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Every December, we like to cast our digital marketing trend predictions for the following year and this year’s might be the most important to date! After what 2020 hurled at us, there’s no denying the importance of online sales, so, now’s the time to create a robust strategy that keeps you ahead of the curve, no matter what 2021 might bring!

Read on for Spindogs digital marketing trends for 2021.

Ecom, Ecom, Ecom

eCommerce sales have seen a monumental rise in 2020, surpassing even the holiday season traffic peaks of previous years as everyone is rushing to do their shopping online. From groceries and toilet paper to presents and DIY materials, now is certainly the time to be an online retailer.

“Overall, retail websites generated almost 22 billion visits in June 2020, up from 16.07 billion global visits in January 2020.”- Statista

Regardless of whether we can truly say goodbye to Covid-19 in 2021, it’s already changed the way consumers are spending. We’re expecting the ripple effect to last a while as people adapt and become accustomed to new ways of thinking and behaving online.

Agile marketing plans

We hate to say it, but none of us really know what’s around the corner at any given time and if 2020’s taught us anything, it’s that marketing plans need to be adaptable and easy to amend should something (you know, like a global pandemic) crop up.

With this in mind, it’s important to allow a level of flexibility within your marketing plans for the upcoming year. Watch closely for new trends emerging as things tend to move faster in the digital space and be ready to adapt and overcome if something you’re doing isn’t working. Leave your egos in 2020 and start monitoring your data, analytics and performance closely, with an open mind because agile marketing plans are here to stay!

“The pandemic-triggered recession is not one that will reward retrenchment over imagination and innovation.”- Deloitte

Conversational marketing

Conversational marketing is set to create a more human buying experience, even from behind a screen. As the digital landscape gets more vast and overwhelming for consumers (we’ve probably all said “I JUST WANT TO TALK TO A HUMAN BEING” after being locked out of our online banking…), this human-centred approach will be welcomed with open arms.

Your social media channels will be the simplest way to implement conversational marketing into your strategy for 2021. Replying to customer queries in a personable and informative way gives you a direct connection to them via social media. You can find out their pain points and direct them exactly where you want them to go, but you need to be active and present for this to work!

Chatbots should also get a mention here too. In early 2016, we saw a real boom in this type of technology with social media giants, such as Facebook, enabling companies to build chatbots onto their pages to carry out basic conversations on their behalf.
Though they’ve been around for a while, the AI is getting smarter and chatbots are allowing companies to understand their consumers in a different and more personalised way. So, while it may not be business owners personally entering into conversations with consumers, there’s still a hint of that personalised feeling and human connection that people crave.

Segwaying from Chatbots, we’re also expecting to see a rise in businesses using WhatsApp as a conversational customer service tool. WhatsApp has also recently added a shopping button to streamline eCommerce within business chats which we think is pretty smart!

Influencer marketing will expand from Instagram and Facebook

2020 saw a rise in popularity of brands working with micro-influencers (influencers with a small but dedicated following) on Instagram and Facebook and we think things are about to get even more granular. In 2021 we expect to see a wider range of sectors branching into the world of influencer marketing; focusing in on influential people within their specific areas, on platforms you wouldn’t expect to see them. Think of someone you look to on LinkedIn for business advice or productivity tips and you’re on the right track.

It may not be someone from Geordie Shore showcasing grooming products to their millions of followers, but the chances are, the more targeted approach of smaller audiences with ‘ordinary’ influencers (that people look up to within their field of work) will have a far higher conversion rate for the right companies.

The rise of Google Analytics 4

Google Analytics 4 launched in October 2020 and we’re expecting to see a surge of digital marketers trying to get to grips with the new service and what it has to offer. The new property type includes expanded predictive insights, deeper integration with Google Ads, cross-device measurement capabilities and more granular data controls.

The new version of Google Analytics (GA) will ultimately replace Universal Analytics (UA) which has been in place since 2013. This is not an update of UA, but a completely new system and, as such, has some big differences to UA that will have a direct impact on many businesses and marketers alike. GA 4 is not to be used in replacement of the original GA platform, but in conjunction with it to harness even greater insights.

Read more on GA4 in our blog post here.

Advanced automated bidding on ad platforms

Perhaps not a trend per se, but automated bidding on ads is getting smarter and, like it or not, it’s only set to get more advanced in 2021. PPC specialists will still be needed, but the platforms are evolving in such a way that the algorithms can take the reins. A positive to this step further into the world of automation is that us humans will have more time to plan out strategies that build brand awareness and write copy that packs a punch, encouraging people to engage.

Accessible marketing

It’s long been on our radars but as more and more of the general public are switching to a digital-first outlook, the need to make your marketing and your website accessible to all is more important than ever. Ensuring your website is simple to navigate and inclusive will be really important moving forward, along with content that is available for all, not just those who aren’t affected by a disability.

Closed captions on videos will grow even further in popularity for 2021, ensuring that your content is accessible to anyone hard of hearing. Making sure you supply image descriptions (ALT tags) for the visually impaired will also be an important step in the right direction and, colours and fonts will need to be chosen carefully on social media and marketing campaigns, ensuring that text is easy to read. The good news is, these tweaks are small and usually easy to implement leading to happier consumers and the opportunity to sell your product/service to everyone!

Read our blog on how to make your website accessible here.

The most important take away here is to keep your ear to the ground and be prepared for change, being accessible online with a smooth user journey will be your smartest move in 2021 and the chances are, you’ll need to make a few changes for this to happen.
If you’d like some help with bringing your website into 2021, or with your digital marketing approach, why not get in touch below, we’d love to hear from you!

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