vital to partner with the right influencers to target the right audience according to your business niche.
You can collaborate with content creators on various platforms to reach a more comprehensive and right audience base. But above all, make sure that their vision and values sync and align with your brand’s.
According to Business Insider, the influencer industry is projected to be worth up to 15 billion dollars by 2022 from 8 billion dollars in 2019. This makes it indispensable for brands to make the most of influencer marketing.
Although voice search is not currently incorporated in Google’s algorithm, it still dictates the current search results. Often, voice search queries yield different answers than if the user types a text-based query in the search bar.
However, for search engine optimization, voice search components can be a good idea for brands to facilitate the consumers who want to adapt and switch over to this medium.
According to voice search experts, all the brand-related content should be explicitly optimized for voice. This is because the content needs to be more conversational and direct to sync and accurately align with search queries. This will help you boost the site traffic by staying more visible and relevant to consumers.
And amidst the global pandemic, the day-to-day use of voice search assistants elevated 26% in the United States.
Devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo play music, make to-do lists, search for information, set alarms, manage and control other connected devices, and even shop for you. This brings agility and practicality to customers’ everyday lives, and isn’t everyone looking for ways to make their lives easy?
These digitally enabled solutions fulfill a significant need in the market, and they are fun to play with.
This increased adoption of voice and virtual assistants is a brilliant opportunity for marketers to innovate in digital marketing. The possibilities are virtually endless as you can use this technology to resonate and connect with your audience using audio content such as podcasts.
It’s also important to note that the use of voice search assistants is greater on smartphone devices. 27% of the customers used voice search on their mobile devices in 2018. And that statistic tends to grow as virtual assistants become popular. So, you can optimize your content for conversational searches.
User-generated content is a robust and high-powered instrument for your website. It enhances the overall customer experience and helps with SEO when moderated appropriately.
A common misperception about user-generated content is that many marketers think it has to complicate or intensive. But, in actuality, that isn’t the case.
UGC could include comments on your blog posts or product reviews on your site. It’s a growing digital marketing trend that will gain more popularity in 2021, and for the right reasons.
As its name suggests, UGC involves getting your users and customers to create quality content for you. This includes unboxing videos, reviews, hashtag challenges, etc.
More than ever, brands value customer experience and want to make consistent efforts to provide a unique service to their target audience. And consumers also crave such interactions with brands that are memorable. They want social proof before they invest in buying your products or services and, therefore, want reassurance.
And user-generated content is paramount to develop connective content and helps brands:
UGC allows businesses to forge strong and long-lasting relationships with their customer base and in a way that provides social proof.
Personalization is the cornerstone to creating an effective digital marketing strategy. From podcasts, videos, social media, blogs to emails, customer feed are curated by different forms of content.
So if you want to create memorable and unique content that stands out from the crowd, the key is to personalize it.
Otherwise, your content might go unnoticed. Using ideal customer profiles and buyer personas can help you developing content that exclusively appeals to diverse customer segments according to their specific needs.
You can also leverage CRM systems, e.g., Zoho, HubSpot, etc., to better segment and cluster your customers and incorporate them on your website. Tailoring your content for your customers allows you to build a rapport with your intended audience and results in higher conversion rates.
The rise of social media channels like Instagram and Snapchat has made ephemeral content a predominant influencing force in the digital marketing world. Ephemeral content essentially refers to the visual content on digital platforms that are accessible temporarily.
The snaps on Snapchat, Fleets on Twitter, or stories on Instagram are typically the content available for a maximum of 24 hours, and after that, it automatically disappears.
Amongst all the other digital marketing trends, it is vital for brands to leverage this and promote their specific content by making most of this tactic.
The reason for this is that ephemeral content gets a prompt response from your audience base by letting them engage and interact with your brand. It also allows you to expand your reach and build trust and credibility within your network. In order to hook your target market, you can also give them discount codes.
Stories are a great way to promote your content and get your message across in a compelling manner. Shoppable posts across multiple social platforms let you leverage a storytelling approach to sell your offerings. So ensure that you feed your target audience a great tale.
Instagram is one of the most effective platforms for shoppable posts. It has significantly streamlined customers’ buying process and would continue to simplify things in the upcoming years. You can use Instagram stories and promoting your brand and storytelling.
Furthermore, Pinterest and Facebook are quite well known among many brands, so it’s essential to experiment on these popular platforms. If you are specifically an online retailer, leveraging shoppable posts can help you drive traffic to your website and product pages.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) serve as potent tools when it comes to marketing trends on digital platforms, especially during recent times. These technologies allow customers have intuitive experiences by letting them connect to brands on an emotional level.
By creating virtual and augmented technology-enabled experiences, you offer customers tours and create interactive 3D based patterns for users.
Brands, for example, IKEA, take customers through the entire product creation process. They leverage Augmented Reality to help customers see how a specific piece of furniture will look like in their actual spaces before purchasing.
Customers expect to have more interactions with Augmented Reality on digital platforms in 2021
According to eMarketer, in 2020, 30% of the users interacted with AR on social channels content monthly. The number is projected to grow by 7.2%, which will make it a total of 46.9 million customers.
Using VR and AR technology makes the buying decisions more manageable, giving buyers a personalized experience by addressing their needs.
If you wish to fly high in 2021, leveraging data-driven insights can be a way to level up your brand’s marketing game effectively. Using data and analytics can help you enhance your business performance significantly as well as optimize the outcomes.
With the rapid evolution in customers and their buying behaviors, insights essentially enable you to stay ahead of the market’s intense competition.
Therefore, it is imperative to cash on this digital marketing trend specifically as it’s a secret weapon to improve customer loyalty and satisfaction.
Digital marketing trends are constantly evolving. That means that now is the best time to work on your tactics and incorporate a concrete approach to enhance your digital marketing efforts.
Know that all your hard work will go to waste if you don’t keep up with the changing customer preferences and behavior. Just follow your audiences, and they’ll show you the way they’d like to buy from you. And use the strategies detailed above to call their attention to your brand.
You’ll need to develop a well-versed marketing plan and leverage these trends to get maximum results.
This concludes the listicle of 11 digital marketing trends that you need to keep an eye out for and incorporate in 2021. With these trends, you can stay on top of your digital marketing game and thrive in the long term. And when you have a clear vision, take your game to the next level.