The Top 50 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

The Top 50 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

Advertising market trends

1.Programmatic Advertising

What is programmatic advertising? It means advertisers automate ad buying to target more specific audiences. This type of automation results in faster and efficient bidding. Advertisers then, have to spend less time and effort planning the ad bidding and buying.

How does programmatic advertising work?

Step 1 – a user clicks on the webpage

Step 2 – the publisher puts the ad impression for auction

Step 3 – the ad marketplace holds an auction where advertisers bid for the impression

Step 4 – the advertiser with the highest bid wins the right to display their ads

2.Marketing Personalization

If something we learned from 2020 is that to succeed at marketing in 2021 you need to personalize your marketing activities, including content, emails and ads. Great examples of personalization are Netflix and Amazon, with their tailored content and products suggestions.

The more personalized the content, the higher the customer engagement and loyalty.  

3.Google Ads Smart Bidding

This system allows Google to manage advertisers’ PPC campaigns through Google’s AI system. The system then optimizes the advertiser’s budget to maximize their ROI. Advertisers can choose many criteria for their bid optimization, including device, physical location, remarketing list, ad characteristics, interface language or browser. Anti Ad-Blockers

Many websites have ad-blockers, preventing ads to be served to users. This causes serious revenue damage, which can range up to 40% loss from adblocking. Therefore, one of the trends we are seeing for 2021, is the popularization of anti-ad-blockers. 

Anti-ad blockers are useful software solutions that bypass ad blockers. Not all the solutions work for all the ad blockers. You can also opt to work with an ad network that serves ads that bypass ad-blockers. However, not all ad networks work with all the ad blockers. 

4.IoT Advertising

To be connected nowadays goes beyond, smartphones, laptops and tablets. There is a world of connected devices, from smart cars to smart houses. These type of connected devices are called the Internet of Things. 

Companies have tried to use the Internet of Things for advertising. For example, including ads in smart cars systems, or include sensors in spirits bottles. As more connected devices are developed, more opportunities for IoT advertisement will appear. 

Social media market trends

5.Influencer Marketing

What’s an influencer? An influencer is a person that, as a referent, can carry a brand message to their market. Influencers are not only celebrities, but Instagram or YouTube personas, that have their niche of followers. Their audience can go from a few thousand to millions. Influencer marketing has become more popular recently because of the following reasons:

  • It’s organic
  • It’s authentic
  • Connects with the customer

Many companies are leaving traditional advertising in favor of pairing with influencers that carry the word about their products or services. For example, GoodFoods, partnered with 60 influencers to produce content and recipes using GoodFoods products online.  

How do you find the right influencer for your company is another story. Luckily, there are AI solutions that allow companies to rank and score influencers by niche, followers and ROI potential. 

6.Social Messaging Apps

Messaging apps are not only for communicating with your friends. With more than one billion monthly users active on Facebook Messenger, companies are taking the opportunity to connect with their audience through messaging apps. 

global mobile messenger

Social messages give businesses the chance to send messages to customers directly, answer queries, and conduct direct sales. It works as a live chat for customers to reach you, then you can provide assistance, remind them of abandoned carts, send event invitations, and more. 

7.Stories on Social Media

Instagram and Facebook allow users to share stories, and since their appearance, they became really popular with users. Here are some statistics

  • 500 million people use Instagram Stories every day
  • More than half of Instagram users become interested in a brand after seeing it in an Instagram Story. 
  • Half of the users say that they are interested in purchasing a product because they saw it in an IS. 

8.From Social Media to Social Marketplace

Social media platforms have added eCommerce features in 2020. The goal is to provide users with a seamless journey from discovery to purchase. We can expect the trend to grow in 2021, with brands using social media platforms as a marketplace. The next section explains what tools they will likely be using. 

9.Social Commerce & Shoppable Posts

As mentioned above, social media platforms are investing in adding ecommerce features to social posts. For instance, Instagram shoppable posts: 

How do you do it? You can add tags to the products on your stories or posts, the tags will take your customer to a page where they can purchase the product.

10.Facebook May Have Reached its Peak

According to the recent 2020 Facebook performance update, there is reason to think that the network is entering plateau.

The network is showing less monthly and daily new users. Why there are less users is not clear, but the network is completing its second decade, and there are other competitors appearing. 

11.Focusing on the social media channels that work

With so many social media channels available, companies can feel overwhelmed to try to keep relevant on all of them. Therefore, reducing their social media channels to focus on what it really works for their audience is likely to be a necessity for 2021. 

