As we come to the end of what has been a fraught and uncertain year for many businesses, thoughts are understandably turning to 2021. Thankfully, we’re ending the year with a renewed sense of optimism amidst positive developments in our fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Marketing has changed significantly during this last year[i]; and companies have had to move away from their usual printed banners, posters and other print media to focus more on digital strategies. Current digital marketing trends have had to adapt to varying consumer preferences and moods, and 2021 will be no different. It’s vital that businesses continue to adapt as we move into the New Year.

You might be wondering how you can harness this renewed positivity in your business, and which new marketing trends to get on board with in 2021. The most important thing is to remain flexible, to keep tabs on the public mood and what consumers want and need, and pivot accordingly. To help you, we’ve done the research and come up with our top marketing trends for 2021. Implementing these new marketing strategies will give your business a head-start on the competition in the New Year.


 

Top marketing trends

These are the current top marketing trends - this guide was updated in January 2021

  1. Social media marketing taking a 'less is more' approach
  2. Local search engine optimisation
  3. Voice search
  4. Livestreaming
  5. Focusing on interactive content
  6. Influencer marketing
  7. Personalisation and customised ads
  8. Social media e-commerce

 Below, we'll take a deep-dive into what these trends mean and how you can apply them to your own marketing strategy

 

Social media marketing takes a ‘less is more’ approach in response to the pandemic

This last year, brands have had to adapt to the changing public mood and focus on producing content which is less overtly salesy and more considered in its approach. As consumers’ priorities have shifted, businesses have adjusted their social media marketing tactics to acknowledge this in their content, and it’s a marketing trend which is likely to continue into 2021[ii].

Business’s priorities will also shift from customer acquisition to customer retention, and this will be reflected in social media marketing trends as content focuses on re-engaging with long-time customers and building brand loyalty[iii]. The emphasis will be on less frequent but more thoughtful social media content which aims to connect on a human level with customers.

 

If your business provides products or services within a specific location, you need to make sure potential customers can find you locally when they use search engines. This isn’t a new marketing trend as such, but it’s something which is important to keep on top of every year.

Make sure you have a comprehensive Google My Business profile in place which makes use of location-specific keywords. Ensure you have specified a particular geographical service area, as Google prioritizes relevance when deciding what content to show to search engine users; if you’ve used those location-specific keywords, then you’re giving your business a shot at showing up on search engine results pages when your target customer searches for products or services like yours within that geographical radius.

This focus on local SEO marketing tactics will be one of the key marketing trends for 2021.

 

Increased use of voice search

Consumer interest in hands-free technology and voice search functionality is only predicted to increase in 2021. 55% of users utilise voice search functions to ask questions on a smartphone[iv], and many of us turn to our Amazon Alexa devices to find things out. This prolific use of voice search is one of the top current digital marketing trends and one your business should take advantage of in the coming year.

To optimize your content for voice search, focus on making content conversational and informal, similar to how you would speak to someone in person to explain a concept or idea. It’s also a good idea to have an FAQ page up and running which answers the questions your ideal customer is most likely to ask[v]. Just think about the way in which your target customers would talk to a voice search tool and replicate this in your content, and you’ll be on your way to making best use of this emerging marketing trend.

 

Going live isn’t going anywhere

It’s easy to see why, when we’ve been stuck indoors more than normal this year, the use of video and other live content such as webinars has skyrocketed in 2020. This is one of the most important trends for businesses to think about as we head into 2021.

What are the benefits of video marketing for businesses? Well, for starters it’s a quick and easy way to get your message across and communicate with your audience, and this feeds into consumers’ desire to get information on demand[vi]. It also shows the personable side of your brand and helps establish that human connection between your business and your customers.

With statistics suggesting that 89% of video marketers find that video gives them a good ROI (Return On Investment)[vii] there’s no denying that ‘going live’ is one of the most important digital marketing trends for 2021.

 

A focus on more interactive content

As well as video, you should be looking to encourage engagement from your audience in other ways with all of your online content. You can do this by adding interactive elements to your website and social media posts, such as polls, quizzes, surveys and competitions, and asking your audience questions.

You can include interactive elements within blog posts, and end posts by asking readers to comment or share the post on social media - all to encourage interaction with your brand. You should also think about how you can encourage user-generated content; again, this isn’t a new trend but one which is still going strong - user-generated content is the holy grail of content marketing!

Making use of interactive content is one of the key social media marketing trends for 2021, and brands whose content is stagnant and dull are likely to be left behind by their competitors.

 

Influencer marketing will continue to thrive in a post-pandemic world

Businesses have traditionally made use of influencer marketing to create a sense of authenticity around promotions of their products or services, and this trust factor will be even more important next year. It’s vital to select the right influencers to work with though; the emphasis has shifted somewhat from high profile celebrities and influencers with massive social media followings to less well-known but potentially more useful influencers who can help your business reach a more targeted or niche audience.

This marketing trend toward more authentic relationships with influencers will continue in 2021, so it might be worth thinking about creating a specific influencer marketing strategy for your business and identifying those who can help your business truly connect with your target audience in the coming year.

