Digital MarketingMARKETING

The 9 biggest digital marketing trends in 2021


So far, the digital marketing trends in 2021 seem to revolve around two specific, albeit almost opposing, concepts. The first concept is about making things more human in general, addressing real-world problems and tailoring content to the individual (rather than the masses) in order to interact with one another on a more personal level. The second concept is a much more technical optimization, the fine-tuning of the things that run in the background, such as SEO and how to structure campaigns – the basic things that your customers don’t see.

In this article we talk about the 9 hottest digital marketing trends in 2021 to give you an edge over your competition. Take these marketing trends to heart and keep them in mind as you design your own digital marketing strategy for the year ahead.

Here are the 9 biggest digital marketing trends in 2021:

  1. inclusion
  2. Featured snippets & no-click searches
  3. Sustainability: Loud and proud
  4. Adblock blocker
  5. Image and video SEO for visual searches
  6. Interactive content
  7. Segmentation of the target groups
  8. Local SEO
  9. Old and proven


1. Inclusion

A look at the headlines shows the importance of inclusion in our day and age. More and more young people and marginalized groups want equality to be presented more optimistically in the content they consume and the brands they shop from. Or, to put it more precisely, they no  longer want to see the same homogeneous content that we are used to from decades ago.

In 2021, digital marketing includes media and topics that deal with a variety of ethnic groups, sexualities, religions, etc., as well as representing people with physical disabilities and learning difficulties. This includes the content of your pictures and videos, but also the topics that you discuss on social networks and blogs, or even the product line you offer.

example of progressive marketing with inclusivity

According to Accenture , this cultural change is already influencing buying behavior: 41% of shoppers “no longer buy from retailers who don’t show how important identity and diversity is to them.” The same study shows that 29% of all consumers are willing to change brands completely if it doesn’t show enough diversity. This percentage is even higher for ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ + community.

2. Featured snippets & no-click searches

For many, many years, the goal of SEO has been to get you ranked first in search results. Well, in 2021 it is more and more about reaching “Position Zero”.

“Position Zero” refers to Google’s “Featured Snippet” and in the SEO marketing trends for 2021 this has priority over all other things. The featured snippet works differently than other search engine entries. First of all, it is displayed in a small box separate from the other search results and is at the top. Above all, however, it shows additional, relevant information and tries to answer users’ questions without them having to click on it, where the term “no-click search” is derived from.

Featured snippet by 99designs for “How to design a logo”
Our blog article is shown as a featured snippet for “How to design a logo”. Notice how it is separated from the other search results for better visibility.

Even if it sounds illogical at first to forego someone clicking on your link, the advantage of being a pioneer outweighs a single click / visit. Furthermore, featured snippets are sometimes read aloud by the Google Assistant.

If you want to be featured in a featured snippet yourself, you need to know a few things. First, featured snippets are primarily intended for longer keyword phrases such as questions (e.g., “How do you design a logo?”). They come in a variety of forms, from step-by-step instructions to clear definitions, videos (and more), so adapt your content to the appropriate format.

Make sure to answer the keyword question in your content clearly and succinctly, preferably with bullet points or in tabular form.

3. Sustainability: Loud and proud

The digital marketing trends show that people care just as much about environmental protection as they do about inclusion. They want to make sure that the brands that get their money care about the earth as much as they do.

81% of consumers care about companies helping to improve the environment , and that’s why we see sustainable and eco-friendly brands grow in popularity, especially with younger consumers. This goes far beyond the market for ecological products. Every  brand can benefit from spreading their sustainable practices.

Branding for environmentally friendly, green companies
With the right digital marketing design, you can visually communicate your brand’s environmental awareness without saying a word.

The key is to communicate your sustainability through your branding and content to make environmental protection part of your identity. There are many different ways to do this, depending on the style of your branding. For example, you could put a prominent banner on your page or talk about it over and over on social media. You can also opt for more subtle avenues such as branded, reusable bags or green motifs in your brand’s visual identity .

4. Adblock Blocker

The 2021 digital marketing trends are not all about positive attitudes and progress – they are also about overcoming obstacles like ad blockers. It is estimated that 27% of internet users use ad blockers and many marketers automatically lose most of their traffic at the source, including PPC campaigns.

The first thing you should see is how big this problem is for you. Your advertising data and analytics should tell you what you need to know. Depending on your target audience or where you place your advertising, the damage could be negligible.

