With 2020 behind us, it’s time to look forward to 2021 and the digital marketing trends likely to have an impact on businesses this year:
Personalising the Customer Experience
COVID-19 has led to an increased movement of users online and in turn created a variety of new attitudes towards online businesses. One area in particular is the personalisation of customer experiences. In fact according to SmartHQ, 72% of shoppers will only engage in personalised marketing. Interestingly however, 86% of customers were concerned about their data privacy, despite the fact that 90% were willing to share behavioural data for a “cheaper and easier brand experience”. These scores highlight the importance of not only effective data gathering and implementation, but also the increased digital awareness of consumers. Personalisation can be achieved through a number of different options and will usually be dictated by the resources and capabilities available. For instance, the implementation of sign-up/membership programs for e-commerce sites. In this scenario users provide identifiable information about themselves and their buying habits, in return for access to exclusive discounts and sales.
Continued Growth in AI & Machine Learning
Whilst not available to all companies, the benefits of AI & Machine Learning have become apparent. Digital marketing in particular has been one of these beneficiaries due to AI & Machine Learning’s ability to digest exponentially high amounts of data compared to their human counterparts and provide objective solutions to specific marketing dilemmas. Many real-world examples have already been shown this year, with a few outlined by Smarter Insights. For example, Air Canada utilised Persado Natural Language Generator (a Machine Learning tool) to run an experiment around the use of language in their advertising campaigns. From this tool they found using anxiety fueled language gained a 3% lift in engagement, whilst exclusivity language and safety language each provided 5% and 3% drops in engagement. Holland & Barrett on the other hand found that through using AI they were able to provide more targeted emails which led to open rates increasing by 19%, email send volume decreasing by 23% and campaign revenue increasing by 27%.
Continued Rise of Social Commerce & Influencer Marketing
Social commerce looks at the use of social media platforms as an alternative avenue for purchasing of products and services. This has been further grown by the global pandemic which has aided immensely in pushing people online and in particular, to social media platforms. Facebook & Instagram are already looking at new ways for users to purchase products through their networks. This new selling opportunity has also meant that new avenues for marketing are being utilised. Online live streaming events across social media, for instance, have been met with widespread popularity and have found to have positive effects on driving sales. Social media influencers have also become an increasingly popular medium for advertising products and services.
The online environment shaped in 2020 has resulted in changes across search engines too. Many of these will also continue to play a large role in 2021:
- Mobile searches are dominating device searches, Google has even announced its plans to move their mobile first-indexing of SERP to March 2021. Meaning it’s more important than ever that your website is designed with mobile-first in mind to ensure optimal SEO performance.
- More users are looking to support local businesses, in-line with the effects of COVID-19 on SMBs. This makes it especially important to focus on local SEO optimisations, to ensure that a business’s local visibility is maximised.
- Featured snippets have become increasingly prominent in search results and offer the unique opportunity to be highly visible in SERPs. Businesses should keep this in mind when creating content, as new additions to featured snippets are currently being tested by Google.
The year 2020 has provided unique challenges to the digital marketing landscape, creating a range of new trends and opportunities for businesses. 2021 offers a clean slate for businesses to revisit and re-invigorate their digital marketing strategies by following the top trends and employing industry best practice digital marketing. For more information on any of 2021’s digital marketing trends or to take your digital presence to the next level, contact Redline Digital today!