2021 Will Be a Bounce Back Year for Many Businesses
To say that 2020 has not gone the way people expected it to go would be an understatement. No one could have predicted the way this year played out, especially when it pertains to the ongoing global pandemic. 2020 has caused mass turmoil throughout the entire world. As you can imagine, businesses around the globe had to adjust their plans for the year, with many abandoning their initial 2020 plans altogether.
As we approach the end of the year and the start of 2021, many industries have begun to figure out how to navigate the new normal we currently face. Just like other industries, the world of digital advertising has faced its fair share of obstacles due to COVID-19.
Now, as we continue to get a better understanding of how consumer behavior has changed during the pandemic, marketers have much to look forward to in 2021. Throughout this pandemic, some digital marketing trends have emerged that marketers should prepare for moving forward.
As a premier North Texas digital advertising agency, Tech Critic continues to adapt and evolve with the changing times. 2020 presented many obstacles that our agency has faced and endured. As we approach the new year, there are various digital marketing trends we have identified that can help your business grow.
Changing Consumer Behavior
COVID-19 caused customers of every industry to alter their consumer behavior. According to the EY Future Consumer Index, four major consumer trends began to emerge during the pandemic:
- Cut Deep:3% of participants reported that they were spending less money across all expense categories.
- Stay Calm, Carry On: 2% of participants did not change their spending habits at all.
- Save and Stockpile: 1% of respondents feel more worried about the future of their families and long-term financial outlook, spending considerably less on clothing (72%) and leisure (85%). However, 36% reported spending more on groceries.
- Hibernate and Spend: 4% of consumers reported that they were actually spending more across all categories during the pandemic.
People responded to the pandemic differently. Some felt more comfortable spending than others (often because they were not nearly as impacted). However, over half of respondents reported cutting down their spending altogether.
Consumer Trends Post-COVID-19
Understandably, consumer behavior looks to change even after the pandemic. According to the same EY Future Consumer Index, 42% of consumers felt that the pandemic fundamentally changed the way they shop. The survey suggests that these four categories could shift into five new ones:
- Keep Cutting: 13% plan to continue cutting their spending.
- Stay Frugal: 22% plan on spending slightly less than before, making some deep cuts here and there.
- Get to Normal: 31% want things to go back to normal.
- Cautiously Extravagant: 25% believe that we are heading towards a recession, but because these individuals have middle to high incomes, they are optimistic. They plan on spending more on non-essential items after the pandemic.
- Back with a Bang: 9% of respondents expect to spend more across the board once the pandemic is over.
Consumer behavior has changed dramatically, thanks to COVID-19. However, as time has passed, experts have begun to pinpoint digital marketing trends to focus on in 2021.
Digital Marketing Trends in 2021
You can guess by the name that user-generated content (UGC) is any content (video, images, reviews, written content, etc.) that was created by consumers that are not affiliated with the brand directly. Consumers find this content more appealing and trustworthy than branded content.
Did you know that 90% of consumers report that user-generated content plays a major role in their decision to make a purchase, outranking search engines and email marketing? Furthermore, over 86% of companies use user-generated content as part of their digital marketing strategy.
UGC receives 28% higher engagement than standard company posts. Due to certain lockdown restrictions and social distancing, consumers are creating more content than ever. UGC creates a more genuinely authentic and relatable feel to your brand that you could not produce on your own. As we enter 2021, encourage your customers to create content about your brand and to share it with their own following. Then, integrate that content into your marketing strategies.
Voice Search Marketing
There are roughly 3.5 billion smartphone users across the world, which means that most of them have access to a voice assistant. Even further, people have voice assistants in their cars and their homes. Experts predict that we will see nearly 7.5 billion active voice assistants by 2021. With so many voice-activated devices around the world, why wouldn’t you take advantage of voice search?
71% of US consumers prefer using voice assistants over typing. As the number of voice assistants increases, so too will the number of people who use them.
Optimizing for voice search is much different than optimizing for text search. That means you must reconsider your search marketing strategy and tailor it to match voice queries. These queries also differ greatly from search queries. Remember, voice searches are often longer and more conversational than text searches.
With a growing number of voice assistants and users looking for answers quickly, you should begin preparing your business for voice search in 2021.
Social media has swiftly become one of the most important platforms when it comes to digital marketing. It is one of the best ways to reach, market to, and engage with your target audience. In recent years, it has also become an integral part of online shopping.
In early 2020, Facebook introduced the world to Facebook Shop, and Instagram followed suit with Instagram Shops. They have made it possible to shop and make purchases through these social platforms. Nearly 55% of users have made a purchase through a social media platform.
Not only do consumers turn to social media to make purchases, but they also use it for inspiration, with 71% of consumers using Instagram for their shopping inspiration. More consumers are shopping online than ever before, so it is essential to have your products and services in the places that your audience will see them easier.
Even after the pandemic, consumer behavior is trending more and more to online shopping, so you need to be prepared.
Google Core Web Vitals
Midway through 2020, Google announced that it created a new ranking algorithm that takes into consideration how users perceive the experience of interacting with a website. That means if Google thinks users will have a positive experience on your site, you will rank higher and vice versa.
Google created a new signal that they plan on incorporating with their existing signals for page experience. “Core Web Vitals are a set of real-world, user-centered metrics that quantify key aspects of the user experience.” They include load time, interactivity, and the visual stability of content.
In 2021, these Core Web Vitals will become major ranking features. Fortunately, Google has given site owners plenty of time to prepare. When a user has a great page experience, they can get more done and interact with you better. Plus, they are likely to stay longer and come back. With Google making page experience such a high ranking factor, why wouldn’t you focus on it?
2020 was hard for many businesses. Whether you had to close your doors temporarily or lost a sizeable portion of your revenue, many struggled. As the year comes to a close, it is time to start looking towards the future. By now, consumer trends during the pandemic are becoming more and more clear. As business owners and marketers learn more, they can better prepare for 2021. Some digital marketing trends are already starting to make themselves known. If you are ready to grow your business heading into 2021, give Tech Critic a call today.