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Despite the months marketers had spent planning out brand campaigns and different advertising approaches for 2020, unfortunately, the Coronavirus has changed everything. This has resulted in companies needing to quickly react to create new ideas and build new strategies to meet consumers’ new habits.
Along with these changes, industries that were once flourishing have been hit hard while new, emerging sectors have seen their success skyrocket. Specifically, the food and grocery industry learned to adapt quickly to incorporate digital marketing trends through concepts like curb-side deliveries and the utilization of online platforms to help keep consumers safe throughout lockdown. Tech and entertainment companies who already had strong online presences were able to extend their reach and grow it to an even larger size due to the people’s increasing time spent online.
What managed to help these industries grow was in part due to the way marketers adapted to new digital trends and provided the conveniences that consumers were desperately looking for. As 2020 nears an end, future marketing trends will still be an important factor that companies need to recognize ahead of the likely second wave of the pandemic.
If businesses have not yet gone digital, 2021 will definitely enforce the need for this approach. The world has become increasingly digital-centric since lockdowns, quarantines, and social distancing requirements have been enforced. Brands need to think about what the best approach to digital marketing will be specifically for them and then work on executing it successfully for their target audiences.
The industry itself will be a likely determining factor regarding which social media marketing trends 2021 will drive them towards. For example, automobile company Jeep has incorporated AI into their marketing strategy, offering an augmented reality experience for their consumers with 3D car models while Fashion Weeks around the world used virtual reality to execute their runway shows, and restaurants utilized mobile apps to allow consumers to order their food safely as well as promoting curbside pickup.
As time goes on, more trends will pop up to fill other customer needs, allowing industries of all sorts to enter the digital world and compete against industry rivals. Businesses need to learn new marketing approaches for times of crises to offer significant and relevant benefits for their consumers’ at a time when this is needed most.
Digital marketing predictions for 2021 are likely to include new strategies towards marketing during a crisis, social media and email marketing trends, artificial intelligence use, and better ways to approach customer service.
Below is a list of the top 10 trends for digital marketing in 2021:
1. Shoppable Posts: This trend is already on the rise but 2021 will be seeing even more use of shoppable posts. Consumers are constantly looking for the easiest, quickest way to shop. This is why using different social media platforms allow users to simply click on a post and buy an item featured in it. This mirrors the recent information provided by Smart Insights that people are now spending a total of 2 hours and 24 minutes scrolling through their phones on different digital platforms, giving brands a generous amount of time to reach consumers through shoppable posts, meeting consumers where they already are.
2. Voice Search: Data has been illustrating that people are constantly looking for the most convenient way to gain information or news, so it only makes sense that 2021 will be seeing an increase in voice search technology. Marketers will need to optimize their content to voice-friendly terms and phrases to increase their searchability as they are becoming more common in modern households with their usage only expected to increase with further lockdowns or quarantines.
3. Video Marketing: 92% of marketers state that using video content is an active part of their campaign strategies. Video content helps persuade and attract consumers to a brand for potential conversions as people are much more likely to engage with a video as opposed to other forms of content such as a blog post or written content.
4. AI-Chat Boxes: Consumers still want a “human-touch” while they shop online. This is why marketers are using artificial intelligence chat boxes to meet customers’ needs. These chat boxes speak to consumers in comprehensive sentences while answering any questions a customer may have while shopping, giving the illusion of a human interaction and involving the customer more in the process.
5. Artificial Reality: The growing popularity of artificial reality will lead companies in 2021 to incorporate this trend more than ever before. AR will allow consumers to see products in 3D before making the final decision regarding whether or not to purchase a specific product. Without having to leave their homes, customers will have the experience of shopping in-person through artificial reality.
6. Virtual Reality: Similar to artificial reality, virtual reality will see increases in marketing use in the year 2021. Companies will be able to create the illusion of in-store shopping for customers through the use of devices such as VR glasses.
7. Interactive Content: Marketers are finding new ways to keep consumers interested through interactive content. Approaches such as online quizzes, polls, and shoppable posts will be commonly seen throughout eCommerce social media platforms as well as their websites. With pretty much everyone now vying to attract user attention due to increased online usage, it’s crucial that you ensure your brand is creative and stands out from the competition. Creating interactive content that matches your brand identity and ethos will help with this.
8. Social Messaging Trends: While some social media platforms are perfect places for users to chat with their friends and family, other platforms such as Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are now being utilized for networking purposes by business owners. In 2021, marketers will likely be using these social messaging platforms to help reach their target audience as well as network with other brands at the same time.
9. Programmatic Advertising: A method of eliminating the guessing game of ad placements, marketers will now be able to buy an advertisement in real-time situations, placing ads in desirable places while their target audience is present. This is also a great strategy as brands will be able to spend budgets more wisely when it comes to marketing their products.
10. Artificial Intelligence Growth: Generally speaking, artificial intelligence growth will continue to rise in 2021. Marketers are discovering new technologies to better handle customer service along with using AI to obtain in-depth information quickly. Whether it is for gathering consumer data, tracking sales and user patterns, freeing up time for employees by removing repetitive tasks or looking to implement improved email marketing trends; 2021 will be taking full advantage of artificial intelligence.
Businesses in need of inspiration for their own advertising strategies or that are looking to follow the digital marketing trends 2020 has to offer can take inspiration from some other successful campaigns earlier in the year. Below are a few examples eCommerce brands can pull ideas from:
Anthropologie Uses Shoppable Posts: Clothing brand Anthropologie has connected a link to their bio, allowing consumers to shop all images they’ve posted simply by tapping on the link. Also, this allows consumers to easily find products of interest and purchase them in an organized quick manner after seeing them, drastically reducing the number of clicks between a decision and a purchase.
IKEA Uses Augmented Reality: With consumers unable to enter stores because of lockdowns and quarantines, IKEA has taken on augmented reality to give their customers an in-person experience while they shop online. After downloading the IKEA app, users are able to preview what a piece of furniture would look like in their home with a 3D generated image of these products. In this instance, IKEA has created a safe and convenient way to help consumers with their shopping experience while also ensuring that they can stay safe and avoid having to travel.
The Amanda Foundation Uses Programmatic Advertising: The Amanda Foundation, an organization created to help save shelter dogs, has been using programmatic advertising to reach their target audience. The foundation collects data on consumers’ browsing history, then pays to place specifically targeted ads during real-time customer searches. Not only does this help consumers find what they are looking for but also creates a more effective advertising campaign for the brand.
eCommerce brands will need to continue to search out different trends if they want to see successful results in 2021. Along with this, companies should study other brands in their industry along with performing testing of different potential marketing strategies. Businesses that are putting in the effort to transform their digital presence and strategies will create a strong footing for themselves against any future crises, as well as, better catering to consumers’ needs as the moment dictates.
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