The digital age demands innovative marketing, and while we were happy to wave goodbye to 2020, it’s left us with some burning questions about this year's trends. The global pandemic dramatically transformed digital marketing as we know it.
Interestingly enough, the distinct marketing trends for 2021 are somewhat contradictory. On the one hand, marketers need to focus on humanization, addressing genuine topics for customer engagement. On the other, technical optimization is a must-do for growth.
Fine-tuning your digital marketing strategy requires a little bit of everything, from backend SEO audits to content marketing and social media. Sometimes it’s a little challenging to know where to start. That’s why we’ve got you covered with the top ten trends to be using in 2021.
Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021
Today’s consumer expects inclusivity. The Black Lives Matter movement of 2020 highlighted endemic issues that linger in society. Brands are held accountable for the image they display, with inclusivity impacting purchase behavior.
A recent study by Accenture revealed that 41% of shoppers in the last year shifted their business away from brands that don’t reflect their views on identity and diversity. If you’re not part of the conversation, 2021’s shopper will leave you behind. By openly showcasing your inclusivity, sparking deeper conversations, you can improve your brand relevance ten-fold.
Despite the widespread concerns about consumer privacy, 72% of shoppers will only engage with personalized marketing. While they’re unsubscribing from mass email campaigns, they’re happy to engage with personable content. For digital marketers, this means customized communications are crucial.
It’s worth exploring machine learning. AI platforms like Persado offer dictionary software. It includes language nuances and emotional sentiment, allowing you to craft your brand voice with personalized messaging.
According to Neilson’s global sustainability report, 81% of consumers feel that companies are responsible for improving the environment. It’s a statistic that isn’t very surprising.
Sustainability has been a consistent trend for the last decade, and while the hunt for a greener planet continues, conscious brands gain purchasing power. Whether it’s the products you create or the supply chain you support, brands are held accountable for their impact on today’s world.
4. Zero-Click Search Results
Today’s search results take people to Google properties like YouTube videos, album carousels, featured snippets, or knowledge graphs. These results require “zero-click” from the user. Google delivers the best suitable answer as quickly as possible.
Zero-click searches account for more than half of all Google searches, directly affecting your brand’s traffic to the site. To combat this, you need to buy into Google’s entities. Focus your efforts on optimizing your YouTube channel and update your Google My Business, including all your locations.
5. Ad Blockers
One of the most challenging digital marketing trends in 2021 is overcoming obstacles like ad blockers. In the US, 27% of internet users are expected to use ad blockers. For many marketers, this has a direct effect on channels like PPC.
Spend some time evaluating which of your ads will fall victim to blockers, readjusting your budget to focus on more fruitful channels. Avoid wasting time trying to convince customers to change their preferences.
6. Voice and Visual Search
One in four American homes has a smart speaker of some kind, explaining the dramatic increase in voice-activated search in 2021. With devices like Alexa so readily available, creative search methods are on the rise.
Visual tools like Google Lens are also becoming more prolific. Marketers need to focus their attention on image alt-text and sitemaps for images. Include your target SEO keywords in the file name and always utilize top-quality files, even if they’re HD. It’s about incorporating these search techniques into your overall SEO strategy.
7. Easy To Consume Content
Advertisers are starting to spend more money on podcasts. With 55% of Americans now listening to them, it’s no wonder why—another behavior change we can attribute to the global pandemic.
Convenient and readily available content like podcasts or direct newsletters to your inbox helps brands connect on a deeper level with their customers. It plays into the personalization customers crave and the memorable interaction with brands they’ve come to expect.
8. Virtual Events
Virtual events became a necessity thanks to COVID-19. As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, they won’t be falling away. Virtual events created a whole new level of accessibility, allowing brands to reach an entirely new audience. Increased reach means increased traffic and a better ROI making it a popular route to engage with a broader customer set.
9. Social Media As A Channel For Purchase
Social media continues to form a critical pillar for your digital marketing strategies. In 2021, platforms like Facebook and Instagram will become top channels for purchase, not just discovery. Both channels introduced shopping capabilities in 2020, making it easier for customers to convert without leaving the platform.
A study by SproutSocial found that 46% of Instagram users purchased one or more products from a sponsored post. Online shopping tools like this have changed the game for marketers. Ensure you optimize your channels to drive your conversion rate.
10. Customer Segmentation
Customer segmentation is old news, but 2020 saw a surge in its popularity, continuing into 2021. Instead of targeting broader groups with your marketing campaigns, businesses are encouraged to focus on specific audiences.
Tailor your content and consider your consumer’s preferences to generate better returns. Instead of one broad email, create two and send them to different lists. While this will be more work for marketers, it’s the best way to improve engagement.
Take On 2021
2020’s unpredictable nature has forced everyone to adjust. Consumers have shifted their behavior, embracing new priorities. Digital marketing is no different. By understanding the expectations of today’s consumers, tapping into their unique behavior, and embracing the channels available to you, you can take your brand to the next level. Human-centric marketing is more important than ever.
Dallin Porter is a Communications Manager at Galactic Fed. He's a self-motivated and strategic professional with 7+ years experience and success working within the communications, marketing, and content management industries.