The New Year 2021 has arrived, which means it’s time not only to take stock of the years, but also to look into the future and, with the help of my trends, render it right now.
Is it worth trying to look into the future and predict trends after the coronavirus pandemic suddenly turned everything upside down last year and showed how naïve and unreliable assumptions and plans are? The world has reminded us of its unpredictability, but, fortunately, at least the digital marketing sphere is still relatively stable, because it is online, where there is no coronavirus. Of course, it is capable of presenting surprises, but now we can talk about some trends that are highly likely to play a significant role in 2021.
- Artificial intelligence and machine learning
Gradually and almost imperceptibly, artificial intelligence (AI) crept into the life of modern people and took a significant place in it. That said, no one actually knows in which direction AI will take us! All people know is that AI can conquer the world ( as portrayed in technology films about the future ). The truth is, already, the role of artificial intelligence in marketing and business can hardly be overestimated. Artificial intelligence helps analyze consumer data and interests, offer them targeted ads, track sales, improve communication with customers and predict their behavior patterns. The use of machine learning is also growing, useful in the analysis of the text, images, and audio, as well as so valuable for the development of another trend – personalization.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning are also helping chatbots function, which will remain relevant in 2021. Yes, they are trending again! The audience likes the opportunity to instantly resolve issues and receive feedback from a company or a seller 24/7. AI-powered chatbots capable of deep learning can develop dialogue, address past customer requests, collect data and analyze consumer needs and concerns, and naturally interact with a person, forging their connection with a company or brand. In 2020, even the World Health Organization launched a chatbot: a free service in English that provides information about the coronavirus and how to stop its spread.
- Voice search
Voice search is a technology that allows you to search the Internet by making a request orally. For consumers, this method of searching has ceased to be just entertainment – people get used to it and are increasingly using it in everyday life. And although regular forecasts promising that voice search will outstrip and supersede text queries are not yet justified, there are still more people who like to chat with Alexa, Siri. Not only voice search is easy, insightful and gives a direction to technology but it is also important for content optimization.
Personalization is a controversial topic, but relevant, and, most likely, it will remain so in the new year. Already, most companies strive to show ads to the most interested users, and people want to see recommendations that correspond to their interests, and are less worried that their smartphone is “following them.” While some experts argue that personalization is a complete necessity, others warn that it gets in the way of finding and engaging a new, not yet interested audience. Nevertheless, in 2021 we will most likely continue to live in a world where not only advertising but also news feed or social media is selected for us taking into account our tastes and preferences.
- Native advertising on social networks
Native advertising has not surprise anyone in 2020, but in the new year, it will remain one of the key digital marketing tools. It’s no longer just about affiliate materials or sponsored posts – native advertising is evolving at the speed of light and offers new ways to attract users to the interaction. Interesting formats include funny Instagram masks and filters, branded stickers, native advertising on TikTok, which is becoming an increasingly effective platform. Simple, interesting, and most importantly useful content on social networks popular and close to the audience helps to increase brand awareness, trust, and consumer loyalty. For example, Netflix is actively developing an entire channel The Swoon on Instagram and YouTube to attract audiences to its new direction – Asian TV series.
- Content with the ability to buy or shoppable-content
It all started with posts on Instagram, offering to immediately find out the price of the product and go to the store, and now such shoppable-content is taking over the Internet. This tool instantly creates a link between engaging content and sales. Such content is often used by clothing brands such as the French brand Sezane. The H&M Instagram account went further: almost all of their posts make it possible to immediately find out the cost of the items depicted and continue shopping. In 2020, which forced people to move to online shopping, this approach is especially relevant, and it is unlikely to change anytime soon.
- Marketing through video and visual storytelling
It’s simple: people love to watch videos. It is a serious mistake not to exploit their interest in this format. However, the competition in this area is growing rapidly, and we have to invent more and more original formats to compete with those who make truly professional content to attract an audience. Among the pros is the Chanel brand, which recently released a video with the famous actress Marion Cotillard and accompanied it with a series of videos about how this video was filmed, how they recorded a song for it, and how the actress did makeup. Popular and useful YouTube channels are already hosted by culinary brands Maggi and Heinz, which invites Ed Sheeran, the Russian perfume chain Golden Apple, which shoots videos with bloggers, as well as brands AX, Samsung, Lego, and many others.
- Audio ads and podcasts
Audios are also an important part of the audience. It is easy to promote products and services by leveraging podcast and audio ads. Music industry has dedicated an entire section for audio advertising. People are increasingly listening to podcasts in the car, subway, or during their daily activities, so this format is worth paying attention to now.