12.The rise of UGC (user-generated content)

User-generated content will become a central part of marketer’s strategy in 2021. Advertisers are using AI to create ads that work with user-generated content. Brands like Lush cosmetics use Instagram hashtags to drive UGC to work for them.

instagram best

Another example that uses user generated content is Aerie. They usually #regram — taking a post from another user account and reposting on your own — as a social media strategy.

Source: Instagram

SEO market trends

13.Content Marketing Is Still King

Content is king, we are used to hearing. The reality is that search engines like Google, prioritize well-written content and useful links when ranking sites and presenting search results to users. 

In recent years, the changes in Google algorithm prioritized, even more, the relevance of content for SEO. The effects on marketers were fast to follow: 

88% of marketers are realizing that creating content that is useful to their audience presents their organization as a credible source.

Moreover, investing in content marketing can be a cost-effective way to attract customers to your site and engage them.  

“Content marketing has lower up-front costs & deeper long-term benefits than paid search, says @JuliaEMcCoy.

With search engines prioritizing well-written and useful content, it is safe to say that content marketing is a trend that will continue well into 2021. 

14.Branding focus

Consumers are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options they have every time they research something online. With this marketing landscape, having a distinct, unique, and recognizable brand is key for success. 

As most companies moved online last year, the problem of too many options is even worse. In 2021, you’ll see more companies focusing on branding strategies than on hard selling. One of the reasons branding is so critical now for survival is that search engines prioritize ranking brands over sites. More in the following section. 

15.EAT

E.A.T is one of the most important criteria Google uses to rank brands and sites. It stands for: 

  • Expertise: your pages need to have quality content written by an expert in the subject.
  • Authority: you need to build your brand’s authority on the subject.
  • Trustworthiness: your site needs to connect with other authorities on the subject. 

These criteria measure the quality of a web page. It works because all websites need to have it if they want to get ranked in a search engine. The higher they measure in these three criteria, the higher the rank. E.A.T measures how a page fulfills the purpose of helping users. As Google says in their terms:

“Websites and pages should be created to help users” 

16.A/B Testing for SEO

A/B testing is used across industries, not only in marketing. But it is safe to say that currently, much of modern marketing is about testing and analytics. Long gone are the days of measuring a campaign’s success by trial and error. 

By applying A/B testing to SEO, you actually test the content beforehand. Then, you can identify which version of the site is generating more results. 

What can you use A/B testing for? 

You can use A/B testing to experiment with:

  • Meta titles and descriptions
  • URL structures
  • Headlines
  • Calls to action
  • Sales pages
  • Product descriptions

17.Interactive Content

Interactive content is one of the trends that grew faster last year. With our lives moving online, consumers wanted to replace as much as possible personal interaction with the brands. Examples of interactive content include:

  • Quizzes and polls
  • Augmented reality solutions
  • VR ads

The key is engaging the user and offer an immersive experience. Online retailers, for example, let you know what is your exact size with online calculators. Beauty brands use AR to let you try hair color with a virtual assistant to check how a specific hair color will look on you. The possibilities are endless to make the experience more memorable for the user. 

18.The Rise of the Featured Snippet

What is “position zero”? The term refers to the topmost position in SERP results. This position is usually occupied by the featured snippet.  

What is a featured snippet?

This is the useful summary of information Google presents first on the page to answer your query.

 Why is it important? Well, this coveted space answers a user query without the need to click a link. If you get to rank in this space, you found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Moreover, featured snippets are used to answer voice searches. Since a third of Internet searches are done using voice search, you can get your content to answer the question. 

19.SEO Is Not Dead – It Uses Structured Data

The term structured data refers to any data organized so search engines can crawl and categorize it. Structured data can give your site’s SEO a boost, since your content will be more useful and easily to categorize. Structured data can get you in the coveted position zero, as a featured snippet or a Knowledge Graph Box.

Structured data generates “rich snippet results”, the snippets with images, pricing and statistics:

tiktok-pasta-hack

Rich snippets are great for driving traffic and clicks, especially with mobile users. 

20.Cumulative Layout Shift

This metric measures how visually stable your page is. To put it simple, the CLS score helps you understand how likely your page is giving an unpleasant visual experience to users. 

According to Google, a good score for mobile and desktop pages is less than 0.1. A score greater than 0.25 is considered not good.

What can cause CLS?

  • Many different fonts in the page
  • Ads that shift the content

Why is it important? Unsurprisingly, a high CLS causes conversion rates to drop and bounce rates to rise. After all, few users will stay and purchase on a site that gives a rugged experience. That’s why we are likely to see more sites analyzing their CLS in 2021. 

