9 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021 To Watch Out For
As the year unfolds, it’s time to start getting on board with the trends that will emerge in the digital marketing landscape during 2021. We can expect to see artificial intelligence playing a bigger role, and high-quality content continues to be the main factor in providing you with that all-important competitive edge. We can also look forward to making use of new digital platforms in reaching specific audiences.
Additionally, marketers should brace themselves for continued market volatility as the pandemic persists (but hopefully tails off), as well as high competition for digital space as businesses become more dependent on digital platforms. The silver lining is that there will be great opportunities in 2021 as they will be forced to adapt to the digital world and innovate their online presence.
[Related: 2021 Marketing Trends You Don’t Want To Miss]
With that in mind, here are the top 9 digital marketing trends for 2021 you should watch out for (and take advantage of):
1. The Diversification of Social Media
While social media will remain incredibly relevant, there are some new platforms, like TikTok, coming to the fore that will become more competitive alternatives to the ‘Big 3,’ i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Making use of new platforms like these could be instrumental in ensuring your business stays ahead of the curve, especially since the top social media platforms are pretty overcrowded.
Also, as more people depend on the internet for their shopping needs, the competition for marketing space online will increase even more. Based on a survey conducted by MarketingCharts last year, chief marketing officers have re-focused their use of social media, especially during the long lockdowns, placing greater emphasis on brand awareness and brand-building. As more and more consumers shift to online shopping, the digital marketing need of companies to be known for specific products and brands has similarly increased dramatically.
2. Localized SEO
Traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are now heavily relying on their online presence for attracting customers, particularly those who need delivery services. From grocery stores to pharmacies, local businesses need to be more accessible online. Therefore, there’s an increased need for localized SEO (search engine optimization) campaigns. These include for websites, Google listings, and social media. Whether you have a dental clinic or a restaurant, online promotions like these are becoming increasingly important.
Localized SEO means that your target market and keywords are geographically dependent. It’s important to focus on long-tail keywords that include the location of your brick-and-mortar business and the type of business you have.
3. Competitive Digital Customer Service
Simply gaining customers shouldn’t be the end goal of any business: the next step should be earning customer loyalty. This way, you can ensure repeat business and expansion of business through referrals or word of mouth. Put simply, loyal customers are more likely to recommend your business to their social circles. Converting leads into paying customers requires effort and know-how, and maintaining their loyalty requires more effort and oodles of creativity – especially when you’re doing it digitally.
One of the reasons why customers change brands is the lack of good customer service. For instance, if a customer wants to know about product availability and features, customer service should provide updated information ASAP. If you want to maintain customer loyalty, you must have a competitive customer service highlighted in your digital marketing campaign.
4. Voice Search
Text-based searches will still dominate 2021, but searches using voice will become more common as search engine algorithms improve. This will be attractive to many people because voice search is more convenient and doesn’t require the effort of typing.
However, the accuracy and available languages of voice search still need to be improved. In general, voice search is likely to dominate mobile devices because it’s easier to use it when you’re driving, walking, or when simply idling at home. Personal assistant gadgets like Siri and Alexa are also becoming more and more popular. This is in some ways attributable to the pandemic, which seems to be accelerating voice search:
5. Multi-Channel Social Media Influencers
Social media influencers will continue to have a massive impact on digital marketing, and those who are active on multiple social media channels are more likely to reach different segments of the market than your business alone. Beauty, fashion, and travel industries are likely to benefit the most from social media influencers who are using multiple channels for their content. If you’re a B2C brand considering social media influencers to promote your product to their following, now might just be the time to start!
6. The Rise of Micro and Nano Influencers
Micro and nano influencers with fewer than 25,000 followers tend to have better levels of engagement compared to those with a higher number of followers. For example, the engagement average for micro and nano influencers is about 7%, but only about 3% for those with 25,000 or more followers. If you’re thinking about working with influencers to promote your business, it could bode better for you to target the smaller accounts which generate greater engagement, rather than the celebrity-fuelled hyper accounts.
Virtually all aspects of the digital marketplace could be automated by the end of 2021. Many are already automated, from processing orders to trading in the stock market. You’ll need to ensure that your business adapts to these changes in order to be competitive. Automating your digital marketing campaigns can significantly increase your efficiency. For instance, instead of spending all day answering chat queries, consider using a chatbot to answer commonly asked questions by customers.
That said, don’t miss the human touch from digital interactions with your audience. This is a really important way of personalizing your brand and really connecting with your customers.
8. Easy-to-Consume Content
The lockdowns have given many people sufficient time to consume different types of online content, from movies and documentaries to informative articles and comedic TikToks. However, in this fast-paced digital landscape where most people expect instant gratification, there is one rule you need to stick by when creating content for audiences: it needs to be easy to consume.
One of the easiest types of content to consume are podcasts, and they’re gaining a lot of traction this year. In fact, a significant segment of the population prefers audio content to films or videos. If you can provide relevant podcasts that people would be interested in following, you can capture a targeted segment of the market you wouldn’t be able to reach before.
9. Brand Activism
In the wake of the George Floyd murder and similar incidences of police brutality that have sparked worldwide anti-racism protests, many companies, including transnational companies, are joining the call to end racism. Some have even offered scholarships and jobs to underprivileged minorities. The point is to do more than simply be a performative ally: businesses are becoming (and maybe should be) more proactive in their commitment to important causes.
It’s not about jumping on the bandwagon and increasing those likes and shares, though. It’s a deeper social duty to promote and help specific causes if you as a business can make a concrete, positive difference.
Want to find out how to take advantage of this year’s marketing trends? Let’s talk.