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12 Most Popular Digital Marketing Trends 2021

By August 12, 2021Blog
Digital Marketing Trends

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

Businesses of all sizes across all industries should heed these words and plan accordingly to stay ahead of the curve. Consumer behaviour is highly volatile, resulting in a highly dynamic world of digital marketing.

Anticipating the latest digital marketing trends and implementing them ahead of time 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 significance of being at par with digital marketing updates.

Let’s start by discussing the meaning of digital marketing.

What is Digital Marketing?

What is Digital Marketing

Digital marketing is the act of 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.

So what is the latest trend in digital marketing? Let’s find out!

Top Digital Marketing Trends to Look Out for in 2021

The recent trends in digital marketing seemed like ridiculous and far-fetched ideas a few years earlier. Trends like artificial intelligence and augmented reality could never be linked to marketing, holding businesses back from implementing these effective new innovations in marketing.

Businesses must stay up to date with the latest digital marketing trends to make well-informed decisions for effective brand promotion.

Let’s dig deeper and understand the future of digital marketing trends.

Here are the top 12 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021:

  1. Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing
  2. Chatbots with Conversational Marketing
  3. Voice Search
  4. Programmatic Advertising
  5. Personalized Marketing
  6. Influencer Marketing
  7. Social Media Shopping Posts, Stories and User Generated Content
  8. Augmented Reality Marketing
  9. Mobile and Browser Push Notifications
  10. Geo-Fencing
  11. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)
  12. SERP Position Zero (Snippets) and People Also Ask (PAA)

1. Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

Artificial Intelligence in Digital Marketing

According to studies, artificial intelligence is pervasive in almost every software product or service, and it has shown a great impact on 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 for 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

Real-world examples of AI in digital marketing:

  • JP Morgan and Chase partnered with Persado for AI-powered content writing and marketing;
  • Dell also partnered with Persado to streamline and improve their email marketing with AI;
  • Airbnb collaborated with IEEE Spectrum to automate its pricing algorithm with AI. The algorithm determines the price by examining the features and location of the place and comparing it with rentals nearby.
  • Facebook identifies the users’ interests, wants, and needs by collecting cookies and recent website visits to deliver impactful optimised ads with the help of artificial intelligence.

2. Chatbots with Conversational Marketing

Chatbots with Conversational Marketing

The first Chatbot named “Eliza” is a technology that precedes the internet, developed by Joseph Weizenbaum in 1966, but it was way ahead of its time and didn’t have many applications 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.

It is impossible for humans to address the feedback and queries of thousands of website visitors, that’s where Chatbots come into play.

Businesses can leverage AI technology to automate conversations with the audience. Chatbots can maximise customer engagement with 24/7 customer service by instantaneously solving queries and addressing feedback.

A few statistics to help understand the role of chatbots in future of digital marketing trends:

  • 57% of businesses claim that chatbots provide optimum ROI with minimal effort;
  • 90% of businesses witnessed significant improvements in the speed of complaint resolution;
  • 82% of consumers prefer instant responses while contacting 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, which is an ongoing project to revolutionize automated conversations.

3. Voice search

According to Google, 27% of the online population uses voice search, which accounts for more than 1.2 billion internet users.
Voice search is a feature that was introduced in our smartphones in 2014, and it has been widely accepted ever since. It is becoming mandatory for businesses to implement voice search into their eCommerce web apps and mobile apps.

Smart speakers and voice assistants are the main reasons for the skyrocketing popularity of voice search. Examples of smart speakers and voice assistants:

  • Apple Siri
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Microsoft Cortana
  • Google Home

With the growing accuracy of answers by voice assistants over the years, consumer demands have soared as well.
Here’s an efficiency comparison of the three most commonly used voice assistants:

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 results are making companies reevaluate and rethink their content marketing strategies because ranking on the first page of SERPs isn’t 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

 Programmatic Advertising

With $130 billion spent on programmatic ads, it is boosting digital marketing growth and revolutionising ad buying methods for businesses, making it one of the most practical new trends in digital marketing.

Instead of the conventional methods with requests, proposals and human negotiations, programmatic ad buying utilises AI software, algorithms and machines for purchasing digital ads.

Real-time bidding and automation are used for efficient and faster digital marketing to a specific target audience, benefitting businesses with optimal conversion rates and ROI.

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:

Google wanted to get more effective results with their digital marketing campaign. By recycling the campaign data and focussing on a high-value target audience, the programmatic ad campaign delivered a 50% increase in brand awareness.

The Economist:

This is one of the most successful examples of programmatic advertising. The Economist implemented programmatic ads to pursue reluctant readers and gained 10:1 ROI with 1 million unique website visitors.

Audi:

Audi used programmatic advertisement to launch a car configurator on their website to engage consumers which allowed them to digitally modify cars. This resulted in 4 times higher conversion rate compared to traditional 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 to let their users create a customised avatar of themselves which could be featured in their profile picture or on the Snapchat map. Snapchat used this feature to take personalization to a whole new level by delivering Bitmoji stories on the users’ discover tab. The Bitmoji stories display a comic-like story with the user’s customised avatar:

 Bitmoji stories display a comic

Amazon and Spotify also do an amazing job at providing personalized content to their users. Amazon uses their algorithm to provide custom purchasing recommendations and Spotify monitors the users’ activities to recommend music through daily mixes in the “Made for you” tab.

