You can’t think about 2021 online marketing trends without taking into consideration what has been happening over the last nine months. 2020 has certainly been an unprecedented year.
Among the chaos and uncertainty brought about by the big shifts in our society, many industries – marketing included – have had to evolve and adapt to fit a ‘new normal’. Various marketing trends we had predicted last year came true, such as voice search, content marketing, personalisation, and hyper-targeting, but unexpected ones developed as well, such as a general movement of services online and e-commerce platforms attracting more investment than ever.
A renewed focus on brand experience has developed due to lockdown laws and restrictions on visiting physical stores. Consumers are now attracted by the promise of health and safety and opt for increasing personalised service features.
New statistics, technologies, techniques, and digital marketing strategies are emerging every day. The way we attract, connect, and market to our audiences is constantly changing. As a business owner, you have to do more than just keep up with trends in marketing – you have to stay ahead of the game. Here is what you should expect in terms of online marketing trends 2021:
User-generated content (UGC) is brand content that is created by someone who is not an official representative of your business or affiliate. There are numerous types of content that can qualify as UGC: social media posts, reviews, videos, podcasts, etc.
UGC is one of the most effective social media marketing strategies because it is seen as a more genuine and trustworthy source of information. Consumers know that marketers position products and services in their best light and avoid mentioning aspects that could negatively impact consumer buying decisions. Potential customers tend to trust other customers more and will buy a product in spite of a few negative comments if the general impression is positive.
Improved Branded Content
Your brand content is not intended just to market your brand or sell a product; it is part of the overall unique and unforgettable brand experience you are offering. An increasing number of businesses and individuals are creating new content every second, so it is becoming harder and harder to stand out from the crowd. Without taking content quality to new levels, you will not catch consumers’ attention.
One of the most memorable examples of high-quality branded content is Apple’s video “The whole working-from-home thing”, promoting how their products could be used to relieve the stress of working from home during the global pandemic crisis.
Social media marketing strategies are among the main concerns of most businesses nowadays. Social media has become the biggest and most effective platform for promoting businesses online. 2020 has seen the introduction of social commerce in the form of Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, and Pinterest Shopping Ads and Catalogs.
With more than 70% of online shoppers turning to social networks for inspiration, it was natural for companies to introduce shoppable posts. This practice is guaranteed to increase your sales levels as it reduces the friction associated with the user moving from your social media page to your website and then the additional effort of adding the product to the cart only after accessing your e-commerce website. It is even possible to buy products directly from Instagram without leaving the app due to the platform’s latest checkout feature.
Google Core Web Vitals
Most entrepreneurs have probably never heard of Google Core Web Vitals. These are a set of metrics that measure real-world user experience for loading performance, interactivity, and visual stability of a web page. These metrics also include the existing Search signals such as: mobile-friendliness, safe-browsing, HTTPS, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. Websites that are mobile responsive and have good page loading speed will rank better in search results; a poor website will negatively impact your ranking in search results and lower your visibility significantly.
There are multiple reasons to look back at the past: digital natives reaching maturity, the fast-paced world we are living in, the rapid advance of technology that can leave some of us confused, and looking for comfort after an atypical and disruptive 2020.
Those missing “the good times” will be willing to spend more money on consumer goods and services if the advertising and marketing appeals to their nostalgia. Why not capitalise on things that are familiar and considered valuable and authentic, especially when nostalgia is known to have a strong positive effect on mental well-being?
Many people regain a sense of meaning and continuity by recalling things from the past. Marketers can combine these warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings with a great new product and develop some of the most effective and down-to-earth marketing campaigns. 2020 has meant more time spent indoors, looking back fondly at good memories and with uncertainty about the future so abundant, it’s the perfect time to implement feel-good marketing that plays to people’s nostalgia.
Live video was already immensely popular in 2019, when Internet users watched an estimate total of 1.1 billion hours of live video. 2020 has only added fuel to the fire as live video has become a necessity for many industries, such as entertainment, learning, music, and fashion. When events such as fashion shows or festivals are no longer possible, the only option for continuing one’s activity is embracing live video. It is a convenient solution that has enabled businesses to keep in touch with their customers in 2020 and will definitely continue into 2021 and beyond.
Featured snippets have been welcomed by Internet users everywhere because they enable people to save time and effort when researching various topics. These snippets are displayed at the top of Google search results and allow searchers to obtain an answer to their questions without needing to click through to the website.
Some websites may not be very happy about it because it decreases website traffic, but this trend can be leveraged to your best interest because it provides a smoother user experience. You can create content providing further information to users with a special interest in the topic, and only those qualified leads will access your web page. Ranking for snippets makes sense because users want to avoid the hassle of viewing numerous web pages until they find the answer to their question. If your snippet is informative and meets their needs or answers their question, they will also access your website and potentially become paying customers.
Don’t forget about these ‘oldies but goodies’ either:
Social influencers have been on the rise in the last years for the same reason user-generated content works: consumers don’t trust businesses and look for information and reassuring in third parties. Having access to the biggest influencers on social media can be difficult if you are a small business, and this is why micro-influencers are a big thing now and will continue to be an effective tool in 2021. They can even provide more value to brands than big influencers as their posts are often considered more authentic by audiences. As a small or medium-sized business you should definitely explore this territory and use it to boost your brand.
Voice Search SEO
Voice search is here to stay because people like the comfort of it and ease of access. Voice search as one of the most prominent 2021 online marketing trends means that marketers need to adapt to Google’s changes in the search algorithm. People now make searches in the form of a question, such as “what is the closest grocery store” instead of “grocery stores in [location]”.
We have been hearing about artificial intelligence and virtual reality in the last few years, but what these trends mean for the consumer is increased interactivity. People expect to actively engage with brands before making a purchase; interactive content gives them an idea of what it would be like to purchase a product or a service. The most successful types of interactive content are interactive infographics, interactive videos, polls and surveys, assessments made by customers, interactive eBooks and white papers, interactive emails, and product recommendations.
Thinking about and implementing new 2021 online marketing trends allows us to adapt to the new normal brought by the pandemic and enables us to serve our customers better. VMA is here for you in 2021, assisting you with your digital marketing strategies and helping you reach your business goals.