digital marketing trends 2021
 
 

Digital marketing has gained widespread popularity since 2017, but it gained rapid traction in 2020 following the lockdown in different parts of the world due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to the lockdown, businesses from all over the world turned to digital marketing to market their products & services.

Even among the various digital marketing options, some helped brands & companies achieve their goals faster than others, which is why they’re here to stay even in 2020. Let’s explore them in this article:

Increase in the Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) by Various Businesses

The pandemic situation has resulted in widespread layoffs in various companies of different sizes across the world. Instead, companies are relying on the use of chatbots for product recommendations, basic communication, e-commerce transactions and the like.

Even Facebook messenger provides options such as automated responses of FAQs and options to customize various communication flows. This has reduced the need for manpower for customer care, though it hasn’t done away with it completely.

It has also been found that people tend to feel more comfortable talking to a chatbot as opposed to a person due to advantages such as an immediate response that is not pushing them to make a purchase decision. What’s more, chatbots make customer service available 24/7 and can be programmed to answer most of the user’s questions in seconds!

Virtual Events are Here to Stay

Due to restrictions on movement during the pandemic, it became a necessity for many to conduct virtual events instead of in-person events. These are definitely here to stay in the long term, as they offer a wide variety of benefits such as those listed below:

  • The sheer convenience of logging in and attending them from anywhere in the world.
  • Lower costs associated with hiring a venue, food & beverages, etc.
  • Zero travel and convenience costs.
  • Higher attendance and participation.
  • Companies can focus more on rich content, great speakers and the like to drive higher audience engagement.
  • Live interactions during virtual events offer a personalized experience to a large number of audiences.
  • As a result of all this, the ROI from virtual events is much higher as compared to in-person events.

Social Media has Become a Means of Purchase and Not Only Brand Discovery

One of the major changing trends in the social media industry is that people don’t only look at the social media handles of brands to know more about them. They now want to be able to shop directly them.

Facebook and Instagram offer shop options where businesses can list their products and users can buy them directly from their profiles. Hence, there has been a marked increase in shoppable posts by brands.

Users can even purchase from a swipe up link in the Instagram story of a brand, even if the brand has less than 10k followers (normally, only profiles with 10k followers and above can offer a swipe up link in their stories). All they have to do is add the link to the product they have mentioned on their story, and the user can make an immediate purchase.

Personalization in Marketing

To stay relevant in the market, brands need to turn to personalize their marketing instead of generic advertising. This includes personalized emails, content, products, etc.

For starters, if you are using email marketing, you must create groups of contacts based on age, demographics, similar interests, buying patterns, etc. and send out emails targeted to those specific groups of contacts. This is far more effective as compared to generic marketing emails.

Another example of personalized marketing is creating landing pages for your social media ads in multiple languages. You won’t believe how much that appeals to a wide set of audience to see an ad in the language they prefer to speak or read! Businesses who adopt this strategy are surprised to see that the Click Through Rates (CTR) as well as purchases from landing pages & ads created in languages other than English are actually much higher than their English counterparts!

Personalized marketing also includes the creation of personalized products based on customer testimonials and feedback. You can either customize new products, or introduce bundles of existing products that customers purchase together more frequently. Throw in a discount or freebie to make these product bundles more exciting.

These are few of the most popular examples of personalized marketing. Basically, resonating with your audience or getting to know them better and offering them what they are more likely to purchase is the way to 10x your sales.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is by far one of the hottest trends that picked up in 2020, and is expected to continue to be among the hottest digital marketing trends for the next 5-10 years.

When you think of videos, think beyond Youtube. Facebook, Linkedin & Instagram are also very viable options as video platforms for your business. You can make a video post on these platforms or go live regularly.

Also, with the growing usage of mobile devices, long emails and sales pages have become a thing of the past as they are difficult to read on small mobile screens. Instead, if you embed a video into your marketing emails, the open rate is much higher. Also, the same information, when presented in video format, is conveyed perfectly irrespective of device or screen size.

Another interesting finding is that if your website includes a video, it is 50x (yes, 50 times!) more likely to gain organic traffic as compared to text! Google pushes pages with videos higher in the ranking as people find video content more attractive & easy to go through.

