Social Media Marketing
The industry of digital marketing is by far one of the fastest evolving ones, making it essential for businesses to keep adapting and readjusting their brand strategies. As a business owner, if you want to stay relevant, you have to stay up to date with the latest marketing trends.
Consumer behavior is changing, so you need to find a new approach to getting the most out of your marketing efforts. The global pandemic has caused many marketers to redefine their priorities. Now is the best time to throw a look into 2021 and see whether your business is prepared for it.
Do you want to stick to your tested marketing strategy? Or maybe you need new and cost-effective ways of reaching your target audience. The answers to these and many other questions will be crystal clear once you know what marketing trends to expect in 2021.
So without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Live Video and Augmented Reality Stay Trending
It’s no surprise that video content is still a trend and shows no signs of retreating in the upcoming years. According to video marketing statistics, video helps to increase traffic by 51% and sales by 34%.
It’s safe to conclude that video content is incredibly efficient — even more so when it’s a live video. Live videos are known to get three times more watch time than regular videos. People tend to get excited by live content, so make sure to include more of it in your marketing strategy for 2021.
Aiming to create a more unusual customer experience, companies started to implement Virtual reality (VR) and Augmented reality (AR). VR was the first to enter and impact the field of digital marketing. But whereas it requires specific equipment and can thus be costly, AR is more accessible and easy to use for marketers.
With AR having surpassed VR in recent years, the role of the former continues to grow each year. “Augmented reality is becoming less sci-fi with every passing year. Look at a platform like Shopify, where a number of e-commerce stores have implemented AR,” says Henry Brown, the Digital Marketing Manager of Rewind.
Brands like Asos, Gucci, Sephora, IKEA, and many others have successfully managed to incorporate AR to provide a better shopping experience for people.
What the rapid growth of video content and AR show us is that consumers gravitate toward interactive content. The latest technologies allow for a more immersive customer experience, and many brands are just starting to take advantage of it. Augmented reality, 360° images, virtual tours, 3D video animations, and many other advancements help to engage the customer and keep them on your site longer.
Audience Segmentation and Hyper-Targeting
Broad, all-encompassing marketing becomes less and less effective every year. In the recent past, we’ve seen a big shift toward niche marketing and audience segmentation. Marketers are confident that this will continue to be the case in 2021.
With so many options and brands to choose from, customers are no longer interested in generic brands and advertising messages. They‘re much more likely to consider ads made with their specific demographic in mind. Digital marketing statistics confirm just that:
- 63% of consumers are annoyed with generic advertising blasts
- 80% say they are more likely to do business with companies that provide personalized customer experiences
To understand the needs and wants of their audience more profoundly, companies turn to big data that has become available to us, thanks to Artificial intelligence (AI). Data-driven marketing focuses on segmenting large audiences into narrower customer groups and delivers products or services personalized for each group.
Personalized and hyper-targeted ads lead to a more enjoyable customer experience, which is key to succeeding in today’s highly competitive market.
Testimonials and Reviews From Customers
It’s a fact that people trust other people more than brands. Besides, 72% of customers don’t take action until they have read reviews. This is the reason why many professionals think that getting and managing customer testimonials will be a necessity in 2021.
Word-of-mouth marketing has proven to be productive time and time again. It’s a win-win solution for brands and their clients. However, customers sometimes need an extra push to share their experience. In these cases, be sure to ask your clients for their feedback or create a form that’s easy to fill out and will encourage the customer to leave their assessment of your product/service.
“Digital marketers will need to respond to this trend by implementing strategies aimed at growing the number of positive reviews for their companies across every platform, including social media, SERPs, and third party sites,” said Brenda Ledwith from Living Online.
Incorporating Predictive Analytics and AI
One of the most notable trends in the industry is incorporating AI into business and digital marketing strategies. Predictive analytics is used by many companies to improve the performance of their campaigns. With the help of data and statistics provided by AI, it’s possible to analyze most of the existing data, find patterns, and make predictions.
Source: Gauss Algorithmic
As more data becomes available via various AI tools, it gets easier to track the performance of advertising campaigns and detect any issues that slow their progress. Analytics tools are also able to suggest new campaigns and approaches that have a higher chance of succeeding within your target audience.
“AI tools and techniques have become more and more prevalent across a variety of areas relevant to today’s marketing professional. In their current form, a lot of emphases has been put on measurement, analysis, and advertising targeting. What we will begin to see trend however are AI tools that allow a better understanding of the day-to-day changes and trends found across user behaviors, customer service needs and how to better target the very quickly changing needs and habits of consumers,” noted Zachary Weiner, the CEO of Emerging Insider Communications.
