By many accounts, 2020 was an extraordinary year, presenting difficulties to businesses that few could have predicted, let alone anticipated. Fortunately, some kind of normalcy appears to be returning – but with caveats.
Marketers have had to change their working practices significantly. Digital marketing is always evolving. Every year, new trends arise. Existing tactics are starting to gain momentum, while others have been scrapped entirely.
2021 is a little different
It isn’t because nothing has changed. Not at all. But that’s because many of the factors driving change haven’t been witnessed (at least on the magnitude expected in 2020) since before the internet.
If there’s one thing we can take up from this, it’s the importance of future-proofing our brand against the unanticipated. In order to boost brand loyalty. To broaden your horizons. To be flexible and adaptable. And to advertise ourselves more aggressively and intelligently.
Here are some essential digital marketing trends to watch for in 2021.
AI Technology Adoption
AI and Machine Learning need no introduction, but not many realise that it’s now more affordable than ever for small businesses. AI is poised to drive digital marketing, and marketers can use it for a range of functions, including:
- Marketing automation –
- Content creation
- one-to-one marketing
- AI Chatbots
- SEO software
Some businesses use the term without really incorporating AI into their services. Be careful to never invest without reviewing what is generated on the other side.
While consumer AI may appear to be a terrific solution to save money and resources, bear in mind that it is still in its early phases.
Content is king, as Google has long proclaimed, and every content marketer agrees.
According to several surveys, long-form content performs better over time. The studies, however, have a possible drawback. They’re virtually never based on a specific set of search results or a particular area of expertise. As a result, the findings are kind of dubious. Marketers have created huge guides and content pieces that are more than 1500 words long. However, there’s a lot more to it. It’s crucial to be familiar with what works in your vertical.
What factors influence the conversion of visitors into customers?
We’ve observed a difference since Google introduced passage-based ranking. What was previously considered gospel (by marketing professionals) is no longer always accurate. Google could not only look at different areas of a site from different angles, but it could also look at individual pieces of information.
Forward-thinking digital marketers have recognised this and are already tweaking previous content to more closely resemble what is now ranking high.
While the evidence is mostly observational, we’ve seen that the easier information is to absorb, the better it does.
Getting rid of Social Media Channels
What? Is it true that leaving social media platforms will be a marketing trend in 2021?
We’ve just witnessed a revival of businesses like Chase and Uber turning off paid digital advertisements altogether, with no loss in traffic or income. Expect to see an increasing number of businesses follow suit in 2021, moving away from sponsored social in part, if not altogether.
For years, companies believed that the more channels they had, the more sales they would generate. It’s clear that this isn’t going to work. You should be pickier in your choices.
When you consider how many social channels you could be on, it’s hardly surprising. Expect marketers to start eliminating the channels that don’t provide them a return on investment as they gather more data to assist them in figuring out which ones do.
Enhance the Customer Experience with UGC
In the world of digital marketing, UGC (or User Generated Content) has a negative connotation. Traditional pieces of content were typically left unmoderated for others to contribute to. This can cause a slew of problems, chief among them being Google’s lack of trust.
But it’s making a comeback, not just on websites, but also on social media.
Brands can connect with their audience — the individuals who already adore their brand — to disseminate their message wider and more effectively by giving incentives like discounts and freebies.
When there’s a lot of noise on digital marketing channels, it’s less about the brand and more about the individuals who are currently using it.
It’s a win-win situation when you consider that it reduces the amount of content that digital marketers have to create.
Virtual Events are here to stay
If we wanted to hold an event or a conference in 2020, we would have to do so virtually. We had to go virtual if we wanted to attend a conference or event.
COVID-19 has permanently altered the course of events. While events and conferences may eventually return to the physical world, many organisers are likely to keep them virtual for the time being (or at least do a mix between in-person and virtual events). This is a win-win situation.
We’d all like to get back to some kind of normal. We want to be among people (at least some of us), but there will be more events to choose from. This is much more fitting for the consumer and the participants.
Increased SEO Testing
CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) has been a hot topic among digital marketers for years, and for good reason. It allows you to make more money (or create more prospects) with the traffic you already have. What’s not to like about that?
Unfortunately, search engine optimization testing has recently gotten more difficult and several large corporations have discovered loopholes.
However, without a large staff, putting this plan into action is difficult. As a result, a slew of platforms has emerged that make testing more inexpensive and accessible, allowing smaller firms to join the CRO bandwagon. Typically, Google Search Console data and A/B testing are often used.
While certain tools (such as SearchPilot) is still too pricey for the typical business, numerous less expensive solutions make it simple to run tests and then apply what you’ve learned to other areas of your site.
You can guarantee that many digital marketers are already doing so and assisting their customers or businesses in improving their search engine rankings.
Increase in Voice and Visual Search
Voice search will be important for businesses to reach their potential customers. It all comes down to branding and providing valuable material to consumers using voice search. It’s worthwhile to study how brands that use social media platforms find success and generate income.
In 2021, visual search is likely to play a critical role in the strategy of certain organisations. Visual search is going to be significant in the future, especially in niche industries like cuisine, home design, fashion, and beauty. Positioning your brand to be an early adopter is key to achieve brand success.
Social Media Optimization
Businesses don’t have a shortage of options when it comes to what to publish on social media. The sooner a well-thought-out approach is implemented, the easier it will be to come up with new ideas and content. The timing of content strategy optimization must be fine-tuned. Based on your analytics content will wither need to be ramped up or throttled back. However, having a baseline based on the principles above can help in getting started.
These are some of the digital marketing trends that will define the next 12 months or so. New to the world of social media marketing? Do you want to learn more? For additional information, visit TrainOn.