Effective marketing has long been centered around digital channels, but that’s no surprise. The world is technologically addicted, and there’s no going back! But as 2021 rolls forward, it’s not hard to observe certain trends within digital marketing that are affecting the way businesses connect with their potential customers. Here are 10 trends in digital marketing that you can take advantage of to win big for your own business this year!
1) Artificial Intelligence is Taking Over!
While we’re probably a long way from Skynet taking over the world and exterminating mankind, AI is certainly growing in use for marketing purposes. And there are many reasons for this. AI can give businesses competitive advantages and allow them to expand into new markets. What’s more, both new and existing competitors are using AI in various applications. So, failure to adapt could mean being left behind. Additionally, automating tasks with AI can significantly reduce costs in all sorts of ways. And, in an interesting development, customers are asking for it more and more. It’s got that ‘cool’ factor that new technological advancement always carries with it.
The good news is that most up-to-date software packages for digital marketing channels, ranging from e-mail to social media, already incorporate AI in some form. So, you won’t need to be (or hire) a programmer to take advantage of AI.
2) Programmatic Advertising
Arranging for advertising was once a complex task that required a person to select and buy the ads to fit the right audience. But in our complex and high-speed digital world, a person just can’t keep up anymore. And, as they say, time is money. Programmatic advertising is a specific application of AI, in which computers use your parameters to buy ads on your behalf using methods such as real-time bidding. It’s more efficient and it’s faster. And that means you’ll get better conversion rates while reducing costs. Here is an article listing applications that can help you do programmatic advertising for your own business.
Chatbots are nothing new. But their usage is undeniably increasing. That’s because chatbots can offer something small businesses can rarely provide – immediate responses to basic communications. And they can do it on a huge scale. What’s more, thanks to advancements in AI technology, chatbots are sounding more and more natural and realistic. Increasingly, customers communicating with chatbots don’t even know they’re talking to an AI.
4) Conversational Marketing
Going hand-in-hand with the chatbot trend is conversational marketing. There’s a reason that chatbots work. People want to experience personal conversations and connections – especially in this new work-at-home age of isolation. But chatbots are only the first layer of communication. You’re eventually going to have to face your customers directly, and make them feel individually important. What’s more, your customers have an increasing demand for instant answers. It’s a digital world, after all. Chances are they’ve already tried googling it. But sometimes, only a real person can provide real answers in real time.
Particularly in advertising, businesses are operating in an enormous sea of competitors – all of whom are blasting their messages out to the public in a tsunami of information. If you want to connect to customers in 2021, you need to focus on people, individually. That’s the only way to cut through the noise. Personalization can be accomplished through any number of platforms, but there’s no doubt that it is a key to success. Fortunately, our friend, AI, makes it possible to personalize your messages on a broader scale.
6) Video Marketing
The importance of video has long been central in digital marketing. But it’s a growing trend in 2021. What can video do? Well, the statistics speak for themselves. 72% of businesses claim that their conversion rates have improved because of video content. And 52% of customers feel more confident about online purchases after watching a video about the product.
Interestingly, technology has taken video a step further, with interactivity becoming a real option within video content. So, if video, alone, is so powerful, what can interactive video content do for you?
7) Influencer Marketing
Again, influencer marketing is nothing new. But cooperation with youtubers and other influencers has shown steady growth over the last couple of years, with no signs of letting up. These days, kids and adolescents are more likely to watch a YouTube show about their favorite game than they are to watch cartoons or TV. This is leading to a coming generation that will lean more and more towards trusting influencer opinion. And this demographic already has buying power. So, influencer marketing is a good place to invest, and to keep pushing for, into the future.
8) Social Messaging Apps
Social messaging applications have been around for a long time. We use them for chatting with our friends, students use them to coordinate and cooperate with classmates, and office workers do the same thing with coworkers. So, social messaging apps are now a normal form of communication that receives real attention. But platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, QQ Mobile, Snapchat and Telegram are good for more than just social and collaborative communication. Because of their common usage, they’ve become an entire digital marketing channel, all their own. So, find ways to leverage them as a useful tool.
9) Visual Search
The ability to upload an image to get information is called visual search. Again, this technology is not particularly new. But it is becoming smarter and more commonplace. Consequently, a lot of popular tech services are offering mobile apps designed for just such a purpose. There are Pinterest Lens, Google lens, CamFind and Bing Visual Search, just for starters. So, any good SEO effort needs to take searchable images into consideration in 2021.
10) Voice Search & Smart Speakers
Last, but certainly not least, is voice search. With growing purchase and usage trends of AI devices such as smart speakers and smartphones, it’s no surprise that people are doing more talking than typing when it comes to their searches. And this affects the kind of language they use in their searches. What does this mean to you and your digital marketing efforts? It means that your SEO efforts need to be focused on the kind of long-tailed keywords that come out in natural, spoken language, rather than the short and abbreviated forms people use when tapping in words on their smartphone keyboards.
Of course, there’s a lot more to say about digital marketing in this new era, and no doubt, we’ll have more tips and observations for you in the near future. But for now, here’s wishing you a happy and successful New Year!