5 Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021
With the start of a new decade came unexpected changes to our world. With the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the world was instantly a different place.
With the need to stay away from public places, and to work remotely, the amount of online time skyrocketed by over 70% over the past year.
Of course, this meant that digital marketing became more important than ever for most business owners. Being able to be found online and to engage with and serve your customers is an essential part of running a business in 2021.
Digital marketing is one area of business that is always evolving, and each company must be aware of what is coming over the horizon. If you are not aware of the latest digital marketing trends in 2021, you will get left behind.
You can think of digital marketing as the way people discover and connect with your business. Recent studies have shown that over 80% of consumers go online before buying a product or service, and that number may grow even further in 2021.
If you know what is working and how to use digital marketing to your advantage, you can stay ahead of the competition.
Here are five digital marketing trends for 2021 that are worth adopting for your business:
1) TikTok Takeover
Every few years, a new social media platform takes hold of youth culture. Twenty years ago, it was Myspace; 15 years ago, it was Facebook. Five years ago, it was Instagram. Today, it is TikTok.
By now, you have likely heard something about TikTok and the way it is taking hold of the youth market. In 2020, TikTok has over 500 Million users on the platform and is growing incredibly quickly.
What makes TikTok different than platforms like Facebook and Instagram? It’s the entertainment factor. Most TikTok posts are based around bite-sized music, comedy, or niche interests. There is no ability to share, and although comments are available, they have less impact than on other platforms.
TikTok is giving tools to a new generation of creators. In 2021, celebrities and businesses are adopting TikTok at an increasing rate. And now, the ability to advertise on TikTok is available for brands to grow their reach.
Whether the TikTok platform can continue to sustain the growth it has seen over the next few years will remain to be seen. And with Oracle and Walmart taking over partial ownership of the U.S. TikTok app, it may increase its longevity in the U.S. market.
It used to be that the more famous you were, the more influence you had. Big-name celebrities were the only people who could appear in advertising campaigns.
However, with the rise of social media, that began to change. The rise of Kylie Jenner’s $700 Million beauty empire shows that you can grow a business based on social media trust and influence.
Today, the ability to influence a group of people has been made available on a much smaller scale. A micro-influencer is anybody who has between 2000 and 50,000 followers on social media.
Many people today garner a following based upon specific interests or even around themselves. These micro-influencers can be valuable for marketing because they are much more connected to their audience and are typically experts in their particular topic (e.g., fitness, fashion, or travel).
For businesses that want to partner with a micro-influencer, they can offer easier targeting for test audiences. You can grow a following for your brand or company by doing some paid sponsorships.
3) Live Streaming Content
Alongside social media, perhaps the other most significant trend in entertainment is online streaming. Today 80% of U.S. consumers subscribe to paid streaming video services.
Thanks to companies such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBOGO, and now AppleTV+ and Disney+, there is a wide variety of streaming content.
In 2017, the volume of streaming subscriptions surpassed Cable television for the first time.
Alongside the rise of entertainment agencies, there is also a rise in video game streaming services such as Twitch and YouTube gaming. Twitch has over 15 Million daily viewers on its platform today.
Video game streaming offers a long-form daily entertainment alternative to popular entertainment. Some viewers will tune into Twitch streams for over 5 hours a day. The interactivity aspect of live chat keeps viewers watching and builds enormous brand trust with the individual streamers.
For advertisers looking to capitalize, it is worth watching this streaming trend as it grows in potential.
4) Messenger Apps and Chatbots
During the past fifteen years, one significant cultural shift that has taken place is messaging people instead of calling them. It is a lot harder to get people to answer the phone than to get them to reply to a message. On average, there are over 26 million messages sent every day in the U.S.
With this massive shift in societal behavior, it was inevitable that text messaging would become a part of the business world. Companies now use text messaging to confirm appointments, send delivery information, and to promote their services.
Chatbots are also becoming more mainstream. Platforms such as Facebook Messenger allow chatbots to take care of essential functions for customers. These functions can include answering frequently asked questions, confirming bookings, and offering information. This gives companies efficiency and also adds an extra layer of customer service.
5) Social Media Story Ads
In October 2013, Snapchat launched a new feature called Stories. The ability to share brief videos and photos that documented daily activities became a big part of the App’s success.
In August 2016, Instagram took a surprising turn by adding stories into the platform. Initially derided as a knock-off, Instagram Stories soon became a staple function of the platform. Instagram Stories hit 100 million daily users by 2017, and by 2019 over 400 Million people are using Instagram Stories every day.
In 2020, Instagram answered the rising popularity of TikTok by introducing Instagram Reels, offering short-term video music clips.
Ironically, the popularity of Instagram Stories has decreased the use of the main feed for many users. However, the rise in attention for Insta Stories also means an advertising opportunity. Instagram and Facebook Story ads are now available as another way to capture brand attention.
Video-based ads on Instagram and Facebook can play for 15 seconds, and photo ads will last 5 seconds. The advertisements are interspersed with regular Instagram Stories, so they tend to have high engagement levels.
Moving forward, Story Ads may become more popular than their predecessor and are worth watching in the years ahead.
Despite the tremendous amount of change in the world during the past year, 2021 is still an exciting time to be in business. The technology available to all of us means we have a level playing field to compete with the largest companies in the world.
As with all technology trends, the only way to stay on top of them is to keep experimenting.
While not all these ideas and approaches may be as valuable in a year or five years, they still offer a chance to capitalize and compete in the year ahead.