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Date of Publication: 29 Jun 2021
“Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.”
We live in a time when technology marketing moves fast and consumer interests and behaviors are hard to predict. To survive, it is important to constantly keep track of the changes and be updated with the digital marketing trends. In-depth research is undertaken to understand and speculate the trends in the new normal, and the game-changers of ever-evolving digital marketing.
But, before divulging with the 25 top digital marketing trends 2021, from a global perspective, let’s look at some important statistics for India:
(Source: World Economic Forum & Google Search)
These stats points to challenges that have profound effects on the digital marketing trends, in India:
With constant upgradation of technology and covid induced new normal environment, there are few things that likely could be the game-changer, even in India, but only for those who are in sync and are early movers. Don’t forget even 1.4% of the Indian populace is a substantial number (1.35cr), and majorly urban, and the numbers are rapidly increasing plattering opportunities to be championed. Also, by taking your business online you are now open to a global audience. Time to think big.
For a big portion of 2020 people all over the world were under mandatory lockdown. This means, not going out, no malls, no stores: no window shopping of any kind for a long time. Customers lost the possibility of looking around stores and discovering products they didn’t even know existed and less that they wanted them.
During lockdowns, shoppers probably received tons of retargeting advertisements showing them offers and deals on products they expressed interest in based on their browsing history.
But what about new products? What about those specific articles they don’t get the chance to discover anymore? Additionally, what about those users who never allow cookies?
With non-personalized ads (NPAs) you have the possibility of creating brand awareness amongst users that didn´t know your business. You can reach new audiences showing customers products they weren’t aware of before, but that could still interest them, thus increasing your potential customer base. Additionally you will have the possibility to reach users who block cookies.
Usually, non-personalised ads have lower conversion rates. But at this era of lockdowns when the digital ad inventory is larger than ever, you might want to allocate some budget on them to test.
Throughout 2021, we’ll see brands making more use of video and interactive content on social media to get attention, but they must follow it up by cultivating communities of loyal, engaged followers through their social channels.
Neal Schaffer, a social media strategist, says: “If your business wants to survive in organic social media in 2021, I believe that this sort of humanization of your brand will be necessary.”
Despite the removal of likes from Instagram, this growth will probably continue.
Some social media trends:
Snapchat AR: The company is developing an Augmented Reality version of its Spectacles that will overlay digital graphics over real-world images.
Here are some statistics to prove social messaging apps are more than just emoji-sending apps:
As these statistics demonstrate the popularity of messaging apps, and since many people are messaging one another more, when marketing your business, you should focus on places where you want your potential customers to spend their time.
Furthermore, social messaging apps provide a direct way to communicate with customers. It’s also easier and more convenient for businesses to communicate with customers and clients via messaging apps.
In fact: 63% of customers are more likely to return to a company website that has live chat.
Reasons for your brand to use messaging apps include:
If normally people spend a lot of time of their days on social media, during 2020 that time has exponentially increased. According to Whatagraph, in 2018, the average time spent on social media in a day by an adult was 142 minutes, which rose to 3 hours in 2020. The growth seem to be on an exponential path as more than 3 billion people are expected to access social media sites by 2021.
That means businesses have more chances to make a sale if their product is available on social media platforms. That’s where the users are, and shoppable posts make the process so much easier for them. Facilitating discovery, personalization, payment and delivery is so important for users. Brands need their product to be where the users are. Just having a Shopify, Woocommerce or Prestashop online store is not enough anymore.
Social media platforms are helping marketers make their products more accessible to people. They are including features that make it easy for brands to upload and showcase their goods, and for customers to purchase items without even leaving the app. This is a trend that will keep on growing during 2021 and it’s a wave retailers should ride.
Creating a store with social media is free and easy. Brands can choose what products they want to showcase, personalize their listings with photos, different colors and fonts. Facebook Shops even includes the Catalog feature where you can group products in different categories making it easier for customers to browse the store.
New features even make it possible to showcase products during live streamings for viewers to purchase directly on Instagram, and for businesses to connect and keep track of their loyalty programs on the app.
