The Future of Digital Marketing | Digital Marketing Strategy for 2021
Updated: Dec 5, 2020
Digital marketing is continuously changing. Unlike traditional marketing, if you don't keep up with the latest trends in the digital landscape, you could easily be left behind. That is why we have created this article here so that you know and clearly understand the changes and trends that are developing in 2020 to have an idea of the near future.
Here is a list of things that will become the future of digital marketing in 2021.
AI and Automation
AI is fast becoming dominant in the business industry. You're already taking on many simple jobs (communication, product recommendations, email personalization, to name a few) and will continue to do so in the near future.
According to SEO experts:
"Artificial intelligence is the biggest business opportunity for companies, industries and nations in the coming decades" and "will increase global GDP by up to 14% between now and 2030", which means that "those who are late to AI they will find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage for years to come. "
Therefore, it is crucial for all industries, especially for digital marketers, to become familiar with AI and start implementing it in their daily tasks. In general, AI is something that companies can no longer ignore in their day-to-day operations. Companies that adopt AI in 2021 will accelerate growth, significantly reduce staffing costs, and gain an advantage over their competitors.
Automation, on the other hand, is not new to the marketing industry. But it is becoming more and more essential to use it in campaigns. The key is knowing when to use it and when not to. There is no doubt that automation will bring significant benefits to marketers in the long term, but currently, we are in the short term.
We need to be sensible in deciding when machines can do things more efficiently and when technology will not understand a particular campaign's complexities.
2. Social Commerce / Publications That Can Be Bought
Initially, social media was a place for companies to connect with their consumers, showcase their products/services, and develop their brand image. But there was no way to attract social media followers to a brand's online store through those platforms.
Now there is. While the posts that can be bought aren't exactly new in 2020, they're gaining more and more traction. For those unfamiliar with the concept, social commerce is when consumers buy products directly through posts/ads on social media without leaving the app.
Given that 54% of shoppers use social media to research product purchases, it makes perfect sense.
Create fewer steps for your consumers towards a conversion process and decrease the chances of sales abandonment.
3. Micro Influencers
Influencer marketing is not a new concept. We are all familiar with it and it is a great way to market your products to consumers through someone they trust. But, because it has been so successful, it has become VERY expensive to market in this way, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
As a result, micro-influencer marketing was born. The term micro-influencer refers to medium-sized influencers (around 30,000 followers) with niche areas, who are popular enough to be influential but not loaded with endorsements.
The benefit of using micro-influencers is that they have a better engagement rate. This may sound strange but think about it. They have fewer followers who follow them because of a particular niche area. This means that micro-influencers can spend more time with each follower and generate extremely relevant content for their audience.
4. Specialized Social Media Channels
Alternative social media channels, such as Snapchat, Pinterest, Tick Tok, Medium, and Reddit, are experiencing optimistic growth levels. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter are still useful today, a slight power shift is taking place.
Although these platforms are not used much now, it is not a bad idea to make them a part of your digital marketing strategy in 2021. They will continue to grow in interest, and if you are a niche brand, these platforms are better for reaching your target audience.
Vlogging: the video blog that every company NEEDS to include in its content. Vlogs are more popular than EVER before. This is because vlog is personal, direct, and can empathize with its audience at a higher level. This forges strong relationships with your customers!
In addition to being personal, vlogs can be practical within your marketing strategy. You have the ability to live stream special business events, share a post from your business conference, or record a BTS video. All of this helps build a strong brand image, strong business-to-customer relationships, and greater engagement from your target audience.
Personalization through digital marketing was never easier. Most of the companies are not taking advantage of this incredible in-depth knowledge that digital marketing now has access to. Businesses, even small ones, will no longer be able to succeed in their industry without adapting their approach, especially considering that 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences.
You have to look at Cadbury's example, who created a custom video campaign to match the taste of Dairy Milk with users, based on their Facebook profile data (age, interest, location, etc.). The campaign generated a click-through rate of 65% and a conversion rate of 33.6%, which shows that the personal touch works.
I guess it's safe to say that the days of mass-generated generic content are long-over.
