If you’re an aspiring digital marketer in making or already one, you must have definitely researched the new digital marketing trends sometime or the other! digital marketing agency
Keeping up with the latest digital marketing trends in the industry is a necessity for professionals who want a future in digital marketing.
With the pace of change rising every year, each digital marketer has to constantly invest time and energy to upskill and learn.
Having a sound knowledge of the workings of algorithms, new changes or features gives you the first-mover advantage and creates the most effective marketing campaigns for you and your company.
As the new year begins, digital marketing enthusiasts everywhere have started to search and look around for the latest trends observed.
Earlier, voice search optimization and artificial intelligence these concepts were formidable, but at present, these latest digital marketing trends are among the prime concerns for most business owners.
We have written this blog, discussing the Top 31 Digital Marketing Trends to Look Forward To in 2021 & Beyond, with references and citations to all the research and articles we read to curate this learning experience. The trends belong to various categories like search, social, website, lead nurturing & more.
Attention: Before you start understanding these trends, you must be strong with your basics in digital marketing for a better approach towards the implementation of the trends. We recommend you to attend this 45-minute Free Masterclass on digital marketing basics and secrets by Mr. Karan Shah, CEO & Founder of IIDE.
Pst, stick to the end of the blog to gain insights on how you can keep up with these trends and make use of them.
Here are the Top 20 Digital Marketing Trends of 2021:
1. AI in Marketing
This is the #1 Digital Marketing Trend on our list. The world has been buzzing about how the Artificial Intelligence wave will take over every aspect of your lives in the future. Little do we realize, the change has already begun. 60% of internet users have already interacted with an AI chatbot for solving queries across multiple apps and websites.
Most of the content we consume on our social media platforms is fine-tuned by AIs to make our stay engaged for longer! This technology is so amazing that it is projected to be a $190 billion industry by 2025 and digital marketers have an amazing opportunity to exploit this hi-tech tool.
AI is a complex algorithm that teaches itself by looking at vast numbers of data about a certain field or topic and learning the patterns that work the best. The learning capabilities of the AI provide programmers with the ability to introduce effective changes in outcomes by letting the AI use the techniques it found works the best.
There are multiple examples of AI already accomplishing never thought of activities such as content writing for JP Morgan and Chase. They have adopted an AI-powered content writing assistant called Persuade.
AI can serve many functions and act as an extension to every digital marketer who knows how to employ it. It is cost-efficient, precise, and extremely effective. Having seen so many giant companies adopting these tools, every team must have a plan to incorporate AI in their array of tools. digital marketing trends
2. Augmented Reality
By the definition of Wikipedia, Augmented Reality is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where the objects that reside in the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information.
It consists of 3 basic features
- a combination of real and virtual worlds
- real-time interaction
- accurate 3D registration of virtual and real objects
While virtual reality makes buzz and gets everyone excited with grand sci-fi ideas, Augmented Reality is much more plausible from a marketing point of view. Experts foresee that AR will continue to outperform VR in terms of market share.
Brands are progressively using this AR technology to elevate the consumer experience and increase sales.
One such example is IKEA, which has its own app that allows the users to click a picture of their room on their smartphones (iOS 11.0.1 for now) to test drive IKEA’s furniture in it. The users can move the furniture around to check out how the furniture looks different from different angles.
Another example would be Gucci, which is the latest luxury brand that newly added an Augmented Reality feature to its app to let users ‘try on’ sneakers’.
The user can choose to see 19 different sneakers on their own by pointing their smartphone camera downwards. It enabled users to swipe left or right to change to another pair. The app also lets users take photos, which can afterward be shared on social media or in messaging apps.
With AR elevating more than ever, we will see a massive uptake in brands finding useful applications for the technology in the future.
3. Voice Search Optimization
According to research by Review42 on voice search, they found that 55% of teenagers use voice search every day. This massive adoption by the entire generation shows how popular voice search is going to get in the future.
There are a couple of reasons why Voice Search, a feature we all received with our smartphones around 2014, is taking off in a big way this year. Firstly, the increasing adoption of smart speakers. 20% of the households have bought a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. The adoption of devices that are fully voice search controlled is a big indicator of how people have started to get accustomed to this new behavior.
