Top Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

Various technologies like Artificial Intelligence are stepping into marketing and making the marketing approach more personalized.

There are new marketing trends to come in 2021 and beyond which will focus more on customer experience, engagement, and content visualization to build long-term relationships with the audience and the customers. In this article, we are going to cover 20 key digital marketing trends that you should be aware of in 2021 and beyond.

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1. Top-Notch Customer Experience

Just like each year, this year is also going to be all about customer experience. But in recent times the definition of customer experience has changed drastically. It is no longer about convincing people; instead, it is about offering excellent customer experiences right from the start to the very end, so that people can trust your brand and keep coming back for more.

Always remember that customers are super impatient and want to be handed everything on a silver platter. To provide a seamless experience to your customers, marketers are spending more on personalized messages that help them address their customers’ pain points and shift them to make a buying decision. Nowadays marketing is all about providing relevant information rather than admiring the products and building long-term relationships to boost customer retention and drive customers for brand loyalty.

2. Personalized Marketing

The main goal of personalized marketing is to engage with customers by communicating and treating them as individuals.’ Personalized marketing includes product recommendations, targeted emails, custom video messages, etc.

Today, with the help of data science and artificial intelligence marketers can dig into the data and identify things that customers actually prefer. Personalized marketing forges a real connection between the brand and customers.

Applying Artificial Intelligence with collected data and insights from social media and other sources can help brands give a hyper-personalized vibe to your campaign.

3. Visual Content Marketing

It’s already been proven that people prefer visual content over plain text. Platforms like Instagram and Pinterest are the best examples of this.

With technological advancements, watchable content is preferred more than texts and designs these days. 

This paves the way for videos, podcasts, and creative designing, which are more attractive, interesting, and absorbed better.

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4. Employee Activation

It is found that most consumers will ditch a brand if its employees don’t have proper knowledge about the products and the industry. Another thing is a bad employee attitude that can affect the business.

Always remember that your employees are the real face of your brand; thus, it’s crucial to focus on how your employees are treating your customers.

Employee engagement is the first step towards a top-notch customer experience. Make sure your employees are properly trained about your product/service.

Search engine optimization is observing notable changes from the last few years. Google wants its user to have precise information in as time as possible. That gave rise to featured snippets also known as “position zero”. 

Providing featured snippets means that the users don’t need to click on the website to get information; instead, everything is available at the tip of your finger. Over 60% of search results returned by Google have featured snippets.

6. Voice Search Marketing

According to Google, More than 50% of searches will be voice searches by the end of 2021.

Voice search is the latest trend that continues to have a major influence on how brands market themselves and create content.

The smart artificial intelligence-based speaker and smart assistants like Alexa & Google Assistant are bringing new challenges. It has changed how marketers optimize websites to rank for targeted keywords. 

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7. Automated and Smart Bidding in Google Ads

It is very important to analyze every piece of data to get the best results from all the marketing campaigns especially in pay-per-click campaigns. 

Using automated bidding strategies in pay-per-click campaigns can analyze an enormous amount of data in real-time. Make sure to test everything before launching the campaign and include testing automated bid strategies against each other.

8. AI-Based Automation

Artificial Intelligence has progressed so much over the last few years, and we all have experienced a huge growth among businesses using Artificial Intelligence-powered technologies.

AI is helping brands to market and target customers on a whole new level. From sending automated sequenced emails to connecting one platform to another, AI has a huge role in marketing and is helping marketers to automate the 99% of the process. Plus collection and analysis of data with technologies like data science and AI have been a boon enabling hyper-personalization of customers’ experiences.

9. Customer Retention, Loyalty, and Advocacy

The greater the customer experience the more loyal customer would be. In this era of competition, marketers focus on retaining existing customers instead of attracting new ones. 

Attracting new customers costs five times as much as it does to keep new ones, so it’s worth putting in the effort to keep your customers happy as your recurring customers possess more value. Happy customers help to increase reputation and brand loyalty.

10. Live Video

Live videos are popular with customers. Reports say that customers spend almost 3X more time watching live videos than pre-recorded videos.

