What’s Next for Digital Marketing in 2021?
Your company — and your company’s marketing efforts — must always be looking to the future. Learn from the past and pay it forward.
2020 was a tumultuous year — we all had to adapt! What have we learned? Utilizing and maximizing the latest technologies, platforms and strategies for engaging with clients and customers are more vital than ever.
Top 10 Trends for Successful Marketing
Gartner reports that, feeling the effects from the COVID-19 crisis, many chief marketing officers (CMOs) are shifting focus from customer acquisition to customer retention. How can you help clients keep their audience and continue to grow? You must be flexible, innovative and competitive in 2021.
Here are the top 10 digital marketing trends you need to know for success in the year ahead:
The power of Artificial Intelligence. A 2018 Salesforce survey indicated that 51% of marketers were already using artificial intelligence at the time. AI can test search campaigns and ad platforms and recognize a loss of data flow or site traffic. Even more shocking, AI can create content — such as business reports and sports summaries — and track email and browsing data.
For instance, according to AI News, Facebook is currently developing an AI called TL;DR (“Too Long, Didn’t Read”) that will summarize articles into shorter snippets and include an AI-powered assistant that can answer questions about the article. Marketers will need to anticipate this paradigm shift and model content around TL;DR — and anything like it — picking out the most urgent details from an article.
This time it’s personal. Consumers in 2021 expect ads that are relevant to their interests, hobbies and lifestyle. Your goal is to target consumers with user-specific ads when they’re in the middle of “micro-moments.” Google defines micro-moments as the point in the customer journey when they decide to make a purchase: I-want-to-know moments, I-want-to-go moments, I-want-to-do moments and I-want-to-buy moments.
“Basically, these are four key moments in every consumer’s life when they decide to pick up their mobile device for a specific purpose,” says Suzanne Scacca of Smashing Magazine. That purpose could be seeking out knowledge, entertainment or a purchase. To optimize your marketing, you must monitor recent purchasing behavior, target life events, nurture leads — rely on data!
Marketing guru Neil Patel also suggests utilizing emojis to speak in the language of your audience. “They’re such a phenomenon that brands have now started to integrate them in their marketing messages while communicating with younger generations,” says Patel. “This marketing strategy is most prevalent with social media marketing, but not isolated there.” We’ve seen a Chevrolet press release and a Domino’s Pizza tweet written entirely in emojis.
Lean into social media. You want your brand and name spread as far as possible, and billboards don’t cut it anymore. Facebook, Twitter, even TikTok — wouldn’t you love to go viral? It can be difficult, as buzz is often “lighting in a bottle,” but not impossible. Video content is also a great way to grab the viewer’s attention when they’re scrolling by. But the key is using humor, boldness, timeliness and knowing your audience — in any format!
Shoppable content is another form of social media marketing that’s becoming more common. Create ads that can be accessed on-demand and lead consumers to purchase.
Take control of your clients’ online presence. Claim a business’ Google My Business and gain access to customization features, including descriptions, hours, photos, posts, ads and reviews. You want to respond to reviews — and not just Google reviews! Yelp, Tripadvisor, G2, Capterra and more are the best ways to gain feedback, build loyalty and win dissatisfied customers back.
New search methods. Typing into the Google search bar isn’t your only option anymore. Voice-activated digital assistants — such as Alexa and Siri — are very popular. Much like shoppable content, add a purchasing option to a voice search.
Another new method is visual searches. Consumers can upload images to Google or use their webcam and get search results from the picture. “This new format enables you to highlight multiple products available for sale within your sponsored ad among Google Images results,” says Google.
Marketing automation — a critical tool. According to Forbes, email marketing can yield an average return on investment (ROI) of 4,300%. Email automation can be used to personalize emails using MAP and CRM data to determine consumer interests. You can also use A/B testing to see what is clicking with the target audience. What message resonates the most?
Protect your customer’s data. The United States leaves data regulation up to individual states, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). By comparison, the European Union implemented the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in 2018 to standardize data protection rules across all EU member states. Your challenge in coming years is accessing and storing customer data legally and protecting it. These regulations are just challenges — not a roadblock.
Get the best results from Google search ads. You want to analyze search data to see what’s working. Tweak and adjust keywords, descriptions and phrasing. The recurring theme is personalizing the user experience. “AdWords allows you to personalize your ads to a great extent to match your ads with the search query,” says MonsterInsights. “You can also personalize the copy based on the following dimensions: device, time, audience, gender or age.”
Improve searches with Google’s Snippet feature. Structured snippet ad extensions fold out to highlight granular aspects of a search campaign. An optimized search is more likely to show up higher on a results page.
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in actual reality. These new technologies have caught on with marketing in recent years. Brands use them to give consumers an immersive shopping experience. Visualize using a product or having it in your home, such as the infamous 12-foot skeleton from Home Depot. DesignRush, an online presence that ranks digital marketing agencies in Ohio, stays on top of industry innovations such as design, marketing and technology trends. Check out their blog post about allowing users to customize their virtual reality designs using Google’s new app, Blocks.
Put your trust in micro-influencers. Word of mouth is still a major factor in consumer choices. As reported by a Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising report, 92% of consumers trust “earned media,” meaning user-generated content, more than traditional advertising. But don’t rely on big-name celebrities! Look for the micro-influencers — those with expertise and clout in their specific industries. They’re more respected and, more importantly, more affordable.
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Digital marketing is increasingly evolving and speeding up, too. How can you stay on top of emerging marketing trends? The Deciding Factor’s team of experienced marketing experts understands where this industry has been and where it’s going.
Contact us to learn how we can help you stay on the bleeding edge of brand and marketing strategy, development and execution.