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Digital Trends 2021

Digital Trends 2021

It’s no secret that 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges and changes, with digital marketing no exception. The fallout from this turbulent year is that the online landscape has developed and taken new directions, with online patterns and usage changing in line with new working environments, deep concerns over wellbeing and greater pressure on businesses to grow their digital offering to meet the new needs of the ‘new normal’. Here’s what to look out for in 2021 and what these trends could mean for your business.

Voice Search

The way users interact with search engines is changing. Increasingly, people are treating search engines as conversational. They use normal language, not Google keyword speak, to trigger responses and deliver results.
Optimising for semantic (conversational) search is an ongoing effort. As you plan, execute, and update your content for 2021, keep a few questions in mind. First and foremost, how and why do your users search for your content? What answers, information, content, or even experience are your target audiences likely looking for? For example, instead of optimising for “party shop Hertford”, you should consider how your content answers the question “where in Hertford (or near me) can I buy party accessories?”
Google My Business

Despite social distancing and online retail, the demand for local search remains significant, with more than a billion people using Google Maps every month. Google has responded to this demand by releasing new features, such as posts, new service and product options, COVID-19 updates and options for black-owned businesses, and even a website builder.

For many NABAS members who operate on a localised level, with a shopfront, this presents an exceptional opportunity to boost your rankings and get noticed by people searching for your services in your area.
Which means you’ll want to keep your Google My Business listing complete, detailed, and updated on an ongoing basis.

• Update service availability
• Post COVID-19 latest information
• Turn on and share you review form
• Publish your FAQs
• Share regular content (recommended – at least once a week)

Social Media

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the face of social media usage, with users sharing content and looking for answers to queries directly related to the Coronavirus. With an increased time at home and more erratic and flexible working patterns, insights are beginning to emerge about how people are using social media. The good news is that usage is up for everybody across all channels, including Facebook. The biggest growth has been with the use of video and live streaming, with Instagram seeing an overall usage increase of 40% and a further 70% of people using Instagram Live. The latest and greatest to the party, taking the world by storm is TikTok, with over 300m downloads of the app in 2020 so far. The interactive video channel provides businesses with the opportunity to create fun, engaging and lively content with easy to use editing tools, which can then be shared across other channels. One worth exploring for the entertainer in you.

Video First

YouTube continues to dominate, and 2020 saw a 20-30% increase in usage. YouTube is not only great for sharing video content and reaching a male market, but also in satisfying Google’s growing need to serve search results in ‘one-click’. You will begin to notice video results appearing in response to your search terms above website links. Which means if your video is tagged and optimised correctly, Google may favour it as a search result above a text solution, driving traffic from search terms directly to your content.

Virtual Events

2020 has decimated the events industry, with the biggest beneficiary being the new face of conference calls – Zoom. With 30 times more users in April 2020 than in March and with sales anticipated to approach 2bn by the end of the year, Zoom has left Skype and Teams in its wake. For digital marketers comes the added opportunity to offer a new, instant and valuable level of content marketing, in the form of webinars, training and product assistance and demonstrations.

The New Normal

The shift and changing patterns of online usage and content consumption is changing to match new work/life patterns, addressing concerns over health and safety, family, money and community. In order to continue to develop your digital strategy in the ‘new normal’, it is important to remain positive about the overall increase in opportunity to reach your audience, particularly on social media. Video will be key in 2021 and beyond, and it’s worth exploring how you could present your offering to your potential customers in this format. As with any other year, it is always prudent to spend time auditing your current efforts and finding new opportunities exploring new channels, platforms and features to make your digital presence as engaging and interactive as possible.

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