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Online Marketing Trends That Will Shape Strategies in 2021

This year has been tumultuous to a degree that has not been seen in recent history, and this means that online marketers need to be aware of unique trends that will shape 2021. With great upheavals in the geopolitical realm, some uncertainty still looms about when businesses will return to normal. In a time like this, marketers must be nimble and aware of sudden changes that occur from day to day. Here are the top ten trends that will impact online marketing strategies in 2021.

1. Semantic search

In the coming new year, search engine algorithms are expected to make new strides in their ability to understand the meaning of users’ search queries. Semantic search is defined as the ability of search engines to consider intent and meaning based on the context and the words that are typed into the search field. In short, search engines are becoming much smarter at interpreting the intent behind the words that people are using in their search input.

What this means for online marketers is prioritizing user intent and conversational language in search strings. Also, consider how to provide useful and engaging content on landing pages. Create content that answers questions and is optimized for people to understand and gain insights rather than keyword-oriented content targeted at search engines.

2. Zero-click search results

Recent developments on search engines have shown a rising trend of information that is served to the user without them needing to click on search result links. With this feature, users find the answers to their questions on the search engine result page via graphs or lists that are displayed at the top. The zero-click information tables and displays that Google provides on their SERPS are rapidly becoming more prevalent and sophisticated.

Since Google is funneling search traffic to land on its own properties, it could potentially reduce traffic to your own website if you continue marketing strategies as usual. In order to adjust to this trend, consider publishing more video content that users will be enticed to click through to. Also, prioritize local search for business locations with up-to-date information about recent events and other FAQs.

3. Pay-Per-Click advertising remains an important tool

Pay-Per-Click strategies for the coming year might look a little different than before. One thing that most marketers can agree on is that PPC campaigns still produce good results. One trend in PPC advertising to be aware of in 2021 is new legislation and higher general scrutiny about accessing keyword and search query data.

Google has recently placed new limits on the availability of search data, such as the query information that is generated in its Search Terms Report. Microsoft is also implementing greater measures to enhance privacy that could affect PPC marketers when they look for user data to plan their campaigns. PPC marketers will share responsibility for protecting user data to a larger degree than they have in the past.

Another factor that will shape PPC marketing trends is automation that is powered by machine learning and artificial intelligence. This might sound like a large investment, but it is one of the most powerful tools for developing more cost-efficient and effective PPC campaigns. Automated PPC systems are able to find people at the highest level of “buyer readiness” by predicting click-through rates and conversions. This enables marketers to have more time to develop stronger advertising content and create more powerful strategies. Also, don’t be surprised if manual bidding for PPC keywords disappears in the near future.

4. Responsive search ads (RSAs)

If you’re a professional in the digital marketing world, it’s almost certain that you are aware of responsive search ads and are likely to be using them. Responsive search ads allow the search engine to mix and match lines of text with specific user search case scenarios. The marketer provides a number of headlines and descriptions, and the search engine matches them for optimal relevance for each search query. The search engine also analyzes the performance of each combination to serve up the most effective results. If you haven’t taken advantage of this technology, it is past-due for you to put this into action in your marketing strategy.

Both Google and Microsoft offer responsive search ad capabilities to marketers. To get the best results in your campaigns, provide as many headlines and descriptions as possible for the search engine to capture a wider array of possible user inputs. This also allows the search engine to gather more data to find the best combinations of headlines and descriptions to improve click-through rates and traffic to your landing pages. Furthermore, the search engine will learn to understand the relevancy of various searches that provide better quality leads and higher conversion rates.

5. Google My Business

There is currently a high demand for local search information. One example of this is the enormous use of Google Maps by people who are looking for a place to fulfill their shopping or other needs. Millions of websites are also integrating Google Maps and related apps. One way to attract this wealth of search volume is to create a Google My Business listing. The amount of searches for local businesses has increased nearly ten-fold in recent years, so local listings have a big impact on the Google search algorithm. To create stronger ranking signals, update information such as your business hours and Covid-19 protocols on a frequent basis.

6. Mobile conversion rate optimization

A great deal of your audience will interface with your digital communication via mobile devices. The conversion rates of people who shop via mobile technology are relatively high, so it pays to focus on this media channel. There is expected to be more integration of voice assistants in mobile search scenarios. Augmented reality is also on the rise, and now is a good time to plan how this can play a role in your marketing strategy. The number of taps that users tend to make when checking out on a purchase has still remained very high. Take time to streamline your mobile checkout process, and you’re sure to gain an advantage against competitors.

7. Social media and “cancel culture”

One of the phenomena as of late that has had a big impact on businesses is “cancel culture.” Some businesses have been targeted for boycott because of growing levels of political upheaval in recent times. In 2021, marketers must be aware of political backlash if their messages fail to take note of public outrage on certain topics.

8. Instagram Reels

In response to the wild success of Tik Tok in recent years, Instagram has integrated a similar feature onto its platform. This feature allows users to create 15-second video clips that can be edited with a set of easy-to-use tools. With a brand-new video platform such as this, marketers have a fresh resource to gain a trending audience that is likely to grow rapidly in 2021.

9. YouTube and similar platforms

The audience and time spent on YouTube continues to grow at a phenomenal rate, and it happens to be the world’s second-largest search engine only outmatched by Google. Along with this trend, other video platforms, such as Twitch, are sharply on the rise. By leveraging the power of video marketing, your sales are sure to rise exponentially as this medium continues to reach more dominant levels of prevalence in the marketplace.

10. Email marketing automation

Email, although it is not a new marketing channel, will remain to be an important part of marketing strategies in the coming year. It can be highly time-consuming to personalize every email to each individual, and that’s why automated technologies are crucial for streamlining the costs and time investment on this tried-and-true platform. Email automation systems are becoming increasingly powerful, and they can be configured to create messages that respond to various circumstances and market analyses.

Ten must-know statistics for online marketing in 2021

In addition to the marketing trends that have been discussed above, here are ten important statistics that can improve your overall understanding of the market as the year 2021 approaches.

  1. There has been a 65 percent increase in searches on mobile devices that start with the phrase “do I need”
  2. There have been 85 percent more mobile searches that start with the phrase “can I”
  3. Searches that begin with the phrase “should I” have increased by 65 percent
  4. Zero-click searches made up more than half of Google queries in 2019
  5. Businesses get an average of $2 return for every $1 that they spend on Google PPC advertising
  6. People spent an average of 23 minutes more on mobile devices in 2021 than in previous years
  7. In a recent study of business event specialists, 66 percent reported that they had canceled live events and moved them to virtual platforms for social distancing purposes
  8. The conversion rates from mobile devices in 2019 were over 1.5 percent.
  9. Over seventy percent of Americans are regularly consuming video content on social media
  10. Zoom video conferencing usage increased to levels 30 times higher than before, which was stunning even considering the impact of the pandemic

Current times are more volatile for markets and businesses, so it’s crucial to keep a sharp eye attuned to trends in the digital world. The information presented here should provide a useful overview that will help you create your marketing blueprint for 2021. Many of the strategies that you have come to rely on in previous years will probably need some adjusting if not a complete overhaul. Take a thorough approach, and be willing to continue researching new industry conditions as they impact the world of online marketing.