Secondly, Google claims that they have achieved 95% accuracy with their Voice Search. With higher precision of search, the ease of use factor for voice search has jumped up. Now with better accuracy to match what you ask for, and the ease of using your voice to get results makes the process personalized and attractive.
Thirdly and most importantly, it is projected that by 2022, 50% of all online shopping will be conducted through voice results. This is a whopping $40 billion opportunity for digital marketers to exploit. With so many growth factors indicating the rise of voice search, making your website ready for voice search will be very essential for the future.
We found a guide by SEM Rush during our research. This article will teach you how to optimize your website for voice search in simple 7 steps.
4. Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic Ad Buying is the use of software to purchase digital advertising. While the traditional method includes human negotiation, requests for proposals, and quotes, programmatic buying makes use of algorithms and machines to buy ads.
Programmatic Advertising is when AI is used to automate so that advertisers can target more specific audiences.
The automation is quick, efficient which ultimately increases conversions and lowers the customer acquisition cost.
Real-time bidding is a type of programmatic ad buying, it allows better and fast targeting, qualifying ads to be bought and sold on a per-case basis, which means visitors who are your targeted audience will be exposed to the ad.
Here’s how Programmatic Advertising works:
Programmatic Advertising is rapidly increasing every year and is predicted to be used for a huge majority of display advertising in the next couple of years.
According to the research of eMarketer, the display ads in 2021 in the US are nearly 88%, which are forecasted to be secured programmatically.
One of the best examples for the same would be ‘The Economist’, a digital and print publication, started a programmatic advertising campaign with the aim of persuading curious readers to try the publication.
The same campaign generated 6,50,000 new prospects, additional return on investment (ROI) of 10:1. Brand Awareness for “The Economist” also elevated by 65%.
Chatbots are considered one of the top digital marketing trends in 2021, the AI-based technology makes use of instant messaging to chat with customers, and with site visitors. It is designed to communicate with customers by textual or auditory methods.
Businesses can leverage the use of chatbots to engage with customers. Since there are plenty of users visiting the website at once, it is advantageous to have a technology that answers hundreds of users at once. The benefits of having chatbots are 24/7 customer service, instant responses to inquiries, and answers to simple questions.
63% of people prefer messaging on chatbots to communicate with businesses or brands. This virtual support provides excellent customer services, this means a business gets rid of repetitive tasks and can focus on important work.
Starbucks has introduced a chatbot that operates via the MyBarista app where you can order by auditory message through Amazon Alexa or messaging.
Another amazing example of chatbot systems is the recently launched project LaMDA by Google. It is going to revolutionize the coming generations of chatbot systems. Here’s a bonus read on everything you need to know about Google’s LaMDA.
Besides allowing customers to remain in the comfort of their homes right up until their coffee is ready the chatbot messages the customer when the order is ready for pickup, the chatbot also allows payment and tipping.
If you want to outperform your competitors and want to stand out in the market, you must focus on personalizing content, products, emails, etc. Personalization is the next big trend that will soon become an industry standard.
According to research by Instapage,
- 63% of consumers are annoyed with the fact that brands repeatedly keep blasting generic advertising messages.
- 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers them personalized experiences.
- 90% of consumers claim that they find personalization appealing.
The best example to understand the power of personalization are Amazon and Netflix, they have personalized recommended movies for each user. Here are some other examples of brands that are progressively using personalization at present:
Starbucks: Starbucks introduced a gamified mobile app that keeps track of the number of times a customer visited, the purchase history of the customer, and their location. This personalized app allowed customers to customize their drinks, and it enabled them to receive rewards. The feature ‘reward system’ on the app itself spiked the revenue to $2.56 billion.
7. Automated & Personalised Email Marketing
As the name implies, automated email marketing is sending emails to your customers automatically based on triggers or schedules you set.
Emails have always been the most reliable channel of digital marketing. Promotional emails are an amazing way to reach out to your customers and let them know what your organization has achieved or any sale you have coming up.
Yet due to over usage of mass email tactics, most people have stopped responding to promotional emails. Personalized emails are a great way to bring back the attention of your customer, and create a far more engaged customer base.
According to the research of Backlinko:
- You are 6x more likely to get a click from an email than from a tweet
- Adding a call-to-action button in your emails instead of simply a text link can lead to a 28% increase in click-throughs
- 78% of marketers have seen an increase in engagements (including CTR) in the last 12 months
Making your customer feel special is important for every business. Personalized emails do just that, they give the customer the experience that the business is far more than an imaginary entity, rather a collective of individuals just like them.