System32Comics webcomic via adblocker
The customer is always right. Via System32Comics

If you fall victim to ad blockers, the best strategy is to adapt. Don’t waste time trying to convince potential customers to change their attitudes. Adjust your advertising budget to other, more fruitful campaigns, such as influencer marketing or sponsored content. Younger audiences don’t respond well to advertisements anyway, but they respond well to influencer marketing, so it is advisable to adapt to the situation.

5. Image and video SEO for visual searches

As you know, you can search for pictures and videos by entering keywords. But did you know that you can also upload existing images for a search or even take self-made photos and start a context search? As more and more users discover this visual search for themselves, the SEO landscape is fundamentally changing.

Google Lens promotional image on product search
With Google Lens, you can take a picture of something you want to buy and get search results that lead straight to product pages.

To take advantage of the growing number of visual searches, you need to keep your image and video SEO campaigns in tip-top shape. First of all, you should apply these basics:

  • All of your image descriptions should contain alt text
  • Add images to your sitemap  or create your own image sitemap
  • Add your SEO keywords to the filename of your image
  • Use high quality pictures and video, including HD

You should also familiarize yourself with Google Lens , especially if you are an e-commerce brand. Apply your SEO techniques properly and you will be able to drive competitor traffic to you when shoppers perform image searches for products or barcodes.

6. Interactive content

Here’s a trend that has actually been around for a while, but has only now emerged as a best practice. Interactive content not only ensures more engagement, but also increases the pleasure of the user.

Interactive content like quizzes, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, freebies, calculator widgets, etc. can work wonders for your brand. At a minimum, they ensure that users spend more time engaging with you, which improves your ranking in searches and feeds that are based on algorithms.

Twitter poll as a digital marketing trend in 2021
Twitter polls are quick, easy, and powerful – just make sure the questions are brand-related. Via @Social_Hire

Interactive content is part of the larger trend of personalization; by allowing users to answer for themselves or give their opinion, they’ll feel more personally attached to the brand. Don’t forget that this can also be used to collect data on user preferences and products or to improve the site.

7. Segmentation of target groups

Another trend that is not new, but rather recently popular , is the subdivision of target groups. The idea is simple: instead of starting a small number of large marketing campaigns that target a general audience, it is better to run a large number of small marketing campaigns that target specific audiences.

The subdivision of the target groups means grouping your target groups according to certain characteristics or behavior, for example according to demographics or purchasing behavior. This allows you to tailor your content more precisely to their preferences. For example, you could have two different email lists; one for those who spend a lot of money and one for those who don’t spend much, sending each group different newsletters with different products.

graphic that explains customer segmentation
You can choose which groups you want to divide your customers into, but most of the time it is divided into demographics, psychographics, geography, behavior and customer journey. Via intercom

This strategy is best for personalization and customer engagement as it gives your followers content that is handpicked and relevant to them. In addition to e-mail distribution lists, you can also use the subdivision of the target groups for special advertisements on different pages, different blog categories and social media content for different communities.

8. Local SEO

Google regularly updates its SEO algorithm. If you are a local business, you should also regularly update your business appearance in local search results. Local SEO is even more powerful than broad-based SEO – people looking for a specific company within their locality have greater buying intent, so it’s easier to convince them to buy.

First of all, you have to get verified by Google. You do this by logging into Google My Business and either claiming your company profile or creating a new one. This will help you do better in Google’s search results, and it will also give you the opportunity to add additional information about your business.

screenshot google my business

9.Old and proven

Not all of the best digital marketing trends for 2021 are from 2021. Many of the marketing trends from last year or the year before are still trending and will continue to be trending next year. And if you haven’t implemented it yet, it’s about time.

In particular, don’t forget the following digital marketing trends from 2020 :

  • Shoppable Posts:  Social media posts that take users directly to the checkout page of a product increase conversions by optimizing the payment process. See if you qualify for checkout on Instagram.
  • Marketing for Generation Z: Last year the elders of Generation Z turned 18 and entered the labor market. If you want to take advantage of this young market, you need to know the best practices in marketing for Generation Z first .
  • Micro influencers:  Unlike premium influencers, micro influencers are more like normal people with a few more followers. If you attract enough of them, usually through social media contests and freebies, you can hit the same numbers as big influencers – at a fraction of the cost.
  • Voice Search SEO:  Since voice assistants came on the market a few years ago, voice searches have completely changed the classic SEO tactics – people no longer use the same keywords as when writing! Try to adjust your SEO strategy and include spoken keywords.

Check out the 99designs blog regularly to stay up to date on the hottest digital marketing trends!

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