You must personalize your marketing in 2021 – and that means personalizing your content, products, emails, and more.
Here are some statistics about personalization:
Netflix and Amazon are great examples of personalization, with their tailored recommendations or movie titles.
In a video campaign, Cadbury’s paired Dairy Milk flavors with users according to their Facebook profile info, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a click-through rate of 65% and a conversion rate of 33.6%, proving the personal touch works.
With users spending more time browsing the internet every day, it’s important to offer them a valuable experience. You want to connect with customers, and the way to do it is with interactive content. It doesn’t just encourage engagement, it offers entertainment.
Content marketing has been a trend in the digital world for a while. However, for top digital trends 2021, it is considered more of a best practice. Providing interactive content is a tendency that moves along personalization.
Some of most popular interactive content ideas are:
Including one, or a mix of these strategies can do wonders for your business. On top of enriching users’ experience with your brand, you’ll increase the time they spend on your site engaging with your content.
Marketing professionals seeking to reach Millennials and Gen Z should tap into user-generated content (UGC). Incentives, such as discounts, or even partnering with them on a worthwhile cause, can encourage your audience to share your content.
Google updated its search algorithm in November 2019. Google updated its search algorithm to include the BERT system, which is designed to help it better understand the natural language in search queries.
Google’s John Mueller recommends that a site’s content be well-written, have fast loading times, and have useful links as opposed to following different SEO trends.
In fact, content marketing is so important that 88% of content marketers agree that it has a profound effect on how their audience views their organization as an authoritative site.
Stats from Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing costs
Ad blockers on devices
Blogs for SMEs generate
Content marketing converts
Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
Despite all the innovations, content marketing remains a proven, powerful way to attract new customers to your website and build relationships with them in ways that deliver long-term value to your company.
If you own a store, you may be aware that the majority of your customers tend to come from local areas. Your presence on SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) is essential for your business’s digital presence to stay strong. If you want people to find your store using Google Near Me searches, you ought to make sure it appears there.
The local SEO algorithm for Google is constantly updated, and so should the information you provide about your business. Tools such as Google My Business offer extremely valuable information for customers, but it’s your responsibility as a business owner to make sure the information is accurate.
If you have not yet claimed your business property, verify it with Google. You will then have access to offering business detail, such as hours of operation (they may change due to Covid restrictions), location and services. Add pictures and videos related to your product and services. Additionally, good reviews help you generate trust.
If you’re writing long-form content, you’ll need to keep this in mind: You’re not writing for Google, you’re writing for people.
Posting 5,000 words every other day is great, but you won’t get the results you’re looking for if you don’t keep user intent in mind. The intent with which a person types or speaks a search query is also known as search intent or keyword intent. The user may be looking for information or locating a store.
Take a moment to consider how Google analyses your content. A search engine analyzes more than a search box’s keywords; it digs deeper to determine the intent of the search. If someone were searching for a missing cat, Google would use semantic analysis to include terms such as:
This analysis is called semantic search, and with AI and voice search on a meteoric rise, it’s becoming a more central aspect of how search works.
By including related terms, questions, and phrases in their content, content marketers can leverage this to their advantage. In addition to its natural semantic keywords, latent semantic keywords help Google better understand your content’s nature, which in turn leads to better solutions for users.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B report, 90% of successful marketers put their audience’s needs ahead of their own promotional goals. These companies will be the ones to rule in 2021.
Testing and analysis are the cornerstones of modern marketing. You can easily identify which versions of your marketing campaign are providing the desired results by using A/B split-testing. Test-driven marketing enables marketers to make content changes in a systematic, methodical manner.
Platforms like Moz, SEMRush, ClickFlow suggest pages with untapped SEO potential — a high-impression count but a low click-through rate (CTR) — which you can then improve to increase traffic, leads and, of course, conversions.
The tool lets you set a target CTR value, then it will load pages along with an integrated keyword report that shows the keywords your page is currently ranking for. Even better, you’re given suggestions on new keywords to target to boost your ranking.
