Since digital marketing is always evolving, you must be adaptable. Understanding new industry trends, on the other hand, will help you shape your marketing plan for the coming year.
2020 has been a weird and difficult year for many. Companies have had to keep up with ever-increasing digital consumption in the marketing environment, as Covid-19 lockdowns and social distancing forced several brick and mortar stores to close.
Digital has never been more relevant than it is now, which is why it is critical for brands to stay on top of the next major marketing trends in order to be prepared to meet potential challenges head-on.
If there’s one thing this past year has taught us, it’s that agility is crucial. Although we can’t anticipate anything that will have an impact on our plans, being prepared for the unexpected and knowing what the market is expecting will help you remain as flexible as possible.
We’ve looked at the highly expected digital marketing developments that you need to plan for in order to ensure you’re primed for at least some of what 2021 will bring. Here are seven things you should start thinking about right now:
A world without cookies
You do not want to plan ahead to 2022, but you must if you want to be prepared when Google Chrome stops supporting third-party cookies. The internet giant revealed at the start of 2020 that the Chrome browser will no longer accept third-party cookies by early 2022, radically altering how we target and monitor digital ads.
While this does not rule out the possibility of monitoring, it would necessitate marketers understanding how the lack of cookie support would affect them. After all, third-party cookies have been blocked by a range of other browsers, including Safari, for quite some time.
Web SQL, Local Storage, and IndexDB are already technologies that can monitor users in the same way that third-party cookies can, so taking a look at what’s available will still allow you to target and track your ads.
However, when Chrome’s support ends, the most important thing you can do is make the most of your first-party results. Although there would be less of this data accessible because first-party cookies require permission and consumers are becoming more privacy aware, it can provide extremely useful information about your users and customers. Improved access to this data, as well as marketing that makes the most of it, could lead to better long-term performance.
Growing eCommerce ad spend
The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for many sectors and businesses, but it has boosted eCommerce ad spending. As a result of the closure of retail shops, more consumers have turned to online shopping, brands have become more reliant on advertisements on eCommerce platforms.
Ad spending on eCommerce sites and apps like Amazon, as well as social commerce platforms like TikTok, is projected to rise by 38% this year compared to last year’s estimates. In contrast, the advertising industry as a whole is forecasting an 8.1% drop in investment, indicating that eCommerce advertisements are seen as the path forward.
When you realize that an additional $183 billion is projected to be spent online this year as a direct result of the pandemic, reflecting a 30.4% increase in eCommerce revenue, this increase in eCommerce ad spend is hardly shocking. However, the rise in eCommerce spending isn’t a fluke. With more customers switching to online shopping, eCommerce is expected to continue to rise in revenue over the next few years.
Authentic, socially-conscious brand
Consumers’ preference for authentic and socially conscious brands is nothing new; however, it is becoming increasingly clear that consumers can select brands solely based on these criteria. This trend is mainly being driven by younger generations, and as more members of Generation Z join the workforce, it will become more prominent than ever.
With customers and staff alike actively participating in debates about mental health, climate change, and inclusion, brands must be more mindful than ever of how they are viewed in relation to these social values. Companies must vigorously promote social issues that are associated with their products in addition to providing excellent products and services.
However, brands must tread carefully in the area of social issues, as customers value authenticity just as much. To be truly genuine, it is not enough to merely speak about a cause; it must be ingrained in the brand’s culture.
Social causes cannot be used solely for marketing purposes. Brands need to have serious discussions about social problems and prove that they are trying to be part of the solution in 2021 more than ever before, rather than using a common topic to promote themselves.
Improving the user experience with content
Content is still – or should be – an important part of any marketing campaign, but the types of content used have changed. Your material, whether it’s on your website, on social media, or in emails, should be targeted at more than just increasing interaction. It must be focused on increasing a user’s enjoyment.
Interactivity, on the other hand, isn’t the only way to enhance the overall content experience. After all, conventional written content with few bells and whistles has a place in the world. People’s interactions with content are just as critical as the content itself, which means enhancing the overall user experience and making knowledge more available.
People are less likely to take the actions you want them to, let alone remain on your site, if your website pages are cluttered with pop-ups, advertisements, and other distractions that make interacting with content difficult. It might seem like a no-brainer, but a positive content experience isn’t always guaranteed, which is why it’s critical to change in 2021.
