Change is a basic fact of life! It not just holds true for personal life but happens in businesses too. The last 12 months or so brought way many changes to the workplace altering how businesses function. Owing to the economic and social impact of Covid-19, businesses have been forced to adopt and embrace the change and accelerate their digital strategies to stay ahead in the online marketplace. Among all these broader changes, digital marketing trends of this year are worth taking a note. While most of them have been there in the past too, the strategies need to be carefully reinvented to meet the needs and wants of the new consumer. So let us take a look at what tomorrow holds for the digital marketing professionals. Below are the top 9 digital marketing trends to follow in 2021.


1. Interactive content


When it comes to the world of digital marketing, the number one priority of most brands is engagement and virality. And thus they strive to create content which can strike a conversation, tap into the customer’s heart and mind and drive customer engagement. Interactive content is now being recognized as one of the best practices to increase engagement in 2021 considering people get easily attracted to such content. Interactive content forms such as quizzes, games, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, giveaways, polls, etc can do wonders for your brand along with educating prospect customers. It would not just promote more engagement, but facilitate inclusion hence improving the user’s enjoyment.

Interactive content ensures two way communication and thus removes the barriers that arise due to the absence of physical contact. In the longer run, it can help you gain standing in algorithm-based searches and feeds. Also, brands can use interactive content to collect data on user preferences and use it as the fuel to succeed in 2021.


2. Local SEO


With  900% growth in mobile searches with the qualifier “near me”, Local SEO will be one of the most powerful strategies for small businesses in 2021. A successful local SEO campaign can help businesses increase local visibility, traffic and website’s rankings in the local search results. Optimizing your website on local search results is greatly helpful for businesses who want to focus on a certain location with specific needs. In a way, local SEO is even more powerful than broad SEO—because it allows your site to be seen by nearby and local customers who are searching for a specific type of business within their geographic location. In general, they have more intent to purchase. If they are unaware that you exist then it’s a potential loss to your business. 

People are looking for more convenience and avoid searching for their products at far off places after the pandemic. Local SEO can help customers in your area to find you. Google frequently updates their local SEO algorithms and ranking factors to deliver the most relevant web pages first. So if you’re a local business, you should continuously update your business’ appearance in local results too.


3. Chatbots


Bot-powered commerce will continue to flourish and grow in 2021. This AI-based technology automates tasks for businesses and allows businesses to send chat in real-time, day or night. 

Enabling instant messaging and customer real time support, chatbots have revolutionized the way businesses interact with their customers. They allow businesses to render personalized experiences to their customers thereby increasing customer satisfaction. 

Today millennial customers prefer interacting with chatbots as they are responsive 24/7, provide answers promptly and accurately and remember your entire buying history. Above all, they help customers find what they are looking for and never lose patience. Powered by artificial intelligence, these virtual assistants offer outstanding customer services by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks which allows businesses to focus on their core business operations. 

If you are wondering what chatbots can do for you in 2021. Well, here is the answer. As a result of the pandemic, impeccable customer services have become extremely important to gain the trust of the customers. And thus chatbots will be programmed to match human behavior, offer satisfactory services, and improve customer experiences. So you must start leveraging the advances in AI and chatbots to make your business easier to interact with and increase sales.


4. Artificial intelligence


Artificial intelligence, or AI, is already transforming the face of digital marketing and it is known to all. However, in 2021, a large number of brands and businesses are moving to AI for greatly optimizing and speeding up digital marketing tasks and improving and enhancing ROI. 

AI offers marketers the power to collect data on user behaviour, campaign performance and analysis. Businesses can analyze this data to optimize their business functions and marketing campaigns. This also implies that using artificial intelligence in digital marketing can actually grant you the capacity to predict the future! The reason is simple and obvious! With a large amount of relevant data in hand, businesses can do a slice and dice analysis and use the results to improve customer experiences and drive more conversions. 

As AI helps in gathering and analyzing social, historical and behavioral data it has grown to be an essential tool for brands who want to provide exceptional and personalized customer experiences. Using state-of-the-art AI algorithms, brands can gain a much more accurate understanding of their customers and make smarter decisions. Today E-commerce leaders are leveraging the power of impressive AI tools to show users the most relevant products based on their previous behavior, such as searches, purchases and views. 

Thanks to AI, brands can discover what is better for their customers and make product recommendations. Besides this, it can help create highly relevant content, and improve the customer journey helping businesses achieve their goals. Going further, using AI in advertising can improve ad placement and help businesses identify the most effective platforms to convey the message. So what are you waiting for? Leverage AI solutions to get the message across and attract the most returns from your digital marketing efforts. 


5. Video marketing


We live in a society which is constantly engrossed in watching videos on smartphones. And thus there is not an iota of doubt that video marketing is a powerful means of communication to catch the attention. Bringing together movement and noise, it is an effective tool to convey the brand message and engage viewers. 

