Featured | February 19, 2021

Marketing for the Year Ahead: Digital Marketing Trends 2021

A new year is well and truly upon us, but what does that mean for marketing? Digital marketing is an ever-changing landscape, and new trends in marketing are the norm. As innovative tools and new data become available, we revise and improve our strategy.

When it comes to the top marketing trends in 2021, there are already some areas of interest we recommend paying close attention to. So, what are they? Keep reading to find out.

Digital Marketing Trends: 2021

If you look at the emerging digital marketing trends right now, many are guided by what you could call ‘the Covid effect’. Brands have been forced to reassess and re-evaluate, change their business models, and be much more mindful of their audience’s circumstances.

Combined, these demands have resulted in a swathe of digital marketing trends due to Covid. Now, as we head into 2021, it’s time to take another look at the market and make some new predictions. Here are the top trends we’re watching.

Embracing Failure

When we look back at digital marketing in 2020, the year can be described as one long learning curve. Many brands embraced change and innovation and really triumphed. However, ignoring missteps and failures is a mistake.

You might think shouting about what hasn’t worked is a terrible strategy, but in reality, refusing to sweep your blunders under the rug can have a number of benefits:

  • It helps forge a stronger relationship with your audience, who will see and appreciate how transparent you are.
  • Talking about (and analysing) your mistakes will minimise the chance of repeating them.
  • By re-framing failures as opportunities for learning, you can foster an environment for innovation and growth.

And second to this, is…

Remain Flexible

As the landscape is expected to shift in the summer to life “returning to normal” as we come out of lockdowns, it’ll be important to have a flexible approach to your 2021 digital marketing strategy.

This return to normality will mean that browsing habits will change (again!), therefore brand positioning should alter again to gear for a more active ‘away from home’ setting type of messaging, and also be prepared to change scheduling times to accommodate the change in lifestyle (more commuting, more mobile usage etc.).

Looking Under the Bonnet: Web Vitals

Another key digital marketing trend for 2021 (and one that we are thrilled to see) is a renewed focus on getting the technical details right when it comes to website set-up. Driven by incoming Google changes, this is definitely one to pay attention to:

“Core Web Vitals are going to be massive in 2021 as we prepare for Google introducing it as a major ranking factor. It will be mandatory for websites to improve quality signals for greater UX and speed.

With sites that do this well, there is plenty of opportunity in the expanding SERPs for better rankings and higher visibility. For good site performance in 2021, you have to nail this: it’s no longer just a score of performance, it’s an essential bit of kit to get your site where it needs to be.”

Beth Barnham, SEO Specialist, Liberty Marketing

Better Ads, More Testing

The ecommerce landscape has never been busier, or more competitive, than it is in 2021. So, it’s no surprise to see ads mentioned in our list of marketing trends.

Ad optimisation should be a key focus for your brand in 2021, to maximise ad revenue and stand out from the competition. And, although more than two-thirds of digital ad spend now goes to Facebook and Google, paying a little attention to alternative platforms could be a winning strategy.

YouTube, more than ever, is deemed as a huge opportunity for many brands. The audiences are considerably cheaper than other platforms for their level of engagement, and other display platforms, such as Teads, could provide you with new opportunities. Especially as advertisers begin to seek other opportunities for less reliance on Google.

Test, analyse, and test again – really try to understand the customer journey and the customers themselves. This knowledge will pay dividends.

Understanding Intent

Search intent is another area businesses are focusing on in 2021. With so many lifestyle changes and new keywords in 2020 – think “social distancing” and “face masks” – it’s wise to re-assess your keyword strategy.

“Intent is more important than ever, as there is a higher influx of users who must be served the correct page for their search result. If they aren’t, then you can expect to see higher bounce rates and inevitably a decrease in rankings.

In order to stay up-to-date on whether the intent for your page is correct, we must focus on search trends and targeting the most relevant keyword. Look at “face masks” in 2020: this used to be a beauty relevant term, but has since been overtaken by Amazon and other retailers selling protective face masks. If we do not update and react to these changes, we will be left behind.”

Charlie Rudd, Senior SEO Specialist, Liberty Marketing

Accessibility and Inclusivity

It shouldn’t be a trend or a buzzword, but it’s true: the importance of inclusivity has never been clearer. Consumers in 2021 expect brands to represent and support diversity, and cater not only to one ill-defined mass but to many distinct audiences, no matter how marginal.

On a technical level, being mindful of accessibility means thoughtful design:

“If you don’t have image alt text (which is a very basic SEO mistake), or unique naming conventions on button elements, those using screen readers will be at a disadvantage. It’s unacceptable to give users a different experience, it should be smooth and accessible no matter how users access your site.”

Beth Barnham, SEO Specialist, Liberty Marketing

In terms of marketing campaigns and PR, making inclusivity a priority means thinking about representation and diversifying your offering. This isn’t a tactic to score points – it’s a core consideration. After all, 2021’s audiences are bored with homogenous content. Offering them more – and better – is a priority to consider.

How Will You Grow for 2021?

It’s time to start thinking about where your business could be in 12 months’ time. What are your goals for 2021, and how can you get there?

Exploring these digital marketing trends could be one pathway. Remember, as you explore and innovate, not every strategy will be a roaring success – but by starting small and moving quickly, you could achieve things you wouldn’t have thought were possible.

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