Amazon and Spotify

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 their 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:

best platforms for influencer marketing in the future of digital marketing

Here are some examples of brands utilising the power of influencer marketing:

power of influencer marketing 3
power of influencer marketing 4
power of influencer marketing 5
power of influencer marketing 6

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:
Snapchat:

Snapchat 7

Instagram:

Instagram 8

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.

The future of digital marketing is heavily dependent on social media platforms and social media marketing with 73% of marketers believing them to be very effective for promoting their business.

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 are a few examples:

User-Generated Content 9

Apple utilises the power of user-generated content to flaunt the quality of the iPhone’s camera.

User-Generated Content 10

Vegnonveg is a multi-brand sneaker store that uses user-generated content to improve customer relationships and develop long-lasting brand loyalty as a result.

Click here if you want to learn different ways to find the ideal Instagram marketing company.

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.

Marketing with augmented reality is done by merging the real world and a virtual world with real-time interactions and precise 3D registration of virtual objects. It is most commonly implemented through mobile cameras or augmented screens.

Businesses are progressively utilising AR tech to uplift retail experience and boost sales at the same time, making it one of the most lucrative forms of digital marketing.

The Augmented Reality market is expected to reach $77 billion by 2025 and 63% of online consumers believe that AR will uplift their retail experience.

Augmented Reality examples that are shaping the future of digital marketing trends:

IKEA Studio App: Letting their customers use augmented reality through their phone cameras to test IKEA’s furniture in their homes is a great way to drive sales and improve the overall online retail experience.

IKEA Studio App

Sephora: Buying cosmetic products online is always an ordeal, Sephora ameliorates this experience by letting their users try on different products on a still selfie using augmented reality.

Sephora

Pepsi: By installing an AR screen at a bus shelter in London, Pepsi showcased 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.

Pepsi

9. Mobile and Browser Push Notifications

With better outreach and higher customer engagement, browser and mobile push notification are some of the easiest and most effective latest digital marketing trends.

Push notifications can also be great 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:

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 examples of Mobile Push Notifications:

examples of Mobile Push Notifications 11.1
examples of Mobile Push Notifications 11.2
examples of Mobile Push Notifications 12

Here are some examples of Browser Push Notifications:

examples of Browser Push Notifications 13
examples of Browser Push Notifications 14
examples of Browser Push Notifications 15

10. Geo-Fencing

Geo-Fencing

Geo-fencing marketing is one of the new innovations in marketing and it’s a type of location-based personalized marketing technique. This type of innovative digital marketing is done by monitoring cellular data, GPS, Wi-Fi and radio frequency identification (RFID) to deliver a targeted marketing strategy in a 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 created a 600-feet digital boundary around McDonald’s, and encouraged their users to visit McDonald’s, but with a clever twist. Entering the geographical fence triggered the campaign and the users got a notification to avail themselves of a Whopper burger for only one cent in the Burger King app.

The mobile app download numbers soared and Burger King was ranked first in the Apple App Store’s food and drink section.

Burger King 16

Starbucks: Starbucks uses geo-fencing technology to deliver push notifications and messages to users who are walking or driving by their stores, enticing them to come in and have a coffee.

It mentions discounts and offers to lure customers and boost local sales.

Starbucks 17

Dunkin Donuts: By collaborating with Snapchat, Dunkin Donuts allowed the users to use a specific Snapchat lens when they entered the desired geo-fence to celebrate National Donut Day. Have a look:

Dunkin Donuts 18

11. Progressive Web Apps (PWA)

Progressive web apps are where web apps and native apps meet. This is the next step for traditional 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 look and feel completely like native apps, they are run through browsers; mostly with HTML.

A few statistics to emphasize the importance of PWA in the future of digital marketing:

  • PWAs have a 36% better conversion rate than native mobile apps;
  • PWAs increase customer engagement by 50%;
  • Implementing PWA boosts load speed by 10 times;
  • PWA development costs 3-4 times lesser than native mobile apps and they cost 33% less in maintenance;
  • PWAs can be up to 90% smaller in size when compared to native apps;
  • PWAs have proven to cause only a 42% bounce rate.

 statistics to emphasize the importance of PWA in the future of digital marketing

Examples of successful PWA implementation:

Pinterest:

Pinterest 19

Forbes:

Forbes 20

Flipkart:

Flipkart 21

12. SERP Position Zero (Snippets) and People Also Ask (PAA)

Everyone knows the significance of SERP rankings for content marketing. Getting a website to rank on the first page of Google is good enough, but getting it featured at SERP position zero or “Snippets” is even better.

Businesses are already optimising their content marketing strategies for targeting featured snippets.

Featured snippets are search results selected by crawlers that are featured at the top of Google search results, delivering quick and precise answers to the user’s question.

With maximum outreach and visibility, It is a highly valuable position on SERPs. Also, 40.7% of all voice searches are answered with information 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:

Example of a featured snippet 22

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:

Example of a “People Also Ask” section 23

Wrapping up

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 or assistance regarding digital marketing, 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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