21.Pillar Content

Unlike what you may think, in 2021, the usual under 1000 posts won’t get you anywhere. According to experts like Neil Patel, posts that are around 3000 words long attract the most traffic and engage more readers. The length offers readers the opportunity to explore subjects in-depth. A content creator that produces long-form content regularly can establish itself as an authority on a subject. 

A study found that long-form content helps more with SEO, as gets three times more backlinks than short articles. Want more proof? When you search a query on Google, chances are that the top 10 results are longer articles. Some benefits of pillar content include:

  • Longer time-on-site
  • Reduced bounce rate
  • More backlinks and social media shares
  • Higher Google ranking

22.Image and video SEO for visual searches

This was a game-changer. Instead of trying to describe what you want to search, you can upload an image and get more specific results. 

tiktok-pasta-hack

You just upload the image of what you want to look and Google offers similar images: 

tiktok-pasta-hack

Visual search is so convenient and useful that many companies jumped into the trend. One example is Pinterest Lens, a visual search tool that lets you take a picture of an item to search for similar products, view pin boards about it or find out where to buy it online.

tiktok-pasta-hack

Source: Pinterest Newsroom 

The success of this tool shows how much visual search is engaging users. Since the beta version, Lens recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion items and it drove Pinterest searches to skyrocket. 

But not only Pinterest is taking advantage of this, Google and Bing also launched similar visual search engines. 

23.Semantic Keyword Research

All content writers have heard it: Write for people, not for Google. A blurb of 4000 words won’t get the results you want if it is not matched to user intent. When Google analyzes your content to check if it matches a specific query, it doesn’t take only into account lone keywords. 

The engine makes a semantic analysis to discover what exactly wanted the user to achieve with this question. When you write with the user intent in mind, these semantic keywords give Google a better idea of what your content is about and how it can help users. 

24.More Investment in Analytics

As we explained before, today’s marketing is all about metrics. Therefore, more companies are investing in better analytic tools that go beyond the basics of Google Analytics. Better analytics result in better business intelligence and support decision-making. 

25.Increased Security

As more people conduct activities online, the need for more security to protect the websites is greater. A secure website makes a user feel safe to hang around. 

Data breaches happen to everyone, small and large websites and platforms. Therefore, most consumers think that how you manage their sensitive data can be a deal breaker when consuming your content, products or services. In 2021, increasing web security is not an option. 

26.Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

You have responsive sites that work on mobile as well as on desktop and you have mobile apps. Now, this new trend, Progressive Web Apps, is basically websites that work like mobile apps. For web developers, this can be a one-in-all solution to have a website and an app all in one. 

As the number of mobile users increase, more companies will leverage this type of web app.

other engines have appeared with the intention to provide users with more privacy. One such example is Privado.com. This engine focused on private searching, gives the users the possibility of searching without being tracked. The engine doesn’t store personal information, nor uses cookies or any means of tracking. The goal is to provide the user with an absolutely private search experience.

Automation & AI

28.Artificial Intelligence

Back in 2017, Gartner predicted that AI would be in almost every software product by 2020. And they were right. The artificial intelligence market is expected to reach $190 billion by 2025.

which-processes-rely-heavily-on-ai

AI can collect and analyze data from social media and customer interactions to evaluate customer’s behavior. AI searches patterns, allowing you to understand your audience preference.  

29.Chatbots and Conversational Technology

Last year, conversational technology exploded as a contactless way for consumers to connect with companies. According to Gartner peer insights, the conversational platforms that are driving trends include:

  • strong Natural Language Processing capabilities, 
  • supports voice and text input 
  • Use personalization for natural conversation
  • Allow media and document sharing
  • Provide dialogue management
  • Multiple chatbot orchestration
  • Data maintenance

Why chatbots?

  • 24 hrs service
  • Provide an instant response to customer queries
  • Allows to triage and solve simple issues. 

For example, Olive, the assistant of Woolworths, Australia’s supermarket chain, lets you order and upgrade your mobile SIM card. 

olive-mobile

Source: Woolworths

Brands, like Sephora, are leveraging on chatbots to provide help and product recommendations to potential customers.

30. Big Data and Deep Learning

Big Data and deep learning will continue to grow in 2021, according to a report. More importantly, more companies will use big data analysis to improve their business efficiency and drive innovation.

One downside is that while more companies are using big data, the requirements of protecting the management of consumer data increase. More regulations like the CCPA and GDPR entering effect. 

