10 Important Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

December 28, 2020

When it comes to digital marketing trends, many of the things on the SEO best practices list for 2021 are repeats from 2020. In chasing the new trends, you can’t discount the fundamentals. Crafting compelling content marketing pieces for organic search, deploying strategic paid search campaigns, and focusing on conversions aren’t going out of style.

However, some changes are impacting digital marketing trends for 2021 that you should know about.

1. Privacy Concerns

One of the biggest changes heading into 2021 will be the impact and enforcement of privacy regulations. From the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and now the California Privacy Rights Act (CPRA), consumers are paying more attention to privacy.

2. Third-Party Cookies

Browsers are changing as well. Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers are phasing out third-party cookies. Safari will block cross-site-tracking. Marketers will need to start transitioning to a cookie-less future.

3. First-Party Data

One way to market without cookies and cross-site tracking is to use first-party data. The contacts in your database have likely given you permission to market to them. This can be used for direct marketing to your customers or to create lookalike audiences.

4. Contextual Targeting

Contextual target is returning to prominence in 2021. Ads can be matched to content topics, keywords, taxonomy, location, or browsing habits. Improvements in automated segmentation, audience modeling, and machine learning result in significantly enhanced performance.

5. Programmatic Video

This year’s rapid increase in streaming will lead to more programmatic video marketing. Connected TVs (CTVs) and streaming devices are growing dramatically. According to Statista.com, there are more 200 million CTVs user now in the US. Some programmatic marketplaces have seen a 200% increase in streaming and CTV buys.

6. Social Media

While social media continue to come under attack from privacy advocates and government regulators, it’s proving to be resilient in terms of advertising and marketing. Despite a well-publicized boycott of Facebook advertising by some major brands in 2020, it barely made a dent. In 2021, social media will remain a popular vehicle for marketers.

7. Diversification of Social Media

Marketers are discovering there’s more than Facebook when you’re talking social. Amazon and Walmart are also growing in popularity among advertisers.

Instagram has more than half a billion daily users. For B2B campaigns, LinkedIn reports 766 million users worldwide. TikTok has gotten a lot of buzz lately but keep in mind a third of the audience is less than 19 years old. 62% is younger than 30.

8. Voice Search

Voice search continues to grow thanks to the adoption of smart speakers and voice assistants in mobile phones. According to a recent voice technology survey, 48% of consumers are conducting searches by voice. SEO practices will need to adapt as users are more likely to use natural language, phrases, and questions than keywords.

Whether you’re targeting organic search or paid search, this has an impact.

9. Marketing Automation

Managing various platforms, content marketing, landing pages, marketing channels, and leads has become increasingly complex. In 2021, look for wholesale adoption on marketing automation to be the primary way marketers generate, qualify, track, and nurture leads through the customer journey.

10. Restoring Trust

The 10th marketing trend, and the most important, is trust. 53% of the surveyed in 2020’s Edelman Trust Barometer said trust is the second most important factor when make purchase decisions, second only to price. At the same time, trust in brands and institutions are at an all-time low.

For many marketers, restoring trust and consumer confidence in their brands will be at the top of their 2021 marketing to-do list.