What Forces Are Driving Digital Marketing Trends in 2021?

Originally Published: 1 January 2021
Last updated: 16 January 2021
Written by: Nick Jolliffe

Reading Time: 7.655 minutes

Categories: Digital Marketing

Are you really ready for a new year of exciting advances in marketing? Technology continues its rapid onward march as we speak, and yesterday’s top tips are old news before you’ve even had a chance to implement them.

If you want to stay on top of your game in the digital realm, you need to know what the future of digital marketing holds. Take a look at these digital marketing trends and prepare to boost your business to a whole new level. 

Artificial Intelligence 

If there’s one thing we’ll remember about the last decade, it’s the rise of the robots. Artificial intelligence is everywhere, helping to streamline our lives and make sense of an increasingly complex world.

Forecasters expect AI to increase global GDP by 14% in the next ten years, so if you’re not on board with artificial intelligence yet, you’re missing out. 

AI is particularly prevalent in digital marketing, where it’s used to analyse vast amounts of data to decipher user intent and monitor customers internet behaviours.  

From a content marketing perspective, AI is key for delivering custom content and product recommendations to clients. Chatbots are manning the customer service forts to ensure timeous responses to queries and modern-day AI is even capable of writing simple stories like stock market reports. 

Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising, also known as programmatic marketing, is speeding up the online advertising process in leaps and bounds. Now you don’t need to negotiate with an advertising platform about where to place your online ads, you don’t even have to think about it.

By means of AI, programmatic advertising analyses thousands of bits of data to present your ads to the right audience. This happens either online or via modern-day media channels television.

In the most basic terms, programmatic advertising works as follows:

A program determines which slots or websites would best suit your products and services and bids for the right to use those spaces.  If successful, they then place an appropriate ad in that space. All of this takes place within milliseconds without any human intervention at all.

All you need to do is set up your budget and create the advertisements. 

Conversational Marketing

Despite our new-found reliance on robots and chatbots, people are becoming chattier than ever before. When they want to talk, over 80% of customers expect an answer immediately, as if you were sitting right in front of them.

Once again, AI makes this a feasible possibility. Chatbots can make sense of online messages from your clients and filter them through to a live chat agent for further clarification, or finalize a sale. 

Paperwork is a thing of the past, now you can book services, get a bank loan, or buy whatever you want with a few clicks of your mouse. Communication between brands and customers has never been as efficient. 


Personal service is an age-old way to win and keep clients and thankfully, it’s still an important part of modern-day marketing. Except now you don’t have to remember every client’s name, AI will do that for you – millions of customers at a time.

Personalized content is an absolute necessity for modern-day marketers. Your customers are so accustomed to receiving marketing emails addressed directly to them that they’ll delete almost everything that isn’t. 

They also want and expect special offers that have taken their previous purchases into consideration. Birthday messages can generate an ROI of 342% more than regular promotions.

Video Marketing is Still One of the Biggest Digital Marketing Trends

Video marketing is neither new nor going anywhere soon. People love to engage with businesses via video and it’s a versatile form of content marketing that allows you to reach them wherever you are.

You can use video on your website, social media pages, in email, and as a part of blogs and informative articles. Some of the newest ways to engage via video include:

Live video

This is a popular way to showcase product demos, interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of your brand.

1:1 Video

Personalized video messages are swiftly taking the place of email and phone calls when engaging with customers.

Video SEO  

Videos now feature on the SERPs, so you can use SEO tactics like text overlays and closed captions to drive SEO for your business.

360-Degree Video Content

This kind of content is an awesome way to immerse customers in experiences and events.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the modern-day equivalent of word-of-mouth marketing and it’s just as effective as this old staple.

The only difference is that nowadays, it’s not a friend or neighbour that’s handing out product recommendations. Online influencers are the new go-to for businesses who want to bring prospective customers into the fold.

Sometimes, well-known celebrities play the role of influencers, but usually, it’s the new superstars of the digital era – social media influencers.

Since consumers are familiar with these personalities as part of their day-to-day online existence, they can relate to them far better than unapproachable movie stars or sportspeople.

Social Messaging Apps

WhatsApp is one of the most widely-used forms of communication in the world today, so why not reach your customers this way? Facebook Messenger and WeChat are other popular options.

Social messaging is useful for sending direct messages to customers since it adds value to their experience with a personal touch. It’s also a direct, easy, and fast way to reach out to your customers.


Micro-moments are an instant in time when people turn to a device in response to a need, be it the need to know, buy, or do.

Be ready for those moments. Know when your customers are likely to experience these needs. For example, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, there’s bound to be an upswing in the demand for last-minute flowers.

Get your promotions ready long in advance, and make sure your SEO is in top form for online searches.

To make the most of micro-moments, you have to be the quickest on the draw. On these occasions, customers don’t want to go searching for answers, they want instant gratification.

Content Marketing Still Dominates

No matter how often Google updates its algorithm, great content will still be king. As more businesses latch onto the power of SEO, you need current, well-written, and relevant content on your site more than ever before. 

That’s not enough though. You also must ensure your website is fast and well-designed with well-thought-out, functional links. The new age of SEO involves far more than keywords as Google finds increasing ways to figure out whether your content is valuable or not.

Interactive Content

Apart from excellent, informative blogs and videos, your content strategy should include instances of interactive content. These are things like surveys, opinion polls, quizzes, and calculators.

Interactive content has several advantages for marketers. It’s engaging, original and memorable and helps customers to know that their opinions are important to your brand. 

These types of content, where users volunteer information about themselves, are a useful tool for fine-tuning your targeted content too. They help your brand stand out from the crowd and are far more likely to attract likes and shares than other types of content. 

Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies

These two aspects are closely related to interactive content. They’re technologies that allow your customers to imagine what it would be like to use your products without making a purchase.

For example, Loreal’s app that lets customers experiment with different makeup styles on their phone, allows them to make purchase decisions quickly and easily. 

Other immersive technologies include Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR). 

VR content can be fine-tuned for viewing by means of virtual reality headsets, or courtesy of purpose-designed apps. It’s a great way to off your products from all angles, take customers on a tour of your premises, or use games as a marketing tactic.

MR is a combination of VR, AR and real life. It allows customers to experience what it would be like to try out your services or products in 3 dimensions wherever they are.

While AR and VR allow the customer to imagine they are somewhere else, MR brings your content into their reality.

Pokemon Go, where fictional characters materialize in front of you via your smartphone lens,  is one of the best examples of MR. This free-to-play game had millions of participants all over the world when it was first launched, and it still has its die-hard fans. 

Getting the Help You Need

With all the advances in digital marketing today, you need to be in top form if you want to stand out in the marketing world. Even keeping up to date with the latest digital marketing trends is a full-time job nowadays. 

If you want to succeed in this competitive environment, get in touch. Our team of digital marketing experts will help you set up and implement the ultimate marketing strategy for your business in 2021. 

Contact Us Today

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