Six Game-Changing Digital Marketing Trends in 2021… And Beyond!

digital marketing trends

We don’t know about you, but it feels like this year is passing by at the speed of light! Rounding the first turn of 2021, now is as good a time as any to reflect on some of the marketing trends that began or became amplified in 2020. We have compiled a list of six digital marketing trends that look like they are here for the rest of the year and beyond.

1. Digital Ad Spend to Surpass Traditional Spend this Year.

It is no longer even news to say that the global pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital platforms and affected the digital marketing trends. What is an insightful observation though is for the first time in history, forecasted spend on digital marketing in 2021 will surpass traditional ad spending. There is no clear end in sight for COVID-19 restrictions, so this trend is likely here too stay. But, as platform usage increases to new heights so does the ability to turn off elements of digital marketing. Ad Blockers, anti-spam applications, digital organizers and false statistics are all on the rise. Marketers may be spending more on digital mediums than ever before but they will need to continually up their game to ensure the spend they are investing is actually reaching their intended audience.

2. Social Selling is on the Rise

From family dinners, to prescriptions, to automobiles, online orders around the world have reached new heights. Stay-at-home shopping has become a more comfortable process and consumers have turned to social media platforms to help them discover, research and even purchase products – even groceries!! People are using social media to find, evaluate, discuss and purchase directly from Facebook, Instagram and more. In fact, 87% of e-commerce shoppers believe social media helped them make a shopping decision.

The rest of 2021 will see all the major social media platforms introducing slick and innovative new features to encourage users to shop on their platforms. Since mobile users outnumber non-mobile users on every major social media platform, one thing you will want to ensure your brand is focused on (if you haven’t already) is the importance of mobile-first shopping for your customers. In 2021 and beyond, a mobile-friendly website is table stakes in your online success.

3. TikTok’s Rise to Relevance as a Social Selling Tool

Wow! Did TikTok ever take off in 2020. People of all ages took notice, including marketing leaders and influencers. While how to best make use of this dynamic social media platform is still a bit of a mystery, those brands with low risk-aversion will certainly jump onboard with both feet (likely both feet dancing!).  The tool can be a great platform for entertaining storytelling. This one factor may lead to impactful and successful campaigns using TikTok. If you’re not entertaining, no one will share a glance.

4. Your Marketing Team Needs to be Tech Savvy

Whether you outsource your marketing, run a team in-house or some combination therein, your team needs to be updated constantly in several areas of marketing planning, execution and analytics. The priorities and responsibilities of the marketing team has grown and as such, the scope of knowledge they need to bring to the role has also grown. In a very short amount of time, marketers have had to learn a variety of new tools, including social media management solutions, email marketing platforms, project management software, and many more. Digital marketing skills are no longer a desirable trait in a marketer; they are the lifeblood of your marketing success.

The most in-demand skills for marketers include content marketing, social media marketing, data analytics, and SEO/SEM marketing.  If you want to launch a new landing page, create a social media post, distribute a press release or publish a blog, it all must be written by a digital guru. And for that content to get found, you’ll need an SEO specialist to ensure that your blogs, landing pages and other content are getting noticed not only by the search algorithm bots but that they are engaging to the human eyeballs that ultimately consume the content.

As the platforms, responsibilities and competition for attention online intensifies, there is increased demand for these specialist marketers, over generalist marketers. While the specific needs of a marketing team depend on your industry and company size, you can expect the need for more specialists with advanced knowledge of digital marketing technology. There are many ways to build high-performing marketing teams and considering both hard and soft skills is essential. Soft skills like creativity, storytelling, communication, and analytical thinking may be just as important as knowing how to build an email in MailChimp.

5. Purpose-Driven Marketing

Since the world is facing economic, environmental, political and social change at exponential rates, what consumers expect from your company has changed as a result. The newest generations (Millennials and Generation Z) are more prone to being purpose-driven than their older counterparts. And, since these generations combined will soon make up two-thirds of the global population, it’s in your brand’s best interest to become better corporate citizens. Purpose is a bonding agent that can bring business and society together. Brands that act and can communicate transparently how their initiatives generate benefits to society and the environment will draw in consumers that have like-minded passions.

Your business in 2021 and beyond needs to be governed by purpose, values and principles that you believe in and that are a part of every facet of your business. This isn’t just one of the digital marketing trends, it is good business all the time. This should subsequently inform behaviour and be reflected in all your company’s activities if you want to stay relevant and avoid being perceived as insincere or inauthentic,

6. Stories & Short-Form Video

Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook have all introduced ways to share image or video content that has a shelf-life, disappearing after 24 hours. Early in 2021, it is proving to be a fan-favourite tool for social media users. In fact, people are posting less to their feeds because of the popularity of stories. Demand for the short-run format has grown explosively over the last few years across social media networks. According to Deloitte Digital, nearly 40% of Americans spend more than one hour per week watching short-form video clips on social media. But, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily watching your entire story. The average person only watches 40 to 60% of your story. That means that as a brand, you want to make sure your CTA doesn’t appear at the very end.

Fly with Us!

This year is moving quick and changing constantly, but we’re certain that these digital marketing trends are here to stay for a while. Are you interested in implementing these ideas on your brand’s channels, but have no time to do it by yourself? We’ll do it for you while you watch your numbers GROW! Book a Wingman today. You don’t have to fly solo.