2021 Marketing Trends

Social Commerce: In 2020, we noticed social media platforms making their interface more e-commerce integration-friendly, particularly Instagram which added the shop tab to their navigation bar. We expect more live shopping and one-click purchasing options to give creators more choices. Facebook is further developing Facebook Pay. Some even see cross-platform initiatives, like the connection between Instagram and Facebook Messengers, will become more popular across platforms.

“The pandemic-driven spike in ecommerce, and the related impact on advertising budget allocations, are both projected to continue. According to eMarketer, advertising on ecommerce platforms jumped 39% in 2020 and will grow another 30% in 2021, capturing 13% of total U.S. digital ad spend,” – Josh Cole, CMO of Sky Zone

Diversity and Inclusion: With the re-evaluation of race issues in the country last year, many companies have refocused their efforts on diversity and inclusion, both internally in terms of hiring and retaining a diverse workforce, and externally in terms of taking a stand on social issues. Even outside of race, other social issues such as environmental concerns will also continue to come to the forefront.

“Brand marketers will feel compelled and inspired to push their organizations to take meaningful stands on social issues,” Josh Cole 

Influencer Marketing: Influencers gained more impact on purchasing as we were forced to shop online. With social media use going way up during the pandemic and more people buying online, brands are seeing the opportunity to use social media influencers to their advantage when it comes to selling to their online audiences. 

“Influencers can speak on a more personal level and give their honest opinion that resonates more with their followers compared to normal brand advertising. We expect influencers to gain even more popularity and followers and businesses to use influencers more than ever before.” – Kent Lewis, SmartBrief

Virtual Events: Although virtual events developed throughout 2020 because we had no other choice, they are here to stay because of the perks discovered. Going virtual opens up events to an entirely new audience unable to make the trip to an in-person event due to cost or other issues; new audiences will lead to increased attendance, participation, and ROI for the host. 

“In 2021 and beyond, virtual events will continue to be a popular route to engage with a broad set of customers as companies see the many benefits of online events.” – Jim Kruger, CMO Veeam

Live Streams: Live streams have filled a void for people who were seeking to socialize during the pandemic. Whether it’s a workshop or a celebrity going live, being able to watch a live stream makes people feel connected. The number of Facebook live viewers went up by 50% in 2020, and the number of Instagram live viewers went up by 70%.

“Human-drive content like influencer live-streams can create trust, and tap into the ‘in-the-moment’ connection that 2020 consumers crave.” – Jose Angelo Gallegos, Social Media Today

Easy to Consume Content: Content such as podcasts that are easy to listen to on-the-go, or even newsletters that end up in our inboxes have been picking up steam in 2020 and will continue into 2021. These forms of content are a great way to keep connected with customers on their own time and in a way most convenient for them.

“Convenient and readily-available content like podcasts and newsletters will help brands connect more deeply with customers and provide a more intimate way to stay in touch.” – Jose Angelo Gallegos, Social Media Today

AI will replace A/B Testing: A/B testing is predicted to become obsolete because AI will always be a step ahead. A/B was a great tool to test different campaigns and then make a marketing decision; however, AI can now predict which one will be successful without testing, which will save the time A/B testing typically consumes.

“Once machine learning predicts the trends before they happen and provides clear guidance for marketers, why waste money to A/B test something that wouldn’t work as well? Soon, marketers will be able to go all-in on what will work best without having to test the theory.” – R. J. Taylor, CEO & Founder, Pattern89