5 Marketing Trends to Watch in 2021

woman reads about 2021 marketing trends on her iPad

Has any new year been as hotly anticipated as 2021? With consumers the world over eager to leave the uncertainty and chaos of 2020 behind, brands and businesses are looking to technological advancement and social cues to guide their marketing for the year ahead. Here are five digital marketing trends to watch out for in 2021. 

2021 Marketing Trend #1: The Battle for Position Zero

For many years the goal of SEO has been to earn first position in the search results for your keywords. But the introduction of new features to the Search Engine Results Page, including the Featured Snippet has really shaken up the SEO scene, shifting the end-goal towards visibility in ‘Position Zero’. 

Google’s Featured Snippet works differently from other results you see on the SERP. It displays information in an attempt to answer a user’s question without them needing to click through to an external site. Although this seems counter-intuitive, the recognition your business or brand receives from this position far outweighs a single, clicked website visit.  

So how can you earn this fabled top spot? While there is no straight up formula, we suggest working with your SEO expert to optimise your website’s content for long-tail keyword phrases, like questions, which fall into your area of expertise. Featured Snippet results come in a variety of forms including definitions, videos, and step-by-step lists, so try to format your content appropriately. The ultimate challenge for SEO in 2021 will be to rank for the Featured Snippet whilst sparking the user’s interest enough to also click through to your site for more content! 

2021 Marketing Trend #2: Easy-to-Consume Content 

Social distancing and lockdown orders meant interacting with friends and family got trickier last year. This led to increased use and access to social media platforms and content across the board. From live-streamed musical performances on Facebook, selfie-videos and Reels on Instagram, to the surge of users on TikTok – this is a trend that will continue to feature in 2021. 

Another media reaping the benefits of the stay-at-home lifestyle is podcasts, which have seen continued growth in the Australian market, with 1 in 4 of us listening to podcasts each month. Specialist podcasts are the most popular among Australian consumers, followed by lifestyle, news, and sports topics. The good news for marketers is that Spotify reports that 81% of listeners have taken action as a result of listening to audio ads during a podcast, including researching a product online or connecting with a brand on social media. 

Convenient and readily-available content like podcasts and video will help business and brands connect with customers and provide a more intimate way to stay in touch in 2021. 

2021 Marketing Trend #3: Shoppable Posts 

The shift towards contactless shopping will continue to allow eCommerce stores to thrive in 2021. With changes to shoppable posts on Facebook and Instagram, social media platforms are making it easier for consumers to go from discovery to purchase, shaking up the traditional buyer journey. Expect to see more ‘brick-and-mortar’ stores and service-based businesses take up this trend in 2021, using the platform to offer online classes, book meetings or appointments, and promote delivery and pickup options. 

The quality and standard of the online version of your product and service will be even more important this year. Focus on improving user experience, including your website’s speed, responsiveness, and checkout process. Anything slow or clunky needs to be addressed, and take time to review your shipping, cancellation and return policies too – any inconvenience perceived by consumers can significantly reduce your conversion rate. This space will be constantly evolving, but if your business can get on board now, you’ll be better prepared for any further developments that come in 2021. 

2021 Marketing Trend #4: Virtual Events

Last year virtual events became necessary as marketers adapted to our changing world. We expect many events to stay virtual in 2021, not only to address ongoing safety concerns, but also because businesses have discovered that by going virtual, they have opened up larger audiences, resulting in higher attendance and participation, and greater ROI.  

This year take the next step by running live events rather than broadcasting which only offers one-way communication. Yes, going ‘live’ opens up room for compilations and other complexities, but the reward is far greater than the risk. Attendees will be looking for something that can substitute, even partly, for the experience of a real live event. So, get creative and drive engagement and potential leads with great speakers, rich content and a dash of fun in 2021. 

2021 Marketing Trend #5: Valuing Sustainability & Inclusivity

Much has been said about consumers’ increased desires to see brands and businesses demonstrate social conscience towards issues including sustainability and inclusivity. Brand values should be at the forefront of all your marketing activities in 2021. iStock’s global consumer survey found that 8 in 10 respondents expect companies to be environmentally aware in all their marketing communications, and to see authentic representations of different cultures and lifestyles.  

The key is communicating these values through your branding and content to make them part of your businesses’ identity. You can achieve this by promoting sustainable practices on your website, engaging in discussion on social media, and ensuring all imagery you use (including stock photography) is culturally and ability inclusive, and conveys ‘green’ themes. Consumers want to invest in businesses that they can trust, so aligning to community values will be pivotal for brands in 2021. 

Starting off strong in 2021 can help set you up for long term success. We suggest you keep doing what’s worked for your business last year and add some of these 2021 trends into your mix to take your marketing to the next level. 

Emma Reid

Emma is a talented Graphic Designer and Marketer who designs all internal and external communications for ReachLocal Australia and New Zealand. She also updates and manages our websites, in addition to assisting with other marketing activities. Emma is a passionate volunteer with Orange Sky Laundry. When she's not pulling her hair out over HTML (just kidding!) she's wearing odd socks, bleeding coffee, playing dodgeball and doodling letters.

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