Digital marketing trends in 2021: the trends to watch out for

18 January 2021

2020 has presented plenty of new challenges to businesses from all different industries and backgrounds. Whilst it’s been a year filled with unprecedented change, this has also given businesses the opportunity to adapt to fit the new normal and work together to think outside the box and devise an innovative, creative strategy to succeed. But how will digital marketing trends continue to evolve in 2021?

Let’s take a look at some of the top digital marketing trends we predict for the upcoming year.

Virtual is here to stay

In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, events, training courses and networking opportunities have moved online. However, as we step into 2021, virtual events are here to stay. Not only with the precautions of the pandemic still coming into play, but as people realise how much more accessible virtual events are than in-person events, giving businesses the opportunity to tap into audiences they may not have reached before.

And virtual events aren’t the only thing we’ll be seeing in 2021. With people continuing to spend more time at home, alongside the huge number of brick-and-mortar shops that have closed across the UK, e-commerce is likely to boom again this year.

The rise of zero-click search results

Zero-click search results refer to answering a user’s query right at the top of the search engine results page (SERP), so they don’t need any further clicks to find what they’re looking for.

This was introduced by Google in March 2020 in order to enhance search results and to provide users with the information they’re after as quickly as possible, in turn improving user experience. These zero-click search results are referred to as featured snippets and appear at the top of SERPs in ‘position zero’.

But what does this mean for your website? The introduction and the growth of zero-click search results can mean your website may be losing meaningful click-throughs to certain pages.

Whilst there isn’t a defined strategy for appearing in featured snippets, there are a number of steps you can take to optimise your content for zero-click search results, including:

  • Create accurate, high-quality content that’s relevant to your target audience.
  • Target question-based keywords – find out the questions your target audience are asking. These can be formatted as FAQs on a webpage.
  • Think about structure – Google prefers long-form content, but it’s important that your content is split up by headings, separated into clear, short paragraphs and broken up by relevant, high-quality images.

This is something we can expect to see a lot more of this year, making it a worthwhile consideration when devising your content marketing strategy in 2021.

Continued rise in short-form video creation

Video content should form an important part of your digital marketing strategy. But how is it changing?

Since the launch of TikTok back in September 2017, and Instagram Reels in August 2019, users are turning to short-form video content, with TikTok now the preferred social media platform for Gen Z audiences.

This short-form video content is catchy, engaging and compelling, keeping people across the globe entertained during lockdown.

We expect to see TikTok and Instagram Reels continue to increase in popularity this year, with many businesses jumping on the bandwagon to advertise and run paid promotions on these platforms.

How will you incorporate short-form video creation into your digital marketing strategy in 2021? There’s a real art to putting across all your messages in less than 30 seconds.

Tiktok logo with a blue background

Shoppable posts

Whilst shoppable posts aren’t new to the scene, we predict they’ll really come into their own this year.

In March 2020, Instagram released a shopping and checkout feature, enabling users to complete a purchase within the app itself.

This trend works in harmony with the expected expansion of e-commerce sales this year, making it easier than ever for customers to make a purchase without leaving an app.

We look forward to seeing how shoppable posts develop on Instagram and Facebook, as well as across other social media platforms this year. Can we expect social media to drive e-commerce sales?

The importance of a great search experience

Cheryl Luzet, Wagada’s CEO, was recently featured in TechRound’s predictions for SEO in 2021, providing a useful insight into how Google’s priorities are changing.

“With Google bringing out its Page Experience Update in May 2021, we already have some indication of what is at the top of Google’s list of priorities this year.”

“Google has made it clear that websites that offer a great search experience will have more success in the rankings. What Google wants and what the user wants will become increasingly intertwined as the year progresses.”

“Site speed, mobile compatibility, web browsing security and strong usability need to be the focus for website managers in 2021. None of these are new ranking factors, but this is the first time they have all been packaged together in one algorithm update.”

“Google has been making big advancements in its ability to understand content and natural language since the BERT update in 2019 and this will be further reinforced this year. Content is still king, but relevant, useful, high quality content that answers the questions that searchers are asking will reign in 2021.”

“Google will get stronger at identifying high quality content and will be prioritising those sites that focus their content marketing strategy on longer, deeper dives into topics. Cleaning up your website of out of date, low quality or filler content has been important for a while, but what Google considers to be ‘low quality’ will become much stricter by the end of the year and we’ll need to approach this task with fresh eyes.”

“Finally, whilst the need for Google to identify a website or company’s sphere of influence has not gone away, links will become a less important ranking factor and will be replaced by other factors such as linkless mentions and brand searches.”

These are all important factors to consider this year when thinking about your website’s SEO.

Ongoing trends

Whilst this year we will see many new trends emerge, we will also see plenty of trends from the past few years continuing to develop throughout 2021. Expect to see:

  • Micro-influencers – brands will continue to use micro-influencers to market their products or services on social media, in order to build trust among their target audience.
  • Personalisation – brands should opt for tailored messaging as opposed to general messaging in their marketing efforts, as customers seek a personalised experience from the brands they engage with.
  • Voice search – more and more frequently, users are talking into their devices instead of typing in their searches. But did you know voice searches often yield different search results than written searches? Thinking about the keywords that people say out loud will be a key consideration this year.
  • Visual search – visual search takes great user experience to the next level, allowing users to upload an image to make a search instead of text. Explore Google Lens and Pinterest Lens!
  • Chatbots – this AI-based technology is responsive 24/7, accessible, accurate and will become increasingly humanised, making it more appealing for users to engage with.
Voice search being used with an Alexa

Looking to incorporate any of the above trends into your digital marketing strategy this year? The team at Wagada can help you expand your marketing efforts and work with you to bring innovative ideas to life. To find out more, get in touch today.