5 Digital Marketing Trends to Track in 2021 Introduction

Summary: These are the ideas, platforms and tech we think will matter to your business as you navigate what will certainly be another unpredictable year.

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A pandemic. Social unrest. Manic bread baking and the rise of the Tiger King. After the last 10 months of utter unpredictability, we could never hazard a guess at what 2021 will hold.

So instead of a prediction, this year, we’re sharing the five marketing trends our team is paying attention to in the coming year. These are the ideas, platforms and tech we think will matter to your business as you navigate what will certainly be another unpredictable year.

Over the coming weeks, we will explore each of these topics in detail, offering you context, data, tips on how to get started, and examples from the brands that are doing it right. Then we’ll take each topic to our social channels to get your questions, input and thoughts. Instead of a quick prediction post, we hope this ongoing conversation over the next several weeks will help you move your business forward in 2021 with thought and insight.

Here’s a preview of our top five digital marketing trends in 2021. Stay tuned for much more to come.

1. The (Third-Party) Cookie Crumbles

Gartner predicts that by 2023, 65 percent of the world’s population will have its personal data covered under modern privacy regulations, up from 10 percent in 2020. At the beginning of 2022, Google Chrome will stop supporting third-party cookies. All of this will have big implications for how businesses and advertisers target, track and measure digital ads across the internet. We’ll look at what a post-cookie world will look like and how you can begin to prepare for it today.

2. Short Video Content Reigns

Much has been made of Tik-Tok’s success in 2020. And while some of it is certainly hype, there is no doubt that, at the onset of 2021, short-form video content is king. From Instagram Reels to Triller, new platforms and formats are popping up to meet the demand. We’ll look at the platforms that are out there and how your business can get in the game without breaking the budget and hiring a full-on production team.

3. Conversational Marketing Gets Real

 How do you provide real-time customer service and social conversation in a world where everyone is always online? Chatbots are making it possible to have 24/7 conversations with customers that are intelligent, authentic, and human, all using the power of AI. And you don’t have to risk putting your service reputation at risk, either. A recent report found that 63 percent of respondents prefer messaging an online chatbot to communicate with a business or brand. We’ll look at the latest trends and offer tips on how to get started.

4. Visual Search Gains Ground

“The future of search will be about pictures rather than keywords,” says Pinterest CEO, Ben Silbermann, and we believe him. Pinterest may be at the forefront of visual search with its Lens tool, but others aren’t far behind, including Google, which is working its own visual search tool, unimaginatively, also called Lens. We’ll talk through what the implications of visual search are for SEO, and what can you do today to prepare for a future in which most internet searches are done by image instead of text.

5. The Digital Acceleration Continues

Just one year ago, few could imagine how quickly and completely we would all shift our lives to an online environment. Yet here we are. Going to virtual doctor’s appointments, concerts, and art exhibits. Ordering toilet paper and dish soap online. Working from remote desks and kitchen tables and backyards. The implications for marketers and business owners are vast. We’ll consider which changes are long-lasting and how to reach those online audiences in 2021.

We’re excited about creating a conversation around marketing trends in 2021 in the coming weeks, and we hope you will join us here, as well as on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

What are the trends you’re paying attention to at the start of the year? Share your thoughts in the comments or on our social channels.

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