Digital marketing has an advantage over other marketing channels due to its ease in reaching out to specific audiences. It is also very effective in tracking ROI & advertising spending while offering flexibility in planning marketing campaigns.
To help you stay ahead of the curve, we have identified the most important digital marketing trends this year.
The top 20 digital marketing trends
Influencers will be seen more as content creators rather than just celebrities with a large fan following. That will be due to the value addition they add to the content with their skills in photography, writing, video direction & editing, performance, etc.
Apart from their glamour & style quotient, influencers are also gradually helping customers make a knowledgeable choice. Due to their new skills, influencers will be adding more value to the sales funnel in 2021.
Most companies will also see their top management personnel play a key role as influencers by sharing their thoughts on social media. As a result, CEOs, COO’s & CTO’s will start playing a more important role as brand ambassadors for their companies.
2. Short-form Videos
This is another digital marketing trend that you can try your hands on this year. With the introduction of YouTube shorts, short-form videos are finally getting much-awaited & genuine recognition from brands. Similar to television ads, the 30-second video segment will see a lot of creativity and brand sponsorships.
It’s time to include them in your digital marketing plan.
3. Content Will Continue to Be King
Content in all forms, be it blogs, infographics, or podcasts, is still the preferred choice of businesses to connect with their customers. As a result, marketers continue to spend over 25% of their budget on content marketing. Moreover, 90% of organizations are now using content to achieve their marketing goals.
Many companies will also outsource their content requirements. That will help them create more relevant and exciting content.
With internet users spending 20% of their time on content, it is a definite win-win situation for brands.
4. Search Engine Marketing
Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is one of those digital marketing trends that will never go old. 93% of all online connections still start with a search engine.
That is why it makes better sense to continue improving your web pages and spending time on SEO-friendly practices.
Content that is easy to understand and has essential information for people is the best to establish your brand’s image and connect with customers.
5. Augmented Reality (AR)
One of the most exciting technologies, AR, is gaining acceptance by retail chains. It is now in use to showcase products and enhance customer online shopping experiences.
A good example of AR is the IKEA Place app. The app helps a customer test and try different looks for their home while at the IKEA store.
Experts see a considerable demand for AR in the beauty, wellness, and travel experiences space to help reduce personal store visits.
Personalization, and not just in emails, will be the way forward to connect better with customers. Customers love knowing more about a company or brand through its content marketing. Therefore, it makes sense to customize the content to be more relevant and valuable to them.
You can create content based on lifestyle, travel history, entertainment preferences, online shopping habits, and even consumers’ devices. Not making the content sound too dull is the new digital marketing mantra.
Speaking to the customer in the language they are most comfortable with could be a new beginning.
7. LinkedIn for Customers
One of the first websites for business networking, LinkedIn will also help influence purchases in the future. As a result, brands and companies will start increasing their ad spending on it.
LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to increase your business connections. It is also the platform most businesses and professionals trust for reliable, accurate information.
This factor will work in its favor, as people prefer brands and products they can trust and have genuine reviews.
Interestingly, 96% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn for organic content distribution. In comparison, 83% use it for paid social, making it one of the most popular social media platforms.
8. Increased Digital Marketing Budgets
To keep up with digital marketing trends, you need to take care of the digital marketing budgets as well.
Customers are now familiar with a new, digitally dominated world due to the pandemic.
As per a McKinsey report, people have tried out more e-commerce sites and digital platforms in the last three months compared to the previous ten years.
The rising trend towards digital mediums will make companies change their plans for a post, Covid-19 situation, and increase their online spending.
There are now many new channels and formats for reaching out to customers. As a result, digital marketing is all set to grab a bigger piece of the advertising pie.
9. Voice-based Applications
Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant, and other voice assistant features are here to stay.
From listening to your favorite music tracks to step-by-step cooking recipes, voice-based AI is making inroads into people’s households, like never before.
More than 45% of US millennials use voice assistance while shopping online. Further, with over 24% of millennials owning a smart speaker, brands need to increase their presence on voice-based applications.
10. Location-based Marketing
Think Google maps on a smaller scale.
By using geo-fencing, brands are now targeting consumers based on their location. Push-notifications with the latest deals & offers are sent to customers passing through a particular place.
A prime example is Starbucks, which sends welcome messages to people when they visit a city. It also sends the locations of the nearest Starbucks and special offers on the favorite drinks based on their past purchases.
Embracing AI technology is another important aspect of digital marketing trends. AI technologies make chatbots more adaptive and fast, helping them answer customer queries or solve complaints in real-time.
Their 24 x 7 availability, ability to recall the customer’s query or purchase history instantly with prompt answers are factors customers appreciate.
