The end of the year is a good time to identify trends for the future. Western media, and Google in its blog, have already published some predictions about digital marketing in 2021. We share them here.
The year 2020 was a complete surprise to many. Though some categories of the digital sphere have survived and even strengthened their positions. These are online games, grocery delivery and other areas in which people sitting at home have become in dire need. At the end of the year, it’s a good time to predict what’s next? We’ve compiled the top trends in digital marketing for 2021 as published by Western media outlets, including Google.
1. Gamification and augmented reality (AR)
The use of augmented reality is not a new technology. They started talking about it a few years ago, but the experience of Western brands shows that it helps increase sales and attract users. Therefore, the forecasts in digital include the fact that more and more companies will start using augmented reality.
Here are some examples from the Western market over the past few years.
In the Ikea Place app, customers can “try on” the Swedish brand’s products in their homes.
Sunglasses manufacturer Goodr used augmented reality to allow consumers to try the glasses on themselves – online, of course. This increased the conversion rate by 32%.
Online retailer EBags, which sells handbags and suitcases, launched a browser-based program using AR to allow customers to view the product from all angles, as if they were in person. This increased conversions by 112% on mobile devices and 81% on PCs.
The Kinder brand has released a free Applaydu app that “brings Kinder toys to life” using all the same AR technology.
Australian wine brand Treasury’s ’19 Crimes from Treasury Wine Estates has “brought their labels to life” – the characters depicted on them can tell their stories if the user downloads the app and scans the label.
In short, companies have been using these technologies for several years, and the trend itself is not leaving the list of the main trends in the digital space. It will still be relevant in 2021.
2. Cross-platform games and native advertising
More and more often game developers are releasing products that can be used on consoles, PC and mobile devices. Gamers love it – they can use whatever device they have on hand. In addition, with the advent of 5G technology, the user experience for games on a mobile device will only get better.
Games have become very realistic, and advertising in them is also changing. The current trend is toward native brand integration in the gaming environment. That is not just a banner that appears on top of the screen with the game, and billboard along a virtual race track or brand logo on the race car in the game.
Advertising in the game – a good way for brands to reach a diverse audience, because they play not only teenagers but also the older generation, the average age of the player in Russia, for example, 36 years. Especially popular games have become with the spread of the pandemic – they are seen by users as a way to distract from the problems in the outside world.
3. Brands’ support for social equality
This trend is not directly related to digital marketing, but Google included it. The year 2020 was not only the year of the pandemic, but also demonstrated society’s concern for social and racial inequality – just think of the Black Lives Matter movement that spread far beyond the United States.
It’s important for brands to take a stance on this issue, as users increasingly look at the alignment of their positions in life with what the company carries. And if they differ, consumers choose not to purchase the product/service.
4. The importance of online data security
Online tools have become a staple for many people in 2020 because there was no way to take advantage of different services in real life. And as more and more people use the Internet, they are concerned about the issue of their own security and the protection of personal data.
The industry is adapting to this, with the concept of user data ethics expected to become relevant to more companies in 2021. Digital marketing as a whole can only exist if users trust their data to brands.
5. Preparing to do marketing in a cookie-free world
Analytics and data are very important in the world of online marketing, otherwise it is impossible to measure the effectiveness of campaigns. Data today comes mostly from cookies, but in the future, when cookies are abolished, brands will have to find other channels and ways to get user information. And also take care that these channels don’t conflict with user data privacy regulations.
6. Video as a way to interact with users
In 2020, most users spent a lot of time at home. And they began to turn more often to online video as a channel for information, entertainment and communication. By 2022, video is projected to account for 80% of Internet traffic. But the trend could also accelerate.
Users who have been staying at home have started using TVs to watch video content on the big screen as well.
What this means for brands is this: in 2021, it’s worth using online video to grab a consumer’s attention and interact with them.
7. Consumer interest in environmental sustainability
Underneath the term “environmental sustainability” is the ability to withstand human impact. Yes, yes, it’s the same environmentalism and concern for the environment that the masses have long been concerned about. And 2021 will be no exception. For these consumers, it’s important that brands demonstrate responsibility on this issue and transparency through concrete actions (e.g., reducing non-environmental product packaging).
8. Mobile apps as key to business growth
App usage has multiplied in 2020, up 25% in the third quarter alone, compared to the same period last year. Popular categories: food delivery, gaming, online learning and shopping. As the world recovers from the pandemic, the popularity of mobile apps is unlikely to wane. This makes apps almost a must-have for retailers.
If a user has downloaded an app, he or she can already be considered loyal in a sense. In addition, there is evidence that app users spend three times more than other mobile device users. The trend is unlikely to change in 2021.
Sources: thinkwithgoogle.com and mobilemarketingmagazine.com