Marketing Trends To Look Out For in 2021
After the year nobody bargained for, 2021 offers a chance for businesses to be a little less reactive, and a little more planful. Making the right decisions on your marketing from the outset could make all the difference.
That’s where this post comes in. These are our top 7 digital marketing trends to look for in 2021.
1. Paid social media and social commerce
With many businesses currently just trying to stay afloat amidst the pandemic, we expect quickfire wins will be a major digital marketing trend to watch in 2021.
Because paid traffic delivers more immediate results than organic, we predict many companies are likely to go down that route. That will apply both on their social media channels, and their social commerce pages, where converting conversations into cash can prove a sizeable challenge.
There are several trends we expect to see in the wider social commerce area, too. Chatbots, Instagram storefronts and a focus on popular low-cost items will be among them; helping to improve customer experience and assist brands in making sales. For more on those, check out the Smart Insights blog.
2. Pay Per Click (PPC)
We mentioned this prominently in last year’s Digital Marketing Quick Wins post for a reason. As with paid social, PPC delivers more instantaneous results than organic. Specifically, it helps businesses get their products and services front and centre on search engines like Google.
A solid SEO strategy should certainly still be the foundation of your digital business’s long-term digital marketing efforts. But for those businesses who need speedy sales and don’t mind paying to generate them, PPC will be a prominent digital marketing trend of focus for 2021.
PPC will be more important than ever in 2021, not least with the recent news that IOS users will soon be able to prevent ads tracking on Facebook under ATT – the Advertising Tracking Transparency update.
3. Video and live content
Did you know that the proven best way to get organic reach and engagement on the world’s most popular social platform, is also the method that people use the least?
We’re talking about – the increase in which will certainly be one of the top digital marketing trends to keep an eye on for/in 2021.
When it comes to video across channels, we’re also expecting to see live, interactive shopping explode on the more predominantly visual platforms like Instagram and Tiktok. The latter of those has 800 million monthly active users; around half of which are in the all-important 18-24 age bracket. That’s some 400 million young people, at home in lockdowns the world over, surfing away their boredom on a sea of highly disposable income.
2021 therefore presents an enormous opportunity to create video content that promotes your products, sells your services, and helps you build a following that will support your brand for years to come. How will you make the most of it?
4. Internal marketing
Happy, productive teams buy wholeheartedly into a company’s processes, values and mission. That’s often a virtuous circle. They’re more likely to produce great work, and foster a company culture that helps you keep existing customers, and grow your business to gain new ones.
Helping your employees do that in normal circumstances can be tricky enough. But expecting them to when they aren’t in the same building for months on end? Or onboarding new hires you may not even see in person for most of the year? These are challenges few companies could have conceived of until COVID-19 came along.
That’s why we expect internal marketing to be one of the biggest marketing trends to look out for in 2021.
Communicating business responses to lockdowns and re-openings will be just the tip of the iceberg here. Expect to see a rise in social-style streamed interactive business updates. Expect to see businesses using automated comms to build personalised messages using tools like MailChimp. And expect accessibility to factor in more than ever, giving those with more ways to access and digest business-critical content.
5. Local first marketing
“Wherever you live, it’s time to show local business some love.”
Those are the words of Anthony Joshua, speaking in Google’s #DearLocal campaign in October 2020. And if they’re good enough for the heavyweight champs of boxing and search, they’re good enough for us!
It makes complete sense when you think about it. With lockdowns persisting, people are staying local, thinking local, and especially eating local. Restaurants have turned to delivery and collection services to stay afloat, and customers have turned to those eateries to bring a bit of the exotic into their homes.
There’s never been a time like this, and local businesses continuing to adapt to capitalise on it will be one of the marketing trends to watch in 2021. Once the pandemic’s officially over, expect those same businesses to be at the centre of celebrations; marketing events that will make ‘Eat Out To Help Out’ look like a flash in the proverbial pan by comparison.
6. Nostalgia marketing
From real food to marketing soul food. In a period where the whole world misses the simple things, like being able to hug family and see friends, the comfort of nostalgia is especially palatable for marketers and audiences alike.
There are plenty of examples of nostalgia permeating the mainstream before the pandemic, of course. From Stranger Things taking time out of its 80s-infused horror adventure to dwell on New Coke; to Adobe’s wonderfully meme-filled tribute to Bob Ross.
If your enterprise has a solid brand identity, there’s sure to be a way to appeal to your audience by aligning with a product or service from yesteryear. (Who wouldn’t love a personalised USB mixtape for Valentine’s Day, for instance?!). Indeed, the ease with which businesses of all kinds can do that makes nostalgia marketing one of the most prominent digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2021.
7. Social Media Stories
Originally created by Snapchat, social media stories are bitesize, limited-time updates that let people and brands alike draw attention to the most prominent things happening in their world.
With LinkedIn having rolled out their stories feature globally in late 2020, every major social platform now boasts stories functionality. That alone makes social stories one of the marketing trends to look out for in 2021 – and that’s before you consider the shift that stories represent for LinkedIn itself.
Where LinkedIn was once a sort of online CV database browsed heavily by recruiters, it’s now one of the best ways to market a business through social selling. Stories are therefore a huge addition to the arsenal of any budding LinkedIn social seller. Given our affinity for LinkedIn, if we had to pick a single marketing trend to watch in 2021, that might just be the one we’d eye with the most curiosity.
What are your top marketing trends for 2021?
So that’s our list of the top 7 digital marketing trends to look for in 2021. Did you see any you weren’t expecting? Or did we miss any you thought might make it on here? Let us know in the comments below.