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digital transformation

Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

Top 10 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021 in India, Post Covid – 19/ Corona Virus world

The new normal life in 2021. There are new Strains of the COVID 19 virus and the vaccines are ready to be given to the masses. Life has been far from normal and we’re here discussing the trends of 2021. While the Corona Virus Pandemic has caused a major change in the digital transformation for all businesses – Competition has also increased and algorithms have gotten smarter. 

Data privacy is on the rise and customers are now realizing they’ve been living is what seems like an episode of “Black Mirror’ – shout out to the guys behind it. If you haven’t watched the show – Please do – NOW!

Food for thought: While having a website and a Facebook/ Instagram page is all you needed to survive, today you need a strategy for each platform. Successful businesses need to be relevant to their audiences across all the digital touch-points. After all, Digital Darwinism is an unforgiving reality.

If you don’t adapt, you’ll surely go extinc………t.

1. Data Privacy  

Apple and Facebook are at WAR. Facebook has stumped itself with the Whatsapp privacy laws to give way to Signal. Performance marketers will tell you about the drop in lookalike audience and drop in the purchases from IoS as Apple privacy laws protect you and facebook’s algorithm wants your data to show you relevant ads. A little too relevant. *Cough BIG BROTHER Cough*
One thing is absolutely certain customers are finally realizing that if a service is available to them for free, they are the product or commodity.

Super glad to see the rise of the search engine Duck Duck Go (Search engine that does not record any data) & Ecosia (They plant a tree for every search)

2. Instagram  (Your new website)

Instagram has disrupted the e-commerce space let alone be a platform for content. It’s meteoric rise has already seen it pass one billion users, an impressive achievement. It is one of the most rapidly growing social media platforms. Most of its audience is especially under 30. Facebook has become the platform for an older demographic.

Influencers recently raised concerns with Instagram recently decided to remove the likes – however for any marketer, the measurable metric should be engagement through shares or comments and or affiliate links that in turn show purchase/ brand lift. While it could lead to an uptick in content quality, many users may drift away from the platform in search of vanity metrics on YouTube and Ticktock.

With Instagram opening doors for shopping to small businesses and Reels getting the shop now feature, Instagram is the place to be for targeting the youth and selling a lot of product.

3. Regional Languages 

Something that India desperately needed and has finally kicked in with all the AI ML advancement. You do a quick google search today, and Skynet happily translates your search query into the language of the state. For Eg. In Maharashtra suggests/ translates the same query in Marathi, in Delhi – Hindi, and so on.

What this means is that Regional SEO is here and the first mover’s advantage is up for the taking.  In a country that has so many languages and dialects, the algorithms have their work cut out for them – but I guess, we’re going vocal for local. 🙂

More power to embracing our mother tongue and reducing the dependency on English.

4. Video (Was and Always will remain KEY to telling your Brand Story)

If your business isn’t already using video marketing, you should get on board this year before you go extinct. In a post corona world where human interaction is going to drop tremendously, text and images don’t stand a chance against video with the growing ADD in customers, especially when it comes to trying to sell products and services online.

Humans are watching more video than ever before, using smartphones to watch and share videos about everything, learning more about brands, and what they have to offer. Think about these stats from ImpactBND:

  • 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video.
  • 52% of consumers claim that watching product videos makes them more confident and guides their online purchasing decisions.
  • 72% of businesses believe video content has improved their conversion rates.

Live streaming as annoying as it is becoming now, is a powerful method of digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it’s the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sources, such as celebrities, athletes, and musicians, having a live stream with an influencer who is interacting directly with comments is a huge draw for an audience.

Twitch has over 15 million daily active users, most of whom tune in just to watch live streaming videos from influencers like Ninja. Arguably the world’s most popular gaming influencer, Ninja, recently signed an exclusive deal with Mixer, which was a power play by the Microsoft-company in recognition of the expected value of live video streaming in the year ahead. Tick tock has surpassed Facebook in the most downloaded app. If this is not proof of video taking over …….. 

