There have been a lot of changes this year in the world of Digital Marketing and let's not forget about the effects the pandemic had (and still has) on marketing worldwide. Looking ahead at 2021 there are some interesting and exciting developments to keep in mind when planning your next marketing activity. Here is SANA's take on what's trending in the world of digital marketing:
1. Voice Search: is your content optimised for the rise in voice search versus text search? Voice searches are typically more conversational than a text search. They are longer and include question words like, how, what, best, where, top, easy, when. To do: incorporate long-tail keywords that reflect popular queries used in voice search. Focus on natural language. Great little insight: 'semantic searches' are on the rise as a result of voice search popularity: it focuses on the user’s intended meaning rather than the literal match of keywords. Google's Hummingbird and RankBrain are AI systems designed to recognise words and phrases and improve search outcomes and help SERPs be more relevant, breaking through barriers of different spelling and pronunciation worldwide.
2. Google My Business (GMB) profile: this shouldn't be a new trend, but a given, but you would be surprised how many business have not yet set this up! In line with the previous point of voice search (hey Siri find a pizza place near me) it is detrimental to have your business registered as a Google Verified Listings for Local SEO. Your exquisite fast loading website will simply not feature if Google can't see it.
3. Ai (Artificial Intelligence) in Digital Marketing: basically aims to be the digital market's super-brain and maps out how to match the right products and content with the right customer (so marketers don't have to do it and customers get a more customised personalised user experience). It's beyond Netflix and Amazon's (you might like... other people who bought this also like... ). 2021 is about Smart Bidding and Ai Generated Content for ads: for marketers (especially PPC specialists) this means spending less time number crunching and more time on strategy development. Ai can significantly reduce human error and ensures that spend delivers the best possible results. Embrace it, and reap the benefits so your time can be spent wisely. E.g. A/B testing is still VERY important in 2021: measure, analyse, learn, apply, adjust, improve and repeat. 4. Chatbots: humanlike, but not human. And also a form of Artificial Intelligence. Chatbots save time, while fostering engagement. It is trying to add back the 'personal touch' that the internet wasn't delivering. If you haven't done so, add a chatbot to your platform. Check out Drift, MobileMonkey, Snatchbot, or even Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. By 2023, retail chatbots will save the industry $11.5 billion in costs, and generate over $112 billion in revenue!
5. Personalised, Interactive & User Generated Content: despite Ai guiding you in the right direction and doing the groundwork for some of your content (think about keyword recommendations) the real key to quality content is to make it: personal, specific, relevant and informative. Interactive and User-generated content (UGC) moves away from a brand-led monologue, instead it focusses on having a dialogue. In practise it can simply be a user review, a comment on a blog or post, or a Q&A section where people can ask questions and get the answers they need. To do: interact and engage on a personal level to build long-lasting relationships.
6. The rise of the Micro-Influencer & Micro-Community: If your brand is not Adidas or Coke Cola you probably don't have the budget to pay $500k (or more) for an Instapost by an A-list influencer. The good news is, 2021 is moving away from macro (big) and settling for micro (small). Studies have shown that contrary to popular belief, the larger the influecer, the lower the ROI. The smaller (often local) trusted micro-communities and influencers are proving to be more effective because of their "cult" following and higher engagement rates.
7. Zero-Click Searches aka Featured Snippet: Google introduced this experiment on March 13, 2020, with the aim to eliminate multiple results that searchers don’t really need and to satisfy the user intent faster. Zero Click searches refer to search results (often an answer or summery) that appear on top of the search engine results page (SERP) that answer the search query without the need to click any further. The content that appears inside of a Featured Snippet box is automatically pulled from web pages in Google's index. To do: focus on question-based keywords, produce quality content, use images, Incorporate relevant stats and facts, pay attention to structure, include a FAQ page, be concise and stay current. Think about answering your customers questions in a helpful manner. Think Search Driven Content to match Google EAT (show your Expertise, Authority and Trust).
8. Video: TikTok, Reels, shoppable video ads.... Consumers like it because it's easy to digest, entertaining and engaging, and marketers like it because it can give a potentially huge return on investment (ROI) through many channels. Video is also very accessible to anyone with internet access, both to watch and to produce.
9. Looks: We might not judge a book by its cover, but your customer will judge your business on your online branding and image. The design trends for 2021 are; Muted Colour Palettes, Colour Gradients, Abstract & Dreamy Illustrations, Heavy Simple Fonts, Flowing Lines & Shapes, Genuine & Authentic Stock Photos, Minimalist Landing Pages, Better Branded Animations.
10. Marketing Automation: Hubspot, Salesforce, Mailchimp, Monday, Sprout, Hubspot, Hootsuite, Loomly, BuzzSumo... whatever your area there will be a tool to schedule, organise and plan your activities. My advice is to always use the free trial to see if the platform makes your life easier (instead of more complex!). Expensive platforms are not always better, especially for small businesses, as they often cater for agencies or multi-platform projects. If you are looking to schedule your Facebook and Instagram posts you should try out Facebook's Creator Studio. It is free and a straightforward way to manage some of your Social Media accounts. Still Oh So relevant: Mobile First, Load Speed, UX (User Experience) by optimising Site Structure, Personal touches, Customisation, Interactive dialogues and my absolute favourite across the board; Quality Always!