The Authenticity of Companies Matters
Imitation, plagiarism, and fake reviews won’t help the reputation of your company and attract high-quality leads to you. Being authentic, knowing, and showing your company values is what builds trust. Instead of going after short-term and unreliable solutions, create a trustworthy brand that will attract loyal customers who share the same values as you.
Source: Digital Synopsis
“In light of fake news and corporate scandals, consumers want brands they can trust. Showcasing your brand’s authenticity starts by making sure you have a clear picture of your brand. Ask yourself, what do customers tell their friends about it? How would employees describe it? Once you have a clear picture of your business, share this image publicly and as accurately as possible,” explains Emily Sidley, the Senior Director of Publicity at Three Girls Media.
It’s not new for brands to be outspoken about social causes and take a stand for something they believe in. But the importance of doing so has noticeably risen amidst the pandemic and social movements of 2020. People look up to brands that have established values and prove their commitment to those values through their products, customer support, marketing campaigns, etc.
Machine Learning for Personalization
As mentioned earlier, personalization is what helps companies build closer relationships with their customers and create narrowly targeted campaigns. There are countless ways you can use Machine learning to produce more accurate predictions, customer behavior analysis, and better promotional content.
Accurate buying behavior analysis on multiple social channels is hard to achieve if you try to do it manually. There’s simply too much data to filter through. Machine learning algorithms, however, get the job done much quicker, yield precise results, and allow multichannel behavior-based personalization.
Through automated messages and social media posts, you can personalize your content based on your visitors’ preferences. Personalized email marketing is another big trend that will continue to grow in 2021. People want to see relevant email offers from brands. Tailored email marketing campaigns help to grab the recipient’s attention instantly and increase the chances of an email being opened.
“More than anyone else, e-commerce brands need to adopt these advanced technologies to deliver personalized product recommendations, offers, and customer service,” said Shane Barker, a Digital Strategist at Shane Barker.
Privacy Protection Can’t Be Ignored
Now, we don’t want to alarm you, but we think you should know that Google announced they will no longer support third-party cookies starting from early 2022. For brands and advertisers that heavily rely on cookie tracking, 2021 will be a year of readjusting their advertising strategies.
As technology and algorithms progress, online privacy becomes more of a concern for people. To prevent losing the trust of Chrome users, Google is determined to address the issue, taking steps toward more reliable privacy protection. Google’s Privacy Sandbox proposes the restriction and eventual elimination of cross-site tracking to create a web browser “that is respectful of users and private by default.”
Selling Products Directly on Social Platforms
Social media statistics indicate that the trend of selling through social platforms will be on the rise. More and more companies realize the potential of social media in generating sales and adjust their strategies accordingly.
Mobile traffic continues to increase, and a large number of consumers prefer to buy directly on social media apps. This speeds up the buying process, thus resulting in more sales and higher engagement.
The most popular networks for direct purchases are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. 72% of Instagram users say that they have purchased a product on the app. However, deciding which platform to use for selling products should be determined by your audience. See where you have the biggest and most active following and carefully consider if that’s the best place to sell your products.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, brands’ social media budgets have spiked up. The increase can be explained by the fact that consumers have been spending a lot more time on social networks. Companies were quick to respond to this, redirecting their marketing efforts to social media.
Using Facial and Object Recognition
Face and object detecting algorithms continue their exponential growth, advancing and getting more precise with every passing day. Their influence has spread to affect almost every single industry in today’s market, and it’d be naive to assume otherwise.
Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and almost any other platform we use and love have been transforming at the hands of such technological advancements. Image recognition has become an inseparable aspect of social media, and many brands are just starting to catch on to this phenomenon.
Through examining the images users upload to their profiles daily, algorithms can recognize products and brands that are present in the photos and quickly learn about consumers’ preferences, daily lives, most-used products, etc. This data is priceless for companies to understand and properly segment their audiences, identify new opportunities, track their online brand reputation, and so on.
Amazon, Microsoft, Google, IMB, and many others have developed complex image recognition software available to businesses. Such tools are being implemented by brands to scheme more accurate campaigns, show relevant ads to the right audience, and convert followers to buyers. 2021 is predicted to popularize facial and object recognition among brands, so make sure your business doesn’t stay behind.