 

Personalisation and customised ads

The use of Google and social media ads to increase brand reach will only increase in the new year as organic (i.e. non-paid) reach declines. It is important that those ads are carefully targeted and personalised to specific audiences. With 70% of marketers who use advanced personalisation tactics seeing a 200% return on investment[viii], the development of highly targeted ads will be one of the key new marketing trends for businesses to adopt in 2021.

You should aim to maximise the use of personalisation across your marketing platforms, including email marketing and paid ads. Tactics such as installing a Facebook pixel on your website to enable efficient retargeting and setting up chatbot customer service with personalisation incorporated will also contribute to your audience feeling like they’re not just a number to your business. Also think about segmenting your email list by marketing personas and sending subscribers targeted messages based on that which directly addresses their pain points[ix].

 

An increase in social media e-commerce

55% of shoppers now make purchases directly through social media platforms[x], a new social media marketing trend which has been facilitated by the development of in-built ecommerce functionality on Facebook and Instagram. Business owners can set up shoppable tags on products they’re promoting on Instagram and users can now travel through the whole purchasing journey within Instagram, without having to leave the platform.

This has been one of the most significant digital marketing trends over the last few years and one which is likely to become the norm in future; if your business doesn’t jump on board with it, you might find that you’re left behind as customers increasingly expect businesses to deliver this.

So, there you have it - our top marketing trends for 2021. As you’ll no doubt be aware, marketing is ever-changing and tactics continually evolve, but we think these new marketing trends are the ones to watch out for next year to ensure your business keeps up with the competition. As we enter a new year with a renewed sense of hope, your business needs to stay on top of the public mood and what consumers really need, and then give it to them.

 


References

Hall, J., 2020. How Covid-19 Will Have A Lasting Impact On Marketing. [Online] Available at: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2020/05/17/how-covid-19-will-have-a-lasting-impact-on-marketing/?sh=2298b2fed900 [Accessed December 2020]

Bump, P., 2020. 9 Social Media Trends Marketers Should Watch in 2021 [Data + Expert Tips]. [Online] Available at: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-predictions-2017 [Accessed December 2020]

Sanders, M., 2020. 8 Key Digital Marketing Trends For 2021. [Online] Available at: https://dabrianmarketing.com/blog/marketing-strategy/8-key-digital-marketing-trends-2021/ [Accessed December 2020]

Barysevich, A., 2020. How to Optimize for Voice Search: 6 SEO Strategies for Success. [Online] Available at: https://www.searchenginejournal.com/voice-search-optimization-strategy/379946/#close [Accessed December 2020]

Canty, K., 2020. Content Marketing for 2021 ~ A look into the Future. [Online] Available at: https://www.introtodigital.com/content-marketing-for-2021-a-look-into-the-future-voice-search-optimization/ [Accessed December 2020]

Clarke-Keane, C., 2020. 7 Content Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021. [Online] Available at: https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/11/23/content-marketing-trends [Accessed December 2020]

Santora, J., 2020. Video Marketing Statistics: What You Must Know for 2021. [Online] Available at: https://optinmonster.com/video-marketing-statistics-what-you-must-know/ [Accessed December 2020]

Vermes, K., 2020. Study: 70% of Marketers Using Advanced Personalization Seeing 200% ROI. [Online] Available at: https://komarketing.com/industry-news/customer-experience/study-70-of-marketers-using-advanced-personalization-seeing-200-roi-4294/ [Accessed December 2020]

Digital Marketing Institute., 2020. How to Inject Personalization Into Your Marketing Strategy. [Online] Available at: https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/how-to-inject-personalization-into-your-marketing-strategy [Accessed December 2020]

Avionos., 2018. Avionos Releases New Data Revealing How Consumer Expectations Are Driving Retail Strategies. [Online] Available at: https://www.avionos.com/avionos-releases-new-data-revealing-how-consumer-expectations-are-driving-retail-strategies/ [Accessed December 2020]

 


 

Sources

[i] https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2020/05/17/how-covid-19-will-have-a-lasting-impact-on-marketing/?sh=2298b2fed900

[ii] https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-predictions-2017

[iii] https://dabrianmarketing.com/blog/marketing-strategy/8-key-digital-marketing-trends-2021

[iv] https://www.searchenginejournal.com/voice-search-optimization-strategy/379946/#close

[v] https://www.introtodigital.com/content-marketing-for-2021-a-look-into-the-future-voice-search-optimization/

[vi] https://www.wordstream.com/blog/ws/2020/11/23/content-marketing-trends

[vii] https://optinmonster.com/video-marketing-statistics-what-you-must-know/

[viii] https://komarketing.com/industry-news/customer-experience/study-70-of-marketers-using-advanced-personalization-seeing-200-roi-4294/

[ix] https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/blog/how-to-inject-personalization-into-your-marketing-strategy

[x] https://www.avionos.com/avionos-releases-new-data-revealing-how-consumer-expectations-are-driving-retail-strategies/