2021 is just around the corner, meaning, we will see new opportunities, changes, and trends in marketing.
During 2018, we have seen how several channels have evolved dramatically, and yet, we also see others went stagnant. It has been an interesting year so far, and so, what can we expect from the next?
With that being said, here we will discuss our marketing trends predictions for 2021 and onwards, starting with number one.
1. Video traffic will continue to increase
In 2018 and even in 2017, video has been the primary source of internet traffic, with Netflix alone contributes to 30% of the total U.S. internet traffic. Add YouTube to the mix, and we can easily see half of the American internet traffic comes from video.
Yet, we can expect this trend to continue growing, with Cisco predicted that video traffic will reach 82% of the total internet traffic all around the globe by 200.
What does this mean for marketers? We should utilize more videos in various marketing channels. According to Forbes, using videos in email marketing can improve CTR by 300%.
Also, live streaming video and interactive video content will see even more popularity in 2021.
2. Voice as the leading search medium
In the past recent years, video search has been really popular thanks to the maturing Google Assistant and Siri on smartphones, as well as the popularity smart home assistants and smart speaker products.
Gartner predicted that 30% of our online browsing session will be voice-driven by 2020, and we can predict the technology behind it, especially voice recognition, to get better and better in the years to come.
How it will impact marketing? We will need to start implementing SEO for voice search queries, that can be really different compared to textual searches. Focus on conversational keywords, and develop content to target these conversational queries.
3. SEO content clustering
SEO is not dead, in fact, it is arguably more important than ever. However, in the past couple of years, search engine algorithms have evolved dramatically, and so SEO is also evolving.
As noted by SEO expert Mike, SEO is not only about targeting and optimizing for keywords, but Google is getting smarter in recognizing sites with clusters of content pieces around a specific topic.
For example, if your target topic is “digital marketing”, you can develop a “pillar” content to target this topic, for example, “guide to digital marketing”, then you can create content cluster surrounding this pillar while targeting related and even long-tail keywords. For example, the cluster content pieces can cover SEO, local SEO, inbound marketing, and so on.
Chatbots have been really popular in 2018: the A.I. technology behind it is getting better, they are more affordable than ever, and they are fairly easy to implement nowadays. We can expect this trend to continue rising in 2021. In fact, it is predicted that 85% of customer engagements will be done by chatbots by 2020.
Chatbots can engage a lot of customers in real-time, and so, technically you can run a 24/7 customer service while saving your human resources costs.
The A.I. technology behind chatbots are also improving at a very fast pace. Yet, it is already very reliable at the moment, with a 2016 survey conducted by Digital Pulse found out that 85% of customers are satisfied with chatbot engagements.
There are many ways to implement the chatbot. For example, we can use the chatbot to ask preliminary questions like the available budget,contact information, and whether they are looking for a sales inquiry or technical support. Then, the chatbot can then pass the user to either a sales person or tech support, while providing the necessary information.
This way, the user can get a more seamless customer service, while your team can also saves time and resources.
Also, consider the fact that implementing chatbots is now more affordable than ever. You might want to check out this guide by Sprout Social to help you further with implementing chatbots.
Marketing and marketers are often viewed negatively by customers, and not without its reasons. The history of marketing has been filled with exaggerations, unethical practices, and even, lies.
Because of this, many customers have developed a resistance of all-things marketing from promotions to other efforts, and so, it’s harder to impress our audience with our brand.
On the other hand, in this era of social media, it is very easy to find any information about your product, service, or brand. With these two factors, we will need to always maintain honesty and transparency, and in 2021, transparency will be even more important.
First, address negative reviews and complaints quickly and honestly. Don’t deliver false promises and admit your mistakes.
In the years to come, we can also expect two-way communications between brands and customers to be more common, and we should start developing the right infrastructure for this.
6. The Evolved Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is certainly not a new marketing trend. But, in 2021, we can expect it to be even more important than before.
The digital world is getting more saturated than ever, and it’s really hard to get our voice heard. This is how influencers can help in promoting your brand, product, or service.
However, influencer marketing is also rapidly evolving, mainly thanks to the rising demands of influencers. Mega-influencers and celebrities are now extremely expensive, and they are also very picky in choosing the brands they would want to endorse.
In 2021, we can expect to see the rise of micro-influencers in the influencer marketing landscape. Not only they are more affordable and accessible, they also have the benefit of authenticity, which can appeal more to the highly-resistant audiences.
7. The Rising Importance of Social Proofs
Since people are now more resistant to promotions than ever, there has been a rising phenomenon of how people now trust peer reviews and recommendations as the most influential purchase decision factors.
We can expect this trend to continue in 2021, and so we must focus on soliciting social proofs and establishing our position as the thought leader of our niche. We can do this by regularly publishing relevant and valuable content, a concept we know as inbound marketing.
These seven marketing trends we have discussed above are what we predicted to be the most important during 2021, but that doesn’t mean they will be the only ones.
Yet, they can be a solid foundation to start developing your marketing plans for 2021. Evaluate your current plan, see areas where you can improve upon, and find new opportunities.
Mike is a senior SEO strategist at Nine Peaks Media, a B2B SEO agency that helps SaaS, software, IT and technology companies rank on the first page of Google with effective content marketing strategies. Nine Peaks offers performance-based inbound marketing, conversion rate optimization and search engine marketing services.