Let’s start by stating the obvious; 2020 can get in the bin. In every way possible. A year full of gruelling challenges, both personally and professionally, 2020 affected everybody and every industry. In particular, those in the marketing industry who have basically thrown the rule book out, and their hands in the air.
That being said, a good marketer knows that you should always be looking towards the future. The end of 2020 is closer than we think, and it has created some tweaks to marketing trends that digital markers will need to consider as they plan for the future.
To help, we’ve collated five key digital marketing trends using what we have learned during a thoroughly unpredictable 2020. These will hopefully help you consider your strategy now, while also planning for what will likely be a much better year in 2021.
1. Joining the Growing World of eCommerce
If there is one thing 2020 has shown us, it’s how important online shopping is. When it was our only access to the outside world, it became vital. The ease and variety of online shopping will not be lost on all who used it during the pandemic, even after shops have re-opened.
If we look at Australia as an example, eCommerce grew more than 80 per cent in the eight weeks after the pandemic hit. Across the pond, projections state that by 2040, 95 per cent of all purchases in the UK will be made online.
The need for a business to transition towards eCommerce or at least offer an element of online shopping for customers is vital. The benefit of this is clear: an online presence is crucial for growing your customer base significantly, and bettering your chances at survival.
2. Social Media Marketing
2020 not only saw a rise in the use of social media platforms, but also a surge in platform options (Tik Tok anyone?). Ensuring that you market to your customers effectively with the right message on the right platform isn’t an easy task.
The superabundance of social media content has created a need for niche targeting if you want an effective strategy. Identify where your customers are, figure out the type of content they are likely to engage with, and use this information to build out an effective strategy. Test a range of social media platforms to see which works best with your target audience and post content that involves and interacts with the customer frequently.
When it comes to this digital marketing trend, the most important part is identifying your target audience, and earning their trust. After that, it’s all about content, which leads us to…
3. Content Marketing
In 2021, the two primary content types in the world of digital marketing trends will be voice and video. Voice search is increasing dramatically thanks to smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, which means your content needs to account for longer-tail queries.
Video will continue its meteoric rise, which is why your focus should be on creating quality video content. This is now the preferred option for content consumption, inclusive of live streaming on platforms like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Your video content should add value to your current assets and be adaptable across multiple platforms. For example, a video uploaded on YouTube should also be embedded on your website. You’ll want to separately upload the video on Facebook (outside of YouTube) to help it rank better as Facebook algorithms are kinder to locally uploaded content as opposed to Youtube links.
Even though video is more expensive to produce, you will get a lot more use out of it across various platforms due to its highly engaging and easily shareable nature. From the long-form original video to shorter snippets for media like Instagram stories, a video can go a long way.
4. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
If you thought that Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) might have become somewhat less important as part of a digital marketing strategy, think again. Page speed, user experience (UX) and identifying user intent are still the primary ways to rank higher on Google, and this will not change in 2021.
Ensure your customers can move easily through your website and avoid slow load times. Pages should be designed with your unique sales funnel in mind. Content should be optimised for a strong conversion pathway, with the right call-to-action alongside an engaging design and user experience. This is a vital consideration for all website design, especially high engagement pages and product landing pages.
Prioritising SEO within your digital marketing strategy comes down to optimising for user intent. This is based not only on the initial query type but also your desired outcome.
5. Viral Marketing
Let’s preface this section by stating the fact that viral marketing is very difficult to achieve. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt it, but it’s at the end of our list for a reason.
Some platforms such as Tik Tok are far better suited to driving viral marketing content due to their current popularity, but they have a very specific audience (Gen-Z). If this is your target market, go for it. If it isn’t, then you are likely wasting your time. Viral marketing hinges on producing unique and creative content, which may put you outside your comfort zone. Successful viral marketing doesn’t follow a formula, what becomes viral may even seem entirely random. Its level of success, however, can be attributed entirely to randomness.
You can simulate virality on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn by using the right hashtags or paying to boost posts. Still, nothing compares to a truly viral video. It’s the type of exposure everyone in the marketing industry dreams of, and money simply cannot buy.
Dear 2020, We’re Not Friends, Bring On 2021…
Forget about 2020, none of us liked it. Focus on moving your strategies onward and upward. The landscape of digital marketing may not feel as though it has changed all that drastically or rapidly, but that doesn’t mean your strategy should remain the same. The reason for this is that consumer tastes have, and will continue to change, which is why a marketer can never truly relax.
Experiment, be unique, try new things and play outside of the sandbox. You won’t always get things right, but other times you will. This erratic sense of accomplishment is what all digital marketers live for, isn’t it? Keep evolving in 2021 and create your own luck.