Out With the Old, In With the New: 7 Marketing Trends for 2021

What better way to make apple juice from apples than to use all the forced novelty of 2020 to prepare for the new year? As we look to the future of marketing after a pandemic, companies can leverage distinctive, intentional strategies to catapult their 2021 success right from the first quarter.

Society’s reliance on the digital world — from information consumption to online shopping — inflated astronomically during the pandemic. This is great news for companies in 2021 since all of the infrastructure changes that were needed within a dime are out of the way and there’s a clear path forward to advertising success in this new era: digital marketing.

1. Advertising on Streaming Platforms

Pre-pandemic, time spent streaming content like shows, movies, or music would likely be capped at after work or weekend free-time. During quarantine and the ensuing months of working from home, working-from-home employees streamed content during all hours of the day. Whether this was in the background of their daily tasks or during a lunch break, consumer streaming time was significantly less obstructed and subscriptions increased accordingly.

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and Spotify allow advertisers to reach new consumers through digital advertising. Among other benefits, this provides new revenue sources for both the streaming platform and the advertiser. It also increases brand exposure.

The most powerful tool, however, that this kind of advertising can leverage is the gold mine of data available for targeting customers based on user input. From geographic locations to unique personal interests, advertisers can pinpoint and reach their most specific customers. Agencies can then choose different ad formats, such as shoppable ads or product placements, depending on what the data signals that the consumer wants/needs/seeks. This kind of laser focus to help agencies match consumers to content and keep up with the week to week evolution in their needs and interests can help companies stay relevant, predict oncoming trends and increase their bottom line.

2. Artificial Intelligence in E-Commerce

The introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into the already-booming world of e-commerce enhances the online shopping experience companies provide for their customers in unexpected ways.

Through AI, advertisers target customers with the kind of software that organizes information and visually presents relevant content to customers. AI also retargets customers. Businesses can track where customers spend their time online and show similar ads on frequently-visited sites.

According to Accenture, AI could boost profits by 59% in the wholesale and retail industries. This means that customizing shoppers’ experiences is a formidable channel for boosting an e-commerce business’s bottom line.

3. E-Commerce on Social Media

E-commerce marketing on social media is a less expensive option for new businesses. Over 130 million users visit Instagram shopping posts each month according to Hootsuite, and media platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat can experience similar traffic.  

E-commerce helps niche brands enter the market by boosting customers’ ability to easily discover their brands and products. Like streaming platforms, social media platforms successfully target consumer groups to improve user experiences and match their ever-evolving demands.

4. Smart Speakers for Audio Ads

Smart speakers like the Google Nest or Amazon Echo have become more and more popular over the years. These devices are hands-free voice activated smart devices that offer help in real time. You know , like Alexa! Global smart speaker usage is expected to demonstrate about an 82% increase for 2020 and should continue to flourish in the coming years. With explosive growth in smart speakers, these gadgets uniquely reach customers inside their homes.

Audio ads interspersed between songs tend to be more intimate and therefore impactful. They essentially provide a non-intrusive way for advertisers to share messages and even actively involve listeners. For example, Pandora launched interactive voice ads, which listeners could respond to with “yes” or “no.”  The marketing strategy of targeting an audience doesn’t get much more personalized or intentional than through touchless, instantaneous customer feedback!

5. Non-Monetized Content YouTube Ads

YouTube has many unique ways to increase these avenues. Advertisers can now advertise on non-monetized content, which provides more exposure of brands, ideas and events to mass audiences.

What this means is that if a consumer chooses not to put ads in their video, YouTube may do it anyway. While the advertiser will not gain any direct revenue from those ads unless they signed up for the YouTube Partner Program, they can still collect data that may help them alter or improve their marketing strategies.

6. Podcast Marketing

Podcast marketing is a new form of advertising using podcasts, which allows brands to communicate to a captive audience and tell their story anywhere at any time. This form of advertising allows companies to use the consumer as a medium for advertising and build an audience through their anecdotal experiences with the product.

Podcasters can promote the podcast on social media, or even start a community forum about the podcast and submit content ideas. Because podcast marketing translates so nicely to social media avenues, it’s a marketing department’s most powerful secret weapon: word-of-mouth.

7. Product and Service Reviews

Customer reviews are an incredibly effective way to promote products and services. In fact, 86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource for purchase decisions. The goal is to increase credibility and trust through first-hand, personal accounts of fellow customers based on their brief anecdotes on product pages or company websites.

Companies can manipulate the use of their review to their benefit by creating a product strategy, collaborating with a team to review this strategy and looking at key factors like performance and competition to make informed decisions about product placement.

A great way to tackle these trends is to get a handle on the 2-3 that will work best for your company and clients to take 2021 by storm! Remember, Appleton is an award-winning, full-service Orlando advertising agency that works with local, national and international clients to deliver impressive ad campaigns, branding, print, web, public relations, social media and video services — all in-house. At Appleton, we want to learn about your business, empower your marketing team and be your creative resource. Your advertising goals are worth a conversation: contact us at 407-246-0092 or info@appletoncreative.com.

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