2020 has already brought many big changes – lockdowns in the Corona crisis in particular have intensified existing digital marketing trends. Read here what that means for the near future in customer acquisition via online channels.
The most important digital marketing trends for 2021
The growth of the digital marketing industry in particular is breath-taking and has been unbroken for years. In various studies it is repeatedly proven how effective individual measures can be here. Thanks to the fast flow of information through the Internet, it only takes a few months – if at all – for a trend to take hold globally.
In this article, we present the most important digital marketing trends that will continue to intensify in 2021, substantiate them with figures and give you advice on which trends are particularly relevant for which industries.
1. Digital marketing trend: shoppable posts on Instagram
In 2017, the first shoppable posts were published in the US version of Instagram – companies that post pictures on the social network can tag them: targeted pop-ups that inform about products that are included in the respective posted picture can be seen, display the respective product price and via which the user can then also get to the shop. In March 2018, this function was made available globally.
Since then, companies have been able to turn their Instagram accounts into shops themselves. Products can be placed clearly visible, individually or several at the same time per picture, and followers are informed more quickly about new products. After only a short development period, a checkout function was made available within Instagram. Users can now shop directly on the social media platform, so they no longer have to leave it. What influence will this digital marketing trend have on ecommerce stores?
Therefore, there will be more shoppable posts
Instagram is one of the largest social networks worldwide – the range for many companies is correspondingly large, especially in the B2C market. There are 1 billion users, around half of whom are active on the platform every day. And it gets even better: 90% of users follow at least one company (according to the company itself). Countless users have discovered new products in this network that they did not know before, and mobile purchases are steadily increasing – which is likely to have increased since Corona.
Users see a product they like in an environment in which they move around a lot in their free time. They get insights into companies that grow dear to their hearts through skilful visual marketing – the resulting potential for conversions is downright staggering. In our opinion, classic ecommerce stores will be retained: not every target group moves on Instagram, not every service can be displayed there – just think of digital accounting solutions.
Should I use shoppable posts?
Not signed in to Instagram yet? The 20th century just called to ask when you will be home. But seriously: if you serve end customers and your target group is on Instagram, there are hardly any plausible reasons that speak against using shoppable posts. In the worst case, nothing happens – then you can switch the function off again. At best, your sales will go through the roof.
It’s relatively easy to use shoppable posts on Instagram.
The basic requirement is initially an Instagram business account. This also enables advertisements to be displayed on the platform. Instagram belongs to Facebook, so you first have to have a business page on Facebook – you can then simply link it to your company’s Instagram account via Settings -> Instagram.
In the next step you have to create a product catalog – no, not in Instagram, but – in Facebook using the Shopping Facebook page template (to be found under: Settings -> Edit page -> Templates). Then you can add products and provide them with all the necessary information, links and images. The products will then also be published on Instagram.
Shoppable posts can be especially worthwhile when
- Your target group is largely on Instagram
- You can present your products well in pictures and in appropriate quality
- Both of the above conditions apply, but you do not have your own shop
2. Digital marketing trend: SEO tactics for voice search
Voice search, also known as “voice search”, has been propagated as the future of Internet search for several years. So far it has not been the rule for search queries, BUT: it is gradually being used more and more. A study on voice searches showed that almost two thirds of all smartphone users do a voice search at least once a day.
Above all, the increasing tendency behind this should draw companies’ attention: since voice commands can be recognized better and better, voice search could become a new standard in the future – websites should be optimized for this. In contrast to written search queries, whole sentences are often “entered” in voice searches. The better a website can answer such detailed search queries, the sooner it will be able to pick up voice search users.
Where voice searches will continue to prevail?
With voice search, recipes, addresses, opening times or the weather are usually requested – with the help of well-maintained, structured data, Google has been able to provide good results for a long time. But for a few years now, better and better answers to more complex questions have been given directly in the search engine, provided that the relevant content can be found. The so-called Featured Snippets are search results in “position 0”, which are displayed above all other search results in the case of the appropriate searches and are even read out for mobile voice searches. These are concise answers in short text passages, the source is named directly below.
