Paradise predicts: Digital marketing trends to expect in 2021

Finally, we’ve passed the year that was 2020. Phew. If the year was a (somewhat undesirable) brand, then ‘expect the unexpected’ should have been the hero slogan. It was a rollercoaster, that’s for sure. 

Reflecting from a marketing perspective, we saw and experienced trends that we didn’t see coming at the end of 2019. Then, with increased digitalisation for all and people staying at home, everything flipped again. To be honest, I’ve learned a lot, including how to work from home without going crazy (still actively refining this skill) and many other life lessons on a deeper level. 

As everyone went from al fresco shopping to online shopping indoors real quick, e-commerce companies including Amazon, eBay and Zalando, saw profits boom due to unprecedented (sorry) amounts of orders. So, will this consumer pattern continue to rise? Plus, how will this behaviour shape key marketing trends for 2021? 

Here’s an insight into what we think will happen in a post-pandemic world. Fingers crossed for the latter. Of course, confidently predicting the future after the year we’ve just had, feels like a challenge, but we’ll give it our best shot. Crystal ball, optional. 

1.   Social media platforms will become one of the most important channels for purchases, rather than simply a route to discover brands.

Frequently used social media channels, namely Instagram and Facebook, are making it a lot easier to go from discovering a product, to purchasing it, without ever having to leave the platform itself. This creates a super-streamlined consumer process, and we foresee social commerce, throughout 2021, to continue growing in this way. Retail brands will have to quickly adapt alongside these platforms, similarly to how they made modifications to keep up with Amazon’s speed.

2.   2021 will be the year of getting to know consumers all over again.

Coronavirus has disrupted consumer behaviour like nothing before and we all know we probably won’t go back to ‘normal’ when all of this is done. Therefore, it’s important as marketing leaders to reassess our understanding of customers through personal feedback, utilising tests and surveys to figure out whether changes in consumer behaviour are temporary or permanent. It will become imperative to collate customer information, so there is the ability to communicate with them on a more personal level, since this is what people have been craving. They’ve missed that personal touch from big companies.

3.   Voice search will become more powerful than ever. 

Currently, voice search isn’t part of Google’s algorithm. It is however, still reading current search results aloud. Interestingly, voice searches often display different results to typed searches. Businesses should be on their toes (for SEO purposes) to begin planning or implementing voice search components to serve the people who will make the switch to this type of medium.

4.   People will desire more interactive content.

A great way to provide more value for consumers is to add extra interactive elements to websites. This way, they can engage more with your brand, and in return, you will learn more about them. We can showcase this with this simple example. Let’s imagine you’re an estate agency owner and want to add an easy-to-use, yet effective mortgage calculator to your site. Visitors to your site gain useful value from the tool, whilst you learn more about the visitors themselves, based on the information they input. The information you therefore receive and gather becomes invaluable to clarify varying personas and for future targeting.

5.   Go all-in on Google listings and local SEO. 

When you own a small business, one of the most important things you can ensure is that your local listings are verified and widely available on different search platforms. For B2C businesses particularly, who gain customers primarily on a local level, Google My Business displays valuable information about hours, services, and geographical location. Many are unfamiliar with this, but it is and will remain a vital search element for both small and large businesses.