Inside the app, you make changes to title, meta description, title tag and body content, which are automatically reflected on your site.
Voice search has been making waves for the past couple of years, leading to a change in the way search engine optimization is done. Most notable is the rise of the featured snippet, which appears in the highly coveted “position zero” in Google’s search engine results pages, like in this example.
At least 30% of all Internet searches in 2021 will be conducted without a screen, and since 40% of all voice search answers come from a featured snippet, if your marketing is strong enough, you may be the one to nail that coveted spot.
In modern SEO, this is also known as a rank zero snippet or position zero, as it answers users’ questions without any need for them to click a link. VSEO (voice search engine optimization) can give you a huge competitive advantage (of course, this is only applicable to one brand).
More and more mobile searches and desktop searches are now returning “zero-click search” results, with 62.6% of mobile searches and 34.4% of desktop searches. These are the words that appear most frequently in featured snippets search queries, according to Ahrefs.
As a result, more marketers will focus on On-SERP SEO, which involves optimizing web pages to claim as much space in Google SERPs as possible. By doing so, you increase the chance of getting ranked that much higher by boosting click-through rates (CTRs).
Businesses can reach a broader audience by using word-of-mouth marketing with influential people, such as bloggers. Influencers can be well-known celebrities, but more often they are Instagram or YouTube personalities with a huge niche following who can help spread the word about your business or product through their social channels.
A notable advantage of influencer marketing over corporate advertising is its authenticity: Influencers are much more trusted by 63% consumers than brands when it comes to product reviews
Artificial intelligence will also affect influencer marketing. AI is making the process of finding the right influencers to partner with faster and easier with each passing year. By identifying those with better engagement, fewer fake followers, and a higher ROI (return on investment), your business will become successful. Influencer marketing is also being transformed by artificial intelligence in the following ways:
NLP (Natural Language Processing) for determining influencer performance
In 2021, chatbots will continue to play a key role in digital marketing. Using AI-based instant messaging, you can chat with customers and site visitors in real-time, day or night.
According to surveys, Chatbots will power 85% of customer service.
In addition to having easy access to 24/7 service (64%), chatbots can provide instant responses to inquiries (55%), and are able to answer simple questions (55%).
Customer interaction with chatbots is quick and easy as they are available 24/7, they provide answers promptly, they remember your entire past purchases, and they never lose patience. By meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks, virtual assistants provide outstanding customer service, allowing you to concentrate on more important goals.
Chatbot technology is already widely used by numerous brands.
With the advent of voice search commands like Siri in 2011, users have become more accustomed to using voice search commands. Recently, with gadgets like Google Home and Alexa, users can ask for information using voice search. Approximately 20% of search queries are conducted by voice, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Digital marketing strategies should begin to incorporate the optimization of content and voice search as this trend continues to grow. First, you have to make sure your content is written in a natural and conversational style that matches how customers ask questions. Turning queries into questions and having a mobile-friendly site are also important.
Due to the fact that voice search optimized content often returns different results than a regular text search, businesses are given the opportunity to reach new audiences.
With visual search, users can conduct a search by uploading an image, and get more specific results.
In recent times, Pinterest has jumped into the visual search fray. The company developed Lens, which lets users take a photo of an object and get information about where to buy it online, search for similar products or view pinboards of related products.
As Marketing Land puts it, it turns your phone’s camera into a search bar
After the launch of the beta version, Pinterest Lens now recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion objects, has inspired more than 600 million searches on its mobile applications and browser extensions, and has seen a 140% increase in daily searches since launch day.
Pinterest has continued to update its functionality:
Make sure you are optimizing for visual search, because (not surprisingly) the top search categories for Lens are:
And Pinterest is not the only one with visual search. Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects and landmarks through a camera app. Here’s what you can do when you take a photo of the following items:
As CNet says, “Google Lens is turning into what Google Glass never was” when it comes to real-time augmented reality.
CamFind is another visual search mobile app which enables you to search for anything from your phone simply by snapping a picture.
Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can directly search via images to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc. You can also take a picture of a movie poster and CamFind will show you movie information, trailers, showtimes and local theaters.
Bing Visual Search
And with Bing Visual Search, you can search for a specific element within an image without having to go through all the current hoops.
For example, say you’re looking for kitchen decoration inspiration and an image attracts your attention. You click on a thumbnail result to get to the “Detail View.” The overall décor is great, but you’re particularly interested in that nice-looking chandelier. Wouldn’t you love to know where you can get one just like it? With Bing Visual Search, now you can.
As per Social Media Today:
Millennials interested in visual search
Increase eCommerce revenue by
Early mover opportunity
Images are returned for 19% of search queries on Google, while Pinterest has over 600 million visual searches each month.
Marketers can get the edge over competitors by jumping on the visual search to draw customers and serve them the perfect product.
In the next five to ten years, video marketing is likely to be one of the most important marketing trends. These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2021:
A high-quality audiovisual content can easily engage viewers and grab their attention. It offers the possibility to share lots of content in a short amount of time using a very dynamic format.
As a result, videos are more relatable to all kinds of people. Watching a short video is more appealing than reading long articles. As all social platforms offer features for creating and sharing short videos like stories and reels, social media is a great way to share video content.
As a result of the Covid pandemic, video marketing has been elevated as a key part of any digital strategy. In almost every industry, webinars have become a necessity to replace face-to-face meetings. In 2021, marketers will need to include video content as a regular part of their digital marketing mix, and this will not be a temporary trend.
Many digital marketing strategies will be automated in the future. Manually optimizing Google Ads keywords and bids is a large part of a marketer’s daily workflow when running a campaign. This is extremely time-consuming as well as liable to generate a lot of speculation which can hurt your campaign.
Businesses can achieve their goals more efficiently through automated bidding on Google Ads. Your campaign’s performance is improved by Google’s analysis of all the data.
Automated bidding may not be a new idea, but Google has improved it a lot in the past year, making it essential for digital marketing strategies in 2021. With a marketing mix that works, marketers can focus on optimizing other areas of their business.
Ad buying can be automated with AI to target more specific audiences using programmatic advertising. A programmatic ad buy, such as real-time bidding, is an example. As a result of this automated process, conversions are higher, and customer acquisition costs are lower.
Find below how programmatic ads work:
Abbrev. : DSP – demand-side platforms, SSP – supply-side platforms, and DMP – data management platforms
We expect that geo-fencing, along with the growth of mobile, will increase the use of marketing based on location – this market is expected to reach $2.4 billion by 2023
Users can be targeted in real-time based on their current location with geo-fencing. For instance, a target area may be defined as being within a mile of a restaurant, and when a user enters or leaves this area, they receive a push notification, text message, or another form of marketing communication.
The study found,
Geo-fencing will become increasingly important in marketing strategies for industries that need to convert digital users into brick-and-mortar customers.
Push notifications are on the rise, with 85% of online stores using them last year. Consider these other stats:
The updates to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and stricter filters have dented the potency of email marketing. Moreover, the younger audience favors other methods of communication and prefers to deal with less touchpoints when engaging brands.
As part of the bid to engage users on multiple channels, browser push notifications are something you will see more and more brands adopting in 2021 – and they are getting more sophisticated and personalized.
Notifications triggered by behavior are being used to re-engage people who have shown interest but failed to convert, and in recovering revenue from abandoned shopping carts
One of the buzzwords of 2020 was Omnichannel marketing. While the phrase may now seem a little worn out, the strategy is as ripe and relevant as ever in 2021.
Marketers use omnichannel marketing to reach prospects through multiple channels (e.g. social media, email, apps). A compelling brand message and an enhanced user experience can be realized with omnichannel marketing.
Whether it’s physical storefronts, social media channels, online, in catalogs or anywhere else, brands need to provide a seamless, unified voice and message across all platforms. All channels should be linked in one all-encompassing strategy for the best results.