In summary, voice search is already important for:
- Local information such as address & opening times or the weather
- Simple instructions
- Answering questions
Should I optimize my website for voice searches?
The simple answer: yes. However, to what extent – that depends on what you offer and how your target group moves online. In any case, it can only help your website ranking and visitor numbers if you optimize for featured snippets, that is:
- Process information clearly and in short sections under concise headlines
- Create an area with W-questions (how, where, who, what, when, why etc.), possibly in a separate FAQ area
- Optimize the page speed (page loading time) – slow websites will no longer be able to compete
- In general, make sure that the website is mobile – and make sure everything is indexed correctly
- Use schema.org mark-up to define what should be read out on the website – this can also increase the chance of a featured snippet.
In contrast to previous SEO, the flow of language on a page is more important when optimizing voice searches – including headings and lists. Just imagine someone reading your website. If all texts, including headings, sound consistent and do not cause ear bleeding, you’ve done everything right.
Most importantly, you should also answer local searches.
As mentioned above, local search queries usually ask for address and opening times, plus contact details. Here it is sufficient to maintain your own entry in Google My Business, with entries in other reputable business directories, you can offer even more information and increase relevance. If you offer site-specific pages on your website, it is best to link them internally with link texts that end with “near me”.
3. Digital marketing Trend: Facebook shops
This digital marketing trend is practically in tow of the shoppable posts from Instagram and represents an extremely predictable step: in the future it will also be possible to buy goods directly on the platform of Facebook.
In the English-speaking world, especially in the USA, this function is already known as the Facebook Store: Ecommerce store providers such as Shopify or WooCommerce have already entered into cooperation agreements with Facebook, where users can shop via the social network and only when processing payments in the actual ecommerce store.
Should I set up a Facebook shop?
If you already have a business account on Facebook and a certain number of followers and do not have your own ecommerce store, you can answer this question in the affirmative. It is also important that you only offer physical products – service providers and software manufacturers are initially excluded. A big plus point is that Facebook shops are made available free of charge, so investments in a shop system could be completely eliminated for some sellers in the future.
The corona crisis also acts as a powerful accelerator for online shopping.
Online shopping is also gaining ground independently of Facebook shops. Even before Corona, analogue shops were increasingly shifting to the online area, a trend that has accelerated rapidly in the context of recent events. Our tip for this digital marketing trend: check to what extent your target group moves on Facebook and how you can address them if necessary.
4. Paid Digital Marketing Trend: Smart bidding in google ads
Smart Bidding in Google Ads uses machine learning to increase the conversion rate, that is, to encourage more users to click on the ad. To do this, Google uses the historical search behaviour of users and context-related information (such as location, time, device used and others) – this is intended to predict the probability of a conversion. If the collected data indicate an increased probability, the bid in Google Ads is automatically increased on the placement of the ad.
6 Different smart bidding strategies can be used, depending on the conversion goal:
this strategy should simply achieve the highest possible number of conversions within the set budget – by adjusting the bids
Here, a certain “Return on Ad Spend” (ROAS) value, i.e. a certain conversion rate in relation to ads expenditure, is to be achieved – also by adjusting the bid within the budget
here the costs per action, i.e. the “cost per action” (CPA), are to be kept at a certain value – the machine tries to achieve as many conversions as possible at a certain price per ad
Increase visibility (impression share maximization)
This strategy pursues the goal of placing your own ads at the top of the page as often as possible – the bids are set accordingly
by optimizing the “cost per click” (CPC), the costs per ad clicked, the conversion value should be maximized here – that is, as many conversions as possible in relation to the expenditure
More website hits:
This smart bidding strategy is intended to maximize the clicks on the ads – the bids are automatically set so that as many clicks as possible are generated within the budget
These potentially very powerful optimization strategies can now be carried out automatically using Smart Bidding. But you should take a closer look at this in individual cases.