Apart from customer service, chatbots are also playing a big role in marketing automation. For example, they can collect sales leads and send customized emails or messages to people.
Now, all they need to do is sound a bit more human.
12. Email Marketing
Don’t give up on this oldest, but still an effective form of digital marketing yet.
Email marketing is all set to make a comeback.
As per the latest research conducted by GetResponse, welcome emails have an 82% open rate. That’s a remarkable number, in comparison to other mails. A higher click-through rate means people are interested in knowing more about your products or company.
Just make sure that all your emails are mobile-friendly, as the average number of people who open emails on their mobiles is 49%.
13. Video Marketing
While YouTube remains the biggest search engine after Google, its popularity over blogs and podcasts makes it more effective. So make sure that it is a part of your content marketing plan.
80% of marketers using videos have seen a considerable increase in sales.
With YouTube, Tik Tok & Instagram Reels leading the space, it’s time to use promotional videos and storytelling to increase your brand awareness.
14. Interactive Content
While customers love all forms of content, interactive content will lead the pack in 2021-22.
Quizzes, Polls, AR Ads, and 360-degree videos are some of the new hooks for engaging viewers and having them come back for more.
Build your content marketing strategy with more lively and exciting content to start seeing better results.
15. Marketing Automation
Get an extra pair of hands to work on your marketing campaigns by using marketing automation.
With customized triggers, you can now set automatic rules to welcome customers. Businesses can also share the latest offers, last-minute deals, reduce the number of carts not being checked out. You can also use marketing automation to collect referrals.
Marketing automation also helps save time and money.
Don’t just take our word. Go ahead and try it.
16. Virtual Events
With physical events and conferences limited due to social distancing norms, virtual events made a huge comeback.
The number of companies planning virtual events grew by 200% in 2020. 90% of the companies are planning to continue with virtual events even after live events are allowed. (Conde Nast Survey)
41% of marketers use Zoom, while 29% use Microsoft Teams to host their virtual events.
Panel discussions, webinars, and live sessions with guest speakers are the most common virtual events marketers use to connect with their audience.
17. Social Messaging Apps
With WhatsApp having 1.6 billion and Facebook 1.3 billion active monthly users, it is time to start using messaging apps.
Most people expect brands and companies to have an active presence on messaging apps. Messaging apps are also an easy and quick way to interact with customers for their queries, complaints, etc.
AI and chatbots will make social messaging apps more exciting and easier to use. That will help customers enjoy a more personalized and entertaining experience while connecting with brands.
18. Instagram Shopping
81% of Instagram users use Instagram to look up brands and services.
130 million users tap on shopping posts every month.
These stats mark the importance of Instagram when it comes to influencing purchase decisions among shoppers.
Purchase links are now possible in Instagram stories leading to the rise of Instagram boutiques. In addition, brands can create virtual showrooms on Instagram to reach their audience.
Instagram stories are also suitable for ads and promotions. Given these trends, Instagram shopping is on the way to being the preferred shopping channel for many consumers.
19. User Privacy
The California Consumer Privacy Act has raised the issue of consumer privacy laws again.
Consumers are getting more aware of their privacy and limiting companies from using their private data. Due to this, companies will now have to focus on earning their trust.
More than 65% of the world’s population is moving towards protecting their info by 2023. As a result, companies will now need to also focus on third-party risk management for better data security.
The way companies manage their data is also going to be a matter of concern for people. Due to this, most of them may shift to companies they feel more comfortable with for sharing their data.
20. Focus on Sustainability
People are now becoming more aware of the issues that affect communities and the environment.
Companies and brands that show compassion towards communities and environmental issues attract a more loyal base of consumers. The Covid-19 pandemic is a prime example of this scenario. People are now aligning more towards companies at the forefront of the war against the pandemic.
It, therefore, makes sense to plan your digital marketing campaigns with a focus on your business values. That will help you differentiate from the competition and build your reputation.
An admirable way to start your digital marketing strategy would be by being transparent and clear in your business activities.
Watch out for these digital marketing trends in the days ahead
To be more competitive and meet consumer expectations, business owners need to stay one step forward.
Identifying the latest digital marketing trends and preparing for them well in advance is a step in the right direction. That will help companies achieve their business goals.
The digital marketing trends we have highlighted in this blog will help you in your digital marketing journey. They will also help you connect better with your audiences and customers.
Suresh Dawmani is a Social Media Manager with Wishup. As a content creator, he writes on topics connected to marketing, entertainment, lifestyle, food, and travel. An avid photographer, he is also the author of the book “Mumbai Tales.”