Years from now, when we look back on 2020, the year will almost undoubtedly be characterized by the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic, and perhaps even split into two significant digital marketing periods – the time before and after Coronavirus changed the digital landscape. In short, the pandemic has significantly impacted the way consumers search for, access, and utilize goods and services.
Consumer Trends Cause a Shift in Digital Marketing Trends
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have shifted their shopping and spending habits from in-person to primarily online. These changes in consumer behavior have caused a transition in the way businesses go about reaching them – and a corresponding shift in the digital marketing trends 2021 is likely to bring.
Here are the latest digital marketing trends that will impact the next year:
Digital Trend #1 – Increase in Voice Search
Voice search is, of course, not a brand-new phenomenon. Both Google Home and Amazon Alexa voice-controlled smart home assistants have been a relatively common fixture since at least 2017 – and we’ve been using voice search on mobile phones since Apple’s Siri emerged in 2011. However, COVID-19 (and some hard-earned familiarity with such devices) has made consumers more comfortable ordering and giving information via voice search.
As more and more consumers build active voice search profiles on mobile and home-based devices, digital marketers will find increased value in learning about past searches and purchases. Crafting a custom Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy based on consumer voice search behaviors and preferences post-COVID will likely prove more beneficial than ever before. Perhaps most important is ensuring your website, app, and other platforms are optimized for voice search.
Digital Trend #2 – Social Listening and Social Media Marketing
Similar to voice search, Social Media Marketing is far from a new marketing tool in 2021’s post-COVID-19 era. However, its drastic increase in importance is a marked shift from pre-COVID 2020, as users ramped up their access to all major platforms while on lockdown or quarantine. As the pandemic recedes, your most powerful demographics will continue to research, connect with, and purchase from your brand, beginning with your social media platform.
The use of influencer marketing to promote your most important products and brand messaging continues to skyrocket. It remains one of the most essential social media-based trends in digital marketing. In particular, businesses can utilize highly visual platforms like Facebook and Instagram to engage a userbase increasingly willing to shop from home. Aside from influencers, continue to engage in social listening to accurately assess your audience and how they are responding to your campaign.
Digital Trend #3 – Hypertargeting and Personalization
With the increase in demand for products and services delivered to the home comes the expected influx of Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads from businesses looking to cash in on the shift. This increase in ad spend, in general, puts you at risk for becoming lost in the marketing noise bombarding most of your audience. Worse, if you aren’t careful to target your audience with marketing relevant to them, you risk alienating a key group of users.
The numbers don’t lie – almost half of internet users have previously said they will disregard a brand entirely if it appears they’re being targeted by ads that are not relevant to them. By contrast, 36% are actually more likely to continue buying from a brand that sends relevant, personalized marketing messages. In the latter fourth of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, it’s more important than ever to target your most valuable audiences with precision-honed campaigns and incorporate personalized messaging whenever possible.
Digital Trend #4 – New Digital Demographics
While the shift to eCommerce has been a long time coming, COVID-19 prodded new demographics to partake in what has become a familiar venue for Millennial and Gen Z-ers. The pandemic has led some Baby Boomers to make their first-ever online purchases out of necessity, especially during the early stages when essentials like toilet paper and hand sanitizer were experiencing drastic shortages. However, over a third of respondents in this demographic indicated they would continue to shop online, leading to a significant opportunity to virtually access this group as opposed to traditional television and print marketing.
Continue to Capture Future Trends in Digital Marketing
As the world continues to experience the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the business world will continue to move into the “new normal” that is digital marketing post-pandemic. As always, it’s crucial to keep your marketing strategies fresh and relevant to your target audience by keeping an eye on the trends above. The takeaway? The new trends in digital marketing will continue to shift well into 2021, and we’ll be here to help you adjust.
We at Zero Gravity Marketing continue to keep a finger on the pulse of the digital marketing landscape. In fact, we live and breathe digital marketing so you don’t have to – anticipating the shifts and trends so you can capture the most critical insights necessary to grow your brand. If you’re ready to get started, reach out to the Zero Gravity Digital Marketing team today.