31.Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies

Companies like Facebook are diving deep into the use of augmented reality to enhance the customer experience. Facebook Oculus gives users the opportunity to play without pushing buttons, transforming the gaming experience into an immersive virtual reality one.

break-free
Marketers can take advantage of this technology to provide immersive experiences for their customers. Some brands, like IKEA, Tom’s shoes, Patron Spirits, and even Marriott International, are already giving customers a VR experience.
Source: IKEA Place 

Other ways you can use VR to provide meaningful experiences to your audience:

  • Augmented Reality ads – for gaming and consumer products
  • 360-degree videos – for real estate, tourism. 

32.`Predictive & Augmented Analytics

Predictive analytics consists of the combination of data mining, predictive modeling, and machine learning to identify patterns and come with forecasts. More digital marketing companies are using predictive analytic tools to predict consumer behavior and identify trends. 

Gartner defined augmented analytics in 2017, claiming it to be the future of data analytics

Augmented analytics is the use of enabling technologies such as machine learning and AI to assist with data preparation, insight generation, and insight explanation to augment how people explore and analyze data in analytics and BI platforms. It also augments the expert and citizen data scientists by automating many aspects of data science, machine learning, and AI model development, management, and deployment.”(Gartner)

Putting it simply, augmented analytics use machine learning to deepen the understanding of the data and take even larger datasets. 

Other Important marketing trends to be aware

33.Live streams (TikTok anyone?)

Streaming is every day more popular, and the explosive growth of TikTok confirms it. With Instagram adding Reels with in-video shopping capabilities and Tik Tok on the way to do the same, it won’t be longer before live streaming in social media turns into a real-time marketplace. 

34.Companies pivots may stay that way

2020 changed the digital landscape for good. It is unlikely we will come back to pre-2020 conditions. Consumers are enjoying the convenience of online commerce. Hence, companies that pivoted to adapt last year, may find now their customers expect them to continue on the same line. 

35.Purpose-driven campaigns

Last year marketing campaigns were tinted with a purpose: helping customers overcoming the pandemic as much as possible. Purpose-given campaigns will be still relevant in 2021. These campaigns promote social activist themes, for example, the campaigns about Black Lives Matter. The issues resonate with customers and increase engagement with relevant audiences. These campaigns are effective because customers identify with the same social issues the brand cares about. 

36.Voice search

Smart speakers and voice assistants are no longer a trendy item to purchase. Statistics predict over half of American homes will own a smart speaker (Google Home, Alexa, and others) by 2022. People use the voice assistants not only for routine activities but for voice shopping. The voice shopping market is expected to reach $40 billion in 2022. 

37.Virtual events are here to stay

In 2020, companies and individuals shifted to virtual events out of necessity due to the pandemic. Chances are that in 2021 many events will continue to be virtual because of the benefits it brings to companies. Virtual events can reach a wider audience and allow for higher attendance. So in 2021 we will continue seeing more virtual events. 

38.Monetization marketing

 If 2020 saw a growth in online activity, it also gave a lot of opportunities for companies to make money from their digital properties. Display ads, search monetization, and in-app advertising are some of the monetization trends we may see growing in 2021. 

39.Growth of Geo-Fencing

Geofencing is a marketing approach where you put a geographic limit around a point of interest. If a user’s mobile enters the area, the geofence triggers an alert and delivers relevant ads. Here are some of the benefits of geofencing:

  • Mobile ads with geofencing have double the click-through-rate
  • It is compatible with most of the smartphones. 
  • 53% of consumers visited a retailer after receiving a message that is location-based

40.Conversational Marketing

Conversational marketing is the use of conversational technology for marketing purposes. For example using chatbots as “sales assistants”, or SMS marketing to communicate with customers. Several big names are using this technology: Domino’s, Sephora, 1-800-Flowers.

flowers-mobile

41.Video Marketing

This is one of the most important marketing trends today. Here are some statistics that show why you should incorporate video marketing to your strategy:

  • 86% of companies are using video as part of their marketing strategy. 
  • 93% of these marketers say that video is an important part of their marketing strategy, from a 91% in 2019. 
  • The videos with most success are explainer videos (73%), followed by social media videos (67%).. 

42.Personalized Email

Email personalization uses personal information from subscribers to produce tailored emails. It allows you to send highly targeted email marketing campaigns. Why should you use email marketing personalization

  • 82% of marketers report an increase in email open rates because of email personalization. 
  • Personalized promotional mailings have 29% more open rates than non-personalized. 

