“Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behaviour when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.” – Brian Solis
All types of businesses across all industries must understand this quote and act accordingly to have a competitive edge in the rapidly advancing digital era. Consumer behaviour is highly unstable, resulting in an ever-changing world of digital marketing.
Staying one step ahead of the latest digital marketing trends and utilizing them before your competitors is the key to success. We live in a world where products, services, marketing and brands are defined by consumer experience.
The global digital marketing expenditure has reached almost $400 billion in 2021, and it’s about time businesses realise the importance of being at par with digital marketing trends and updates.
Let’s understand the meaning of digital marketing before we begin.
What is Digital Marketing?
Digital marketing is the act of promoting and selling products and services by using an electronic device or the internet. It is a technological evolution from cold calls and door to door marketing.
Occurring through both online and offline means, it is a very broad term that encompasses digital content used for connecting with the audience and increasing brand awareness.
Examples of offline digital marketing include television and radio marketing, and online digital marketing comprises:
- Content marketing;
- Search engine optimization;
- Search engine marketing/Pay-per-click;
- Social media marketing;
- Affiliate and Influencer marketing;
- Email marketing;
- Branded logos, icons and images;
- Company blogs.
Even though it seems like marketing has progressed a lot through the years, the future of digital marketing is still evolving with changing consumer behaviours and new emerging trends.
Before we begin, here’s an insightful speech by Neil Patel regarding the future of digital marketing:
So what is the latest trend in digital marketing? Let’s find out!
Top Digital Marketing Trends 2021
The latest marketing trends seemed too ridiculous or too far-fetched to be true just a few years back. Digital Marketing ideas like artificial intelligence and augmented reality could never be linked to marketing, holding businesses back from implementing these effective innovations in marketing.
Businesses must keep up with the latest marketing trends to make well-informed decisions for effective brand promotion.
Let’s examine the future of digital marketing trends.
Here are the top 12 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021:
- Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing
- Chatbots with Conversational Marketing
- Voice Search
- Programmatic Advertising
- Personalized Marketing
- Influencer Marketing
- Social Media Shopping Posts, Stories and User Generated Content
- Augmented Reality Marketing
- Browser and Mobile Push Notifications
- Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
- SERP Position Zero (Snippets) and People Also Ask (PAA)
1. Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing
Artificial intelligence is prevalent in almost every software or digital product, and it has been quite effective for digital marketing as well. The term “artificial intelligence” was not even in the top 100 searches in 2016, and it’s one of the most well-known digital marketing trends 2021.
The content consumption on social media platforms and the overall internet is polished and refined in real-time so that we stay engaged and interested.
As of 2020, the market size of AI reached $30 billion already and its success is projected to grow up to $300 billion by 2026. And what’s even more surprising? According to Forbes, companies are expected to spend $57 billion on AI in 2021.
AI is an algorithm with high complexity to process a large amount of data of a particular topic or field and teaches itself to identify the most effective patterns, providing extremely precise strategies and reducing human effort significantly.
It is a type of marketing method that leverages consumer data and machine learning to predict customer behaviour and enhance the retail experience.
Here are some statistics to show how AI will shape the future of digital marketing trends:
- Number businesses adopting AI increased by 270% in 4 years
- 9/10 businesses have invested in AI
- Businesses are expected to spend $57 billion on AI in 2021
- AI market size is projected to reach $300 billion by 2026
- 54% of businesses reported productivity boost after AI implementation
- 44% of businesses reported cost-savings with AI implementation
- 62% of consumers agreed to submit data to AI for a better retail experience
AI in digital marketing examples:
- JP Morgan and Chase started AI-powered content writing and marketing with Persado;
- Dell also partnered with Persado to enhance its email marketing with AI;
- Partnering with IEEE Spectrum, Airbnb utilizes AI by automating its pricing algorithm, predicting prince range according to the location and features of the place.
- Facebook provides a completely personalized user experience to its users by optimizing ad content according to the users’ interests, wants and needs with the help of AI.
2. Chatbots with Conversational Marketing
The first Chatbot named “Eliza” was the name of the first Chatbot,and this technology existed before the internet. Developed by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966, it was way ahead of its time and didn’t have much use back then.
Fast forward to today, Chatbots and conversational marketing are some of the most sought after digital marketing trends in India 2021. It is a by-product of artificial intelligence that provides a whole new level of convenience for businesses and consumers alike.
Presently, Chatbots and conversational marketing are some of the most coveted forms of digital marketing trends in India 2021.
