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Marketing has travelled a long journey over decades. Even digital marketing has seen a sea change just over the past 10 years. The transformation has been astonishing. But the best part is that the transition is ongoing. With the increasing penetration of smartphones and other digital devices and improved connectivity to the mobile internet, the trends are changing so fast that marketing agencies find it hard to stay on top of them. But, staying current is what keeps them relevant in a highly competitive world.

The global upheavals caused by the Covid-19 pandemic have also contributed to reshaping marketing significantly. Brands are faced with a new challenge of a profound change in consumer behaviour; which takes decades to shape and the transition has been pushed in merely a year by the cruel pandemic. The mass digital and social migration caused by the virus has changes digital marketing trends so rapidly that marketers and their clients hardly had time or energy to catch up. But those who did carve a secure place for themselves in a troubled economic climate.

The new marketing trends of 2021 have two distinct facets: The first one is more ‘human’ addressing real issues of the day and catering to the real needs of the people that have emerged of late. The second one, on the other hand, is the technical side of the things that influence how your campaigns are designed and structured to satisfy more customers while meeting mechanical optimization side of the equation. With the right combination of the two, marketers are able to create campaigns for their clients that truly pay off and are worth their salt. But, it’s not an easy feat even for the most seasoned marketers.

In this article, we have compiled a list of top marketing trends that marketers and brands must watch out for and try to stay on top of. These trends will give you a head-start over your competition and by helping you outline a solid digital marketing strategy for the current year. Read on and stay on top of the game…

1. More Inclusive Content

Nobody wants to see the same old homogenous content anymore that they have gotten bored within the previous decade. The importance of diversity in our current time and location in history cannot be stressed enough. Today is all about equality and inclusivity and that’s what people want to be reflected in the material they consume and the business they buy. A more hopeful picture of equality especially among younger audiences and underrepresented groups is what’s needed today.

In 2021, digital marketing will encompass a wide range of races, sexualities, religions, and other topics, as well as representation for those with physical and learning disabilities. This includes not only the photos and films you create but also the issues you discuss on social media and in blogs, as well as the things you sell. It’s not easy, but when done right, can make all the difference.

2. Adoption of Automation

The increasing implementation of automation is by far the most important marketing trend for 2021. Marketers in 2020 had to do more with less, therefore they required tools that would allow them to complete all of their regular activities while conserving resources. Expect to see marketers continuing to utilize automation to improve productivity and achieve results even when budgets return to normal.

Marketing automation is achieved by software solutions that allow you to streamline, automate, and track your marketing efforts. Businesses may now engage with their target audience by sending out relevant and personalized messages automatically using a marketing automation platform.

3. Search Snippets & Zero Click Searches

The goal of SEO has largely been to get your listing to the top of the search results in “position number one.” Now, as we approach 2021, the target is to increase SEO exposure in “position zero.”

What is position zero, we hear you asking. Well, it refers to Google’s “featured snippet,” which will take precedence over all other SEO marketing trends in 2021. The featured snippet differs from other search results entries in that it is separated from the rest by a small box and appears at the top. Its goal is to provide more and relevant information to answer the user’s question right on the SERP without requiring them to click on any link, thus earning it the moniker “no-click search.”

4. Better Consumer Segmentation

Although it’s nothing new, consumer segmentation, in 2021, is expected to reach new heights. Big internet companies like Google and Facebook have so much consumer data that they have a better understanding of them than a human brain could possibly have.

Segmentation done manually is becoming a thing of the past. The massive digital ad algorithms of today can micro-segment the perfect audience from about 100 engagements. Obviously, the goal is to increase customer engagement and retention to accomplish lower ad expenses and a higher customer lifetime value.

5. Emergence of Programmatic Advertising

As the name suggests, Programmatic Advertising refers to the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate ad-buying in order to better target the audience. Real-time bidding can be taken as an example of programmatic ad buying. Being far more efficient and quick, this programmatic advertising results in increased conversions and cheaper customer acquisition costs.

Programmatic Advertising is transforming the face of digital advertising so quickly that about 86% of digital display ads in the United States are expected to be programmatic by the end of 2021.

6. Shoppable Social Media Posts

Believe it or not, shoppable social media posts are a thing now. A report by SproutSocial that indicated 46% of Instagram users bought one or more things that were pushed in front of them in a sponsored post. This was one of the great digital marketing stories of the year 2020.

And these social media-based eCommerce sales channels are only expected to boost in years to come. Thanks to their ever-easier integrations, users are able to complete purchases without ever leaving the app. But will it be possible for brands to completely transition to social media sales channels and rely on them only? It’s a trend that only time will unravel, and the one that’s worth watching for.

7. Sustainability Is Not an Option

People are increasingly getting more sensitive to the well-being of the planet with a keen eye for brands’ sustainability efforts. People in 2021 are equally concerned about sustainability as they are about the digital marketing trend of inclusion. They want to make sure that the companies they buy goods and services from are just as concerned about the environment too.

We’re witnessing a popularity surge for sustainable and eco-friendly products, especially among younger consumers, with 81% of them strongly believing companies should do more to undo the environmental damage. This goes beyond the green goods market—every firm may profit from publicizing its sustainability initiatives.

8.The Rise of Chatbots

Living in 2021, you hardly need an introduction to what chatbots are. They are an AI-based technology that uses instant messaging to communicate with consumers and site visitors for an instant, automated resolution of queries. So, chatbots are expected to be one of the top digital marketing trends in 2021. Both written and voice-based communication methods employed by chatbots are set to grow in popularity.

Chatbots are being used by businesses to engage better and faster with their customers. Because the website receives a large number of visitors at once, it is advantageous to have technology that can respond to hundreds of users at once. Chatbot-based customer support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and rapid responses to enquiries and basic questions are all advantages of this amazing technology.

9. Direct Mail Makes a Comeback

With people spending more time at home thanks to the pandemic, direct mail has seen a new surge in popularity. Capitalizing on this trend, businesses are using physical touchpoints like postcards to reach out to the target audience. While the volume of mail handled by the United States Postal Service is decreasing, fewer pieces of mail offer better results for direct mail marketers.

A less cluttered mailbox equals more opportunities for your business to stand out, as well as more valuable attention from potential clients. Compare the rivalry you’ll face with just one or two other pieces of USPS mail to the competition you’ll encounter on digital advertising platforms. Every day, consumers receive 107 emails and view 63 display advertising on average.

10. Cash In On YouTube Shorts

YouTube has recently added a feature called “Shorts.” It’s comparable to Instagram Reels, which allows you to create video content of up to 15-second. With the growing popularity of short-form video content like the one on TikTok, YouTube Shorts is a fantastic option for anyone who already has a following on the platform. To capture the interest of your viewers, all you need now are engaging 15-second videos.

Shorts will have their own “shorts shelf” carousel within the app, where users can scroll an algorithmically generated feed, and artists’ shorts will be stored alongside traditional long-form video material in the channel library. However, because testing is still ongoing with beta forms that have been put out in some areas, not all features and configurations will be permanent.

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