Meanwhile, all the big brands like McDonald’s have proven to us that live video can make a brand more relatable and helps to connect with the audience on a deep level. Live videos allow brands to engage with the customers without sounding too commercial.

Most of your customers browse from their mobile phones, so it goes without saying that you gotta optimize your apps and sites according to mobile phones. Anyways here are some tips to make your website mobile-friendly:

  • Reduce slow loading page elements and remove unnecessary scripts.
  • Avoid using flash animation. It slows down the process and may not be suitable for all devices.
  • Avoid using Pop-ups and compress all the media before uploading.

12. More investment in YouTube advertising

YouTube advertising is one more trend that is taking the industry by storm. As you’ve already read that video advertising is the future.

In 2021, More and more brands are using different types of youtube ads to improve brand reputation, boost brand awareness, and influence customers’ buying decisions.

13. Influencer Marketing 

Nobody knew about influencer marketing a few years back but now it’s one of the most popular marketing tactics. Influencer marketing basically takes the help of people who can impact their user’s purchasing decisions. 

There is another new concept in the market that is micro-influencer marketing. Micro-influencer marketing is a far different approach that is typically more effective at reaching those target individuals. In micro-influencer marketing, we go for influencers who don’t have a big audience but the engagement rate is much higher, making it easier to find the people who will be interested in buying your products or service.

14. Browser Push Notifications

With 85% of online stores using push notifications, this trend is on the rise. Almost 40% of visitors sign up for web push notifications.

You will see more and more brands adopting browser push notifications in the coming years as they are more sophisticated and personalized. Using personalized push notifications can immensely increase your conversion rates. You can even include images and a “Call To Action” in your push notifications.

15. Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing may seem a little worn out these days, but this strategy is as relevant as ever in 2021. Omnichannel marketing means marketing your product, services, and content across multiple platforms (such as social media, emails, and blogs) so you can connect with your audience on more touchpoints. With omnichannel marketing, you can offer an enhanced user experience and unified brand message that drives people to take action.

If you look at the statistics, brands using three or more channels can generate great results such as up to 18.96% of higher Engagement rate, 250% higher Purchase frequency, and a whopping 90% higher customer retention rate.

16. Chatbots

Chatbots have always been an important part of digital marketing automation and they will continue to be so in 2021 and ahead. Chatbots are basically AI-based technology that gives the facility of instant messaging on chat in real-time, day or night, to your customers. Facts show that Chatbots will power 90% of customer support services by 2022. Chatbots are very beneficial as they are active 24/7 unlike humans, give answers promptly and accurately. 

17. Social Messaging Apps

Most people think that social messaging apps are just for casually interacting with your friends, take a look at these numbers:

  • There are around 1.3 billion monthly active users on Facebook Messenger:
  • Each month, almost 10 billion messages are exchanged between people and businesses on Facebook Messenger.
  • WhatsApp Messenger has 1.6 billion active users and 55 billion messages are sent on this platform every day

These numbers show nothing but the popularity of social messaging apps, and as people are spending so much of their time on these apps, it actually makes sense to market products and services on the platforms where your potential customers are hanging out.

Along with that social messaging apps can also be very useful in sending direct messages to customers. Besides that, customers also expect businesses to have a presence on such kinds of messaging apps so that they can communicate directly and easily interact with the brand. 

Visual search has taken the user experience to a new level; Nowadays people can conduct a search simply by uploading an image and get more specific results.

A) Pinterest Lens

Not surprisingly, Pinterest came out with a feature called Lens, which allows users to click a photo of an item and upload it to search for similar products or view pinboards. 

B) Google Lens

Well, Pinterest is not the only player in visual search. Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which works exactly the same as the Pinterest lens. It can recognize objects and landmarks just with a click.

With the help of google lens, users can find similar products and where to buy them, use barcodes to find info about a product, and even learn about birds and animal species and breeds simply by clicking a picture.

