Sahail Ashraf posted on 2 February 2021
How will digital marketing change in 2021? Well, it will in some rather obvious ways after a year that everyone wants to forget. But the impact of last year has affected audience behaviour. So what is 2021 looking like?
Digital marketing is always changing. But last year was a strange one, and it has meant the online landscape will be changing in some very different ways in 2021. We thought we’d take a look.
When social media first became big, it was highlighted as offering two distinct opportunities. The first one was connection. Millions began to connect with old friends and loved ones through platforms like Facebook. Then there was discovery, people realised that they could find cool stuff on social media. Whether this was a blog that educated people, or a social media post that offered a fact or two, social offered a chance to find out more about the world around us and the people who were in it.
In 2021, expect that to change significantly. Social media now is very much about moving towards marketplaces and stores. Often in-app, purchases are now incredibly easy to make and social media platforms are scrambling to make it even easier. See something on social (discovery), and then buy it (purchase). In essence, social media is swiftly becoming a retail space that offers convenience. Expect it to become more obvious as 2021 plays out.
Expect there to be a more subtle shift occurring this year as well. Consumers are going to expect that their vendors are more aware of who they are and what they want. Data is incredibly sophisticated now, and it will become clear that shoppers expect suggestions on what to buy next and why.
Retailers online will need to use their data effectively, providing shoppers with suggestions that match what Amazon does (the famous ‘you may also be interested in’) and take it one level deeper. Seasonal suggestions are expected, but retailers online on social media will need to think outside the box a little, so that they are actually ‘knowing’ the customer. Their likes and dislikes, their age and their social status. If retailers on social aren’t presenting as a true ‘shopping buddy’, then they will suffer.
Live streaming was obviously popular anyway, but the lockdown situation all over the world has meant that there has been a marked increase in this particular format. Influencers are using live streaming to enhance the connection between them and their audience. Marketers will be doing the same too in 2021.
Some interesting points. Amazon Live has kind of shot through the roof when it comes to live streaming. Influencers are using the platform to offer sponsored recommendations on products, and then the audience can shop through Amazon Live right there and then.
It’s also important to remember that live streaming content can promote trust between an Influencer and their audience. Any brand pushing into Influencer partnerships in 2021 may want to think about that.
User-generated content (UGC) is also expected to become important in the months ahead. This is also about trust. With the unfortunate consequence of the pandemic being that many people find that their finances are tighter, shoppers are looking for personal recommendations for products so they can trust the outcome will be positive.
It’s important. So brands should be encouraging more engagement with customers, and looking for UGC through testimonials, reviews and simple ratings. If a UGC campaign is followed aggressively, brands can expect real ROI in the post-COVID era.
People are using voice search (and shop) more often right now. Again, the pandemic will have had a part to play in this. With people stuck at home, what was once perhaps a novelty may now be an actual lifeline.
This means that brands will have to step up their game and make their products searchable via voice, or at least compatible with how people use voice searching.
But that’s not the only big change.
Visual search is now becoming a reality. Google Lens is leading the way. To understand this, bear in mind that a Google Lens user can search for whatever they see. And as they access websites on the platform, if they don’t gain a unique and attractive visual experience, they will most likely pass you by.
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