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It’s that time of year again; a time when looking ahead to see what new and exciting trends are on the horizon. Let’s face it, most marketers are more than a little anxious to put 2020 behind and move forward to a time that promises to be less disruptive and challenging. It’s not that COVID-19 is completely behind us, but there appears to be light at the end of this traumatic period in our lives and businesses. The year 2021 is expected to be a year of adjustments, adaptation and, you guessed it, more challenges. Next year may be full of small gains and aggravating setbacks but moving ahead has never included marking time in place or looking backward. Entrepreneurs are, by nature, an optimistic lot. It is a required trait to overcome endless obstructions and roadblocks and achieve success. Despite the pandemic presence, it is time to look ahead, evaluate the coming digital marketing trends, and formulate a strategic plan for the new year.
According to Forrester, digital marketing spend is on track to reach $146 billion by 2023, growing at a 9 percent compound annual rate. While much is likely to be different in the digital marketing arena, content will remain “King” for the foreseeable future as consumers continue to show favor to quality, personable, and transparent content. The appeal for personalization will continue to dominate content as more than 80 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they are more likely to do business with an organization that provides a personal experience.
Interactive content; quizzes, polls, augmented reality, and 360-degree videos are trending upward and will expand throughout the new year. Since the onset of the 2020 pandemic, technologies that supported and grew virtual meetings, mass events, and work from home are continuing to replace in-person interactions. Webcasting will likely dominate physical conferences, seminars, and larger face-to-face promotional gatherings. It is expected that more brands will learn and adapt the use of augmented reality in campaigns, allowing customers to try on products virtually from the comfort of home. Interactive content allows brands to have the opportunity to connect with consumers by providing interesting experiences and personal insights. More than 91% of users prefer interactive content over traditional formats.
User-Generated Content (UGC) is becoming a mainstay of many big brands’ marketing strategies as they elicit customers to contribute to the brand’s content. “UGC is like the new school ‘word of mouth’ for marketing,” says Envato’s Social Media Specialist, Jo Birleson. “People engage with it more because let’s face it, nothing says trust and authenticity like content created by users and consumers about a brand or product. For a brand it is so valuable as it is just like feedback – a reflection of the consumer’s experience. It humanizes the brand, shows that people get excited about it and empowers the consumer. Not to mention, more often than not, some of the most incredibly creative content comes from our users who don’t have the same limitations we have as brands.”
Nostalgia marketing is making a comeback, again. Looking back to perceived easier times has routinely found favor among consumers wanting to escape the fast-paced, technology-driven world. Revisiting the past has been shown to help bring relief from feelings of anxiety and instability and motivate many consumers to make increased purchases. But don’t get too complacent. New technologies are just around the corner and are posed to shake things up in 2021.
Marketing Automation (MA) allows technologies to work smarter not harder. Targeting smaller audiences with customized messages based on consumers’ interests and actions are making personalized content more efficient to create. According to Salesforce, 67% of marketers are already utilizing MA, and 21% plan on implementing it in 2021. Tagging products on posts and blogs makes it easy for online customers to make a purchase directly from social media accounts. Google Tag Manager is gaining popularity and is expected to be in wider use soon.
The deployment of 5G will bring many emerging technologies to fruition in the coming year. Consumer Data Managers (CDMs) will bring a long-awaited solution to the management, analysis, and prioritization of an ever-increasing amount of data. Modern dynamic creative optimization (DCO) technology will allow creative content to be automatically generated without an agency having to invest in individual creative renderings. SEO will remain an invaluable tool in digital marketing but the changes in Google Analytics and the introduction of Core Web Vitals, Google’s new ranking factor, are about to rock the world of SEO into a new reality. Doesn’t it all just make you pine for the nostalgic marketing days of old? Well, maybe not.
For more on how the trends in digital marketing will impact your business in the coming year, call Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) today at 678-686-1125.