So, being a marketer, make sure you optimize for visual search. Anyways the top search categories for visual searches are Fashion, Home Decor, Food, Animals, Vehicles, and Travel

19. User-Generated Content 

User-generated content refers to the content generated by users for the brands. In this marketing tactic, you encourage your audience to share unique content and offer them incentives, such as coupons and discounts.

This simple User Generated Content strategy can considerably increase brand engagement and drive sales as more people discover your brand.

Because people trust other people far more than they trust companies. So, user-generated content can highly influence the purchasing decisions of a customer.

User-generated content can be as basic as testimonials or it can be in the form of blog posts, images, and videos created by users. 

GoPro is a solid example of UGC. They only show high-quality videos produced by their customers using their hardy, portable cameras. 

20. Branding

We live in a time when winning the trust of the consumers is the most important thing. It doesn’t matter what sort of products or services you sell, branding is vital for a long-term game. The majority of consumers won’t buy your product unless they feel connected, and to earn that trust, you will have to establish a solid brand.

If you look at it from the SEO perspective, even Google wants to do more than rank good content; they want to enhance their user’s experience by ranking the most accurate, up-to-date, well-researched content on any given topic.

Let’s say for example Jack’s financial literacy Blog (not a real site) gives some bad advice that leads visitors to invest in the wrong places, which is not good for Jack’s brand as well as Google’s reputation. So as the SEO is evolving, Google is cracking down on major industries, especially in health and finance where accurate information is critical.

21. Neuromarketing

Let us dip our toes into one of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2021: Neuromarketing. I know it sounds like I am talking about a SciFi movie, but in reality, this technology is advancing very quickly and can possibly become a viable tool for marketers soon.

Neuromarketing is a marketing strategy where we try to analyze the measurements of a customer’s brain activity and nervous system to discover which type of content they find engaging.

We try to design marketing materials i.e, websites, ads, email campaigns, or content in such a way that it can evoke specific neurological reactions to trigger emotions that can make the purchase. 

22. Social Media Marketing

Recently we have seen more and more brands tapping into video and content marketing especially on social media. We even saw lots of hilarious trends that proved to be very beneficial for brands in terms of attention. The main channel for all of this was Social Media Marketing. It’s kind of easy to go viral on social media. 

But it’s not about being viral for once, it’s about building a community of loyal and engaging followers and fans. Social media marketing can be really helpful to build and establish your brand among Millenials. Plus your fans can directly communicate with you and leave their opinions about your brands in open. 

23. Alternate Search Engines

We all know that Google is dominating the search engine market, almost 92% of all traffic on search engines is through Google. Google undoubtedly is a juggernaut of innovation and fine-tuned to deliver the most relevant, comprehensive results for a search query. Though, it is very clear that beating google in search engine market share is nearly impossible but there are some search engines like DuckDuckGo that are slowly catching up to google because of their unique features. 

DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that has gained huge popularity among privacy-minded users. DuckDuckGo has seen massive growth since it was founded, as it hit almost 1.5 billion searches in January 2020.

Conclusively, digital marketers should understand their audience and think about where their brand’s content is likely to be viewed and optimize the content for more than just one search engine.

24. IoT Advertising

From our mobile devices and wearable tech to laptops, smart cars, to even household appliances, the Internet of Things (IoT) is getting more and more connected:

These devices collect data on our vital functions, like where we go, what we do, what we share, what we buy, and who we know. All this data is so much useful for advertising purposes that you can’t even imagine. Big brands like Facebook and Google are already doing that.

And as the technology matures and devices get smarter and smarter, it will open new advertising opportunities for marketers.

Final Thoughts! 

Each year brings new technologies and trends in the market, and marketers need to keep themselves updated to execute our marketing strategies precisely. Technologies like machine learning enhanced this with algorithms like the KNN algorithm. Digital marketing is an industry that keeps changing, as the customers change. With the changes in the digital marketing industry, your marketing plan should be unique and creative.

Author

A nature lover with a Masters in Forestry, a risk-taker having experience in investment banking, and a follower of passion with an avid interest in dance and writing.

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