February 24, 2021 6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Growing a social media-based business takes the same amount of effort as it does for any other business. People who think it’s easy just haven’t yet had the experience. Digital Marketing will help you with your growth. When small businesses start, their focus is usually on the way to get their first group of consumers through the door. They may believe in traditional avenues of advertising, like print ads and coupon mailers or perhaps large signs on the side of the road. Or, they may trust that since they know they provide an honest product or service, it’s only a matter of time until customers will find their way to them. Initially, online marketing was just a moderate replacement and different avenue to market. Within the past few years, the importance of digital marketing has not only increased thousand-fold but become paramount to any growth strategy.
2020 saw brands and marketers stumbling to survive the unpredictable events that unfolded. Digital marketing has become a boon for companies despite these uncertain times. While the digital age had already started changing lives across industries and various verticals, this last year mainly saw digital marketing grow exponentially.
For businesses that were forced to close their stores and operations, digital marketing was the go-to alternative to stay on top of their customers’ minds. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways no one could have predicted. Human mobility is limited, cities are locked down, businesses are forced to temporarily or permanently close, and people are asked strictly to observe social distancing. With physical stores closed, businesses are boosting their digital marketing efforts to continue servicing customers and building new relationships.
Predicting trends is difficult under normal circumstances, but 2021 could present even greater challenges for those in the marketing space. Note that 2021 isn’t the long run. It’s a medium run at best, which will surely still be suffering from the pandemic. Outside the influence of the coronavirus, there are still many other year-long trends that will emerge and may affect the digital marketing landscape, leading to what promises to be a very interesting year.
Below are some trends to watch out for in 2021
Mobile app options
We’re living in a world where social distancing makes it more common than ever for consumers to take advantage of quality mobile apps to shop, purchase and interact with a business. Mobile app usage increased by 20% in 2020 and is expected to increase even more in the coming year.
Through apps, businesses can lower costs by more accurately predicting sales from advanced orders while providing a seamless experience, leading to repeat business. Users often purchase a wider range of products, especially when apps include loyalty rewards, product information, and push notifications when a user is physically nearby.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization (SEO) is usually a moving target because search algorithms are constantly evolving. The regular flux certainly won’t change in 2021, but we’ve noticed certain trends that promise to be more substantial than just “flash in the pan” changes.
The Power of Voice Search
Voice search is currently not a part of Google’s algorithm; however, it is still dictating current search results. Voice search queries often yield different results than if the user had typed in a text-based search. For SEO, businesses need to update with voice search components for consumers who are adapting and switching over to the medium.
According to experts in voice search, content must be specifically optimized for voice; more direct and conversational so that it will accurately sync with search queries, helping boost traffic by staying relevant and more visible to consumers.
Using Video Advertising
App developers are now updating their features to create customer loyalty and reduce the shift between various applications, for example Instagram reels and LinkedIn stories App companies promote such features on their own to urge user engagement, further establishing them as a proper option for marketers to showcase their product/service. Aside from being informative and interesting, video ads also convey large chunks of data in a short time. Video advertising helps in explaining merchandise or a service with more clarity and information than other ad formats, leaving the format with greater recall value.
Featured snippets & no-click searches
For many years, the goal of SEO has been to get your listing in the “position number one” spot of search results. Now, going into 2021, the end-goal is continuing to shift to more SEO visibility in “position zero.” The featured snippet works differently than other search results entries—for one thing, it’s separated by a small box and located at the top. It also displays additional, relevant information with the attempt at answering the user’s question without them needing to click on it, prompting the nickname “no-click search.” Moreover, featured snippets are sometimes read aloud with Google Assistant voice searches.
Higher investment in YouTube advertising
In 2021, combine the power of video and YouTube’s massive reach to advertise your brand and products. YouTube remains the top social video network in the world.
What does YouTube advertising have to offer? Depending on your audience and budget, you’ll choose between a variety of ad types: TrueView ads, non-skippable instream ads, bumper instream ads, sponsored card ads, overlay ads, and display ads. Large and small businesses are using YouTube to increase brand awareness, influence customers’ buying decisions, and improve brand reputation.
No digital marketing strategy is set in stone. As you proceed into 2021, take the time to understand the new trends so that you can shift your strategy into a direction that aligns with the trajectory of the larger consumer marketplace. Whether it’s live video, programmatic advertising, voice search, interactive content, or shifts in influencer marketing, there’s ample opportunity for growth and expansion.