Chatbots are a by-product of artificial intelligence that unlocks a whole new level of convenience for consumers and businesses alike. Humans can’t address the feedback and queries of thousands of website visitors, and that’s where Chatbots come into play.
Customers feel more engaged because they get a response to queries and feedback instantly with Chatbots.
A few statistics to explain the significance of chatbots in future of digital marketing trends:
- With next to no effort, chatbots provide maximum ROI for 57% of businesses;
- Complaint resolution has improved significantly for 90% of businesses;
- 82% of consumers prefer prompt responses from brands;
- 74% of consumers prefer chatbots for short conversations;
- 65% of consumers claim that they’re more comfortable with AI for solving issues.
eCommerce giants like eBay and Amazon already utilise chatbots to automate most of their consumer interactions regarding product issues, refunds, complaints, etc.
Food delivery companies like Zomato and Swiggy also rely on chatbots for automated resolution of issues like wrong orders, delayed deliveries, and more.
Another example is Google’s LaMDA, an ongoing project to take automated conversations to the next level.
3. Voice search
Among the 1.2 billion internet users, 27% of the online population uses voice search according to Google.
Voice search has existed in our smartphones since 2014, and it has gradually grown as a helpful tool for users. In this consumer-centric digital era, businesses must integrate voice search in eCommerce web and mobile apps.
The skyrocketing popularity of voice search has been fueled by the emergence of smart speakers and voice assistants.
Examples of voice assistants & smart speakers:
- Apple Siri
- Amazon Alexa
- Microsoft Cortana
- Google Home
Consumer demands for voice-enabled speakers and apps have soared with the growing accuracy of answers by voice assistants over the years.
Here’s an efficiency comparison of the three most commonly used voice assistants:
One might think that voice search optimization has no impact on the future of digital marketing, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Voice search is reshaping the way business owners plan their content marketing strategies as ranking on the first page of Search Engines is not enough anymore. The growing popularity of voice search is changing the whole dynamics of content marketing.
While using voice search, the users are being presented with one or two options at most instead of a list of 10 options. The consumers are usually satisfied with the first result, or they modify their initial search, making it imperative for businesses to plan their content accordingly.
As we head towards an age of innovative digital marketing, voice search will continue to upgrade and transform into a lucrative medium for attracting customers through smart speakers and voice assistants.
The “My Starbucks Barista” app is a successful example of voice search and chatbot implementation. Customers can easily select, modify and order coffees using their voice with this app.
4. Programmatic Advertising
One of the most practical and useful new trends in digital marketing, Programmatic Ads are enhancing the future of digital marketing and reshaping ad buying means for businesses.
$155 billion is being spent on programmatic ads in 2021, further proving its significance among other digital marketing ideas.
This method of ad buying uses AI software, algorithms and machine learning, unlike conventional methods, which requires human negotiations, proposals, etc.
Business owners gain optimal conversion rates and ROI by focusing on a specific target audience with real-time bidding and automation of digital ad purchases.
Businesses can easily buy and sell ads specifically where they want to reach specific segments of consumers and achieve the desired results.
A few examples to accentuate the role of programmatic advertising in the future of digital marketing trends:
Google wanted to get more effective results with their digital marketing campaign.
A 50% increase in brand awareness was experienced through a programmatic ad campaign by recycling the campaign data to focus on a highly valuable segment of the target audience.
This is one of the most successful examples of programmatic advertising. The Economist gained 10:1 ROI with 1 million unique website visitors by implementing programmatic ads to pursue reluctant readers.
Audi boosts consumer engagement by launching a car configurator through programmatic advertisement, allowing the users to digitally modify cars. This campaign got 4 times higher conversion rate when compared to conventional methods of ad buying.
5. Personalized Marketing
Personalized marketing is rapidly becoming an industry standard. Among other latest digital trends, personalized marketing is most in-demand. Brands and businesses must consider personalizing products, emails, content and ads to have an edge in the ever-growing competition in the digital market.
In the digital age with never-ending options, consumers are repelled by generic products and content. Personalized content speaks to your audience directly, it provides a sense of importance and maximises brand loyalty with ease.
Here are some statistics by Forbes to prove the worth of personalized marketing in the future of digital marketing trends:
- 74% of consumers despise website content that is not personalized;
- 91% of consumers prefer shopping with brands that offer relevant recommendations;
- 83% of consumers are eager to share their data for a more personalized experience;
- 98% of marketers believe that personalization improves customer relationships;
- 89% of digital businesses are putting their funds into personalization;
- 95% of businesses witnessed a 3 times increase in ROI with personalization efforts.
