The year 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride for marketers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, despite various drawbacks, certain marketing trends managed to thrive on the scene with great headwinds into 2021.
E-commerce took off as e-commerce proliferated with the stay-at-home trends, and TikTok became the new social media juggernaut on the scene. With 2021 around the corner, new trends are ready to hit the market. And unlike this year when the market was solitary due to the pandemic, the upcoming trends are much more flexible and wide-spread.
Trends such as marketing automation, user-generated content, and social e-commerce will certainly become a norm in 2021. And to brace yourselves for a brand new era, we have prepared an insightful analysis of 5 digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2021.
1) Marketing Automation
Marketing automation will continue to thrive well into 2021, as marketers sought to increase productivity and efficiency of their marketing campaigns. Tasks such as email marketing, posting on social media, and even ad campaigns can now be increasingly automated — not just for the sake of efficiency, but to enable a more personalized experience for your customers and clients.
Marketing automation provides a myriad of benefits, from saving time, to lead generation to shortening sales cycles.
Moving forward into 2021, we can certainly expect further advances in marketing automation, and that automation software will become increasingly affordable and commonplace, extending from large corporations to being adopted by smaller firms.
One such example is AI-powered tools such as Headlime, which helps you to auto-generate captions and copy for your blogs, landing pages and advertisements with the power of GPT-3 autogenerative language model.
2) SMS Marketing
This might come as a surprise to many, but SMS marketing will likely continue to be a huge marketing trend in 2021.
Despite being one of the oldest mediums, a text message was always considered a very interactive line of communication with your target audience.
SMS marketing is an essential part of omnichannel marketing, where companies maintain contact with their customers across devices, from their laptops to their mobile devices. For example, Chipotle had led the way in cross-promoting their SMS marketing club with social media, to drive customers down their marketing funnel.
As it becomes tougher to target customers across the web through cookies embedded in browsers, companies might turn increasingly to SMS marketing to remain in touch with their customers through their integrated CRMs.
The statistics are in favour of this traditional medium, with more than 81% of adults in the U.S actively interacting with text messages sent directly to their smartphones and SMS marketing growing by 10% in 2020.
3) User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is referred to any content that is created by users, appears organically produced, and helps to improve the authenticity and reach of your brand.
UGC is often in the form of spoken video testimonials, where influencers or pseudo-customers speak directly to the camera and expound on the product benefits or demonstrate using the product. This is often used in B2C companies, especially D2C brands.
UGC has the power to drive the purchasing decisions of consumers. And the best example of this would be the most downloaded application of 2020 – TikTok. This social media app went viral thanks to the addictive UGC content uploaded on it by millions of users around the globe. Despite its young age, TikTok has managed to carve out its very own niche while competing with other social media platforms.
The following are the primary aspects through which UGC can help you succeed on platforms like TikTok:
It’s simple human nature. We crave things that we see online. And thanks to this, UGC can spark the desire for your brand into the masses without much effort. But for this, you have to share niche-specific content, so that you directly connect with your audience.
When you have a genuine content library with people using or wearing your product, it helps in creating a long-lasting impact on your customer. And to promote good content, you can use hashtag challenges or collaborate with influencers.
With so many alternatives readily available for the consumers, it is important to stand out from the crowd. And increasing the transparency of your product through UGC can help you connect with your audience and build solid trust in your brand.
The trend of UGC is not solely limited to B2C companies, with video UGC also increasingly in use in the B2B space. A survey revealed that 53% of B2B tech buyers seek out video content when making their purchasing decisions. The same study also revealed an interesting tidbit, that tech businesses and professional B2B businesses actually publish the highest volume of videos on a monthly basis. We can expect this trend to further grow on B2B platforms such as LinkedIn, as a form of social-oriented marketing.
4) Revamped SEO due to new Google updates
Most of these algorithm updates are so minimal that they go completely unnoticed. However, on this occasion, the search engine is ready to roll out some major algorithmic updates that significantly impact the SERPs such as:
These algorithms are a complex system used to retrieve data from its search index and instantly deliver the best possible results for a query. The search engine uses a combination of algorithms and numerous ranking signals to deliver web pages ranked by relevance on its search engine results pages (SERPs).
Initially, Google only made a handful of updates to its algorithms. Now, Google makes thousands of changes every year. And to be at the top of your marketing game, you need to keep up with these updates.
According to marketing experts, these changes are gonna be quite radical. Famous internet marketer Dixon Jones suggested that Google will most probably take a Microsoft-like path with its new SEO changes, which can include free UX tools and better clarity.
Whereas, Aleyda Solis, a well-renowned SEO consultant, recently tweeted that Google will follow a unique trajectory towards becoming more dynamic and sophisticated. According to her, integrating intent analysis in keyword research will be important.
From all this, one thing that we can surely predict is that SEO will be an exciting place next year. And if you want to get an in-depth view of the opinions of other experts, you can read them here.
5) Social E-Commerce
Social E-commerce refers to a trend of buying directly from social media channels. E-Commerce was one of the primary platforms which flourished under the impact of the novel coronavirus. And with that, the trend of Social e-commerce was nothing but inevitable.
Major social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have already rolled out some major updates to take full advantage of this trend. Instagram has launched the highly-anticipated Instagram Guides. This new feature allows users to share and consume relevant recommendations and tips in a quick-scrollable format.
Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, took it to Twitter to announce the launch of this new feature.
And the early feedback shows that this new feature is already a hit! With content creators and influencers using Instagram Guides to provide more personalized content to their audience. On the contrary, Facebook already had Facebook Marketplace, which served as the company’s very own e-commerce store.
As per reports, Facebook has planned some major updates for Marketplace to make it even more competitive. All of these movements suggest a clear pathway that the trend of “Social E-Commerce” is gonna be huge in 2021.
To Sum it Up
So these were the 5 digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2021. When we compare these trends to last year, you will notice that the upcoming year will be a step forward in terms of automation and, also following up on some of the older marketing techniques. We hope this article will help you get the best out of 2021.