That is why smart bidding will prevail – but not yet everywhere!
First of all, Smart Bidding has clear advantages: campaign management can be greatly reduced, possibly omitted entirely after the initial setting. That saves a lot of time. Smaller companies in particular benefit from this if they have neither the time, resources nor sufficient knowledge to set up self-optimized Google Ads campaigns.
But it is a machine that the company using it can neither know nor understand. The data basis that is used as the basis for the automated ads strategies is not visible or controllable and therefore there is a risk that the target group is not correctly recorded and addressed. In addition, campaigns can be controlled more precisely in terms of budget and goals in the manual variant. However, Google itself has announced that Smart Bidding has increased the Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) by an average of 35% so far (Smart Bidding Sheet).
Should I use Smart Bidding?
At the moment, this question primarily depends on whether you can invest human or time resources in Google Ads. Small companies often cannot do that – Smart Bidding is definitely worthwhile for them, because they can simply set their campaigns once and then simply run them, while the machine takes over all optimizations. You don’t even need technical knowledge. Smart bidding can therefore make online marketing a lot easier, especially for tradespeople or local retailers.
Our tip: it is essential to link your Google My Business account with your Google Ads account for regional marketing!
Smart bidding is a good choice, especially for certain campaign goals:
Objective: Brand Awareness
With more ad impressions, your own brands and products can quickly become more visible and gain more awareness
Goal: More website visitors
More visitors from Google can quickly be brought to the website, even if the website itself does not yet have good organic rankings
Goal: Conversion optimization
The bids within the Google Ads campaign are automatically adjusted without any action on your part – this increases the efficiency of the campaign
However, the usefulness of this tool is still limited: For the time being, maximum campaign effectiveness can only be achieved through optimization by a human expert. Larger companies with the appropriate resources should therefore continue to rely on their own Google Ads specialists or commission the appropriate agencies. For small companies, however, it is “good enough” and there is little doubt that Google will expand this function – also in its own interest, in order to win more customers for Google Ads. As a result, Smart Bidding definitely has great potential to become one of the most important top digital marketing trends in 2021.
5. Digital marketing trend: Chatbots
Have you already visited a page and shortly afterwards a small chat window popped up in the lower right corner, in which a friendly contact person told you with words like “Hello! How can I help you?” Greeted? It is very likely that it was a so-called chatbot. Chatbots are supposed to be able to give simple answers to simple questions that you write in the chat window, but often fail even with slightly more complex questions. Artificial intelligence is intended to remedy this in the long term: the program learns continuously through interaction with real people and should be able to answer more and more questions automatically. A competition for tasks that were previously reserved for human beings such as customer advice and support.
Chatbots could become the standard for shops in the long term, with functions such as:
- Recommendation of suitable products for the respective customer question
- Automation of consulting and sales processes
- Answering support inquiries
Bots can also take over important standard processes in personnel management – for example, they could familiarize new employees with company processes.
Does a chatbot make sense for my website?
The decision about whether a chatbot program makes sense for your site should be based primarily on these four factors:
- Will people find their way around your website?
- Are there a lot of support requests from customers?
- Are many of the queries easy to resolve?
- How many staff are available for customer support?
If your answers are something like “No.” “Yes”, “Yes” and “Not many.” A chatbot could be a convenient solution for you and your customers. In any case, you should check carefully with each software provider how well the respective bot can answer specific questions from customers – because in this technology there is often still a need for optimization.
6. Digital marketing trend: Augmented reality
Anyone who has had a beard projected onto their face, for example, has already become acquainted with the digital marketing trend AR (augmented reality). Even if this is the only way to make the principle more popular: the idea has been around for a long time. In the furniture trade, for example, AR can be used to virtually place pieces of furniture in the room using the smartphone camera, so that customers can literally get an idea of how the new piece would look in their four walls.
Does that mean that the idea of virtual reality is off the table?
