2021 Marketing Trends We Expect to See

8 min read

Avatar Ellie Harris

22nd April, 2021

News

What a year 2020 has been! While many industries have taken a huge hit this year due to the pandemic, it’s truly been incredible to watch and support businesses adapt under the pressure that this year has brought us all.

From evolving our workplace culture to WFH full-time to shifting the focus for many of our clients to allow them to stay afloat in an otherwise very troubling year… We’ve been fascinated by the marketing trends we have seen in the past twelve months!

It begs the question, what marketing trends should we expect to see in 2021? From virtual events to marketing equality, increased demand for sustainability and the latest argument of ‘Google Search position #1 VS featured snippets’, plus much, much more. But what new digital marketing trends will be making waves in the coming year?

Position #1 VS Featured Snippets?

One of the main aims of SEO is to get your website pages at “position number one” in Google Search results. However, over the past few months, featured snippets have become the place to be. While position number one on Google refers to the very first search result we see, featured snippets are referred to as ‘position zero’, making them a priority to be featured in.

Featured snippets are designed to answer the user’s question straight away with a position on Google above the organic search results. If your content is rewarded as a featured snippet, you’ll be open to amazing opportunities of brand exposure within your search results. The best way of gaining a featured snippet? Simply by shifting your focus to question and answer based content on your website, Schema, or microdata. Having said that, you could expect to see a drop in click-through rate, as users are finding the answer to their question without having to navigate into a website.

Going into 2021, a new goal for businesses and marketers is to aim for featured snippets as well as number one position.

Virtual Events Are Here to Stay

One that we’re extremely excited about is virtual events, which are definitely here to stay! Virtual events initially started out of necessity in order to continue running in-person events which would otherwise be cancelled. By going virtual, businesses have been able to open their events to an entirely new audience.

If you’ve been following us for the past few months, you’ll know that we hosted a plethora of free digital marketing webinars to help you and your business learn all things SEO, PR, social (paid and organic), UX and much, much more. Our webinars have become the perfect place to gain insight and knowledge on a range of digital marketing topics. As well as offering our training in these webinars, we have also been offering a free Q&A session at the end of every webinar, plus free audits for your website or current marketing strategy.

The great thing about virtual events is the reduced concern for travel restrictions, costs of hotels and travel, visa issues and taking time away from work. However, virtual events are far more flexible which has resulted in a higher (than usual) attendance of these events, amazing return on investment and easier accessibility for guests to attend, when they otherwise may have other commitments.

As we move into 2021, virtual events will continue to be a popular route, not because of safety concerns, but as a result of the success that we have seen over the last few months. Something that businesses look for is something that can substitute (or even partly substitute) the usual live event, which is where virtual events have filled a huge gap.

One event you certainly won’t want to miss is the Growth Festival, a virtual event hosted by Digital Ethos which is fast approaching on the 21st January 2021. We want to allow the collaborative spirit of 2020 to carry on into 2021 by supporting businesses with expert advice on how to grow. Not to mention the Growth Festival is completely FREE to join and we even pledge to plant a tree for every attendee that joins! Be sure to grab your ticket!

That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles

Cookies have been around for several years now, with the sole intention of storing data about your user behaviour to provide you with a more customised experience on the web. Cookies allow websites and apps to build an extended profile of your browsing habits, no matter where or what your browsing. Your ‘virtual persona’ is ever-growing, made up of various different cookie files.

As cookies are known to be somewhat intrusive, there will be a continued emphasis on phasing third-party cookies out, with Google announcing in January 2020 that Chrome would begin blocking third-party cookies by default between 2021 and 2022.

This movement will undoubtedly have repercussions for many industries, particularly those within the advertising and marketing industry, the biggest of which being analytics tracking, the number one tool that helps businesses make decisions based on how users use a website.

Marketing Equality

Following the Black Lives Matter movement during the middle of 2020, Google searches for ‘black-owned businesses’ soared with a powerful indication to drive change not just in society, but they way consumers make decisions with day-to-day purchases.

This global search interest has sparked conversation regarding racial equality with many brands beginning to speak up and take a proactive approach to the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s expected that we see more black-owned businesses gaining further attention and recognition, with more everyday brands meeting expectations of fostering diversity throughout campaigns and their workplace. While this topic massively progressed in 2020, we can only imagine how mindful consumers will become with their power in the next coming months.

Reaching Customers at Home

We’re all spending more time at home than ever before. For some of us, staying at home for the most part of the year has taken a toll on our bank balances, with the pandemic pushing UK retail e-commerce sales up by 30%, according to eMarketer.

