What Are the Biggest Online Marketing Trends in 2021?
To say that 2020 was unpredictable is a major understatement. While some online marketing trends that were predicted before the onset of the pandemic became a reality, other predictions didn’t emerge at all. New mandates, safety protocols, and forced adaptations reshaped the elements of the marketing landscape. Most notably, video conferencing became the norm, e-commerce sales soared, and people spent more time on social media platforms. Moreover, it revolutionized the way businesses connect with their customers.
With these factors in mind, here are the top online marketing trends in 2021:
- Focus on sustainability
Recent data shows that 81% of consumers strongly believe that businesses should help improve the state of the environment. This comes as no surprise. Over the past years, we’ve noticed a shift in companies shifting towards a more sustainable future, whether it’s about the raw materials used, their processing systems, or the packaging. The efforts to preserve the environment continue and people are actively seeking out businesses that care about the planet.
An excellent example of this marketing trend is the brand The Ocean Cleanup. Last October, they launched their first product made solely from plastic sourced from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
- Integration of goodwill and purpose-driven missions from more brands
Based on the 2021 Hootsuite Social Trends report: “The smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media, and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.”
The need for transparency is more evident this year. Customers don’t want to connect with businesses that they see as insincere or “shady”. They want to invest in brands that they can trust. Connection is a critical factor in convincing consumers to continue trusting their brand.
Brands have to step up and dig deeper to be able to flourish in these turbulent times. They need to be deeply attuned to why they exist and who they’re aiming to serve. Although we’ve already seen businesses doing good deeds, there will be an even bigger focus on 2021.
- Increase in visual and voice searches
More online consumers are searching via voice-activated tools like Alexa. Since they are stuck at home with limited opportunities for interactions, they prefer to use this type of technology. However, it’s not just voice search — we can also expect other innovative search methods to become prevalent, like visual search. Apps like Google Lens allow people to search whatever they can see. This means that brands will need to focus even more on sitemaps and image alt-text for their images. Expect visuals to become one of the biggest trends in online marketing and SEO.
It’s also going to boost profits too: Retail Customer Experience predicts that by 2021: “Early adopters that redesign their websites to support visual and voice search will increase their digital commerce revenue by 30%.”
- Increase in live streams and influencer content
Safety protocols meant events were cancelled, and people were unable to attend them. Socializing with their family and friends wasn’t possible. This increased the number of consumers tuning into live streams, whether it was a live video from a celebrity, an online workshop, or a branded live stream. Instagram viewings surged 70%, while Live viewings on Facebook spiked by 50% during the lockdown. As for TikTok, its usage also shot up last year, and there’s a huge possibility we’ll see this upward trend continue in 2021. Human-centric content such as influencer live-streams fosters trust and taps into the “in-the-moment” connection that characterizes the biggest online marketing trends this year.
- Bite-sized content
Easy-to-consume content like podcasts and newsletters will continue to be patronized by people this year. Research shows that 55% of Americans now tune in to podcasts, while newsletter mentions shot up 14% during lockdown periods. The advertisers are spending more on podcasts as well, which hints at their continued success this year. Readily available content like newsletters and podcasts will allow companies to connect more deeply with consumers and offer a more intimate way to stay connected.
- UGC improves customer experience
Customer experience has never been more essential. People crave pleasurable experiences with businesses that are easy and remarkable. They seek proof before they purchase and they also want reassurance – after all, nobody wants to make a bad decision. User-generated content (UGC) satisfies all the requirements when it comes to connective content. UGC has several benefits:
- Relatable and uplifting
- Builds and strengthens communities
- Helps businesses generate tons more content amidst stay-at-home orders and restrictive protocols
- Enables brands to meet consumers where they’re already hanging out
UGC has been proven to be effective in building relationships with consumers and offering social proof, and this will be a major factor for online marketing trends in 2021.
- Inclusivity will be a major element
A recent study by Accenture shows that the shift towards inclusivity is also influencing purchase behaviour. Additionally, 41% of consumers are avoiding brands that don’t reflect their views on diversity and identity 一 and 29% are willing to abandon brands that don’t support diversity.
Businesses that appear to be non-inclusive, or who don’t seem to be part of the inclusivity movement, will likely see a negative impact this year. On the other hand, companies that are showcasing their contributions in inclusive causes, will reap benefits and nurture profound connections with their followers. So, if you want to attract more consumers, then integrate inclusivity in marketing your business online.
- Improving Retention via Segmentation
Since it costs less money to retain your existing customers than earn new ones, marketing professionals always recommend putting more effort into the later stages of your buyers’ journey. Happy customers tend to tell their family or friends and offer referrals to help boost sales. They’re also more willing to give you their honest and direct feedback about issues that will only strengthen your business.
Keep your consumers updated on your organizational processes or changes that would affect your relationship via email marketing or connect with them through social media. Collecting data and segmenting customers, allows you to save money while delivering your services and products.
- More Interactive and Engaging Content
Provide value to your visitors by adding interactive elements to your social media or website. This also encourages consumers to engage with your brand and gain valuable insights about them. If you’re a realtor, then add a simple yet effective mortgage calculator to your site. You’re not only providing value to your visitors but you’re also learning more about them based on the information they enter into that calculator. You can then use this data to cultivate your personas and targeting.
Quizzes, polls, games, interactive videos, assessments, contests, and surveys are other examples of interactive marketing content. Contests are an excellent way to greatly increase your visibility and reach, quickly.
A cheap and quick way to get your company in front of new consumers is to allow your followers to share a Facebook post of your contest. Many brands take it a notch higher and make it a referral contest. They also offer an enticing reward to the person who helps bring in the newest business.
Various entrepreneurs are always on the lookout for the biggest trend in online marketing. They want to remain on top of their game especially in this unpredictable environment. Shop closures and shelter in place orders meant people were stuck inside their homes. This also means that they’re spending more time online which pushed businesses to branch out and create more innovative ways to reach out to consumers.
Online marketing is a crucial element in building your business, and it must be done well. I will provide professional help with SEO and online marketing so you can move your business forward. Start by calling me now at (416) 888-8756 and let’s build your brand together.