Strategic Content Marketing and SEO
Content marketing has always been an essential part of any digital marketing campaign. 70% of businesses have been actively investing in content marketing in 2020, and marketers believe that content will keep its relevance in 2021.
Source: Marketing Insider Group
Content marketing is the best way to educate your audience and keep them informed about industry trends (which is exactly the aim of this article). Besides, if you develop an effective content strategy, it will not only help to build relationships with your audience but will also increase your business’s visibility.
In order to come up with interactive content that your audience will enjoy, you need to examine their interests and strategize your content accordingly. Consider the form of content that appeals to your audience the most: Is it blog posts, video content, infographics, ebooks, or something different? Note that this shouldn’t be a guessing game; It’s better to do a quick survey to find out what your followers really need.
And of course, don’t forget about Search engine optimization (SEO) if your goal is to expand your audience. Study search engine statistics, create content tailored to your customers, and optimize it for better ranking. There’s hardly any shortage of online content. So if you want to stand out in 2021, you need to focus on quality and not quantity.
Luckily, there are hundreds of content marketing tools available to business owners and marketers to simplify the journey of content planning and creation. So be sure to take advantage of them.
Collaborative Content and Co-Branding
Collaboration between brands has always been a powerful tool to grow and reach new markets. In the age of digital marketing, companies strive more for collaborative campaigns and co-branding. Collaborations are the perfect win-win scenario where companies join creative forces to invigorate their marketing campaigns and attract new masses.
Source: True Alliance Financial
One of the biggest collaborations of late that received a lot of media coverage was that of Nike and Dior. The duo produced the Air Dior sneaker along with the Capsule Collection. The alliance of two major brands from seemingly different worlds is what took people by surprise and created such a buzz. Successful co-branding examples are endless, and we’re likely to see more of them in 2021.
Prioritizing Brand Building
When a business becomes a brand, a first-time customer becomes a returning one. Brand building, or branding, is the practice of establishing a steady brand that values long-term relationships with clients. Branding is the recipe for enhanced customer experience, and therefore, higher customer satisfaction.
Source: Ethical Hour
A sustainable business needs to create a demand for their product/service before they start expecting significant returns. Customers are becoming much more conscious and deliberate with the businesses they choose to support. Now, more than ever, it’s important to build a strong brand around your business and stay consistent with it. This is the most effective way to create customer loyalty.
To learn more about what branding is and what components it’s made up of, head to our article on this topic.
Enhanced Voice Search
With the improvement and wider distribution of smart speakers among the general public, voice search has surged in recent years. Voice queries are especially popular among Millenials and Gen Z. Let’s have a look at some voice search statistics that can be a game-changer in digital marketing in 2021:
- 20% of mobile searches are done with voice search
- 55% of households in the US are predicted to have a smart speaker by 2022
- 43% of smart speaker owners use it to shop online
Source: Think with Google
To optimize your content for a better voice search ranking, be sure to make your text conversational and keep your answers concise. An average voice search result is 29 words long. Featured snippets, also known as position zero, dominate voice search queries. The shorter and fuller your response to the main search query is, the higher your chances of getting into position zero.
Jakub Kliszczak from CrazyCall said, “First, switch to voice search over the classic text search. Voice is taking over old-school search engines, and digital marketers will have to cope with that change as from now on, the content will have to be optimized in regards to voice search and not only text search.”
Traditional Marketing Campaigns With New Elements
Many digital marketers underestimate the power of offline or traditional marketing. Trends tell us it’s time to reconsider this approach. Offline marketing methods have certainly changed and grown with technology, but they will continue to stay relevant in 2021.
Source: LYFE Marketing
“A strong trend we see is the continued breakdown between digital and traditional campaigns. Brands are accepting that consumers are engaged through multiple touchpoints — the only way to really connect is to surround them with messaging,” noted Kathy Hermann, the Digital Product Guru at d3 Specialists.
Creative posters and banners on streets and bus stops haven’t lost their charm. Moreover, you can add a QR code to the poster design and help passersby find your website or social media channels in an instant. Hosting events is another excellent form of offline marketing. You can (and should) always live-stream your event on social media to extend your reach even further.
To Sum Up
Digital marketing constantly moves and changes. Staying aware of current marketing trends gives you a chance to adjust your strategies, remain relevant in your sphere, and improve customer experience.
Technology continues to evolve, making all sorts of data more accessible than ever before. If you want to get ahead of the competition and take your business to a new level, following marketing trends is not an option but a necessity.
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