The following statistics demonstrate how brands can achieve great results by automating at least three channels:
Engagement rate in omnichannel
Purchase frequency in omnichannel
Avg. order value in omnichannel
Customer retention in omnichannel
It is becoming easier to manage an omnichannel strategy, although it can be a challenge, as more sophisticated SaaS companies provide tools to manage multiple channels more efficiently.
Customers expect to be able to browse a physical store, view products on social media, and make purchases online. It’s important to keep up with their requirements, otherwise someone else will win that business.
Big data and AI play another role in enabling brands to understand consumer behavior more effectively and to personalize at scale. In order to create an effective omnichannel approach, you must get inside your ideal customer’s head.
It seems that a new social media platform is born every other minute. Nobody knows what the next big thing will be, and even when we don’t expect it there’s another channel with millions of users that brands have to be present on. Designing and creating fresh, valuable content for each social media platform with a constant publishing flow can be draining and an uphill battle for brands, especially small ones. Digital marketing trends for social channels in 2021 suggests brands stop trying to maintain presence in all platforms and focus their efforts on a more sustainable way.
In essence, progressive web applications are websites that operate like mobile applications. They offer the functionality of a native mobile app – fast load times, push notifications, working offline, utilizing device hardware, etc. – without being limited to one platform (which in reality means Android or iOS).
Using this approach, development teams can create mobile-like web apps for devices of any size or type.
Total mobile page views have increased by almost 50% year-over-year, making mobile an increasingly crucial part of your digital strategy.
As the mobile revolution continues to accelerate, PWAs will become more prevalent.
Investing in better analytics is crucial to driving results in modern marketing, so you’ll find it tricky to drive results without them. The problem, however, is that the customer journey is more complex now. We live in an omnichannel age where the average consumer engages a brand on up to six touchpoints before making a purchase.
The task of analysis tracking is fast becoming a mammoth task, particularly in an era when there are several channels to manage. So many companies are now looking for solutions other than Google Analytics, such as analytics dashboards like Amplification, which provide comprehensive business intelligence.
Business intelligence, also known as business information, is another way that this trend will manifest itself, as it is “technologies, applications, and practices” used for collecting, analyzing, and presenting data in business situations. Business Intelligence is a tool for improving business decisions.”
According to Neil Patel, a BI option allows you to tie all of your data together so you can make more informed decisions and optimize your business for the long haul instead of short-term gains.
In addition to Google Analytics, there are many free and paid business intelligence tools like Metabase, Tableau and Google Data Studio (Google’s reporting solution).
One of the most exciting digital marketing trends of 2021: neuromarketing. While this may sound like we’re quoting from a sci-fi movie, the reality is that this technology is advancing quickly and may become a viable tool for marketers soon.
The term neuromarketing refers to a marketing strategy that measures brainwaves and nervous system activity to determine what a person finds engaging.
In essence, it involves designing materials (such as your website, ads, and email campaigns) so they elicit specific neurological reactions that lead to specific emotional or behavioral responses. Your marketing efforts can be improved by optimizing your content accordingly and adjusting your strategies.
The company SPARK Neuro, which uses neuroanalytics to optimize advertising and entertainment, is a leader in the field. Based on biometrics, neurometrics, and complex algorithms, the company analyzes attention and emotion levels, enabling marketers to determine what content to highlight and what to avoid.
According to Forbes, the company will be working with political campaigns in the future. No matter what happens, neuromarketing will have a major impact on the future of marketing. Data on consumers resides in their brains, so any tool that assists companies in understanding their prospective customers’ brains is bound to be useful.
As a matter of fact, even with our best efforts, we can’t really anticipate what the future of digital marketing holds. The marketers who relied heavily on historical data have failed. The year 2020 has been a disruptive one in many ways and has changed not just the rule of the game, but the game itself.
Digital marketing trends 2021 can be speculated to move towards automation and personalization. The tendencies are aiming at offering users super personalized content and to alleviate the pressure on marketers to do so thanks to automation tools powered by artificial intelligence.
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