If you’re still not convinced, take a look at some of these numbers:

  • According to 72% of businesses, videos embedded into their sites have boosted their conversion rate.
  • 70% of consumers have said that they have shared the video of a brand that they liked.
  • 52% of consumers agree that they have made quicker buying decisions after watching videos of products.
  • Out of 65% of executives that visit the website of a marketer, 39% make a call after watching a video.

Some video formats that you can experiment with is going live now and then on your Facebook, Instagram & Youtube channels, 1:1 videos that are personalized videos describing product usage, how products work and how they can help people or businesses, as well as 360-degree videos that have views of a particular product from every direction using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras.

Repurposing of Content:

You may not have all the time in the world to constantly create new content for your business. Also, content in different forms appeals to different audiences.

Here are a few ways in which businesses repurpose content across different platforms:

  • Video content can be transcribed and turned into a blog article, which can be embedded into the blog for higher ranking (as mentioned in the previous section of the article for better Google ranking).
  • The audio of the video can be extracted and made into a podcast.
  • Use the thumbnails of your videos in your marketing emails and add the word “video” to the subject line. This is said to increase email open rates by around 20% on an average!

Influencer Marketing:

Instead of using celebrities to endorse products or services, many brands are turning to “social media influencers” to market their products. These influencers are people with a large social media following or a large network of YouTube subscribers. They try products & post honest reviews for their audiences to make the right choices.

Influencers are available for different niches – beauty, fashion, tech, food, travel, photography… the list is endless. So depending upon the nature of your business, you can send a free product or offer your services for free to an influencer in a niche that is relevant to you. That person writes a blog or makes a video about their experience, thus putting you in front of an entirely new audience.

Advertisers & brands also use influencer-generated content, such as videos & images, in social media ads. As influencers are common people and not celebrities, people relate to their experiences more. Also, most of the popular influencers have been honest about their product experiences in the past and have mentioned their cons in addition to pros. Thus, they have gained the trust of their audience. Hence, recommendations by influencers have been seen to drive their audiences to make a purchase.

You can see that influencer marketing has been found to be more authentic as compared to corporate advertising. Here are some statistics:

  • Around 65% of consumers have been found to trust recommendations of influencers as compared to what brands say about themselves.
  • Around 60% of people have made a purchase over the past 6 months based on the recommendation of an influencer they follow.

Hence, if you are a brand selling consumer goods such as food & beverages, clothing, beauty products, or even if you want to drive footfalls in your retail outlets, malls, restaurants or resorts, you should consider influencer marketing.

Social Media Advertising

Running ads or boosting posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and across other social media platforms is another major trend, as it works out to be way cheaper as compared to television or newspaper advertisements.

With stunning creatives, great videos from influencers or simple user-generated content in the form of video reviews, some professional photography, and you’re good to go! Budgets for social media ads start from as less as Rs. 500 to boost a single post to your target audience.

Also, the interface of the Ads Manager for Facebook & Instagram is very user friendly, and enables us to choose from a wide variety of audience based on gender, age, demographics, their personal interests, marital status, etc. It also has a variety of tools that help track the performance of your ads and determine the future course of action, that is whether to pause/stop a certain ad because it isn’t giving you satisfactory ROI, etc.

So in all, it is very easy to set up & manage a social media ad, especially on a limited budget. Plus, if the ad placement, creative, copy & audience targeting is done well (it comes with practice & experimentation), it can give you great ROI too.

So these are some of the major digital marketing trends that have been observed to have stayed in 2021, as most businesses found them highly effective to market their products & services to buyers.

Which of these digital strategies do you intend to implement this year? Do write to us at [email protected] if you require assistance to implement any of these.

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About the author

Jaya Sathaye is a Project Manager with the digital marketing team at EC Infosloutions Pvt. Ltd. Pune. She has extensive experience in market research, and has created engaging content for a wide range of industries, which include software solutions, CRM, cloud computing, e-commerce, the success stories of industry-leading players, beauty, fashion, etc. Being an avid reader, Jaya enjoys sharing what she learns with people through her writing work.