Digital marketing

Digital marketing trends

Think lab

Stories and Science


The coronavirus pandemic has changed how businesses operate. More products and services have now moved online and a lot of workers now either work remotely or in a hybrid setting. This period of different customer responses to COVID-19 has given us some insights into the marketing trends that worked in 2020 and those we should expect in 2021.

As a result of the pandemic, the retail landscape has been dramatically transformed, with clients creating new shopping habits and having higher expectations from brands.

Digital marketing has grown just as much, with the creation of virtual platforms to replace in-person experiences and campaign redesigns due to our new reality. Despite this, given the rapid advancement of new technologies, behaviors, and trends, professional marketers have to look even further into the future.

Your business needs to consider some vital digital marketing trends to engage and retain current clients and generate more leads, traffic, and income. Business owners need to invest their time and resources in these trends.

The digital marketing trends seem to revolve around two unique, but almost contradictory concepts. First is a general humanization, that addresses real problems and tailors content to suit the individual (as opposed to what the public wants) for more personal engagement.

The second concept is much more technical and mechanical optimization, fine-tuning the behind-the-scenes in areas such as SEO, and how business owners create campaigns.

So, will content still be king? Which platforms should you invest in? How can digital marketers engage and retain their customers? It’s never too early to begin researching, planning, and strategizing. Below are some digital marketing trends that all marketers should keep an eye out for.

Trend 1: An increase in live streams and influencer content

The lockdown period caused most people to stay at home. Due to this, a lot of events got canceled or most consumers couldn’t attend in-person events. They could not socialize with their friends and family.

This resulted in a rise in the number of people depending on live streams, whether it was a branded live stream, a live video from their favorite celebrity, or online training.

On Facebook, live viewings increased by 50 percent during lockdown periods, while viewing on Instagram increased by 70 percent. TikTok users also spiked, and there’s a good chance we’ll continue seeing this upward trajectory.

Human-driven content such as influencer live-streams can create trust, and take advantage of the ‘in-the-moment’ connection that 2020 consumers crave.

During the pandemic, Amazon Live got going. Marketers used the platform to promote their favorite products during live events. Additionally, the live streams were shoppable, which meant viewers could buy products as they watch.

Trend 2: Use of image and video SEO for visual searches

Most people already know that they can search for pictures and videos by typing in keywords; however, others are not aware that they can also submit existing images for a search, or take original images and search for context. As more people discover these visual search techniques, it changes the SEO landscape.

To take advantage of the increased number of visual searches, ensure that your photo and video SEO campaigns are in great shape. For a start, make use of these techniques:

  • Always add alt text in descriptions of your images.

  • Include images to your sitemap or have an image sitemap.

  • Add your target SEO keywords in the file name of your images.

  • Make use of high-quality images and videos.

In addition to these basics, you should get familiar with how Google Lens works, particularly if you’re an e-commerce business. If you handle your SEO techniques right, you’ll be able to take traffic away from your competitors when shoppers carry out image searches for barcodes or products.

Trend 3: The use of AR in digital engagement

Since Facebook owns Oculus and a lot of other augmented reality patents, it is only a matter of time before digital growth experts learn and apply AR into their digital marketing methods. Although this is not so widely used, now is the time to research, learn, and think about how AR could be used in your current digital campaigns.

If you haven’t already noticed, the previous year saw the dominance of artificial intelligence (AI). This technology is predicted to be at the heart of global business and industry in the future – and it’s already taking over a lot of simple tasks.

For instance, Uber and Microsoft made use of robots to patrol parking lots and big outdoor areas to determine and prevent crime. These robots can read license plates, report suspicious activity, and gather information to report to their owners.

AI can analyze the behavior and search patterns of consumers, and use information from blog posts and social media platforms to help business owners understand how their customers search and locate their products and services.

Trend 4: Social media used for more engagement and memory retention

Brands need to get ready to dedicate more resources to social media marketing in 2021. In the US, social media budgets accounted for 24 percent of their total marketing budgets during the second phase of 2020, which was an increase from the 13 percent recorded last winter.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, business owners are increasingly making customer retention their priority. This is predicted to continue into 2021. The pandemic has greatly increased the amount of time people spend online which includes how they search for brands, companies, and products.

This shift creates new opportunities for digital marketers to increase their approach to new audiences and re-engage with long-time clients. A good digital marketer can create a content plan, make regular posts, monitor and drive customer responses, and attract new customers. If your business has been putting off including social media services in your marketing strategy, now is the time!

Trend 5: Short-form video content will dominate the industry

It is estimated that video content will solidify its position as the standard of digital marketing in 2021. The coronavirus pandemic has only highlighted its importance and the demand for video is not going to slow down anytime soon. It is quickly becoming vital to the marketing strategy of any business, and organizations have already made great progress with their video content strategies.

But most important is the fact that shorter videos are emerging as a front runner. Although longer video content still has a place in the digital marketing space, short-form videos are dominating this landscape – they’re quick videos and snippets that are an immediate fix for brands that want to connect with their customers and remain relevant.

Shorter videos are more memorable, easy to digest, and can increase engagement. For instance, look at the astronomical success that TikTok had during the COVID-19 pandemic to see the desire of viewers for shorter video content.

6. The popularity of voice search

Currently, voice search is not a part of Google’s algorithm; but it’s still dictating search results today. Voice search queries often produce different results than if the user had typed in a text in the search bar. For SEO purposes, brands need to be on their toes with voice search components for their consumers who are adapting and switching over to that medium.

In voice search, the content has to be specifically optimized for the user’s voice. It should be more direct and conversational so that it will accurately sync with search results. This will help increase traffic by remaining relevant and more visible to clients.

Voice search is predicted to be the next frontier of SEO. More users prefer to talk into their search bars than type, whether while using voice-activated AI assistants on their desktops or using their mobile devices like walkie-talkies.

Voice searches produce impressive results than text searches. It is expected that there will be a Gold Rush in 2021 to crack the code of SEO for voice search to grab more organic search results.

What digital marketing trends are most important?

All brands need to take a look at how they can harness the latest marketing trends so they can apply the latest technology in their digital marketing campaigns because of these reasons:

Business owners will focus 70 percent of their time on things they’re sure are vital to their business. They’ll focus on 20 percent on pushing boundaries, and the remaining 10 percent on crazy experimental things. Evaluating innovations can help you push the boundaries and also improve your digital marketing activities.

At a higher level, the trends across digital marketing methods are similar yearly, with more interest in search, social media, web design, and content marketing techniques to engage and convert customers.


The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, and due to this, it is important to know some of the expected trends before developing your 2021 digital marketing strategy.

The unpredictable nature of 2020 has forced businesses to think long and hard about ways to connect with their customers and prospects. Stay-at-home orders forced people to remain inside, which also meant that they were spending more time online.

This resulted in brands such as Liwa creating more human-centric ways of reaching their customers. Digital marketers will have to keep on learning and upgrading with advances in technology. The voice of the consumer is getting louder and digital spaces are the key to converse with them.

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