Simplifying access to your content, providing the right information, and providing a variety of content types can all increase interaction, help your customers appreciate the content you offer, and eventually increase conversion by attracting people into the sales funnel.
Renewed focus on SEO
Even with a greater dependence on digital ads to boost brand awareness and drive traffic to your website, SEO is still important. In reality, search engine optimization is becoming increasingly necessary as an increasing number of customers mistrust ads for providing accurate information.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that SEO is evolving, so you’ll need to rethink how you optimize your site for search in 2021.
Quality content is also crucial, so make sure you’re referring to the EAT principle:
Expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. EAT is used by Google to determine if a page contains information that would be useful to a user, so it can be used as a guiding principle when creating content.
The mobile-friendliness of your site is another rising factor in search rankings. In 2019, Google introduced web-first indexing, which means that your mobile platform, rather than your desktop edition, is considered the primary site. As a result, you must evaluate your mobile offering and ensure that your website is fully user-friendly. You can use Google’s mobile-friendly test to help you with this.
It’s also worth noting that SEO now encompasses more than just written material. Explainer videos should be included in your SEO strategy if you want to succeed in the SERPs, particularly because video is expected to be consumed online more than any other form of content in the future. When it comes to SEO, you’ll want to make sure your video’s title and explanation are as optimized as possible, which means making them user-friendly rather than stuffing them with keywords.
Similarly, the photos must be search engine optimized. Visual search can be aided by ensuring image relevance, using alt tags, and using images in your sitemap to increase crawlability.
With so much to think about when it comes to SEO, it’s a good idea to seek guidance from the SEO experts, which Marketing Labs can provide.
With user experience (UX) being more critical than ever, it’s no surprise that omnichannel commerce is being touted as one of the top digital marketing trends for 2021. Despite the fact that the term “omnichannel experiences” has been bandied around a lot since 2019, several brands are yet to completely accept it. With the year 2020 bringing a major shift in the eCommerce landscape, omnichannel must be at the forefront of your plan for the coming year.
In 2021, we should foresee an improvement in foot traffic in brick and mortar stores, but the rise of online shopping is unmistakable. As a result, the importance of providing an omnichannel experience that provides a consistent consumer journey through all touchpoints has never been greater. In order to push consumers to buy as well as long-term brand loyalty, stores, email, blogs, mobile apps, social media, and everywhere else you speak to your customers need to build a single seamless journey.
So, how do you build a successful omnichannel experience? AI is likely to play a key role, with semi-automated packages assisting brands – especially smaller ones – in delivering a unified experience. Automation will help you boost the customer experience by allowing you to send the right messages to the right people at the right time.
Online communities are another important component of a better customer experience. Many people, especially those aged 18 to 34, have felt disconnected this year. To close the gap between them and their consumers, brands should consider building a sense of community. This can be accomplished by social media groups, personalized loyalty plans, and ads that highlight the brand’s culture.
Of course, using consumer data offline is one of the easiest ways to build a successful omnichannel experience. Data from your customers is important for creating a great online experience, but it can also aid in product growth, offline promotion, and customer relationship building. Of course, good data and accurate customer segmentation are needed for this to work.
Live video is last but not least in our list of digital marketing developments for 2021. We all know that video is a highly engaging type of content, but it has never been more critical than it has been this year, as both customers and marketers used it to interact with people during lockdown.
In general, video has proved to be a great choice for advertisers, with 88 percent claiming it generates a favorable ROI – a 5% increase over 2019. Live video, on the other hand, seems to be the best choice right now, with the medium receiving the most organic interactions on Facebook in Q3 2020.
This video format fits in with the concepts of authentic advertising, community building, and creating engaging content, making it a valuable marketing tool. Though live video is best used on Facebook or Instagram, it can also be repurposed after the fact to help you get the most out of your content.
This year has taught us that we cannot predict anything that will be thrown our way, and that taking a flexible approach is always the best choice. Although previous trends that were hailed as the next big thing have yet to materialize – hello, voice search – we believe there is sufficient evidence to back up our top seven predictions.
Each each of these areas of marketing is already producing results or is becoming more common, brands and marketers must be prepared to incorporate them into their digital strategies in the future or risk being left behind.
Get in touch if you need help updating your marketing plan so you can achieve the best results in 2021.