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July 14, 2020

Digital Marketing Trends & Forecasts for 2021

digital marketing forecasts 2021

No one could have predicted the many upheavals that came in 2020. As this chaotic year is already more than half over, people are already looking ahead to 2021. What will the coming year bring for digital marketing?

There are many unknown factors, such as whether the COVID-19 lockdown will continue, the overall state of the economy, and more. However, we can look at current developments and make some educated predictions on what the digital marketing landscape will look like in 2021.

Continued Growth of E-Commerce

One of the least controversial predictions we can make for 2021 is that e-commerce will continue its rapid growth. Online retail was already growing steadily and this was only sped up by the COVID-19 crisis. According to an Adobe report, online spending in May 2020 was up 77% over last year. Amazon had the most e-commerce growth in more than 3 years while other online sellers such as Walmart, Alibaba, and others have also seen increased sales.

While many small businesses had to shut down temporarily, customers embraced online shopping. Customers already had many reasons for shopping online, such as convenience, a greater selection of products, and the ability to find the best deals. Now, there's the additional benefit of safety.

There's also the unfortunate reality that in many places, brick-and-mortar stores have closed permanently, making online shopping the only alternative to taking a long trip.

The benefits of online shopping aren't going to vanish, even when the quarantine is over. As more people become accustomed to browsing and shopping from home, many will continue to make this choice even when physical stores reopen. That's why it's all but inevitable that e-commerce will continue to grow in 2021.

More Interactive Events and Education

Interactive events include webinars, online conferences, and more casual social media sessions on platforms such as Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and YouTube Live. Online education is an overlapping area that includes accredited courses given by universities as well as non-credit offerings on sites such as Skillshare, edX, Udemy, and many others.

Grand View Research reports that the size of the global virtual events market was close to 78 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow about 23% from 2020 to 2027, an estimate that is probably rather conservative.

Like e-commerce, this is a trend that was already happening but was accelerated by COVID-19. Quarantine or not, virtual events have several key advantages over live events.

  • People can attend from anywhere. Geography is not a limitation. The time and cost of travel isn't a factor when attending an online conference, course, or another event.
  • It's much cheaper and simpler to set up. You save the costs of renting space and other possible factors such as catering, security, personnel to check people in, etc.
  • It's easier to collect information. When people register for an online event, they must submit their information. You can ask for as many details as you want during the registration process in addition to emails, such as phone number, LinkedIn and other social media IDs, and more. This makes it easier to stay in touch with attendees to let them know about your future events and offers.
  • You can easily measure your results. Analytics come naturally when you hold online events. You can track attendees, how long people remain, engagement, and more. For example, if you have an event with multiple tiers at different price points, you can measure which tier is most popular. Metrics make it possible to improve your results as you plan future events.

More Precise Targeting and Personalization

Advances in artificial intelligence have made it easier to create more targeted and personalized advertising. As consumers are inundated with promotions wherever they go, it's increasingly important to show them ads that are relevant to them. This includes several emerging trends that include organic content as well as ads.

  • More data helps drive personalization. As businesses have access to greater amounts and more accurate data, they can create more accurate buyer personas. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to reach them with more targeted messages.
  • More personalized web pages. Amazon is a leader in this area, creating highly personalized pages that know your location, shopping history, interests, and more. Netflix is another company that excels at personalizing content, recommending shows, and movies using a sophisticated algorithm based on past viewing behavior.
  • The growth of retargeting and remarketing lets businesses show people ads for businesses whose websites they've already visited.
  • Greater segmentation of content. For example, companies can create multiple email lists to provide more targeted content based on subscribers' buying behavior and demographics.

digital marketing trends 2021

Voice Search Will Transform Marketing and SEO

Voice search technology is another trend that can be expected to take off in 2021 and beyond. As consumers get more comfortable and dependent on Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, it's having a major influence on the entire world of marketing. Statista projects that by 2021, the number of voice assistant users in the U.S. will be over 122 million. Here are some major implications of this development.

  • People using voice search tend to speak naturally, rather than typing in keywords the traditional way. This makes long-tail keywords more important than ever, as well as search terms using complete sentences.
  • The use of voice search is related to the growth of local SEO. People are increasingly searching for businesses close by. This makes it crucial to place local search terms, including city, region, and nearby landmarks on your page. For example, in the past, someone searching for a pizza place might have typed in "pizza San Jose." Now, they are more likely to ask their voice assistant, "Where is a nearby pizza place?"
  • The importance of the Google Answer Box. Google Featured Snippets, also known as the Answer Box and Google Position Zero (because results appear above normal results) are featured content that users see at the top of the page. People using voice search to ask questions are often led to these snippets. For this reason, a significant voice search SEO tip is to include a list of FAQs about a business or product.

Short Videos Will Explode

Perhaps the popularity of short videos is connected to shrinking attention spans. Whatever the reason, several new platforms featuring short-form videos have been taking off recently. The one that's gotten the most publicity is probably TikTok, the China-based video site that now has around 800 million users and is still growing. Another way to leverage the appeal of short videos is to use the Stories feature on Facebook and Instagram. Another option is to simply shoot your short videos on your phone or camera and post them to your website. Short videos can be as short as 10 seconds or up to 2 or 3 minutes. You can create short video ads or make free videos as organic posts or website content. Some ways you can use them include:

  • Demonstrate or explain your product. This can be used to highlight products for your e-commerce site. Conversely, if you offer a service, you can summarize it in a quick video.
  • Engage with your audience. Short videos, including Stories, are a handy tool to stay fresh in your viewers' minds. They don't take long to create, which makes it simple for businesses to make them consistently. They can be used to answer FAQs and to invite followers to respond with questions and comments.
  • Short videos are ideal for targeting a mobile audience. As more people browse and shop using smartphones, it's important to tailor content for this audience. Research shows that short video ads perform better on smartphones than on other devices.

2021 Will be a Big Year for Digital Marketing

While no one can say for sure exactly what the coming year will bring, it promises to be a pivotal year. With all the chaos of 2020, digital marketers have the challenge of reaching their customers in more creative and targeted ways. There's every indication that e-commerce and other aspects of digital marketing will thrive and continue to grow in 2021.

About Eniture Technology

Eniture Technology specializes in helping e-Commerce merchants grow by providing useful information, digital marketing services, off-the-shelf apps that solve common problems, and custom programming services. If you're interested in accelerating the growth of your online sales, please contact us. You might also enjoy this free information on the 10 reasons why you should be using HubSpot to grow your e-commerce business.

10 Reasons Why You Should Be Using HubSpot

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