Top Digital Marketing Trends For 2021 and Beyond

MMG Consulting
digital marketing

Digital marketing has completely reshaped itself over the past year. Terms like voice search engine optimization (VSEO), data-driven marketing, and artificial intelligence did not bear heavy significance on users outside the digital practice; however their collective significance was reevaluated during the pandemic as companies scrambled for innovative methods to reach out to their customers beyond the traditional means.

According to the 2021 Gartner State of Marketing budget report, there has been a 6.4% drop in marketing budgets a percentage of company revenue in 2021 compared to 11% in 2020. The demand for innovative digital marketing practices is higher than ever and this article discusses a few of the latest trends in detail.


AI optimization in digital marketing

artificial intelligence digital marketing

Although implementation of artificial intelligence in marketing campaigns is not always as fluid as marketers would like, there is no denying that it has significantly impacted the digital marketing landscape in the last few years. The technology powers several services including search engines, chatbots, and even online content.

A recent PWC study noted that 52% among 1,000 companies in the U.S. accelerated their AI adoption plans, which only proves the effectiveness of this strategy. But why is it so important?

  • Analyzing customer behavior– AIs can analyze customer search and buying patterns. It also utilizes the data from social media platforms to help businesses understand how consumers find their products and optimize those delivery channels.
  • Writing reader-friendly content– Jarvis is one of the many AI-powered software that generates original creative content that readers love to consume. Jarvis was taught by SEO experts, which means it can produce search engine-friendly posts.
  • Search engine optimization– Google relies on search engine algorithms to sort through billions of web pages to fetch the perfect copy for its readers. Previously reliant on keywords, Google can now better understand queries and deliver content based on the ‘search intent’ instead of only keywords.

Key Takeaway

Businesses that implement AI will have an advantage over the competition, will experience faster growth, and reduce staff costs at the same time. AI is the first step to analyzing the ever-increasing consumer data on the internet.

The need for programmatic advertising

Programmatic advertising
Flat isometric vector concept of programmatic advertising, social media campaign.

Programmatic advertising relies on AI to automate the ad buying process. Here is a simple explanation:

  • Step 1– User clicks on a webpage.
  • Step 2– Website publisher puts up ad impression for auction.
  • Step 3– The ad marketplace (Google ads) holds an auction among the advertisers competing for that impression.
  • Step 4– The winner gets to display their ad on the website.
  • Step 5– Ad reaches the prospective customers.

Manual ad campaigns cannot compete with such efficiency. They only consider 4 to 5 targets such as time of day, keywords, and location.

Programmatic advertising can utilize hundreds of targeting signals such as lifestyle, online browsing patterns, buying history, and much more. It can accurately reach a wider audience and is cost-effective.

Key Takeaway

Although manual advertising campaigns are still viable, given the upsides of programmatic advertising, it is only a matter of time before it takes over; the earlier you incorporate it into your digital marketing strategy the better.

Voice search optimization

google home voice search

The latest voice search research data indicates that 55% of teenagers use voice search daily. Such mass adoption only proves its popularity and how relevant it is going to be will happen very soon.

Google claims to have achieved 95% accuracy in Voice Search and most users agree. Combined with intent based search, the higher accuracy has skyrocketed the voice searching all over the globe.

According to future predictions, it is expected that people will conduct 50% of their online shopping using voice search by 2022, a staggering number indeed. In other words, that is a $40 billion industry that digital markets like yourself can take advantage of.

Key Takeaway

The rise of voice search is evident, making it essential for digital markets to optimize their websites for the upcoming future.

The rise of conversational marketing

ai chatbot conversational marketing

The demand for users attentions from social media to interactive gaming has had an impact on the attention spans for most users and because of that 82% of consumers expect an immediate response to their queries. As a result, brands are gradually adapting to this requirement, approaching consumers at their comfort and that’s where conversational marketing comes in.

The primary goal of the strategy is to improve the user experience via a feedback-driven funnel that encourages loyalty, sales, and higher engagement.

Some of the most used conversational marketing strategies include:

  • Personalized videos
  • Promotional emails and newsletters
  • Chatbots
  • Virtual selling assistants

Key Takeaway

Every brand is vying for attention and the best way to achieve it is by getting familiar and friendly with your consumers. Using Personalization to create these conversational marketing opportunities are expanding across digital marketing. This trend will continue to grow as more and more companies around the globe adopt this strategy.