Videos have been proven to increase emotional engagement, and retention of information. As a matter of fact, our brains retain visual content better than text and this is why videos are remembered by the users. Also, when you present information through a video, it increases the possibility of shares, which can help businesses increase traffic and brand engagement in a short amount of time. This video is an absolutely essential tool and dynamic format preferred by digital marketers. 

Creating a high resolution business video can benefit your business in more than one way. It is not just more relatable for everyone but delivers the message effectively and creates an impact in the hearts and the minds of the users. So get ready to create high quality engaging videos in 2021 and post them often on social media channels to connect to your audience in an impactful way and build relationships with them. 

Covid pandemic has further contributed to the rise of the number of videos being watched per day on desktops and smartphones. So businesses should not ignore video content in their digital marketing mix at any cost.  


6. Voice Search


Voice-only search allows customers to search for your products through their speech. It eliminates the need to type queries on desktops and mobile devices and helps the customers complete the search and browsing tasks in real time, using their voice. Voice search is gaining a prominent place in the topmost digital marketing trends and you may expect increased adoption by brands in the future. According to a report, Voice search has witnessed a 270% increase in India. So it’s a good idea for businesses to be on their toes with voice search components in 2021. Because their consumers are adapting and shifting to voice with each passing day. 

Voice search drastically improves user experience and is being used by your prospects worldwide for convenience and faster results. So your content must be specifically optimized for voice for better results. It needs to be more direct and conversational so that it will accurately sync with search queries. All this can greatly impact seo rankings and will help boost traffic by helping you stay relevant and more visible to consumers. 

Further, it is estimated that half of all online searches will be made through voice search. So if you have not yet explored the Power of Voice Search, then get ready to place a higher emphasis on voice search optimization so that modern and tech savvy users can find your website for their search query. Voice search seo and traditional seo should go hand in hand for the maximum possible optimization and online visibility.


7. Customer Segmentation


Another trend that’s not new but gaining popularity is customer segmentation. No matter what type of business you have, each one of your customers is unique. Blasting them with generic messaging can lead to app uninstalls and unfollows. So here’s what the new rule says! Instead of running a small number of large marketing campaigns targeting general audiences, divide your audience into different groups based on various criteria, such as demographics and media use and rather invest in a large number of large marketing campaigns targeting specific audiences. Such kind of audience segmentation is a more targeted marketing strategy and a better way of advertising to the customers. 

We are currently living in a digital age where consumers are more empowered than ever. They have access to a large variety of online platforms and what not and it goes without saying they know exactly what they want and hence they are making faster purchasing decisions than before. So, pushy advertising and misleading advertisements cannot solve the problem. To catch the prospect customers in the process of the buying decision, marketers will need to reinvent themselves to systematically understand the way their audience thinks and behaves. Audience segmentation can just help do that. 

Segmenting your buyers would also enable you to accurately tailor your content to suit the preferences of your buyers. For example, you can choose to have two separate email lists for big spenders and small spenders. So Customer segmentation is simple! It’s all about engaging differently with different sets of people based on the relationships you have with them. Businesses should try to anticipate the future needs of their customers to stay ahead of the competition. 


8. Micro Influencers


As opposed to a celebrity or regular influencer, micro influencers are more like average people with 10,000 or fewer followers. As they focus on a specific niche or area, they are able to get better results for brands and businesses. Due to this reason micro influencers are slowly gaining a prominent place in the influencer marketplace. 

Generally regarded as industry experts or topic specialists, micro influencers are passionate and authentic people who don’t often boast celebrity status. They are willing to share the love about your product at an affordable cost as compared to premium influencers. Also they have stronger relationships with their followers than a typical influencer which is why they can make a brand more relatable and trustworthy in the market. According to a report, a large percentage of millennial consumers are influenced by the recommendations of micro influencers and thus hiring a micro influencer to achieve the desired number is a lucrative option in 2021 (especially for brands with budget constraints after the pandemic) Wondering where to find them? Instagram is the hub for micro influencers. Brands can partner with relevant Instagram micro-influencers to create additional and impressive content. 


9. Live streams


Live-streaming has been one of the trends of the last few years but post pandemic, live streams have increasingly captured the attention of the primary active target audience on different social networks. More and more brands are adapting to this new trend to tap into user desire for more immediate, in-the-moment sharing. Today’s customer craves for more personal connection and likes brands who interact and broadcast in real time. This is why businesses are beginning to implement live video streaming in their digital marketing strategy to increase brand interest and awareness. 

According to a report, consumers who feel a connection with a brand will typically spend twice as much as average customers. So brands have accepted it as a vital component of digital marketing such that they are using live streams wholeheartedly to create a sense of closeness, connection and originality. By now, you may have discovered the value of live streamed content. Switch to this important digital marketing tool in 2021 to raise brand awareness and facilitate real time communication. 


We cannot undo the hardships and business challenges that were brought by the chaos of 2020. However, we can look ahead with a positive outlook and plan a sound digital marketing strategy for the next 6-12 months to create a brand new start. While all businesses are slowly gearing up, you too must pull up your socks and allocate your spending wisely to digital. Following above digital marketing trends in 2021 can be greatly helpful and help you bounce back.