7. Google Gallery Ads
Calling all travelers, foodies, and fitness gurus. This is one you don't want to miss! Images are vital in consumer marketing. They are fundamental to our human nature. After all, we are visual creatures.
Fortunately, Google has upped its game and will launch gallery ads in early 2020. These gallery ads are Google's equivalent of Facebook's carousel ads. These ads will ONLY appear on mobile devices and will combine the best parts of search and display into one great ad. When someone searches for your product/service, they will be able to display up to 8 images, along with a description and a title. Oh, how the times are changing.
Good news if your business relies on visually appealing images to turn potential customers into existing customers.
8. Voice Search
While voice search has been around for a while (9 years!), it is only NOW that it is becoming less novel and more necessary. With approximately 30% of people living in the developed countries having a voice-enabled device in 2020, voice search has never been more critical.
With that in mind and the fact that more than 50% of searches in 2021 will be voice searches, consumers expect to use voice search much more in the future. In 2025, it is likely to grow to 75% of the total searches.
So What Does This Mean For Digital Marketers?
Well, optimizing your digital marketing content for voice search is the best thing to do. While still in its early stages, voice search is something that needs to be seriously considered when designing all digital campaigns from now on. AI is getting smarter by the day, and voice assistants (like Alexa and Siri) are significantly reducing the number of errors.
In the words of the Digital Age:
"Adopting a voice search strategy is not just about staying relevant, but also about creating a unique and streamlined customer experience that fosters relationships and brand loyalty."
For voice technology, marketers must remember to write in a conversational tone and think about the keywords that consumers WILL SPEAK, rather than type. The most important thing for businesses to keep in mind is that this is NOT another channel to bombard consumers with messages and sales. It's a UNIQUE approach marketers can develop to foster consumer interaction and a more connected brand experience.
Chatbots, while old news, will continue to play an essential role in digital marketing throughout 2021. Surveys have shown that 80% of businesses want chatbots by 2021, and by 2022, chatbots will help enterprises to save $ 8 billion every year. Those are the stats for AI-based technology.
From a customer's perspective, interacting with chatbots is much more comfortable as they respond 24/7, provide accurate and fast responses, and never lose patience.
I guess what businesses need to consider in 2021 is ... do you want to use artificial intelligence technology to your advantage? It will keep your customers happy and allow you to focus on more important jobs.
10. Visual Search
This is taking the search to a whole new level. In fact, people will be able to upload an image to search.
In addition to this Google image search, both Pinterest and Google have introduced Lens, a visual tool that allows users to take a photo of an item/object/landmark to find out things about it (where to find it online, similar items, etc. ..).
Pinterest Lens turns your phone's camera into a search bar. The Pinterest lens's top search categories are Fashion, Home Decor, Art, Food, Products, and Beauty. For Google Lens, objects AND landmarks can be recognized. Here is a list of what you can do when you take a photo of the following items:
Clothing and household items - Find similar products and where to buy them.
Barcodes - Use a barcode to find information about a product, such as where to buy it.
Business card - Save the phone number or address to a contact.
Book - Get a summary and read reviews.
Landmark or Building - View historical facts, hours of operation, and more.
Painting in a museum - read about the artist and learn more.
Plant or Animal - Learn about species and races.
This new type of search will revolutionize the way we search for articles today.
Last but definitely not least, this digital marketing trend is not upon us yet, but it is fast becoming a viable tool for marketers to use very soon. For those of you who might not know (ME included), neuromarketing is essentially looking at measurements of a person's brain activity to determine what kind of content appeals to them.
This means creating marketing materials (such as your website, email campaigns, social content, advertisements, etc.) to induce specific neurological reactions in your target consumer. Marketers can use this triggered response/emotion information to tailor strategies and optimize their content appropriately, thereby improving their marketing effectiveness.
So there it is, The Future of Digital Marketing.
Remember, there are things not mentioned on this list that will continue to be necessary. These include, but are not limited to:
· Interactive email marketing
· Organic and paid search
· Social channels like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn
As any digital marketer will know, change is an integral and inevitable part of the job. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest trends to be an industry leader for your business.
Do you agree with our list? We'd love to hear your thoughts on these latest trends.