Yes, yes – but only for the time being. In the long term, virtual and augmented reality could combine and become one and the same: with ever smaller and ever more affordable VR devices such as smart glasses, a virtual world could one day be “superimposed” on the digital world. Areas of application are not only found in marketing or in the world of games.
That’s why augmented reality is part of the near future!
In particular, processes such as training or situation-specific help from manuals should be accelerated in this way, and human resources could also be freed up. This alone should give the technology a certain boost, which will also be felt in marketing.
Should smart glasses then (after all) also establish themselves in the private sector, marketing tools that were previously only available on certain platforms (such as shoppable posts) could be brought directly into the user’s field of vision – on the go, at home or on the Job. But whether this will actually happen is anything but certain: Google Glasses have not yet caught on.
What is more likely, however, is the further spread of AR applications on mobile devices – in fun apps and also for advertising purposes, especially for products such as glasses or furniture.
Is it worth it? We would say: yes, at least in certain areas. Augmented Reality can certainly be a sales booster for furniture stores or online sellers of clothing, glasses or accessories. Best in connection with video marketing to make your own AR application better known.
7. “Evergreen” of the digital trends: Video marketing
Videos have been the digital marketing trend for years: they have become an integral part of the customer journey. This is understandable – after all, a lot can be said in a short time with moving images that sometimes cannot be understood in 1000 words. This is why the use of videos in digital marketing continues to grow.
Video marketing is successful
88% of companies that use explanatory or product videos for their marketing report a positive ROI (return on investment). That alone can be a reason to do video marketing. But there is more:
- 95% of companies that use video say it has led to a better understanding of their products
- 43% say that fewer support requests have been made since using explanatory videos
- 96% of internet users watched an explanatory video when they wanted to know more about a product or service
- 84% of users say a branded video convinced them to buy a product or service
- Users share videos twice as often as any other type of digital content
Videos are used online to get information quickly, to consume news or simply for entertainment. Ideally, commercial videos can do all of this at the same time. If you look at the statistics, you can see that a well-made advertising video can inspire purchases and you can assume that the better product presentation also gives a more precise idea of the offer and that the viewer will remember this better.
Better search engine ranking through videos!
SEO tests have shown that videos can also be helpful in optimizing websites for search engines and improving their ranking. It also depends on how big the video is and how it is loaded – the simplest solution is usually to embed a YouTube video, which is only loaded when you click on it. But it is also important that the video is contextually well embedded, that is, that the spoken content matches the surrounding text. There are indications that the Google algorithms are now able to determine the relevance of a video through a speech analysis.
Rank multiple times on the same topic!
Embedding a YouTube video on your own page also offers another advantage: YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google and videos from this platform are also highly preferred in the Google search engine itself in the ranking – which should not be unknown to anyone who has ever used the Video search function has used there. For some searches, some videos are also displayed in the normal search. If you manage to rank well with the website and the video, you will be represented twice for the same search query.
Since featured snippets have existed, something has even been added: if a video answers a search query in a particularly appropriate manner, it may be displayed as a featured snippet at “Position 0”, i.e. above all other search results.
Use videos for your own website!
Even without aiming for a top ranking right away, thanks to the YouTube embedding option, you can easily start to improve individual blog articles with suitable videos, for example. It is of course best if you use your own videos uploaded to your YouTube channel. Ideally, the video content, the spoken word, should match the text, the information should not contradict each other and offer added value both in writing and audio visually.
Simply insert the respective video on the desired page, give it the appropriate heading and, above all, make sure that the content does not contradict each other anywhere. To create more relevance to the video, you could also offer a transcript on the respective page.
The latest trend in video marketing: live streaming
Another insider tip
Live streaming is the new magic word for staying in close contact with customers even under Corona conditions. It is probably enough if you occasionally answer customer questions in the live stream – a digitization of customer service and customer support, so to speak. In order to ensure sufficient coverage, it is best to announce the live stream on your channels with the highest number of visitors several days in advance with a targeted marketing campaign, depending on how often you plan to make the stream.
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