43.Browser Push Notifications

With the boom in online commerce, push notifications rose, with most online stores using some type of push notification. They tend to be more effective than a newsletter. You can send abandoned cart reminders, product suggestions, and more. Because of that, we’ll probably see more companies using personalized push notifications in 2021. 

44.Omnichannel Marketing

You probably heard about omnichannel marketing in 2020. Is an approach of marketing that uses multiple platforms (for instance, social media, blog, email marketing) to connect with leads. It gives the benefits of providing a cohesive brand message across channels. Omnichannel marketing tends to show higher engagement rates and conversions than using a single channel. Simply put, you broaden the number of touchpoints. 

4 5.Neuromarketing

Neuromarketing is not new. Back in 1999, Harvard scientists conducted the first MRI research as a marketing tool, starting the neuromarketing field. This is a research field that analyzes people’s brain activity through head scans to find out the type of content they like. The first studies were conducted for retail marketing. One of the results of neuromarketing is the eye-maps, which measure the interest of a viewer on a website according to where they look on the page. Companies use this information to optimize their content and strategies. 

46.Blockchain Technology

A blockchain is a connected series of data records. The records are stored in immutable blocks, secured and connected to each other via cryptography in a neutral computer. 

According to Investopedia, “the blockchain is copied and spread across a network of computers, not storing any of its information in a central location”.

Although usually associated with finances and supply chain transactions, it is starting to get implemented in digital marketing. Since Blockchain eliminates the intermediary, we may see digital marketing companies using blockchain to track media buys, verify online identities or protect personal data. 

47.5G Technology

This trend, the fifth generation of mobile technology, will bring many changes to digital communications. Telecom companies aim to achieve a fully mobile connected society, bringing high-speed data transmission to far-reaching areas. Yet, it is more than that, it will give way to more integrated technology. 

48.Privacy Marketing

Privacy protection is not only a way of protecting data. These days, with data breaches happening every now and then, consumers need to know they can trust companies will keep their data safe. Thus, marketing teams need to focus on gaining the trust of their audience. One of the ways is protecting the privacy of users by not saving personal data in records. This ensures that in case of a breach, an attacker won’t have sensitive data to steal. 

49.Gamification

Keeping your customers engaged can be a challenge. Companies like Starbucks use gamification techniques to connect with their customers. The app uses purchase history and location data to personalize the customer experience and encourage the use of their loyalty program. The app increased their revenue to over $2 billion.

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Digital Marketing Landscape 

Here are the key statistics you need to know to understand where the digital marketing landscape is heading for 2021.

  • Spending on digital marketing decreased in 2020.

2.Spending Is Recovering 

Source: eMarketer

Digital spending is recovering, and it is expected to reach $389 billion in 2024, from $332 billion in 2020. The increase is driven by the market bouncing back and trying to tap into the customer’s increasing online activity. The trend doesn’t stop there, with an expected growth of  $525.17 billion by 2024. 

  • LinkedIn ads spending grew 40% during 2019-2020

LinkedIn ad spending reached $1 billion in the US, establishing the network as a solid advertising channel for B2B marketers (eMarketer).

  • Personalization is going strong

Source: eMarketer

Most marketers would focus their personalization efforts on improving the customer experience through service and product recommendations. 

From the consumer’s side: 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company that offers personalized experiences. (Instapage) 

Digital Marketing Basics

If you want to succeed in digital marketing, there are a few basic pillars that you need to master: digital presence, branding, and relationships. These three core concepts can help simplify what may be a multifaceted field. 

Digital Presence

This is the key to any digital marketing you may start. These days, a digital presence is equal to having a presence at all. It is not enough to have a website or a social media page. You need a clear strategy that drives how and where you should build your presence.

Unsurprisingly, it all starts with your audience. Here are a couple of questions that can give you direction when building your digital presence:

Where does your audience spend their online time? 

The golden rule of marketing is to know your customer. So, if you want to reach your audience, first find out where they spend their online time. What type of content do they consume? What social networks do they spend time on? What search terms do they use? This will help you define which channels are the most effective to build your presence.  

What’s the purpose you want to achieve with your marketing strategy?

Ask yourself what you want to achieve with your online presence. Do you want to raise brand awareness? Here, your strategy shouldn’t focus on the hard-sell. If your goal is to increase conversions, then landing pages can help you close the deal with clear direction and calls-to-action. 

Branding

Your brand encapsulates what your company stands for. It includes everything, from your company name, color scheme, mission statement, slogan, logo, and more. 

