The year 2020 has been a transformative one for the digital world. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have moved the majority of their shopping and spending activities online. In order to follow them, businesses across all industries have had to significantly boost their digital game.
At present, it’s not certain how long this “new normal” will last. What is clear is that it’s more important than ever for businesses to keep on top of the latest digital marketing trends in order to avoid losing market share and customers. Some of the biggest trends that businesses need to pay attention to in 2021 are:
Social media was already a well-established digital marketing tool before the pandemic, but its importance has grown dramatically in the COVID-19 era. While in quarantine or lockdown, consumers significantly increased their amount of time spent on major social media platforms.
They frequently used these platforms as the first point of contact for researching, connecting with, and making purchases from their favorite brands. The lesson businesses should draw from this is that an active and engaged social media presence is absolutely essential in order to meet today’s customers where they are.
A logical extension of social media marketing, shoppable posts are expected to keep growing in popularity in 2021. The idea behind this marketing tactic is to offer consumers a one-stop-shopping experience on their social media platform of choice.
Businesses can promote products in their social media posts, and give shoppers the ability to search for items, add them to a shopping cart, and make purchases, all without leaving the social network. A presence on multiple social networks is crucial for this.
According to Statistica, voice searches accounted for 20 percent of all queries made via Google’s mobile app and on Android devices in early 2020. That figure is only expected to increase in 2021 as the use of voice assistants becomes more popular. There are two big reasons that this matters for businesses.
The first is that customers use different, more conversational language in a voice search than they do for a text search. In order to have results accurately sync with voice search queries, therefore, businesses need to specifically create and optimize content for voice.
The second reason is that with voice searches, there are no points for coming second. A voice search yields only one result, which could very well be a competitor’s site unless a proper investment is made in developing voice-optimized content.
Verified Listings and Local SEO
While this trend can affect any business in any location, it’s particularly relevant for smaller businesses operating at the local level. The idea here is to make sure that online searches will yield current, accurate information about a business’ geographical location, services, and hours.
This last is particularly important in the COVID-19 era, as many businesses are operating with reduced hours. A key step is to sign up for Google My Business and either verify an existing listing or create a new one.
The more purchases a customer makes online, the more likely they are to be bombarded by pay-per-click ads and other general digital marketing strategies. The trick is to stand out from all this digital noise by ensuring that ads are hypertargeted and highly personalized.
According to recent research, over one-third of internet users are more likely to continue to support a brand that sends marketing content that is relevant and personalized. By contrast, nearly half of users would completely disregard a brand if they feel they are being targeted by irrelevant ads.
New Digital Demographics
An interesting new trend that has been brought about by COVID-19 is the addition of new demographics to the ranks of digital consumers. Millennials and members of Gen Z have long been comfortable searching for and purchasing goods and services online, but far fewer Baby Boomers were online shoppers prior to the pandemic.
Over the past few months, however, a significant portion of this older generation found themselves making their first online purchases out of necessity. This is particularly true in the pandemic’s early stages when essentials such as hand sanitizer and toilet paper were in extremely short supply.
Now that they have been introduced to the world of online shopping, over a third of consumers over the age of 65 have said they plan to increase their online purchasing activities. This makes them a significant new group for businesses to reach through digital marketing.
In 2021, it will no longer be enough to be featured in the top spot, known as “position one,” of a Google search. Now, the goal to strive for is “position zero.” Also known as Google’s “featured snippet,” this is a search result that is contained within a separate box and displayed at the top of the page, above the other organic search results.
Featured snippets receive more traffic than the number one ranked organic search result, with some sources reporting that nearly 55 percent of Google clicks come from featured snippets. To attain this prized spot, the key is to create quality content that has been carefully optimized for exact terms and topics.