One of the best examples of automated email marketing would be:
EasyJet: EasyJet had launched an email campaign using customer data to essentially tell each customer their individual story. The email-campaigned used customers’ travel history with the airline to create personalized stories, which suggested and recommended where they might like to travel next. 12.5 million personalized emails had been sent, which had a 25% higher CTC as compared to non-personalized emails.
Learn to build powerful and successful email lists and email marketing campaigns by enrolling here: Online Email Marketing Course with Certification
8. Video Marketing
Video Marketing is also one of the top digital marketing trends in 2021 and is likely to be at the top for more years to come. Here are some stats that will demonstrate the importance of including a video in your digital marketing current trends list.
According to the research by Impactplus:
- 72% of businesses say videos have improved their conversion rate
- 70% of consumers say they have shared brands video
- 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions
- Video content is 50 times more likely to drive users than plain text.
One of the issues faced by marketers in recent years was to showcase long-form texts on mobile screens, as it becomes too difficult and tedious for users to read them. However, a video can present the same information in a much better way regardless of the device.
According to Seotribunal, if your website includes a video, it’s 50 times more likely to bring organic search results as compared to plain text. Why does this happen? Because people find video content more captivating, hence google brings such sites on the top results.
But simply producing a video after another isn’t enough. You need to make sure that you are well-aware of the ongoing video marketing trends, a few of them are listed below:
- Livestreams on mobile
- Short-form videos
- user-generated video content
- Online Training & Educational Videos
- Video advertising
- Interactive AR content
- Shoppable Videos
- Virtual Events
Related Post: 8 Low Budget Video Marketing Tips For Your Business
digital marketing trends
The recent addition by the popular platform YouTube is called “Shorts”. It is similar to Instagram Reels, where you can create short-form video content for 15 seconds or under. With the increasing popularity of short-form video content today, YouTube Shorts is a very good opportunity for all those who have their existing target audience on that platform. Engaging 15-second videos is all it takes now, to grab the attention of your viewers.
10. International Ads
Digital marketing has opened up global doors for every business. You can now run ads in different countries and capture the global markets. This is one of the hottest digital marketing trends because now you get to increase your audience at similar or lesser costs. Yes, that’s right. In some countries, you will be able to run ads at a much cheaper cost than in your own country. Thus, international ads is a trend that is soon going to pick up.
11. Instagram Reels
The Instagram Reels was great news for marketers & content creators. Especially since TikTok was banned in a few countries, reels have served as the best replacement.
The great news for digital marketers is that Reels are providing more than double engagement rates when compared to posting a normal video.
And now with the newly launched insights features on Instagram Reels, you can even track your performance and analyze your work!
According to Hootsuite, NFL teams’ Reels generate 67% more engagement than their regular video posts.
As a marketer, you can use this feature to showcase many kinds of content such as informative content, behind the scenes of the organization, product reviews, etc.
An excellent example of this is Louis Vuitton’s Instagram reels, they are of high quality, stunning, and very innovative. Every single reel of Lois Vuitton has gone viral with an average of 5M views!
An effective Reels and video content strategy is necessary to grab and retain your customer’s attention in 2021.
Must-Read: How To Select #Hashtags For Instagram
12. Shoppable Content On (Digital Marketing Trends)
Shoppable Content is any content- picture, video, or article, that includes a direct link to a buyout portal.
This makes the process of a customer getting aware of a product through content marketing and making a decision to buy the product on an eCommerce platform far simpler and direct.
A product on the eCommerce website has a very standard layout- description, details, pictures, and price. With the introduction of Shoppable content, the way eCommerce operates and markets its product is going to change. Instead of dreary and boring product descriptions, each product can be marketed as a story in the form of interactive content.
Instagram has introduced a shoppable content feature, where users can buy a product directly from a story or a post. Even Pinterest has introduced this feature for its audiences.
According to the stats of Oberlo:
- The estimated number of global digital buyers in 2021 is 2.14 Billion
- In 2021, eCommerce sales are expected to account for 18.1 per cent of retail sales worldwide.
