What will change in digital marketing in 2021? Will the same tactics work? Will you have to pay more to reach the same results as before? These are questions that worry all business owners and marketers. This year was nothing short of disastrous and turbulent for all industries. And 2021 doesn’t promise to be any easier.
However, as always, resilience, creativity and hard work will prevail. And you are not alone in your endeavours. We are here to help you with advice and tools to make your work easier and more effective. Right now, we will give you an idea of what will work in digital marketing in 2021 and what you need to discard.
Social Media Will Play a Bigger than Ever Role in Digital Marketing in 2021
This is one of the key trends we identified for digital marketing in the coming year. All platforms are undergoing transformations that will allow brands not just to connect with customers, but also sell their products. Enhanced by new technologies like voice search, AR and VR, social media platforms are poised to become the marketplaces of the future.
Also, the online environment will dominate all kinds of transactions, from financial services and real estate deals to everyday shopping for groceries. The global lockdown of 2020 forced all consumer groups to become familiar with online shopping. And the vast majority do not want to go back to traditional shopping even after lockdowns are completely lifted.
With these ideas in mind, we start our list of predictions for digital marketing in 2021.
1. All Businesses Must Embrace Digital Transformation
All marketing, sales, customer support will move to the online world. It doesn’t matter if we talk about the corner store or a major telecom giant. Even governments started adopting digital transformation, and they are known to hold onto traditional paperwork.
This means that the money you used to spend for leaflets, local paper ads and advertisement boards placed in front of your store is better spent on Facebook ads, local SEO strategies and PPC. Your customers are more likely to find your products by looking at their Facebook newsfeed or Instagram Stories than by opening their mailbox and reading your leaflet.
2. Learn the Art of Selling on the Social Media
This is a growing trend for digital marketing in 2021, already starting out this year. The biggest social media networks are working on various shopping features embedded in their platform.
For example, Facebook has the following shopping features:
In its turn, Instagram (owned by Facebook) also has Shoppable posts and a new Shop tab. These features are valuable tools for marketers and business owners and demand increasing attention to visual content shared on the social media. A vivid photo or engaging video can determine a viewer to tap on the Shop button and make a purchase.
3. AR and VR Are Transforming Digital Marketing
Until now, written content was the only tool at your disposal to make potential customers want to try your products. As technology advances, so do the tools available to marketers to attract customers. With augmented reality and virtual reality, you can immerse users into the shopping experience.
They can try on clothes, makeup and hair colours. They can place virtual furniture in their room. And they can see they future house before the first brick is laid. One of the most powerful trends for digital marketing in 2021 is the use of immersive technologies to create “try before you buy” ads. They are already available on Instagram, but they are likely to spread to other social media platforms.
Actually, Facebook is ready to launch its own brand of AR glasses, currently known as “Project Aria”.
4. Interactive Content Will Have the Highest Levels of Engagement
Let us focus on written content, because we don’t want you to believe that visuals will kill articles and blog posts. Written content continues to play a huge role in SEO and digital marketing in 2021.
However, there is a shift in terms of content purpose. So far, brands would categorise their content as entertaining or educational. It was either fun or serious stuff. Now, you have to rethink a strategy where educational content is also entertaining. Months spent in lockdown have made people hunger for anything that would help them fight off boredom.
So, what kind of content can be both helpful and fun? Here are just a few examples:
- Gamified tutorials
- Polls and surveys
5. Topics Become More Important than Keywords
A new trend for digital marketing in 2021 is the development of a new way to organise and access information. So far, you would focus on keywords and plan your content strategy around them. From now on, you must identify key topics and group your content around them.
This is also a signal coming from the social media, not just SEO. For example, Twitter is now recommending topics instead of user profiles. Once the algorithm identifies the type of tweets a user is interacting with more frequently, Twitter will recommend their common topic to follow.
6. Segmentation Becomes Critical for Customer Retention
Finding new customers is only the smallest part of the job you have. Keeping them loyal for the long term is the most difficult work for marketers and business owners. Customers know that they needn’t stay loyal to any brand, because they have so many alternatives around them. They need a good reason to keep buying from the same business.
And this why we have the concept of segmentation in digital marketing. The idea that customers are a huge homogenous group has long been dispelled by data. Customers are people, thus each of them is unique. Yet, they have some common traits, and this is how we can group them in segments.
Digital marketing in 2021 will have to focus on these segments, more precisely, creating different marketing campaigns, promotions, content materials and engagement topics for each segment.
7. Ethics, Environment and Equality Define Successful Brands
The last few years have made people aware of major issues affecting all our lives: pollution, unethical business practices and racism. Many personalities and top brands were exposed and suffered major reputational loss because they were engaging in such practices, or even appearing to condone them.
Communicating your commitment to ethical and equal treatment to all and environmental protection will play a bigger role in digital marketing in 2021. Consumers want to rest assured that their hard earned money does not go to businesses that do not share their own values.
8. Brands Must Have a Human Face
The challenges of 2020 humbled everyone. And it was visible in the way major brands responded to the COVID crisis. They showed the limits of their ability to continue serving their customers with the same speed and professionalism as before. They apologised for their shortcomings and told them what they are doing to keep their stores a safe place for customers.
From now on, consumers will expect all brands to show their human face, even small businesses. Do not focus so much on your products and services, shine the spotlight on the people that make them possible. Share human interest stories of your own early beginnings in business and from each valued member of your team. Above everything else, digital marketing in 2021 must be authentic and transparent.