Saying that most people are always on social media is no longer a dramatization, it’s today’s reality. Digital media has become an integral part of our routines for us all. Which is why marketers and businesses must understand the top digital marketing trends to connect best with their target audience. With an abundance of content online, standing out can be quite a task. Which is why staying updated with the top latest digital trends is important. Last year was quite a blur with its unpredictability but here's a range of top digital marketing trends that 2021 is going to revolve around:

  1. Rise Of Integration Of Ecommerce On Social Media Platforms
“Social media platforms such as Facebook are making it easier for consumers to go from discovery to purchase without ever having to leave the platform, creating a simple and seamless path to purchase” claims Sherene Hilal, SVP, product marketing and business operations at Bluecore.

E-Commerce has been a major focus for most social applications in the late 2020 and now in 2021. The introduction of Shops on Facebook and Instagram has simplified the process of building an e-commerce platform on the most used digital platforms.

An extension to its Marketplace offering, Shops has allowed businesses to connect with buyers in-stream and the one-click purchasing option through Facebook Pay has made shopping an ease. The personalization of shopping posts into user feeds has also provided for easy facilitation.

Even for Instagram, the new shop tab and its alignment of features to allow for immediate purchasing after coming across Instagram posts has been a major game changer. New developments like advanced one-click purchasing, new AR tools and link of Facebook’s AR glasses is expected in the near future to facilitate direct buying.  

As Instagram and Facebook look to incorporate more e-commerce tools, expect Snap to also align with this shift with efforts on integration with Amazon already.

In China, the local version called Douyin has already seen major success after incorporating e-commerce and in-stream purchasing options, we’re speaking $122 million in revenue from the integrations, not too long until TikTok globally adapts too!

"With top digital marketing trends in social commerce continuing to grow into 2021, retail brands will have to adapt to these platforms with new rules, similar to what many did with Amazon.” Sherene Hilal adds.

2. Increase In Live Streams And Virtual Events

Staying at home led to a huge spike in live streams, in fact during the lockdown, live views spiked by 50% on Facebook, around 70% on Instagram and even on Tik-Tok and this upward trend is showing no signs of slowing in 2021.

To tackle the lack of real-time connection, companies such as Amazon and NYX Pro makeup really got going during the pandemic to promote their products through live streams and events.

Twitter was soon to catch on this no time soon stopping trend and is working on Audio spaces, a clubhouse like, audio meet-up feature to allow users to interact.  

LinkedIn too started rolling out its own Events tools, and integrating its live-stream functionality with the same.  Even if the COVID situation improves in 2021, live streaming is here to stay. People are now used to being able to interact with brands in real-time online especially when it happens so smoothly without any roadblocks.

Jim Kruger, Chief Marketing Officer, Veeam stated, “Virtual events started out of necessity, but are here to stay because of ROI and accessibility."

Not only because of continued safety concerns, but also as a result of lessons learned in 2020. He expanded on the benefits it had like the absence of visa issues, travel restrictions and reduction in costs leading to greater attendance. The greater engagement led to creative ideas, lower cost and a higher ROI. With so many advantages why move back to norm?

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3. Only Easy To Consume Content Will Survive

Video content one of the most engaging forms of content is all set to dominate 2021. Why you ask? Well with millennials leading the surge in the purchase market in 2021, it's important to observe that their attention span is shorter and so is their preferred form of content consumption.

Which is why ephemeral content will rule, ephemeral content is content that’s available only for a short duration and disappears afterwards. They’re short, engaging and addictive and explains why Instagram and Snapchat stories are such a hit. According to a Cisco study, by 2022, 82% of all online content will be video content. So if you want to stay relevant, it’s best to start utilising video content!

Apart from video, content that can be consumed while out and about like podcasts or newsletter that come straight to the inbox has been a popular choice for people too. Studies show that 55% of Americans now listen to podcasts, while newsletter mentions were up 14% during lockdown.

These readily available content allow brands to connect more deeply with customers and don’t give them a chance to even forget them! Advertisers have understood this trend and are spending more on podcasts hinting its efficiency success even in 2021. (Check out figure 1 below)

Figure 1 

4. Inclusivity Cannot Be Ignored

Major audiences especially the younger generation and marginalised groups want to see a more optimistic depiction of equality in the content they consume. The same homogeneous content they’ve been accustomed to from decades no longer catches their eye.

A study by Accenture shows that the cultural shift towards inclusivity is also impacting purchase behavior, with 41% of shoppers shifting away from retailers which don’t reflect their views on identity and diversity - and 29% are willing to switch brands completely if they don’t show enough diversity. A 2019 study by CMO by Adobe showed that 61% of Americans think diversity in advertising is important.

So to effectively cater to the needs of diverse and niche consumers, brands need to move towards incorporating a variety of races, sexualities, religions as well as representation of people with physical and learning disabilities in their content types. If you’re seen to be non-inclusive will likely see unfavourable impacts in 2021.  

5. Sustainability Must Be Core

Just like the digital marketing trend of inclusivity, people in 2021 are similarly passionate about environmentalism. With 81% of consumers strongly feeling companies should help improve the environment, the market for green products, packaging, systems and sustainable practices is at its peak.

The pandemic has reinforced consumer demand for sustainability, with Google trends resulting indicating  that in the “food” category people have been increasingly searching for ‘sustainable’, ‘local food’ and veganism.

Even research on sustainable fashion shows that creating and communicating sustainable attributes has a halo effect, influencing customer perceptions — especially around quality and value — at key decision-making moments.

Final Note:

With the chaos of 2020 left behind us, it’s time to look ahead as we move into 2021. Leverage these top digital marketing trends to your advantage and ace your marketing game!

“Our only security is our ability to change.” —John Lilly

Also check out 5 trends of successful virtual marketing in 2021.

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