- The number one reason people shop online is free delivery.
Brands such as H&M have stepped up their marketing game with their shoppable content, by turning their Instagram profile into shoppable posts.
They tag products into their Instagram posts so that users from their huge following of 36+ million followers can get inspiration and discover new products, and make purchases using Instagram only.
Modern consumers appreciate smooth user experience and engaging storytelling for their products. With shoppable content, the entire experience of eCommerce will get a face-lift. A consumer now expects fast-loading visuals and rewards companies who put in the effort to create attractive content.
13. User-Generated Content
People like to participate in activities, especially activities relating to their favourite products or services. User-Generated Content or UGC harnesses this excitement of the customer and prompts them to create something of their own with the concerned product and share it with the world.
UGC campaigns run on the creative submissions by the customers of a product or service, as per the challenge or prompt given by the company. This strategy is so effective that UGC posts enjoy a 4 times higher click-through rate in comparison to normal promotional campaigns.
UGC is a great strategy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it massively reduces the time, effort, and resources required to run a campaign. UGC campaigns gather a pool of high-quality promotional materials, all submitted from the customer at no cost to the organization. Secondly, UGC receives 28% more engagement rates when compared to a normal post, as the trust factor of a post that is coming from an unpaid customer is far higher.
Despite these wonderful benefits, it was noted that only 16% of brands have any form of UGC strategy in place. Of the brands that have harnessed the power of this digital marketing trend, GoPro has been a crowd favourite. By giving prompts to their customers to make videos using the GoPro equipment, they have succeeded in creating a craze in people around the world to post their adrenaline-filled life with these cameras with their campaign “Video of the Day”.
14. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is more of word-of-mouth marketing that concentrates on using an important leader or personality to amplify the brand to the market. Influencers could be famous celebrities or YouTubers, Instagramers with great followings who can help spread the word about the brand or business by social channels.
Here are some of the notable highlights on Influencer marketing by Influencer marketing HubSpot:
- Influencer Marketing Industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 Billion in 2021
- More than 240 new influencer marketing-focused agencies and influencer platforms were established in 2019
- The majority (59%) admit to having a standalone budget for content marketing, and 75% of them now intend to dedicate a budget to influencer marketing in 2021
- 90% of our survey respondents believe influencer marketing to be an effective form of marketing
Influencer Marketing could be the next big thing!
One of the best examples of influencer marketing has to be Adidas. It’s one of the most popular brands using influencer marketing to promote its products, it got acquainted with influencers to increase their reach on Instagram and various social media platforms.
They wanted to concentrate on the younger population, hence they conducted an Instagram influencer marketing campaign which worked wonders for them, as 70% of Instagram users are below 35 years of age.
They had collaborated with influencers like Selena Gomez and Iga Wysocka and introduced #MyNeoShoot, they were able to gain 12,000 entries for the contest through this campaign. Furthermore, their hashtag got a massive number of mentions and their Instagram account followers increased by 41,000 because of this campaign. And, speaking about sales, they managed to increase their sale by 24% and at the same, this Nike’s sales suffered a drop of 9.1%
15. WhatsApp Marketing
WhatsApp Marketing is believed to be one of the biggest & must-use digital marketing trends in 2021. WhatsApp has completely changed the way businesses now reach & engage with their customers. You can now personally message on an app that is used by all age groups and always checked multiple times in a day. And you will not be creeping out the consumer because you will reach them through a WhatsApp Business Account which helps them trust you and your business’ credibility.
You can take orders from consumers, inform them about the status of their orders and even receive & make payments! Pretty much why it is one of the best digital marketing trends you should adopt. Read more on How to Get Started with WhatsApp Marketing.
16. Geofencing (Location Based Marketing)
Geofencing is a location-based service marketing in which an app or other software program uses radio frequency identification (RFID), GPS, Wi-Fi, and cellular data to provoke a targeted marketing action like a text, social media advertisement, email, or an app notification. When the mobile device enters or exits a geographic boundary, it is known as geo-fence.
According to increasingly.com,
- Mobile ads with geofencing have double the CTR (click-through-rate)
- Geofencing is adaptable with 92% of smartphones.
- 90% of SMS are read within 3 minutes.
- 53% of shoppers visited a retailer after receiving a location-based message.