Staying at home has led to more of us turning to online forms of media to stay entertained, connected, and better informed each day. It’s predicted that more than 80% of consumer internet traffic will be driven by online video in the next two years, with this expected to rise as a result of digital adoption during the pandemic.

We’re confident that in order to be successful in 2021, businesses will need to tap into online video marketing and videography as a means of reaching and engaging their consumers.

Demand for Sustainability

Over the last five years, sustainability has been at the forefront of consumer’s minds, with more of us opting sustainable lifestyles, shopping local for our groceries and cutting out meat and dairy products.

There’s no doubt that the pandemic has reinforced this demand for sustainability, with a notable increase in Google searches for ‘sustainable brands’ not just over the last few months, but also over the past five years.

As an example, at Digital Ethos, our aim is to give more back to the planet than we use or take to accelerate our transition to a greener and more sustainable future. This focus has been accelerated since our climate change partnership with Earthly.

With the UK Government setting their focus on cutting carbon emissions, for example, with the plan to terminate the production of petrol and diesel vehicles from 2030, consumers are also considering their impact on the environment as they make purchasing decisions.

Consumers want brands to demonstrate responsibility and transparency through sustainable attributes and values. This has led to brands shifting their focus on sustainability, which we predict to skyrocket in 2021. Some of the brands we have already seen do this include the Rare Tea Company, Found, Bazar, Comfort and Patagonia.

Mobile Apps Leading to Business Growth

According to GOBankingRates, 30% of consumers believe that the way we shop will never be the same. With more of us using our mobile devices this year, we are finding that mobile app downloads have soared in 2020 with the most popular applications including online learning, entertainment, shopping, games or food delivery. Check out our client Bazar App, the ethical marketplace app and WELD being fitness platform, both experiencing a huge spike in demand!

As we look towards 2021, it’s crucial that brands capture this growth opportunity on mobile applications in order to push business growth forward. In a study conducted by BigCommerce, consumers shopping on retail applications on mobile are twice as likely to spend more than when using a website.

This creates incredible opportunities for businesses to overcome previous challenges and reap the benefits of success. Prioritising mobile app strategy ensures a value-add channel for consumers.

Social Media Marketing Will Soar

Social media is one of the most effective tactics in today’s world and, in the famous words of Dave Willis, Writer and Pastor, “Don’t use social media to impress people, use it to impact people.” Social media is also a great tactic to incorporate within your wider marketing plan as an omni-channel approach is guaranteed to bring in the results you are looking for.

We are very quickly realising that social media isn’t once what it used to be. Rather than for discovery, social media is expected to become one of the best channels for purchase, even more so than it currently is.

Social media platforms make it super easy for consumers to make purchases without the need to leave the platform. For consumers, this makes the buying experience simple and seamless, even with the option to ‘fast checkout’ and pay through Apple Pay, for those of us that are sometimes too lazy to reach over for our bank card!

With social e-commerce continuing to grow into 2021, retailers will need to adapt to these platforms. So, if you aren’t using social media for your business yet, you’ll definitely want to be in the next year or two!

Reduction of Social Media Channels

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn are the top four social media channels that we post to every day. However, it’s not always important to be using all platforms for your business.

Some companies are beginning to reduce the number of channels they share to and stay relevant on. It’s important to restructure your efforts so that you’re only posting to the channels you are most relevant on. After all, if it’s not necessary for you to post to a particular channel, it can be a waste of time as the need to declutter is almost pervasive.

Although, many companies still have no social presence, while very few brands have touched on TikTok advertising. The customer base of younger people on social media means that they are savvier to marketing tactics!

Rebrands / Digital Transformations

An online and digital presence is important now more than ever. As some industries and businesses take a more manual approach to running their operations, we are likely to see a surge in digital transformations and renewed appearances across brands. After all, there’s no better time like the present! New Year New Me!

We recently undertook our own rebrand – which is coming very soon to our website! Our new branding represents how far we have come as a brand, with the branding now encompassing a more mature version of Digital Ethos. This transformation is a way of expanding our business and evolving into something bigger and better.

Here’s to 2021!

We’re excited to see what the next year brings for the marketing industry, here’s hoping that 2021 will be a bigger and better year!

It’s important to stay on top of trends, track what your competitors are doing and get your business on the map. Digital Ethos are on hand to help with all your digital marketing needs and we are happy to support you by giving you the tools needed to excel your business.

If you’re interested in how your business could benefit from expert digital marketing services with our expertly crafted campaigns, or have any further enquiries, please do get in touch.

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