The global pandemic had an impact on every business and led to a shift in how brands connect with their customers. Ecommerce sales increased exponentially, people spent a lot more time on social media and virtual events and conferences became the norm. From a digital marketing perspective, what will 2021 bring? What are the trends and tools to look out for in the next 12 months? Here we discuss some of this trend to watch in this new year.
Brands are expected to be inclusive or to be part of the inclusivity conversation. Consumers are shopping more mindfully, and if brands do not meet their expectations, then they could see impacts in 2021.
According to Accenture, the cultural shift towards inclusivity is already affecting purchasing behaviour: 41% of shoppers “have shifted… their business away from a retailer that does not reflect how important [identity and diversity] is to them.”
However, inclusive marketing should be considered the norm and should aim of bringing cultural awareness and solving the problems of unique audience groups.
Microsoft’s “We All Win” campaign.
Social Commerce & Shoppable Posts
Social media will become a top channel for purchase, instead of just discovery. Ecommerce brands use social media shop tools to reduce the risk and the ‘cart abandonment’ during their purchase, as the customers will not have to switch apps to finalize the buying process.
With social commerce, the whole shopping experience - from product finding and research to the checkout process - takes place on the social platform. 81% of shoppers search for products on Instagram and Facebook, so why not give them what they are looking for?
Image: ColourPop Cosmetics - Instagram.
Virtual events started of necessity during the pandemic but are here to stay, due to ROI and accessibility. These events are breaking down the barriers of place, cost, and time by offering a digital venue for anyone to connect, free registrations, and on-demand content that attendees around the world can access.
Companies found that by going virtual, they opened their event to a new audience as digital events are more accessible than in-person events. According to Bizzabo’s recent analysis, virtual events are seeing registration-to-attendee rates over 50%.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies; and experts predict that Augmented Reality (AR) will continue to outpace Virtual Reality (VR) in terms of market share.
A significant number of brands, such as IKEA, use this technology to enhance the consumer experience and increase sales. IKEA’s AR app – IKEA Place – allows users to use their phone’s camera to quickly scan their room or space, so they can "place" IKEA’s furniture around and see how it will fit in their own space.
Image: IKEA's AR app - IKEA Place.
This marketing technique is a personalized approach that creates authentic experiences with customers and can build relationships. By using the power of one at a time questions and looking like a real-time conversation, conversational marketing moves buyers through marketing and sales funnels.
By making your brand more accessible and easier for people to engage with it, you will be able to convert more of the right leads. Also, this tool can complement your strategy without the need to modify your existing processes.
Mastercard makes commerce more conversational with the launch of chatbots for banks and merchants. Image: Mastercard.
Demand for sustainability and environmental responsibility
COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted consumer demand for sustainability. ‘Recycling’ behaviours are the most established and searched according to Google Trends, but consumers are also conscious of their environmental impact as they make purchasing decisions.
People want and expect brands to demonstrate responsibility and transparency through their actions, as 81% of consumers strongly feel companies should help improve the environment.
Lacoste swapping the famous crocodile with endangered animals [“Save Our Species”]. The brand produced a limited number, where the number of polos of each species represented the number remaining in the wild. Image: Lacoste.
SEO A/B testing
Digital marketing is all about testing and analysis. A/B testing allows you to isolate the variables and easily identify which versions are driving better results.
SEO A/B split testing squeezes the most SEO juice out of your site and gives insight into the elements that make a big difference. You will be able to make the best decisions when it comes to website pages changes.
Image credits: Will Critchlow.
72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines and 55% of users do voice search to ask questions on a smartphone, according to Perficient. The use of voice search is increasing, so if voice search optimization is not part of your digital marketing or SEO strategy, 2021 is the year to fix and rethink that.
What companies should realize is that voice search could be a channel to develop a unique approach to customer interaction and be used to enhance the brand experience.
The unpredictable nature of 2020 has forced brands to rethink and come up with new ideas on how to connect with their customers. Over the next months, some of the major trends seen during the pandemic will be present on businesses digital marketing strategies. Virtual events and live-streams will continue to be common, purpose-driven brands that champion sustainability and inclusivity will rise to the top, and immersive technology should become an integral part of every marketing strategy.
What other trends are you considering in your digital marketing strategy? Let us know in the comments.
If you would like to read more about digital marketing, have a look at our articles. And if you wish to become a professional in this exciting field, we have the right course to help you launch your career!