Today around 80% of the media content we consume comes from digital media. Therefore, it would not be incorrect to say that the world has transformed into a digital cosmos. The internet has a diverse audience: from young to old, men to women, and rich to poor. Therefore, businesses have found a new platform to target their potential audience: digital marketing.

Digital marketing is the advertising, promotion, and branding of products and services through digital media.

 In simple words, it is the advertising of products or services on the internet. As the internet community is extravagantly increasing year by year, businesses are focusing on expanding their approach to digital media. However, it is also essential for them to oversee the underlying trends. But many inquire what actually are the trends? Before unveiling the digital marketing trends in 2021, let’s briefly overview what a trend is and who is responsible for making it.

Digital Marketing Trends:

According to the literal meaning, the trend is related to fashion or tendency. In digital marketing, the meaning of trend is somehow related to its literal meaning. Digital marketing trends are the changes in the digital marketing landscapes that affect the way marketers should interact with their key audience. The digital marketing landscapes include consumer sentiments and behaviours, marketing techniques, and underlying technologies. These are, in fact, the parameters of digital marketing, which are interwoven and interdependent. For example, technological advancements change consumers’ sentiments, and their behaviour can affect the implication of technology.

The top Digital Marketing trends in 2021 are:

Some of the crucial digital marketing trends in 2021 are artificial intelligence, chatbots, video content, programmatic, influencer, personalization, and content marketing.  It also includes voice and visual search, better analytics, and user-generated content.

1.   Artificial intelligence:

Artificial intelligence is the technology described to computers and machines which can imitate the cognitive attribute otherwise ascribed to humans. In layman language, artificial intelligence is the ability of technology to think and behave like humans in given situations. Many businesses feel the intimidation to incorporate artificial intelligence; however, it is the new way to move forward. In fact, it has almost become pervasive in recent times. Many leading companies like Microsoft and Uber use Knightscope K5 robots. According to one report, the number of organizations using AI was ten per cent in 2015, which increased to 35% by 2019. However, the annual growth of AI is predicted to be 33.2% between 2020 and 2027. The following are the three reasons why businesses need to move to artificial intelligence. Therefore, it is no surprise that most digital marketing trend

  • Business Productivity:

Artificial intelligence can massively lead to business productivity by saving resources like time, energy, and money. An organization can offload its routine tasks to AI technologies and machines, which perform their duties diligently and effectively. In this way, a business can get rid of the daily chaos to meet specific targets. Moreover, these technologies help in making accurate decisions. So, in all ways, artificial intelligence contributes to a business’s productivity.

  • Customer willingness to use AI:

As much as AI helps ease the task of the organizations, it is essential for a better customer experience. Surprisingly, the customers rely on AI to enhance their experience, which is beneficial for the organizations to monitor the customers’ behaviours and receive the required information about them. The team can use this information to make better-informed decisions to convert leads. It can be used to enhance the return of investment(ROI) by marketing techniques.

  • Customer service:

Given that customers do not hesitate to use AI, it can be used strategically for better customer service. Bot and virtual assistants are becoming prevalent for paramount customer service. They help the customers get the answers to their questions quickly, which removes their ambiguities on the one hand and gives them satisfaction on the other.

Businesses can benefit from the AI to:

  • Optimize internal operations.
  • Enhance features, functions, and performance of products.
  • Free up workers by automation to be more creative.
  • Better customer service.
  • Make better decisions.

2.   Chatbots:

The usage of chatbots has become inevitable and will sustain for quite a long in the future. Chatbots are an AI technology that offers instant messaging and communication in real-time. The biggest benefits of chatbots are that they provide 24/7 service and offer instant responses. The reasons why businesses need to have chatbots are:

  • They enhance lead generation and nurturing:

Chatbots offer real-time conversation at different channels. The customers interact with bots to find answers to the queries. The chatbots can qualify the leads by answering their questions quickly, which would be impossible for busy customer service personnel. Guiding them and offering quick answers to the questions can increase the probability of conversion. A mere visitor to your page or website can end up shopping. Then, it helps in nurturing the leads at different stages of the customer cycle. The chatbot flows are designed to propose coupons, discounts, or other offers, making it easy for the users to move ahead in their steps.

 So, the bots can convert the prospects into potential customers and potential customers into loyal customers.

  • Boost Return of Investment(ROI):

Businesses will have to curtail around 30% budget on customer service, as the chatbot alone can deal with a large proportion of customer management. As a result, it can offer a better customer experience at a relatively less cost.

3.   Influencer marketing:

In a world of different strategies of business branding, influencer marketing is all the buzz. Influencer marketing is a kind of social media marketing that incorporates the endorsements of products or services by influencers. Influencers are individuals with a large fan following or are considered experts within their niche. Today, influencer marketing works exceptionally well because the audience’s engagement with the influencers has become direct and indispensable on social media. The rise in influencer marketing grew by leaps and bounds during the pandemic. People were naturally driven to use more social media, which was leveraged by businesses for their benefit. In the future, influencer marketing is expected to grow even more substantially.