To stand out on a sea of brands, your brand needs to showcase what it makes it unique. Keeping strong brand awareness is one of the most critical ways to differentiate yourself from the competition. Yet, it is not enough to stand out in the marketplace, but you need to stand out online too. So, refine your online branding strategy in a way that search engines recognize your brand instead of your site. In fact, the Google algorithm considers a strong brand one characteristic of a “good quality site” 

Relationships

Your digital marketing strategy should not be limited to trying to appear on Google’s first page. Social networks, blogs, forums, social apps, and other similar platforms can help you build a relationship with customers online. 

When we talk about marketing, relationships will always be the foundation of good business. Building an online presence will get you noticed, but creating a relationship with your audience will get you conversions. 

To form effective relationships with customers, you need to be personable and personal. Using social media and good content, you can connect with your audience and let them know your brand message.   

 5 Challenges for Digital Marketing in 2021

  • Less spending in marketing 

Marketing budgets took a hit in spending in 2020. While marketing companies are recovering, the spending is not yet at the levels we expected before 2020. Although the e-commerce ratio increased dramatically, companies have yet to catch up with the new needs in digital marketing. 

  • Driving engagement across multiple channels

In 2021 it will become even more relevant to connect with customers where they are. Creating engagement will become more challenging, via adopting mobile messaging channels, and leverage personalized and dynamic content to improve the customer experience and customer loyalty. 

  • Mobile-first strategy

More people are browsing and shopping from their smartphones than ever. A mobile-first approach allows your customers to consume your products/services on the go, anytime and from anywhere. So, when creating your marketing strategy for 2021, think about a mobile-first approach. 

  • Establishing Omnichannel Marketing

Customers are active on multiple devices and platforms. Marketers need to combine online and social media strategies. This aims to make it easier for your audience to reach you wherever they are. Omnichannel marketing allows you to focus on the platform where your audience is most active. The key is to provide your customers a smooth customer experience when they change from a channel to another. 

  • Complying with Privacy and Data Sharing Regulations

Marketers will need to adapt quickly to evolving privacy and data sharing regulations. Since many of the regulations target across frontiers, marketers need to take that into account. The phasing of third-party cookies compounds the challenge for marketers to understand a customer’s purchase intent. 

The future of Digital Marketing – top 3 predictions

After analyzing the major trends for 2021, we explored the top predictions for 2021: 

  • From digital marketing activities to experiential events

When the pandemic hit, customers pivoted to use new technologies and performing activities online. But in 2021, many people are already exhausted from living their lives online most of the time. Keeping customers engaged will depend on how rich is the customer experience they provide. Marketers should evaluate their digital experience and refine engage customers without producing “digital fatigue”. 

  • Customer experience integrates with other functions

In the report, Gartner predicts that by 2023, a quarter of organizations will see marketing integrated with sales and CX into a single function. The goal is for customer-focused functions to work together with synergy. 

  • Content curation and moderation become more important

By 2024, Gartner predicts a third of organizations will consider moderating user-generated content a priority. Using software and tools that allow companies to monitor, moderate and manage user-generated content to prevent impact on their brands. 

The bottom line

Hopefully, these trends we have aggregated and shared at CodeFuel will help guide your marketing strategy for 2021. Partnering with an expert in monetization can maximize your marketing efforts, and increasing the ROI of your strategy. Start monetizing today with CodeFuel

How to Become a Social Marketing Leader

Anyone who’s ever sent out a tweet or posted on Facebook thinks that they are a social media expert.

The medium is deceptively simple. Once people know how to interact on social media, they think they know all there is to know.

The reality is that social media is much more complex than it seems and mastering it takes time and skill. Whether you want to work as a social media consultant or you want to master social media for your own brand, you need to have knowledge of how business works, how digital marketing works, and how the two come together in order to be a true social marketing leader.

Understand Business

How can you create a great social media plan if you don’t understand business?

Do you know what a sales funnel is? Do you know what a lead is or why it’s important? Do you understand how customer relation management affects both?

These are just some basic concepts that you should know well before you can start creating a social media marketing plan.

The best way to understand business is to get experience with business. If you haven’t worked much in the corporate world, you might want to consider working for a few years in some key positions. Pay attention and ask as many questions as you can.

Understand Marketing

Marketing is about much more than just advertising.

You can’t just create some flyers or pay for some ads and expect to get the results you need. Just like you can’t just post a few status updates or send out a few retweets and expect to get more followers on social media.

You need to have a good understanding of marketing beyond just social media if you want to be successful.

You need to understand how marketing can create brand awareness, build trust and authority, generate leads and sales, nurture customer loyalty and more. And then you need to understand how different strategies can influence those different goals.