Market Research Future has analyzed that geofencing can help elevate customer interactions, it’s undoubtedly one of the beneficial digital marketing trends and hence it is gaining popularity. The global geofencing is expected to grow approximately by USD 2,387 million by 2023 at 27% of CARG between 2017 and 2023.
Brilliant examples of geofencing would be:
Starbucks: Starbucks uses geofencing to advertise its drinks to interested customers. They usually send push notifications when users walk by their business or are in a nearby area. They also send a special push notification letting customers in the nearby area about the great deal Starbucks offer, it is a smart deal to get users in the door.
Sephora: Sephora uses a “store companion” geofencing feature which turns on as soon as the customer walks into the store. The app has excellent functionality, if the user visits one of the geofenced areas, they receive a notification about current promotions, discounts, etc.
For industries that need to convert digital users into loyal customers, geofencing is going to become more and more significant in their marketing strategy.
17. Hyper-local SEO for Digital Marketing Trends
Hyperlocal SEO is a digital marketing trend that is very helpful for start-ups as well as small businesses. Never before has it been easier for small business owners to be able to use the power of digital marketing to get customers.
Hyperlocal SEO is the new algorithmic push by Google which focuses on a person’s current NAP (Name, Address, and Phone number) to give very personalized results to daily queries such as “closest ATM near me” or “where to buy coffee?”
The most amazing thing about this hyperlocal focus is that it provides the business with the ability to create a strong regional market for themselves. Combined with voice search results, people who type very specific queries can easily find a way to get to you. This is a great relief for traditional businesses and small business owners especially.
The algorithm update is massive yet very easy for everyone to be able to use and apply to their websites.
According to Search Engine Watch, the main tool needed to start implementing your Hyperlocal SEO strategy is to get a Google My Business account.
After providing details such as an address, business type, opening timings, your business shall start ranking soon enough. This trend is especially going to be revolutionary for B2B digital marketing in 2021.
One of the classic examples for Hyperlocal SEO is the “Whopper Detour” campaign by Burger King, which got insanely popular as it allowed its app-users to buy a whopper for just a penny as long as they were in the vicinity of 600m of a McDonald’s outlet.
This campaign went on to become one of the most classic examples of geofencing and hyperlocal marketing as the Whopper Detour campaign resulted in 1.5 million app downloads while generating 3.3 billion impressions, equating to $37m in earned media, and the mobile sales tripled during the promotion with more than 500,000 Whoppers retrieved.
18. Quora Marketing
Quora has always been perceived as a question-and-answer platform with very limited advertising or monetizing ability. Yet experts like Neil Patel write lengthy answers there to gain traction from audiences. This platform has become a recent favourite of Google, and digital marketers in 2021 need to incorporate a comprehensive strategy around Quora
The charm of Quora marketing is the fact that it is done by individuals. Individuals carry more trust when compared to a brand because there is a human touch to the interaction and the audiences feel they are talking to a fellow person. This personal connection is what makes Quora such a great trend to follow in 2021 because the audiences are tired of listening to mass marketing by brands. Individuals, answering people’s genuine questions, makes marketing more genuine and trustable.
19. Content Marketing and BERT update
When it comes to creating content for websites, the term “Keyword density” is very important to digital marketers. This has all come to change with the Google BERT update, which enhanced its capability to read and understand the content of a website. Google can now comprehend what the content of the website is about and all the related topics it answers.
BERT is a Google AI, yet it deserves its special mention as it changes how website content writing has to be done. By understanding better the use of language, Google can understand answers without requiring the main keywords to be necessarily present, it can understand the usage of synonyms. It also understands the context of a sentence by reading it about the previous sentences and succeeding sentences.
Content writers can now solely focus on making articles and pages that provide a great experience for the user, without having to simplify it to make it easy for Google.
If Content Marketing intrigues you and if you wish to expand your learning horizon then you should check this out: Online Content Marketing Course with Certification
20. Personalised Remarketing
Remarketing is one such powerful digital marketing trend that has blown away marketers. It lets you follow your website visitors/consumers with various types of ads to urge them to make a purchase. You can literally target individuals which showed interest in your business. What’s better than convincing only those people to buy your products who need the least persuasion?
Remarketing, if used correctly, helps you reduce marketing efforts and costs and increases your ROI. Learn more with this remarketing guide.