 One misconception about influencer marketing is that it collaborates with individuals with lots of followers. Influencer marketing is about reaching out to the individuals who have earned followers by spending time and effort. Such figures have loyal followers, and they devote their trust to them. It does not mean the endorsements via viral sensations who get plenty of followers in no time. Be it fashion, literature, travel, religion, the influencers have a potential impact on their followers. For example, the top fashion blogger is Cole Sprouse, with 35.6 m followers on Instagram. And Murad Osmann is the leading travel influencer with 3.9m followers on Instagram.

4.   Video content:

With the exponential rise in online shopping in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic, video content has become an essential marketing element. Showing pictures of products is not enough for the consumers; people want to look at the products closely and as if in real-time. Moreover, the incomplete or vague descriptions of the products create difficulty for the consumer to understand features and aspects. Therefore, adding video content to the marketing strategy can make it easier for the customers to shop. Many latest technologies help in showing the image of the product the way it looks in reality. For example, the 360º view of the product offers a multidimensional view of the product. Making small, creative, and engaging videos can grab the attention of the customers. The gist is that you should add the creation of informative videos that are pleasing to the eyes in your digital marketing strategy. It will tie the consumers and prevent them from sailing away.

One of the examples of best explainer videos is created by European investment bank:

5.   Programmatic Marketing:

There are thousands of digital platforms that people access on a daily basis. Therefore, it is impossible to launch an advertising campaign across all platforms. Therefore, it is important to find suitable media to target the most specific audience. Choosing the best platform to advertise a product or service can be a daunting task, but what if the technology eases this task? Yes, programmatic marketing is the technique of finding the best platform, specific to your audience to advertise.

Programmatic advertising/ marketing refers to using Artificial intelligence to automate ad buying to target a specific audience. Simply, it is a practice of selling and buying digital advertising space. It is a fast and more intelligent alternative to manual advertising. In manual advertising, both publishers and advertisers find it difficult to manage space, and the process is always time-consuming. However, programmatic advertising also requires some of the tasks to be done manually. For example, before it, a few steps like ordering and reporting on ads need to be carried out manually.

6.   Personalization marketing:

In the bulk of automation and robotics, human traits appeal to the customers. After all, they are humans too. Too much automation makes the customers feel that they are auto-generated responses, and there is not an individual at the other end listening to their queries. It makes them feel unheard. Whereas making the customer think that a person is speaking or listening to them offers satisfaction. Therefore, you are guided to personalize all the marketing techniques that include personalizing content, products, and emails. For example, the chatbots must be hybrid which means that they are monitored and controlled by an individual via AI means. It is a win-win situation for both the customer and the business.

7.   Voice and visual search:

Gone are the days when people used to type text in a search engine. Now, they search through voice and sound. Considering this trend in mind, you have to make sure that your web page or website is optimized for visuals and voice. The optimization is essential to become the resource for people searching for visual-activated and voice-activated assistants. Some of the popular voice-activated assistants include Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Home.

Through an optical lens, people can upload the image for searching and get the most specific results. Some visual search engines include Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, CamFind, and Bing Visual search. The voice and visual search trend has massively gained popularity in the last few years; it is prospected to grow at an even more pace in the future.

8.   Better analytics:

Digital marketing is meaningless without metrics. Without getting essential insights and investing in improving analytics, a business is incapable of gaining useful results. While many companies are aware of the importance of analytics, many are still unaware of the quality of analytics that comes from using multiple solutions. Many think that Google Analytics is a complete solution, although it is not. Businesses need a BI solution; a BI solution is a place where companies can collect all of their data and make better decisions for a lifetime instead of short-term goals.

When we say better analytics, it means to measure the performance and KPI. The marketing analytic helps you understand how well your marketing techniques are working. The tracking of key performance indicators(KPIs), most relevant to your business, enables you to identify how well these techniques are aiding the achievement of the business’s goals. They are the quantifiable measurements that are used to gauge the long-term goals of a company. They mainly help in identifying a company’s strategic, financial, and operational achievements.

9.   User-generated content:

In the world of citizen journalism and many other ways of user-led or user-controlled content generation, it is essential to make users a part of the content marketing strategy. User-generated content has become a significant part of content marketing today. It allows users to create content about a product or services of your brand, which can be social media posts, comments, or reviews.

The openness of user-generated content depicts the confidence, transparency, and truthfulness of a brand. Because UGCs are voluntary and are not given any incentives, their true and unbiased comments can shape an image of a brand. Around 92% of consumers trust user-generated content more than advertising, according to Nielsen Consumer Trust Index. Since they are trusted, the brands can enhance the quality of their products and services for more organic and better reviews.

10.  Content Marketing:

Though it is put last in the list, it is one of the top essential elements of digital marketing. No matter what other elements you use, content is the most comprehensive way of eradicating the confusion and answering the users’ questions. It is the direct way of building trust, interacting with customers, generating leads, and increasing the conversion rate. Consistent and high-quality content is the most useful technique that affects the decision-making of the users. The basic reason for the importance of content marketing is that it is appreciated at the consumer’s end. It can generate three times more leads than other marketing techniques and drive a six times more conversion rate than outbound marketing, which includes cold calls and email spams.

Bottom Line: 

Digital marketing is a multifold and technical process. However, knowing what is essential and what is not helps in sailing the boat. With time, the parameters of marketing, especially digital marketing, change. Therefore, it is crucial to keep an eye on them to adapt and optimize specifically. It would not be wrong to say that today, the trends of digital marketing revolve around artificial intelligence and its related arena.

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