Of course, that means you’ll also need to know about what all the different strategies are. What’s important in web design? How does email marketing work alongside social media marketing? When would you need to convene a focus group?

Some of this knowledge is earned through trial and error, but again, experience is key. Work on your own projects before you try to get paid to work for someone else. Read as much as you can online. Take courses. Study examples.

Do as much as you can and stay current. Digital marketing is a rapidly evolving field.

Understanding the Convergence of Business and Marketing

The most important way that you need to understand how business and marketing converge is in meeting business goals.

The first question you should be asking when you are tasked with creating a social media marketing campaign is what the business’ goals are – not only for the business in general but also for the social media campaign in particular.

For example, if the goal is to create more leads, how will that influence what you post on Twitter? Or what kind of content you share on Facebook?

Do you know what needs to be in place on the business web site to handle the traffic that comes in from social media? Do you know how the sales team needs to be prepped in order to nurture those leads?

You need to understand how the two worlds come together in order to meet your goals. This will help you to coach the business or make the appropriate changes in order to be successful.

For example, if you are hired to increase sales for the company but there is no conversion funnel in place, you are guaranteed to fail. Knowing this means that you can identify the problem before you even get started and you can help the company to put the proper measures in place for success.

It is important that you recognize that social media is just one part of a much larger marketing plan. You need to build an integrated strategy that includes that larger plan and the larger business goals.

Of course, you won’t be able to influence every aspect of the marketing plan or the business, but you need to be able to understand how your work fits into the larger whole. Otherwise, you will be working in a vacuum, and your success or failure will be the result of chance and not your skill.

Not just anyone can build a successful social media campaign, and if you want to be a social marketing leader, you need to understand how to create an integrated strategy that reflects the business structure and its goals. When you can do that, you’ll be able to build a tailored strategy that will not only help the business to be successful, but will also ensure your own success.

Digital News Highlights from the 2016 Olympics

The Olympics are a major event that sparks all kinds of news coverage and marketing. Not only do the games give us a chance to see the best athletes in the world compete, but they also give us the chance to see the best marketers in the world show off their skill.

Online marketing has generated some pretty interesting case studies from which we can learn. You may not need to market on an Olympic scale, but you can learn from these strategies to improve your own.

Here are some of the digital news highlights from the 2016 Olympics:

Texts from the Times

The New York Times has managed to remain in the game even after print publications around the country have closed or shrunk to minimal proportions. One way that it has been able to do that is by establishing a vibrant online presence and exploring digital marketing techniques.

For the 2016 Olympics, the Times experimented with sending SMS texts to readers during the games. For readers, it was like getting an update from a friend sitting at the games.

Included with the text messages were pictures, gifs, emojis and text speak that people use when chatting with each other. The campaign allowed people to get real-time updates from the games while also making readers feel more connected with the Times brand.

Post Writing Bots

Writing bots are the wave of the future that make some businesses giddy and some writers absolutely petrified.

Esteemed newspaper institution The Washington Post decided to start using these writing bots for some of its 2016 Olympics coverage. It was quick to point out that it does not plan to replace writers with the bots, but it decided to use the bots to free up reporters to do more in-depth, high-quality coverage of bigger stories.

The bot, known as Heliograf, was developed by the Post’s engineering team, and it uses templates to create news briefs about event schedules, competition results, medal tallies and similar stories. Therefore, the bots won’t necessarily be writing news articles, but more essentially compiling data for brief updates.

If marketers could do something similar for their smaller, ongoing items like news updates and schedules, they could free up time to focus on more quality content marketing for other topics.

Of course, we don’t all have the budget of The Washington Post, so it’s unlikely that many marketers will be using bots until someone makes them available for the larger marketplace.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are similar in theory to text messages, but they are less personal. They are also easier to manage.

The Guardian has been experimenting with sending push notifications during the 2016 Olympic Games to update readers about stories on winning medalists, hot news, fun reader polls, and more.

Rather than a conversation with readers, these push notifications were more like gentle reminders to come join the conversation. Some readers might prefer these the way you might prefer to be asked to join a call rather than to automatically be included in a group text that constantly sends you notifications even though you are not responding.

More testing would be needed to know if text messages or push notifications were the right strategy for your brand, and that would require a lot of capital. You can also watch for the results of The Guardian and the Times campaigns to see how readers responded to each.

Interactive Podcast

Podcasts are not given a lot of attention in marketing discussions, but they remain a viable way to connect with audiences.

