2020 has been a year to forget for many people, but there is also some hope and optimism in the air for 2021. The digital innovations preparing us for an exciting future are set to enhance customer journeys and affect the digital marketing landscape.
Covid-19 has been an unwelcomed burden on the lives and businesses in 2020, but we still feel as the potential digital marketing trends we could see emerge in 2021, will undoubtedly make 2021 a very interesting year.
Shoppable posts have become a very important digital marketing trend in recent times. The obstacles between the customer and product are being reduced all the time. The days where you had to go to your local ATM machine, withdraw your cash and pay for a product are long over. Although the traditional methods are still valid, shopping has been made more convenient.
Shoppable posts are the most recent advancement to the shopping experience. Checkout Instagram and YouTube allow their users to add products they see in social media, straight into the checkout. That reduces the need to visit an official website and purchase the products from there. Some brands have now been adding products to certain posts so you can simply click on the item in the image and purchase. The lockdown was a tough time for all retailers, some already had an online presence, whilst others had to make the shift.
As more people moved their shopping online anyway, the pandemic increased it. Social commerce will become even more important in 2021.
Voice Search Optimisation
According to research, 20% of searches on Google are voice searches. That figure is expected to rise even more in 2021. Whether you’ve asked your device where the nearest coffee shop or train station is, it’s clear more people are becoming dependant on their mobile devices. Optimising voice queries in addition to text queries will be an interesting instalment for major brands SEO checklists going forward.
The range of smart devices that aid voices search is increasing, and companies will feel their brand needs a voice. It could also lead to providing an improved customer service. Devices such as Alexa and Google Assistant can both differentiate between voices, they can provide valuable insights about users that can lead to more personalised messages and content.
Optimising for voice seems exciting, however, there could be challenges involved. Optimising for SEO purposes will have to ensure that the end result the user is looking for is guaranteed as there is only one result.
AI-Powered Chatbots For A Better Response
AI is a very important tool in digital marketing, providing benefits to both the company and business. The days of basic customer service seem to be fading away, and the emergence of customised AI-powered chatbots are delivering a very unique experience to consumers. AI-powered chatbots can do so much more than answer frequently-asked questions and thanks to language processing, chatbots are able to understand customers search intent, pick up conversations based on past queries and naturally interact with them.
For brands that run a 24/7 service, an AI-powered chatbot seems like a must for 2021. A chatbot that can run on varied platforms such as instant messaging platforms, websites as well as on customer support tools will provide a level of consistency to consumers.
Programmatic Advertising Up-rise
The use of Programmatic advertising is the process of selling and buying of ad inventory in real-time through an automated bidding system. According to research, 75% of all video ads are programmatic. The introduction of programmatic advertising has changed digital advertising; using artificial intelligence to be able to automate ad purchases and target specific audiences.
This reduces the process of manually searching for ad placements, negotiating with publishers, and preparing the paperwork.
Programmatic advertising uses AI and Machine Learning (ML) to sift through massive volumes of data to find the best ad placements for your business. These technologies, AI and ML, help analyse customer behaviour and ad viewing metrics in real-time to come up with what you exactly need: where and when to place an ad and in what format. It seems Programmatic ads seem like they will have a more regular presence in 2021.
Higher Investment in YouTube Advertising
There’s no doubt that YouTube is the world’s biggest video hosting platform, and that won’t change going into 2021. It has also become a very valid option for brands advertising their products. By combining video and the enormous reach of YouTube, this could be a key combination for advertising a product.
There are different options based on budgeting in regards to how brands wish to advertise their product. There are ad types including:
Non-skippable ads (which we see often before our video plays)
Bumper in stream ads
Being able to stand out in a very competitive industry can be difficult, but by placing advertisements on YouTube, could be the first step to exposure. Big and small brands are using social media to influence their target audiences’ buying decisions, improve brand reputation as well as boost brand awareness.
Mobile Search Isn’t Slowing Down
A report by Hubspot in recent years revealed that nearly 25% of businesses invest in mobile optimisation. Web traffic from mobile devices is increasing by the day, and this won’t be slowing down in 2021.
Mobile Optimisation is a key factor in ranking for Google and other search engines. In 2019, Google moved to mobile-first indexing, which urged marketers to improve the mobile search experience. As people are opting for mobile to conduct most of their activities, optimising mobile search will certainly see brands who do, ahead of those who do not.
Websites which are optimised for mobile, have a better chance to featuring high on results pages. Ensuring a website is mobile-friendly will be a priority for marketers in 2021. The most common advice to ensuring websites are mobile friendly are:
Boosting page loading times, getting rid of slow-loading page elements
Getting rid of text-blocking ads and pop-ups that can block the view of your page.
The impact of Covid-19 will likely last heading into the early stages of 2021. Nobody knows exactly how long it will take to get back to ‘normal’, however, the digital marketing trends we’re set to see shine in 2021 will certainly aid both consumers and businesses. Whether it’s on a social media timeline or the heart of a website, customer journeys are evolving and there limits are endless.