5. Video Marketing

video marketing

According to a survey, Biteable video marketing is the most important marketing trend of today and will remain so in the upcoming 5-10 years.

Seventy-four percent of experts reported that videos offer a better return on investment compared to static imagery and enable them to build trust with potential customers.

Videos are not only engaging but can be repurposed and republished in several ways. For instance, you can,

  • Use video thumbnails in email marketing campaigns, which increases the email open rate by 19%.
  • Transcribe the video and publish it as a blog.
  • Extract the audio and use it in a podcast.
  • Upload the video on Facebook for much higher impression shares.

Key Takeaway

Nowadays, the first thing any digital marketing consultant does is to create a video creation funnel for their clients. The power of video in marketing is unparalleled as online consumers are drawn to visual media rather than written content.

More focus on social messaging apps

social messaging apps

A commissioned Facebook survey revealed that over 56% of global messaging app users stated that they have messaged brands for more information during every stage of their buyer journey. That is more than half the messaging population who prefer direct answers over user ratings and reviews.

This is yet another form of conversational marketing. Due to the availability of social messaging apps, consumers expect brands to have a direct line of communication. Messaging apps also help with:

  • Delivering timely information
  • Involving the customers in the buying process and keeping them in the loop
  • Regaining old customers by cultivating contact
  • Providing real-time support and assistance
  • Boosting sales

Key Takeaway

Social media apps are your direct hotline to the customers. Making it as effortless as possible will not only boost sales but increase foster loyalty as well.

Identifying changes (Covid special case) to stay ahead of the herd


The re-opening of businesses has given away new online search opportunities. A recent study by Adobe noted that 60% of companies witnessed new buying behavior in the previous year. According to McKinsey, the pandemic boosted the adoption of eCommerce by 10 years.

The searches for:

  • Local dining
  • Travel and hospitality
  • eCommerce
  • Transitioning to a digital workspace

Contactless mobile payments and robust digital selling platforms are some of the common areas that companies are focusing on to adapt to this new post-pandemic landscape.

Key Takeaway

Digital marketing is not only about embracing new sales tactics. It is about identifying the new ‘search’ trends before the competition for better visibility and exposure on the internet.

Increasing website visibility via images

image visibility website

Although customers will not be abandoning text search anytime soon, they are starting to prefer alternatives, such as visual search. Pinterest witnesses a 140% growth after launching Lens, a visual search tool that shows results based on pictures.

It is similar to Google Lens where you get results by taking pictures. Once you upload the image, the app suggests similar products, online stores where you can buy the item or view related pinboards.

As a digital marketer, you can create Pincodes which the users can scan to get to your Pinterest business account. It is both faster and easier.

Key Takeaway

Visual search is becoming popular by the day. Having Pincodes attached to your website or even posting images on Pinterest will increase your overall visibility within your industry.

Use social media stories to your advantage

social media stories

Stories were first introduced by Snapchat and not before long LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter followed suit. The mortal nature (disappear after 24 hours) of these ‘stories’ has made them the perfect tools for digital marketing.

Here is how you can leverage stories to connect with your target audience:

  • Take polls with Instagram stories to know what your audience wants and make them feel their opinions are valued.
  • Add links to newly published blogs/videos, promotional content, offers, trending news, and much more.
  • Add location tags if you are a physical destination such as a restaurant or a car dealership.
  • Do live videos as they feel more authentic and engaging.

Key Takeaway

Stories allow you to share genuine content and connect with your target customers on a more personal level.

Effectiveness of omnichannel marketing

omni channel marketing

The goal of omnichannel marketing is to approach customers across multiple platforms such as apps, social media, blog posts, and emails. The all-around approach offers a cohesive brand message which leads to higher conversions.

Companies that practice omnichannel marketing have experienced great results such as an 18.96% higher engagement rate, 250% higher purchase frequency, and up to 90% higher customer retention rates.

Key Takeaway

Thanks to technology, omnichannel marketing is now available to every store on the internet and leveraging it is the best way to grow your online presence.

Final thoughts

These trends should be your top concern in 2021 and beyond. Ensure that you keep these trends in mind when you create a digital marketing strategy for your organization. The same applies when you are hiring a digital marketing consultant.

The digital marketing landscape is always changing. You must keep track of all such new technologies to maintain the lead over the competition and hopefully, this article will help you to do so. Good luck!