We have polished our crystal ball (and undertaken extensive research) to unveil the emerging shifts that are happening across the digital marketing landscape in 2021.

Digital Marketing in 2021

1. Permanent digital and virtual pivots

Whilst we are very excited to see real people in real life once again, businesses galore have realised that virtual events are successful in their own right. Rather than transitioning back to in-person events and networking, such as in-store VIP access, virtual offerings will run alongside business in the real world whilst not replacing it.
Therefore, don’t forget about your online offers such as takeaway and delivery services, live shopping and business Q&A’s once all Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. They enhance your business.

2. An increase in shopping on social media

More than 800k Instagram users shop on Instagram every month, and as of March, Instagram Shopping was available to Instagram users across 44 countries. 
Furthermore, a whopping 43% of internet users in the United States of America are now classified as ‘social media shoppers,’ and the U.K will follow suit. Facebook and Instagram are making it easier than ever to shop within the app, and people will always opt for the easiest option – we only have to look at the success of Amazon to know this.
Ensure you have Facebook and Instagram shopping set up and allocate time daily, weekly, fortnightly to update your product catalogues.

3. Voice-search marketing strategies

Although the rise of social media shopping could hint at the demise of Google Shopping, we think otherwise, especially as Google Shopping is now free – search will continue to be an incredibly important element of marketing due to the continuous increase in voice search, and consumers using voice search are direct and precise about the products they want.
38% of Gen Z are willing to purchase via voice-activated ordering, and 5 billion people are predicted to use digital assistants this year.
Ensure that you implement strategies to answer to voice search queries with search engine marketing, SEO and the implementation of voice-led query keywords.

4. A social media channel declutter

With an ever-increasing amount of options for social media channel use, businesses are going to have to be selective about which platforms they use to build a loyal and engaged following. Our best advice is to concentrate on the apps your target audiences use the most and dismiss the ones that your customers aren’t active on. Find out how to choose the right social media channels for your business.

5. Eggs in multiple baskets

Algorithms are constantly adjusting across social media networks, making it harder for businesses to be seen organically. Don’t invest all of your effort and time into social media alone, particularly a singular app – make sure you are driving traffic through to your points of sale or call to action points from other sources as well as social media, such as Google My Business, online directories and shops, blog posts, SEO backlinking and more.

6. It’s all about people

Post-pandemic, people want brands that empathise with them, foster community, and are relatable and authentic.
Encourage conversations and involve your audience in your content as much as you can. Use conversations you have had with your audience to build content, services and products.
Creating an inclusive community around your business and adopting a more customer-centric approach will be key to success.

7. Video marketing is developing further

Now, video content has featured on every key marketing trends lists since the lists began. However, it’s still very much apparent that the best type of content that grabs the attention of consumers most, is video.
However, video has gone way beyond video (anyone remember Blockbuster and VHS? Such nostalgia!) and the video marketing landscape is everchanging – these days, you need to be utilising reels, IGTV, stories and a multitude of other video features and tools such as gif makers and geo-filters.
Instagram is now prioritising reels over images across feeds which indicates that video marketing in 2021 is going to continue growing – TikTok’s meteoric rise is evidence of this, and Cisco predicts that live Internet video will account for 17% of Internet video traffic by 2022.

8. Collaboration over competition

After the Covid-19 pandemic and its resulting lockdowns, community has become incredibly important to people, and leading brands are starting to collaborate with one another to build their audience, particularly in the creative industries. This year we will witness the unlikely collaboration between The North Face and Gucci, a union of the US Postal Service and Polaroid, and a collaboration between Adidas and Peleton to name a few.
As well as fostering community and building a larger following online by basically helping one another out and benefiting, collaborations are also extremely popular with consumers due to the one-off novelty collaborations provide, and the exciting new product offerings they bring.

9. The shift from content marketing to community marketing

The UK lockdowns left many people feeling isolated or lonely. As a result, there’s an emerging trend for content in 2021, which is that it is set to shift to a community-led focus from a brand-led focus. It is a newly coined concept, ‘community marketing.’
Additionally, community projects have started to attract investor attention, which hints further at a rise in community marketing and community-led business. A content marketing strategy focused on strengthening the community around your business and the values your business represents will foster feelings of connection and inclusivity, which people are needing after the pandemic. Your marketing should be community-focused, customer centred and purpose-driven.

10. Trends aren’t trendy

Don’t jump on the back of trends if they aren’t authentic or related to your business. There is no pulling the wool over consumer eyes in 2021!
Key marketing trends for 2021 shouldn’t really be viewed as ‘trends’, but rather they should be seen as ‘shifts.’ A trend would suggest a short-term, flash-in-the-pan marketing practice, yet your marketing strategy should provide long-term results and be part of a continuous, ever-evolving and improving marketing plan.

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