Snapchat launched Bitmoji Stories : This feature uses the users’ customized avatars to create comic-like stories, taking personalized content to a whole new level.
Companies like Amazon and Spotify also provide an impressive personalized experience to their users.
Amazon uses machine learning to deliver individualized purchase recommendations and Spotify tracks the users’ music taste and activities to recommend music in the “Made for you” tab.
6. Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the evolution of word-of-mouth marketing. It is one of the most effective methods among new trends in digital marketing.
The power of influencer marketing is skyrocketing and it is still overlooked by many brands and businesses across all industries. Utilising the millions of followers through influencers, it is the quickest way to boost a brand’s reach beyond its audience.
Influencer marketing has immense potential for brand endorsement, increased customer engagement and brand awareness. It is a rapidly growing industry with an almost $14 billion valuation already in 2021.
Choosing the right celebrities or influencers that mirror your brand’s image is the key to successful influencer marketing.
9 out of 10 marketers believe that influencer marketing is one of the most effective methods of marketing with amazing ROI. And 8 out of 10 consumers have purchased items through influencer recommendations.
The best platforms for influencer marketing in the future of digital marketing:
Here are some examples of brands utilising the power of influencer marketing:
7. Social Media Shopping Posts, Stories and User Generated Content
Social media is already a well-recognized way of marketing because of its potential to reach millions of users, and along with a well maintained social media presence, brands need to utilise the new promotion features like stories, shopping posts through sponsored ads, reels and more.
Carousel videos via reels and stories on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and TikTok are up and coming new trends in digital marketing. This method instigates a feeling known as “FOMO” (Fear Of Missing Out) among users and maximises conversion rate.
Here are some examples of ads on stories:
Click here for an in-depth guide to Instagram Marketing Strategies.
Using sponsored ads on stories and feed can have the following benefits:
- Increased customer engagement;
- Increased brand awareness;
- Cost-effective product promotion;
- Increased organic traffic;
- Optimum return on investment.
User-Generated Content (UGC) is one of the easiest among the current digital marketing trends. All a brand has to do is research through brand tags and hashtags to find posts uploaded by users that promotes the brand’s products or services. UGC can provide optimal brand engagement with little or no effort at all.
A brand can also ask its followers to upload user-generated content and get featured on the brand’s profile. The audience is usually encouraged to participate because they get tagged in return, increasing their profile reach, after all, who doesn’t want more followers on social media?
Additionally, the consumers feel more involved and engaged with the brand because of user-generated content, Here’s an example of User-Generated Content:
Apple utilises the power of user-generated content to flaunt the quality of the iPhone’s camera.
8. Augmented Reality Marketing
Digital marketing trends are continuously evolving and producing forms of marketing that felt like science fiction just a few years back. Immersive technologies like augmented reality or AR is emerging as a successful method among other latest digital marketing trends.
Augmented Reality marketing is done by merging the real world with a virtual environment and objects. Generally, this is achieved through mobile cameras or augmented screens with real-time interactions and precise 3D registration of virtual objects.
AR marketing is one of the most lucrative forms of digital marketing with businesses relying on AR tech to improve retail experiences and boost sales at the same time. The Augmented Reality market is projected to surpass $77 billion by 2025 and 63% of online consumers believe that AR increases the quality of their retail experiences.
AR Marketing examples that are shaping the future of digital marketing trends:
IKEA Studio App: IKEA utilizes AR technology to drive sales and improve the overall online retail experience. This feature allows the consumers to use their phone cameras to test IKEA’s furniture in their homes.
Pepsi: Pepsi installed an AR screen at a bus shelter in London, Pepsi showcasing their playful nature, displaying virtual objects like UFOs, lions, octopuses, etc. on real London background to catch people off-guard and attract their attention. This is one of the most innovative ways among the latest digital marketing trends.
9. Mobile and Browser Push Notifications
Browser and mobile push notifications are some of the easiest and most effective latest digital marketing trends with increased outreach and optimum customer engagement.
Push notifications can also be useful for getting insight to optimize content strategies by monitoring clickthrough rates.
Mobile and Browser Push Notifications are pop-up messages sent to users for notifying them about sales, discounts, news, events, product releases and more, providing a cost-effective way of engaging with the audience.
In recent years, the opt-in rate for push notifications have shifted from web browsers to mobile:
As the name suggests, this method pushes the audience to generate more clicks and increase brand awareness.
