Top 6 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021
2020 was a year of uncertainty. However, the only certain aspect was the projected growth of digital marketing, a direct consequence of Covid lockdowns which pushed businesses and employees indoor and online.
With an optimistic Q4 2020 for market resurgence, 2021 is expected to be a big year for digital marketing, with more budget allocation towards online activities than offline, which is still a restricted zone.
Let us now look at the key trends that will shape digital marketing in 2021:
- 1. Content experience will take the lead
Content experience focus on creating a contextual content consumption experience for the end-prospect/ customer. This is instead of focusing on product-centric messeging that may or may not be contextual to the stage of buying journey of the prospect or history of engagement with the brand.
Content experience puts the customer/ prospect first, which when coupled with marketing automation and data management, leads to a coherent digital messeging. This includes personalization of content that takes into account any data captured about a user during interactions with the brand's online resources and offline/in-store engagement.
- 2. Marketing data management prioratization
More online operations as a result of Covid lockdowns, also means more potential to capture and store customer data. The goal for data management is always effective data usage to power customer experience and content messaging, such that any marketing/ sales automation software can tap into this data pool without having to deal with duplication/ redundant information.
According to a report by Segment, in 2019 alone, Customer Data Management platform sales grew by 60% in the US, with more companies, even medium size firms, realizing that deep content personalization and automation of repeatitive marketing activities- both require data capture and intelligent storage.
With more data flowing into systems today after the lockdowns than ever before, 2021 is shaping up to be a big year for investments in Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and point solutions for customer identity resolution tech. This is while keeping in mind the regional data governance laws such as GDPR for EU region and CCPA for California State in the US.
- 3. Mobile first, even more
Since 2015, mobile phones had already surpassed desktop in internet access and usage. So much so that in 2016, Google announced that it would give preference to sites that more mobile-view friendly since most users are accessing sites via mobile devices.
Covid lockdowns did not just push users online more than ever, they did so much more towards mobile than desktop. As reported by Telemedia, share of mobile internet users stood at almost 51% compared to desktop's about 46%.
This gap is expected to get larger as even B2B users start browsing and researching on mobile while at home, whereas in office premises they would be more hesitant to be on mobile out if fear of judgement.
- 4. Live chat and bot based lead capture
Live chats, intellectual bots and similar forms of conversational marketing is already emerging to be a big winner. According to Comm100 2020 report, live chat satisfaction among users, stood at 83%, as a result of analyzing over 50 million online chats.
More and more customer today expect chat bots and live agents than ever before, with 98% of chat initiations by customers, as stated in the same report.
Chat is a great conversion tool for marketers given the high engagement rate in these communication platforms. An average chat lasts about 11 mins as per the Comm100 report, which is higher than average session durations on most site pages. A great strategic approach to live chat implementation is to embedd them first in the most important and lead conversion pages, and then scaling it.
- 5. Even bigger share for organic content SEO driven traffic
More users are online, but where are they exactly? Users go online more via Google than any other platform/ site or portal available today. In a typical site that invests even minimally in SEO optimization, will notice atleast 2X traffic from organic search sources than email or social media, which require much more effort and time to keep going.
Furthermore, organic is highly intent driven since the user proactively searches for a solution, rather than a company pushing it's messages. This has a direct impact on conversion rate. According to a 2019 Databox report, 70% of surveyed marketers said that they have witnessed better conversion from organic traffic than paid ads.
With more users performing searches, 2021 is expected to see more marketers focusing on generating value-added content aimed at search engine users to answer their queries and introduce their brands in the process.
- 6. Augmented reality to supplement video product demos
Augmented reality may currently have limited implementation, but where it exists, there is certainly more potential for customer acquisition and online conversions. Augmented reality is today alret being used to provide 3D product demonstration for industrial goods and tools and B2B products that require in-person inspection before confirmation and purchase. With limited physical mobility as a result of the Covid lockdowns, businesses with capital have started to invest in augmented reality sets to purchase and sell products.
Furthermore, as VR sets become cheaper and more readily buyable, B2C potential is plenty - such as virtual gadget showrooms, fashion product stores and shows, virtual jewellery stores etc.