The year 2020 changed the world in more ways than we could have predicted. From a global pandemic to a slowdown in economies, and even civil unrest, we witnessed it all.
The result of these developments was many businesses shutting shop. Some temporarily, others permanently. To survive, businesses, started expanding their digital footprint and promoting their brand virtually, using different tools and technologies for optimal growth.
SEO was used extensively to increase organic growth and visibility. Social media presence served as a prime factor in brand building. We also witnessed live streams for product marketing, while zoom calls became the default platform of communication. Facebook and Google algorithm kept marketing teams on their toes, and topical content ruled the Instagram battle.
However, the digital marketing landscape is fickle. And so, what worked for your brand in 2020 may not work in the upcoming year. Now that we are approaching the last leg of 2020, it is vital to stay on top of the digital marketing trends that’ll work in 2021.
Why is it important to stay on top of Digital Marketing trends?
If you’re a marketing executive, it’ll assist you in serving your clients well. As a business owner, you’d be able to make better decisions by utilizing your digital resources optimally. For social media enthusiasts, it’d serve as a means to understand the evolving landscape.
To refine your digital marketing game for growth in the year ahead, we’ve curated a quick list of 12 digital marketing trends to look out for in 2021.
1. AI-Powered chatbots For Conversational Marketing
One emerging technology that has taken digital marketing by storm in the last few years is conversational marketing. In today’s day and age, every brand wants to have one-on-one conversations with their customers. And conversational marketing allows them to do precisely that.
The presence of practically applied AI gives brands a unique voice while bringing them closer to their customers. Brands like Amazon and Swiggy have leveled up their customer service using customized AI-enabled chatbots.
Apart from answering the frequently asked questions, these also help in accounting for past conversations and naturally interacting with customers. So, in 2021, upgrading to an AI-powered chatbot is a must to ace your conversational marketing game.
2. Shoppable Posts on Social Media
Mundane facts aren’t going to help you in making a sale. Stories will. Shoppable posts on social media platforms allow you to use storytelling for selling. As humans, all of us are suckers for good stories. So make sure that you’re feeding your potential customers a great tale.
Instagram is the best platform for shoppable posts. The App has simplified the buying process and would continue to do so in the coming year. You can also have fun with features like Instagram stories and Reels for storytelling and brand promotion.
Facebook and Pinterest are quite popular among e-commerce brands as well. So don’t shy away from experimenting on these platforms in the upcoming year. If you’re an online retailer, using shoppable posts would help in driving traffic to your product pages.
3. Influencer Marketing
Although we’re almost closing in on 2020, influencer marketing isn’t dying anytime soon. This humongous industry has taken giant strides in the last few years. Platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok, amongst others, have helped brands in targeting the right consumer base.
However, to target the right set of audiences, it’s vital to use influencers with the right niche.
To effectively use influencer marketing, don’t only go with people with the maximum followers but those with a steadily growing audience too. You could also collaborate with influencers from different platforms for a wider reach. But above everything else, make sure that their values and vision are in sync with those of your brand’s.
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4. Voice Search Optimisation
We’ve seen the uncanny growth of voice searches in the last few years. With more individuals depending on their smartphones, voice searches would rise even further in 2021. According to many experts predicting digital marketing trends for the upcoming year, content should be optimized, individually for voice.
To meticulously sync with search queries, it needs to be more conversational and undeviating. If you do that, you’ll witness a boost in traffic and increased visibility.
5. Promotion using Ephemeral content
The rise of platforms like Snapchat and Instagram has made ephemeral content a dominant force in the digital marketing industry. Ephemeral content is visual content on social media that is available temporarily. It has an expiration date.
Think stories on Instagram, Snaps on Snapchat, or Fleets on Twitter. The content is typically accessible for 24 hours after which it disappears. Amongst all digital marketing trends, brands should try and promote their content using this strategy.
The reason is that ephemeral content extracts a prompt response from the audience by allowing them to engage with your brand. It also helps in expanding your reach and building trust within your network. To hook your audience, you could offer a BTS look or discount codes.
6. Contests on Social Media
Of all the digital marketing trends in the last few years, social media contests have proved more effective for audience engagement during campaigns. On top of that, they also promote customer buy-in.
Ask yourself. Who doesn’t love free stuff or some form of incentive? Contests provide that little push to an audience that’s already cheering for you. But you have to be honest and ethical while running a social media contest. Else, it’ll only be detrimental for your brand.
7. Insights-driven Marketing
If you’re a brand looking to fly high in 2021, make insights, your best friend. Using insights and analytics would not only drive your business performance but also help you optimize the results.
With the customer’s evolving rapidly, using insights would allow your business to stay ahead of your competitors.
Amongst all the digital marketing trends, we’re placing our bets on this one. Make sure you cash in on this secret weapon for improved customer satisfaction and loyalty.
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8. Mobile-First Websites
Majority of our internet browsing gets carried via our mobile phones. So it’s only instrumental for us to make websites mobile-first.
With the decline in desktop websites and our evolving browsing habits, more and more businesses are creating their websites with a mobile-first design.
Features like friendly touchscreen navigation, less text-hefty content, and collapsible menus make this feature a winner. So amidst the many digital marketing trends in the industry, take immediate action on this one for customer retention and increased conversions.
One of the emerging digital marketing trends, Gamification, integrates game features into a website. That results in increased customer engagement and sales. All the fun elements which make games addictive and fun are, used as marketing strategies. It is also a simple yet effective way of creating brand awareness.
With benefits like providing clear CTA’s and increased user engagement, Gamification is an incredible way to bring users back to a website. Every marketer should capitalize on this trend in the coming year.
10. Personalized Content
From videos, podcasts, blogs, social media to emails, we’re surrounded by content.
So if you want your content to stand out from the clamor, personalize it.
Be it your copy of your landing page or CTA’s, the content you use must be targeted, to the customer that you’re trying to reach.
If you don’t, odds are that your content would go unnoticed. Using buyer personas helps you in crafting content that uniquely appeals to different customer segments. You can use Customer relationship management (CRM) software like HubSpot or Zoho for segmenting your customers by integrating them with your website.
Personalizing content would help you in building a rapport with your customers and increase your chances of closing a sale.
11. User-Generated Content
A high-powered tool for your website is user-generated content. It helps with SEO and enhances the user experience when appropriately moderated.
A common misconception about UGC that most marketers have is that it needs to be intensive or complicated. That isn’t the case.
User-generated content could be something as small as comments on blogs or product reviews on your website.
UGC is one of the digital marketing trends that’ll rage in 2021 simply because it gets created by the users or customers of a brand.
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12. AR and VR Technology
When it comes to digital marketing trends in the present times, Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are potent tools.
These technologies provide customers with visceral experiences by connecting with them on an emotional level.
By creating augmented and virtual reality experiences, brands are offering tours and creating interactive 3D models for users.
Brands like IKEA are taking users through creating products. They even use AR to let customers see how a piece of furniture would look like in their home or office space before they purchase it.
Using AR and VR technology would help your customers in buying decisions by offering a personalized experience.
Digital marketing trends keep changing from time to time. So if you’re not privy with the tech-savvy trends in the industry, chances are you’re going to lose out on customers. As a result, your brand would face considerable losses.
For being successful in your marketing efforts, it’s vital to keep up with the behaviour and the preferences of the users.
All the digital marketing trends mentioned above are going to be massive game-changers for the foreseeable future. You’ll need to come up with a customised marketing plan with a mix of these trends for maximum results. Study your brand’s goals and objectives to understand your needs and requirements. Let’s bid farewell to the outdated digital marketing trends and brace ourselves for the new ones.
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