As we race towards 2021, marketers – like everyone else – will be hoping for a more normal year. Nobody expects COVID-19 to disappear overnight, but we all have our fingers crossed for successful vaccines and an eventual return to normality.
Many businesses are still in recovery mode thanks to the effects of the pandemic, so marketing budgets shouldn’t be wasted this year – every dollar spent needs to have a proven impact. And for marketers, that means finding innovative, effective ways to reach people online.
Here’s our look at some key upcoming digital trends in 2021:
The pandemic mean that e-commerce blew up in 2020, especially as retail outposts had to shut up shop. In fact, WARC’s recent Marketers Toolkit survey found that 38% of client-side respondents felt that “the shift to e-commerce will be permanent in my category” – and majority said they were addressing this by improving the online customer experience and increasing the channels through which they sell online.
Which brings us to a simple question: are your posts shoppable? Imagine seeing a product on Instagram and buying it seconds later. That’s the goal of the shoppable post. Rather than clicking through to another website from an Instagram or Facebook post, you simply click on the product to add it to your cart and buy it immediately. It’s about reducing the steps between seeing a product and getting it – the easier it is for consumers to buy your product, the more likely they are to do it.
There’s no doubt that video content is effective – research shows that 76% of consumers purchased a product after watching a video about it. Recently, live streamed video has surged in popularity, with platforms like Tiktok showcasing the power of the format. Lockdown made live video part of life. We saw everyone from Billie Eillish to local yoga studios get on the bandwagon. And, of course, the accelerated pick up of Live Stream Shopping.
Streaming e-commerce is becoming massive in China and the U.S – according to Bloomberg, it generated $60 billion in global sales in 2019. In China, one third of internet users have bought goods via live broadcasts that link directly to web pages. With Amazon, Facebook and Instagram building live shopping into their platforms it’s time for Australasia to get with the program.
Streaming e-commerce is an effective way to show off your product and deliver in-depth information quickly, especially compared traditional advertising. Start up costs a relatively low. And although streams tend to be hosted by influencers who customers are already warmed up towards, there’s little to stop retailers from giving it a go. It’s also an effective way to show off your product and deliver in-depth information quickly.
But many marketers still shy away from the live stream, probably because it’s risky and a little complicated to create. So, start planning for live shopping and let your brand stand out in 2021.
Conversation marketing is about one-on-one communication between customers and brands, whether through email, online chat, on the phone, through social media messaging or even via a chatbot. Those individual conversations – whatever the medium – can be far more powerful than social posts or other types of advertising.
Because conversation marketing is a broad term, you need to take a broad approach when you incorporate the concept into your marketing strategy. It’s not enough to simply add a chatbot to your website and hope for the best.
Who answers emails from customers, and are they trained to connect with them? Do you have a live chat function on your website? Do you answer social media queries promptly? It’s about thinking of all the conversational channels your customers use and making sure they are optimised for effective communication.
As consumers grow increasingly concerned about online privacy and companies using their data, some of the digital tools we have taken for granted may disappear. Digital giants like Google and Apple are giving their users increased control over their privacy settings, which may make it more difficult for marketers to target their online advertising.
Governments are also getting involved – in 2020, California introduced the California Consumer Privacy Act, which limits the use of personal information in advertising. This is already making it difficult for marketers to target consumers in that area – and other parts of the US and the world will probably follow.
So make sure that your brand respects privacy and walks the privacy talk: you'll get little forgiveness from customers if you don't.
More and more consumers are using voice commands to search for information online – research shows that 55% of consumers use it regularly. Voice search terms tend to be more casual and conversational than traditional typed searches – think ‘How do I make an apple cake?’ instead of ‘Apple cake recipe’.
Because of this, optimising for voice search is quite different from optimising for written search. Although it’s a complex task, using conversational keywords, writing FAQs to answer common questions and focusing on clear, concise content are good places to start.
One thing that won’t change in 2021? The importance of tracking user data and consumer insight.
Our Social Media analytics tools can help you figure out what’s working and what’s falling flat, benchmark your performance against the competition and optimise your online strategy. They’re an essential part of your digital marketing toolkit.
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