Digital Marketing trends for 2021
What can we expect for 2021? We have seen unexpected changes in global market and users’ online behaviour. Fortunately, we aren’t sailing into 2021 blind, as we can look at the data collected so far to produce forecasts and guide us into what the new year holds.
Mobile internet use has been higher than desktop for a while now. And it’s not changing any time soon. What that means for digital marketing is that we must place even more importance in designing mobile-first interfaces and design. An ideal starting point for businesses in being mobile-friendly is to take a look at their website and run it through Google’s usability test.
Social is where users spend the most time. As social media platforms expand their features, their ultimate aim is to keep users active for as long as possible. And this is certainly having an effect. Take for example Instagram’s Explore feed which allows users to see content they are most likely to be interested in. Providing users with an endless scroll has resulted in greater screen time. This, and other data related to user behaviour, is a useful tool for anyone thinking of reaching their audience on social.
The user Journey
The user journey can be completely independent. This is why your content is so important. A user can discover your brand online, visit your website, browse your catalogue, and make a purchase without any external involvement. Our job as digital marketers is to make the process as smooth as possible for a user. Any hiccup along the way results in a drop-off – and once you lose a user, it’s very unlikely that they’ll come back on their own (remarketing is a great tool to re-engage past visitors). A useful exercise in this regard is to map the user journey, from the beginning to the end, and including all possibilities. This will highlight any weak spots and result in a smoother user experience.
Metrics don’t lie
You should be measuring the performance of your marketing efforts. The advantage of digital over traditional marketing is the opportunity to collect metrics along the way, allowing us to evaluate and improve. Here are some of the most important metrics to pay attention to:
- Website traffic (new users vs returning users, bounce rate, sources of traffic)
- Email performance (opens, clicks, forwards)
- Conversions (web traffic to subscribers, leads to sales)
- Social analytics (reach, engagement, comments, shares)
- Search rankings
The pandemic has also had an effect on global online behaviour, and this isn’t changing soon.
- 43% said they are spending longer using social media
- 42% spending longer on messaging services
- 36% spending more time on mobile apps
One thing which became clear very rapidly as the pandemic shut manufacturers and disrupted the entire commerce supply chain is how interconnected our world has become.
Consumer behaviour really ran the gamut from panic bulk-buying to online shopping. It seems that Millenials have responded by reducing their spending on the whole, while Gen Xers and Boomers have only slightly altered their shopping habits. There has certainly been a drop in in-store shopping, but the temporary increase in online shopping hasn’t persisted.
Over the past few years, the importance of safeguarding personal data has come to widespread attention. In the EU, this is governed by GDPR and in California it is CCPA. Now we are preparing for the ‘death’ of third-party cookies – Google will stop the use of them in the Chrome browser by 2022. This doesn’t mean the end of tracking, but rather it’s a win for transparent end-user consent. First-party cookies (placed directly by the website) will still be used to collect visitor analytics data. Tracking users’ journey across the internet will still take place – there are other technologies performing this action already. However, we are seeing a switch toward consent as the fundamental pillar of adtech. What could be affected are cross-site tracking, retargeting, and ad-serving. Marketers should start thinking about alternatives which do not use third party cookies, but personalise messages through first-party data.
Brands have been tapping into the power of influencer marketing, relying on this relatively new type of marketing to reach a highly engaged audience. However, we have seen the rules of this game changing and developing. Influencers must be clear when they are being paid to promote a brand, and can be penalised for not doing so. Naturally, an influencer misleading their audience can result in very grave consequences as we have seen with beauty youtubers promoting poor-quality overpriced products – causing a huge drop in subscribers.
Going forward, brands can turn to influencers specifically for niche products – because it’s not difficult to find an influencer who has a small but highly engaged following. The return on investment here can be quite compelling.
As we try to predict what is in store for 2021 and beyond, we can rely on some tried and true techniques to guide our marketing. Getting your digital marketing right is essential. With so many ways to reach your target demographic in this post-pandemic world, every choice is significant. If you want your business to get noticed by the right people, speak to us at Norr and Echo. We can create a tailored marketing plan that gets the results you need.