Here are some Mobile Push Notifications examples:
Here are some Browser Push Notifications examples:
Marketing by Geofencing is an effective innovation and it’s a location-based personalized marketing technique. This digital marketing trend is achieved by tracking cellular data, GPS, radio frequency identification (RFID) and Wi-Fi, different types of advertisements are triggered when the user enters a specific geographical boundary.
Geographical boundaries are set for instigating certain advertisements or pop-ups to engage users and drive sales.
The global Geo-fencing market is projected to reach $2.3 million by 2023, it is at an early stage, but adopting emerging techniques before other brands is the best way to gain an edge over the competition.
With enhanced local sales and increased customer engagement, geo-fencing can be used to target your content strategy with extreme precision. 53% of customers visit a shop after receiving a location-based message and 3 out of 4 consumers follow through after getting a message while approaching a location.
Examples to prove the worth of Geo-fencing Marketing in the future of digital marketing trends:
Burger King: Burger King delivered one of the best examples of innovative digital marketing using geo-fencing. They encouraged their users to visit McDonald’s and created a 600-feet digital boundary was placed around the place. Visiting this geographical fence triggered the ad campaign and the users got a push notification that availed a Whopper burger for only one cent in the Burger King app. This geo-fencing campaign was a resounding success with a tremendous rise in its mobile app downloads, ranking first in the Apple App Store’s food and drink section.
The mobile app download numbers soared and Burger King was ranked first in the Apple App Store’s food and drink section.
Starbucks: Starbucks delivers push notifications and messages to users who are around their stores, gently nudging them to come inside the store and have a coffee.
It mentions discounts and offers to lure customers and boost local sales.
11. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
The blend of web apps and native apps. This is the evolution of web apps in the future of digital marketing.
This is one of the new trends in digital marketing that is spreading like wildfire and being adopted by businesses and brands across all industries. This method of web design provides the functionalities of a native mobile app on a regular website, offering push notifications, faster load time, and an incredibly streamlined user experience without the need for downloading via app stores.
With a native apps’ look and feel, they are run through browsers; mostly with HTML.
A few statistics to accentuate the significance of PWA in the future of digital marketing:
- PWAs have shown 36% better conversion rate than native mobile apps;
- Customer engagement is increased by 50% with PWAs;
- Load speed is optimized by 10 times by implementing PWA;
- Native mobile apps are 3-4 costlier than PWA and 33% more expensive to maintain as well;
- PWAs are compact, nearly 90% smaller than Native mobile apps;
- PWAs have proven to cause only a 42% bounce rate.
Examples of successful PWA implementation:
12. SERP Position Zero (Snippets) and People Also Ask (PAA)
SERP ranking is crucial for successful content marketing. Ranking on the first page of Google is good enough, but getting it featured at SERP position zero or “Snippets” is what every business owner should aim for.
Businesses are already optimizing and reshaping their content marketing strategies for targeting featured snippets.
Crawlers identify the most helpful search results and feature them at the top of Google’s first page in the form of “Feature Snippets”
Featured Snippers provide maximum outreach and visibility for your website, making it a priceless position on SERPs. Moreover, more than 40% of all searches done through voice recognition are answered with the data from featured snippets.
This digital marketing trend is rapidly growing with 34% desktop searches and 62% mobile searches ending up with “zero-click” results because users are getting their answers without having to open any links.
Example of a featured snippet:
Another way for businesses to optimise their content strategy is by targeting “People Also Ask” or PAA.
PAA are suggested answers for related queries to enhance the user experience by providing additional information to the user’s question or search.
By helping Google in answering these related queries, your website’s content can easily rank not only on the first page of SERP rankings but almost at the top, as PAA results are displayed after 1 or 2 links on the first page.
Example of a “People Also Ask” section:
These are the top 12 recent trends in digital marketing that businesses should follow for delivering excellent user experiences, increasing customer engagement and brand awareness, and maximising return on investment.
Customer behaviour and brand loyalty are extremely unstable and unpredictable, businesses should understand the above mentioned digital marketing updates and carefully set up strategies to keep a well-maintained brand image for consistent results.
From artificial intelligence software to augmented reality technology, digital marketing is evolving by leaps and bounds, and we hope this article has helped you in getting up-to-date with the future of digital marketing trends.
For further queries and end-to-end digital marketing solutions, feel free to contact us!
Communication Crafts is an experience-led and result-driven company that provides carefully strategized digital marketing services to empower your brand’s growth. With a transparent work process, our experts can deliver future-proof digital marketing solutions custom-tailored to your needs and requirements.
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