The Guardian also experimented with using a podcast during the 2016 Olympics, but it added a new element: Interactivity. Specifically, it asked readers to do certain things during its podcast, such as to run or walk a total of 26.2 miles over the course of the games. Listeners could then report on their experiences on social media or blogs.

This interactive element could enliven a medium that has always been passive, helping more listeners to feel engaged.

Armchair Olympian

A lot of us think about how we would perform if we were at the Games — even if we aren’t athletes and have never trained for anything a day in our lives.

The Wall Street Journal tapped into this fantasy with its Armchair Olympian feature, which allowed readers to compare themselves to athletes competing in the games. Readers played a game to get their time and then were ranked next to the athletes.

Readers may not have had to work up a sweat, but they could still feel more engaged in the coverage of the games while also having fun.

You should think of ways that you can help your readers have fun with a similar interactive element for your niche. It doesn’t have to directly support your end goal — just make users feel more engaged so that your nurture customer relationships.

The Olympics are a master class in both competition and marketing. You may not be at the Olympic level yet, but you can learn from these masters.

How to Create Successful Posts that Drive Traffic

Viral traffic is the goal of every online marketer, no matter the niche.

With viral traffic, you are getting fantastic exposure for your brand, you’re making new connections, and you are increasing your sales as a result.

The problem is how to create that viral traffic. If anyone could do it, everyone would.

To start, you need to create great content. Without the content, no one has a real reason to visit your site until they are absolutely ready to buy.

There’s no magic formula for viral content, but here are a few tips for how to create successful posts that drive traffic:

Tell Stories

The most effective way to engage users is to tell stories.

It doesn’t matter what kind of products or services you sell. You can create a story around them.

For example, if you are in a relatively dense or dull niche like asphalt paving or risk management, you can still tell stories. Write a post about how you discovered a special blend of concrete that helped you solve a problem and save money, such as a cold-winter mix that no longer cracks and crumbles. For risk management, tell a story about how a homeowner or business owner improperly calculated a risk and paid the price.

Telling stories brings issues to life for readers, and it makes them feel more emotionally connected to what you have to say. Find ways to tell stories about your product or service, and you’ll not only get more readers, but also more shares and engagement on your posts.

Be Playful

Straightforward, informative content is dry and dull.

No matter what your niche, you need to find ways to be playful in your writing or presentation of the information. Otherwise, you will lose readers fast.

You need to inject your content with personality! Be funny. Use puns or other plays on words. Make funny asides. Refer to pop culture.

The lighter and more playful your content can be, the more engaging it will be. Just make sure you don’t tip the scales too far in the other direction and make readers doubt your sincerity or authority.

Share Strong Opinions

You need only look at the meteoric rise of Donald Trump to see how effective sharing strong opinions can be.

People just don’t react as well to a nuanced discussion that explores all the finer points of an issue. There are resources for those kinds of discussions, and they are usually on academic sites.

Instead, people want to hear your opinions in unequivocal terms. You may lose some readers who disagree strongly with you, but you’ll gain the fierce loyalty of those who agree.

You can be almost hyperbolic when sharing your opinions. Don’t just say that you think homeowners should aerate their lawns for the best results — say that it’s the most important thing they can do for lawn health or that they are putting their homes in jeopardy if they don’t.

Just make sure that you don’t make any claims that could land you in legal trouble or undermine your authority.

Be Inspirational

People love to be lifted up, and if you can inspire them, you will cause them to engage with your content and share it with others.

Mine your own business history for inspiration where you can find it, such as customers who got huge results with your product or employees who achieved something extraordinary as a result of hard work or innovation.

If you fall short, just look online and you’ll never run out of ideas. Search your niche for stories about regular people doing extraordinary thing and find a way to relate that back to what you are offering.

Share Personal Stories

Business copy is business like, and most people don’t respond to it.

They want to know who you are behind the content — and not just your brand persona. They want to know about the people who are creating the content.

Some of the best brands are successful because they share personal stories. Penelope Trunk is a career coach and entrepreneur who writes about topics like SEO and passive income, but she always finds a way to couch those lessons in personal stories about her life. For example, she talks about her obsessive behaviors when flying first class in order to explain the types of traits you have to have to be a successful entrepreneur.

How can you share personal stories to bring the information you want to share to life? The more vulnerable you are, the more engaging your content will be. You just need to weigh how what you are revealing will impact your brand persona and your business goals.

Viral content is engaging by being funny, personal, or inspirational. There are other ways to engage customers, such as by positioning your content on the right channels and in the right formats, but writing good content is the best place to start.