- Marketing in messengers
One of the important tasks of digital marketing is to make communication between consumers and the brand as simple, accessible, and convenient as possible. An important tool for this remains instant messengers, which allow companies to find customers, keep in touch with them, inform about new products and promotions, and receive feedback. WhatsApp, Telegram, Facebook Messenger are gradually transforming from applications for communicating with friends into communication channels between brands and audience, and this should be taken advantage of in 2021.
- AR and VR
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies open up entirely new possibilities for interacting with audiences and engaging consumers. For digital marketing purposes, you can use QR tags, AR games, special applications, digital animations, virtual reality glasses. The use of such technologies demonstrates that a brand can be considered innovative and capable of offering a customer an interesting, memorable experience. For example, IKEA already has an AR furniture selection app that allows you to use your smartphone to see how the selected sofa, table, or chair will look in a specific room.
- Protection of personal data
One of the key topics of our time is reflected in digital marketing. People are increasingly worried about their safety on the Internet, worried about personal data, and do not easily share information. Therefore, it is important to do everything possible to protect privacy, raise awareness of the audience about the company’s methods of collecting and using personal data, and look for ways to increase customer confidence.
- Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is the concept of connecting physical objects using embedded Internet technologies. A striking example is the concept of “smart home” and “smart” devices. Why is IoT useful for marketers? It will allow you to improve interaction with your audience, track customer needs and instantly offer them the best solutions. Among the pluses – a modern and advanced approach, maximum interactivity and audience involvement, getting more data.
- The importance of customer experience
Modern people have a choice. A large number of brands, products, and companies in almost any field allow consumers to look for options that best meet their needs. This is why it is so important to look at the company “through the eyes of the customers” and create a positive customer experience that will make the audience stay with you and make it easier for people to choose. It is necessary to build relationships with consumers, take into account their needs and convey the values of the company, as well as make interaction with the brand as simple and convenient as possible and meet the expectations of the audience.
- Programmatic advertising
Automation is not just a buzzword, but an effective tool, including for digital marketing. Programmatic advertising, designed to automate the purchase and sale of advertising in real-time, eliminates the long and cumbersome process of the usual search for advertising resources and sites. Automated systems are quite fast and display information only to the most interested users. Programmatic advertising uses the aforementioned artificial intelligence and machine learning to quickly analyze huge amounts of data and find the best options for brand promotion.
- Discussion Marketing
One way to get people interested in and thinking about a product is to engage them in a discussion by asking questions or suggesting a discussion. It is important for many people today to be heard. Encourage consumers to voice their opinion to get feedback and collect useful data. Comments on the site, discussions on social networks, reviews on the Internet are all valuable sources of information and an opportunity to interest a new audience.
- Conversational Marketing
It is equally important to communicate with the client one-on-one to emphasize their importance and increase loyalty. Use the chatbots, instant messengers, social media, and other channels mentioned above to answer consumer questions, send personalized suggestions, and keep in touch. The consumer becomes somewhat spoiled, but if he wants to immediately find out the information he is interested in about a brand or product at three in the morning, he must have such an opportunity.
- Interactive content
Placing interactive elements on your website or social media is a great way to increase visitor engagement, encourage them to engage with your brand, and learn more about your customers. Polls, quizzes, games, quizzes, contests – they all involve the audience. Even a simple mortgage calculator on the website of a bank or construction company allows you to keep a person on the website longer and learn useful data about him.
- Collaboration with influencers
Influencers are not losing ground, but the way they work with them is changing a bit. Now it is important not only to attract a popular blogger but to build long-term and effective cooperation with the creator of high-quality content. Increasingly, brands are working with micro-influencers who are trusted by a narrow and focused audience. Focusing on the quality of the content rather than the number of subscribers helps increase consumer confidence and engagement in a brand or product.
- Omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel implies interaction with the audience through several channels at once, interconnected and offering the client a unified experience. Switching between different devices and platforms should be easy and comfortable for the consumer. The integration of multiple channels ensures continuous communication with the customer, fosters customer engagement, helps retain attention, and creates a positive customer experience.
- Ephemeral content
Ephemeral content is a type of visual content that is available for a limited time (usually 24 hours). Such photos, videos, or live broadcasts are very popular on social networks Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, which is less relevant in Russia. Facebook has over 2.7 billion monthly active users, while Instagram has about 1 billion, so it’s worth paying attention to this trend. Moreover, this type of content is associated with the need for instant reaction and encourages consumers to make a purchase decision faster.
- And as always: content is a king!
Content marketing is the most important trends, it envelops us everywhere every day in the media, on portals, social networks, smartphones, instant messengers, on various video platforms. Moreover, it is becoming more and more significant. It is worth considering all the previous tools and technologies to create truly useful, interesting, and engaging content that can win over an audience that is increasingly difficult to surprise. It is difficult but possible. May 2021 give us examples of truly interesting and inspiring content!
And so, to your attention the new marketing trends of 2021, which will be in demand by all cool brands around the world in the new year.