When each year comes to its end, marketers get together to evaluate the changes that happened during these 12 months and try to determine what lies ahead.
However, this year is different. The current COVID-19 pandemic has changed the current scope of digital marketing, bringing new challenges that companies never faced before. According to InfluencerMarketingHub:
- 97% of marketers have noticed lower in-person marketing engagement
- 69% noticed lower interest in ads, thus are planning to decrease ad expenses
- 74% are posting less on social media because many workers were laid off
As a result, brands expect irreversible changes in digital marketing inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and these changes will also impact the trends that will rule marketing in 2021.
What are these trends?
Let’s take a look.
1. More Consumers Will Use Voice Search
Over the past few years, you might have already noticed a rapid growth of the public in voice search, and smart speakers, in particular. And, numerous statistics prove this point:
- 39.3% of millennials used voice-enabled assistants at least once last year
- 43% of consumers use voice assistants and similar devices to shop online
- 51% also use voice search to find new products, attractive deals, and sales
In the upcoming year, this trend will also remain strong. It is expected that consumers worldwide will own over 8.4 billion voice assistants by 2024:
Consumers are investing more and more in voice-enabled devices because voice search is more effortless compared to how we usually type queries into a search bar. And that’s the reason why, in the upcoming years, you will most likely see more marketers invest in voice search SEO.
2. The Interest in AI Will Continue Growing
Today, you can already see the impact of AI on marketing, as more and more companies apply different AI-powered solutions.
According to the stats:
- 61% of marketers already say that AI is one of the top aspects of their data strategies
- 80% also report that they already see the positive impact of AI on the overall productivity
- when AI solutions are available, 49% of consumers are willing to shop more frequently, while 34% spend more money
There are multiple ways how AI can boost different marketing operations. Here are a few examples:
- Smarter PPC advertising. Currently, Facebook is already doing ad delivery optimization, which will use machine learning to help marketers predict the outcomes of their ad campaigns. It is expected that more channels will also be doing that in the upcoming year.
- Enhanced website experience. Companies are starting to use AI-powered machine learning to detect and predict consumer behaviors and use this knowledge for better audience segmentation. It will allow companies to make better and more personalized product offers.
- AI-powered chatbots. It is expected that more consumer-brand interactions will be held via a chatbot in the upcoming years. However, chatbots will change as well with the help of AI and machine learning that will enable more flexibility.
Innovations, brought by AI, will continue their impact on marketing in 2021 as well. Especially considering the changes brought by the pandemic, more brands will be looking into AI-powered technologies to help them tackle new challenges
3. AR and VR Will Deliver New Experiences
Many brands will admit that there is a problem of driving engagement among consumers. It seems like people have already seen everything and they are looking for more brand experience that will make them excited to try and buy new products.
AR and VR can help businesses bring these experiences to the table. This technology has already spread to multiple industries and niches. You can even find AR and VR in education, with more and more students learning English through AR-powered mobile apps. Digital marketing is not an exception, and we can already see multiple uses of AR and VR to drive consumer engagement.
For example, L’Oreal has partnered with Perfect Corp. to develop an AR-powered app that helps women find makeup products that would suit them the best:
As we head towards 2021, we are going to see brands invest in more experiences like this. AR and VR technologies get cheaper as the years go by but are still able to deliver a unique experience, which brands will take advantage of in the upcoming future.
4. Big Data Will Gradually Take Over
Another major trend that will take over marketing in 2021 is big data. You can already see big data’s impact on digital marketing today, as it helps solve a few major challenges:
- Better sales. Big data helps collect customer insights, with which brands can detect and track consumer purchase patterns and optimize sales.
- Improved customer-brand relationships. By tracking consumer behaviors via big data, brands can cater to the needs of their customers more effectively.
- Higher relevancy. Big data collected from campaigns can help brands detect current trends and help adjust their marketing efforts according to them.
Currently, social data has the biggest influence on digital marketing. It is the type of big data that companies collect through social platforms which helps them determine audience demographics, content preferences, and most popular trends.
In the upcoming year, we will see more uses for social data, and social media platforms continue to be an important part of digital marketing, and social data will continue to assist brands with tackling different tasks.
Even though digital marketing had to go through different hurdles this year, the pandemic has brought exciting changes that will shape the state of marketing in the upcoming future.
So, make sure you follow the trends that we covered in this article to make your marketing efforts more fruitful and successful next year.
Author bio: Ryan is a passionate writer who likes sharing his thoughts and experience with the readers. Currently, he works as a digital marketing specialist and works on online business branding, you can check the website. He likes everything related to traveling and new countries.