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Digital marketing trends 2021: What to expect

It doesn’t matter what your industry is, or what products and services you offer – digital marketing trends cannot be ignored. Not so long ago, companies needed little more than a website and a Facebook page, but now, the digital landscape is evolving so quickly that it’s hard to keep up.

According to NewReputation, the current estimation is that global ad spending will reach $605 billion in 2021.

With the massive amount of people using the internet to buy products, let’s review some digital marketing trends that will continue in 2021.

1. Voice is going to continue to rise

The advances made in recent years in the fields of natural language processing, conversation interfaces, automation, and machine learning, and deep learning processes have enabled virtual assistants to become increasingly intelligent and useful.

Almost one-third of the 3.5 billion searches performed on Google every day are voice searches now, with personal assistant devices leading the way.

Voice search differs from the typical desktop or mobile search. When you open Google on your browser and type in your search query, you’ll see hundreds of pages of search results. It’s not that hard to be one of them.

When you ask Siri a question, it will give you just a few results. More often than not it will only give you one result. If your website is one of them, the CTR can potentially be much higher. However, it needs to be there in the first place. Therefore, tailoring your SEO strategy for voice search is crucial.

Ways you can do this is to make your search phrases more conversational and less like written terms. Often written searches are just keyword bundles.

2. Chatbots and AI are here to stay

Chatbots help brands improve customer service while keeping a lid on budgets. Chatbots are quicker than humans in giving any data-related answers and taking requests. They have humor and personalities and offer personalized service to any customer in need, any time.

Chatbots can be integrated with a website, an application, and even with a social media platform. They also gather user information that can later be used to better tailor marketing strategies.

According to Grand View Research, the global chatbot market is reaching $1.2 billion with a 24 percent annual growth rate. And the research also found that 45 percent of end-users prefer using them as a primary mode of communication in customer service.

It’s estimated that in the next 5 years, approximately 80% of business communications with customers will be performed through bot messengers.

With the chatbot market on the continual increase, it is important for businesses to see how they can integrate it into their strategy. May it be a simple customer service assistant or even a way of promoting features and offers, now is the time to get the technology in place.

There is, of course, the heavy use of AI and machine learning in these systems but I will come to that later on.

3. AI and machine learning

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have driven increasingly more efficient data analysis, making it easier for marketers to deliver hyper-personalization to their customers, including content personalization and unique journeys.



In 2021, we expect to see more marketers set up predictive lead scoring, deploy complex trigger-based campaigns, and invest in greater depths of dynamic content to serve customers at every phase of the user journey.

What it all comes down to is personalization. Rather than rely on a marketer’s manual effort to create different experiences for groupings of people, machine-learning algorithms provide a scalable way for marketers to create unique experiences for individuals.

With machine learning, instead of giving the computer lots of rules to follow, we’re programming it to learn everything it can about a person and select the experience most likely to appeal to that person. And for machine-learning personalization to be most effective, marketers should be able to build their own “recipes” that tell the computer what types of information to consider when determining someone’s digital experience.

A customizable recipe begins with the selection of one or more pre-programmed based algorithms. These algorithms can be simple, such as displaying items that are trending or recently published, or they can be more advanced, like collaborative filtering or decision trees.

Coupled with chatbots, machine learning can do this. Imagine the possibilities!

4. Video is still going to be at the top of the tree

Video is still winning the race of most successful medium of marketing in 2019 and this is set to continue into 2021. This makes sense, because the average attention span of consumers is short, and most people would rather watch a video than read a blog post.

Live video has been a large factor in marketing because it directly connects engaged consumers to products and services. If you want to catch consumer attention then you will most likely find them on social media. Platforms like Facebook Live have given marketers the opportunity to be in the face of their target market.

Next year, live video feeds will continue to explode, but the important aspect going forward will be originality. Interactive video and imaginative video marketing that encourages user engagement will quickly outpace video for the sake of moving pictures. Consumers become bored quickly — brands that use video to engage and excite users will win.

The importance of video cannot be understated according to Hubspot. Simply adding a video to an email boosts the click-through rate by a staggering 200–300 percent, and putting one on a landing page increases the conversion rate by 80 percent.

So make sure you don’t fall behind in the video arena. In almost every area of marketing, it outperforms other mediums. Look at your business activities and work out the best way to get video marketing incorporated into your strategy.

5. Choose your reality: AR or VR

These two have taken a bit of time to hit the big leagues but there is significant evidence that they are about to. For those that do not know: Augmented reality is imagery/video layered on top of reality whereas virtual reality is a completely generated reality through the use of a head-mounted device.

There are many inventive ways in which marketers can use them to make a more visceral experience for consumers. It ties into the video perfectly but hands the control of the video to the user. It makes for an immersive experience and immersion is a surefire way to connect to a consumer through a range of senses and emotions.

Businesses are already embracing the power of this new technology in creating brand awareness, as well as in selling individual products. IKEA, for example, has been using VR gaming technology since 2016. With its shopping app, IKEA VR Experience, its customers can try out different IKEA solutions before buying them. Other big players that have experimented with AR include Nivea, Starbucks, and Volkswagen.

How to make these work for you

I have shared a lot of different trends to expect to see in 2021 here and I wouldn’t expect a single business to implement them all at once. It is important to look at competitors and similar industries to see what they have done in these areas.

Be good at something instead of OK at lots of things so concentrating on one of these areas would be a better use of funds and time. This is not to say just pick the coolest sounding or one you most enjoy yourself. If it doesn’t have a place in your marketing strategy then you would be wasting funds if you plow funds into something that won’t resonate with your target demographic.

Do prudent research to see if your target market is interested in AR before investing in it. Video is expensive but it is far cheaper than the likes of AR and VR. You may also find to incorporate a voice chatbot into your CRM so don’t just put one in for the sake of it.

Always think, can I make this work for my business and then go from there.

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