I doubt anyone could have predicted how 2020 would unfold. After a strong start, many bricks and mortar businesses ground to a halt, and will be feeling the effects well into 2021.
As a consequence of the coronavirus, more people are using the internet more often, which gives us plenty of tasty trends to analyse. Here are our 8 predictions for digital marketing in 2021:
1) Brands adapt to reaching consumers at home
Due to COVID-19, consumers are spending more time at home than ever before. That also means more time online. People increasingly turn to news content to stay informed, video content to be entertained, and social media content to stay connected. As such, online media consumption trends are expected to accelerate due to the rise in digital adoption during the pandemic lockdowns.
The stay-at-home directives also amplified video consumption. Overall views of online video have increased, with YouTube on TV growing by 80% year-on-year (YoY) in March 2020. This opens up opportunities for brands to connect with consumers in new ways whilst they are at home.
2) Voice search to continue growing
More time at home as also accelerated the growth of voice search queries. Whilst voice search is currently not explicitly a part of Google’s algorithm, it is still dictates many search results. Voice search queries often yield different results than if the user had typed in a text-based query. From an SEO perspective, brands should be on their toes with keeping an eye on voice search trends.
3) QR Codes to make a return
A bold predicted trend this one, but thanks to the NHS Test and Trace app, more people in the UK now know how to scan a QR code. In my digital marketing lifetime that is unprecedented. QR codes can do many things, including opening web pages, initiate a new phone call or calendar entry, make a payment, share a location and link to a social media account. With many Q1 2021 marketing plans already in the pipeline, expect to see a few more QR codes dotted around the UK next year.
4) The Influencer Boom Continues
Influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere. In fact brands are turning to influencers more than ever as it gives them another outlet to market products and services to their target audience. In a difficult year, a lot of brand-influencer engagement shifted to virtual events spanning chef demos, mixology classes, and YouTube product launches. Expect this trend to continue in 2021, especially in the retail sector.
5) Social media will become a top purchase channel
Every year social media begins to creep up the Google Analytics acquisition channel list. With many enhancements to social shopping in 2020, expect this trend to continue in 2021. Only in July, Instagram launched its redesigned shop, enabling better sales conversion from Instagram and Facebook. Both platforms are making it easier for consumers to go from discovery to purchase without ever having to leave the platform, with the shop creating a seamless path to purchase. With TikTok on the rise too, social media will become a more important purchase channel next year.
6) Preparing for marketing in a cookieless future
Measurement is ever important for strong marketing performance. Successful online measurement has been heavily reliant on cookies that log useful information. With increased user privacy demands and new(ish) regulations such as GDPR, mean that traditional approaches to measurement will need to start to evolve.
In 2021, there will be a continued emphasis on innovative, privacy-first measurement, with some marketers shifting to techniques such as conversion modelling to quantify the successful of their digital campaigns.
In a future world without third-party cookies, brands should have durable tagging and analytics in place, respect users’ choices by collecting the right consents, and invest in first-party data. By building a lawful and agile infrastructure, brands will still be able to measure more with less data.
7) Video content continues to grow
There are still so many brands that have no jumped on the video content bandwagon. That is despite the fact video is still set to boast over 80% of all internet traffic by 2022. Other brands have embraced video fully. Swiss shoe brand On created a live event on YouTube for a new sneaker launch, when their Wimbledon campaign fell through due to the pandemic, for example. With the growth of online video consumption, and especially the strength of TikTok in the UK, brands will need to embrace video and adapt to rapidly changing formats.
8) Twitter will add an edit button
Probably the boldest prediction in this entire list of 2021 trends. Will Twitter FINALLY create an edit button? That’s all we want. That’s all we’ve ever wanted. With Twitter shares now at their highest level since 2014, maybe the C-level are waiting for shares to pass the $60 threshold and then BOOM – an edit button. We can always dream.
There you have it! 8 digital marketing trends for 2021. Are there any trends you think will really move the needle in SEO or digital marketing in 2021? Comment below!