5. Good Content Still Matters (and Now Context Matters More!)

Content always was and will remain KING. A content strategy is at the heart of any marketing strategy. Google in 2016 announced micro-moments and mapped customers on different stages of their journey developing a deeper, more sophisticated understanding of online content, and so, marketers must think carefully about their target market and how they can tailor content more precisely in 2020.

BERT was the big update, released on Google in November 2019 which uses intent as a ranking factor, but the major update pushed out on May 17, 2020 due to the corona virus has started impacted some sites more than others. Advice from Google is that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”

Make no mistake. Content marketing is going nowhere.

That being said, Google is getting smarter, and so are algorithms on social media platforms. Remember the last Facebook video you liked and how all of a sudden your newsfeed showed all video in the same genre, category?
Your brand has the power to tell stories and have real conversations and get instant feedback. Original and honest content will breakout from the rest this year. 

5. AI – ML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning) 

These are not buzzwords anymore as much as they are a reality. Smart algorithms are now a part of our everyday life. We have blockchain technologies at the foundation of new business models and the rise of cryptocurrency that is build on AI – ML. Your smart speaker and smartwatch are learning your behavior every day to provide the best customer experience. Sleep tracking, water intake, heart rate monitor, smart homes all these products and services are designed to predict your behavior. Next time you’re confused about what to watch on Netflix and you finally click on a thumbnail – know this, you’ve been served 3/4 options of the same show with a different creative. The very reason you clicked this creative and played that movie/ show will now be stored and analyzed on Netflix’s database to show you similar covers that you are more likely to click on in the future

7. AR/ VR and Interactive Content Will Become Mainstream

Interactive content is anything that people can click on, swipe, or interact with online.  With the lockdowns and WFH protocols, AR and VR will be the driving forces for experiencing brands.

More companies will experiment with interactive content types, such as:

  • Quizzes and polls
  • Augmented reality Videos
  • 360-degree videos

These formats leverage cutting-edge marketing technology, such as augmented reality and video content, to offer people a more immersive, engaging experience. With limitations on travel and human contact and the 5G revolution setting in – AR – VR will definitely be game-changers in this space.

8. Voice

Thanks to Siri, Google, Alexa, and a host of other ‘smart’ devices voice search or communication is continuing to rise. The real lesson for us is that people like to talk and that is a preferred way of interacting. And now, machines are finally catching up to the way people want to search, shop and discover new things.

However, this presents some interesting challenges. This for once changes the SEO logic of keywords. Conducting a voice search, for example, is very different from typing a query, particularly in the results. When a person performs a text-based search, the screen displays the results one page at a time. But when someone asks a device to conduct a search and the device replies verbally, it may only give a few choices at most, and frequently supplies just one choice.

Adopting a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant – it’s also about creating a unique and optimized customer experience that will foster relationships and build brand loyalty.

Marketers targeting voice search users should remember to write in a conversational tone, using keywords that people will speak rather than type. Doing this will help you get the coveted position zero or featured snippets on Google.

9. Chatbots (Will Dominate Customer Service)

Chatbots will evolve with the investments in AI and morph into your virtual “concierge” to get your users to the closest touchpoint where human intervention is needed. Humans are getting used to chatbots and chatbots are learning about humans – its a budding relationship and expect this relationship to only get stronger as we deep dive into data,  marketing funnels, and conversions. With 24-hour support, no cost of salaries and instant responses to customer queries, no need for breaks, vacations, or overtime pay. Facebook pages are helping educate the customers and contact forms have further evolved into chat bots. Chat bots are here to stay.

10. SEO 

We saved the best for last. As a passionate SEO, and everything that’s happening with Google, the rise of regional languages, voice search – SEO or Search Engine Optimization is will be key in unlocking success for brands online. While data privacy is a battle for Google, there are other search engines promising a better tomorrow. Whether is content from blogs or Content from youtube,  SEO will evolve into a discipline that product teams, content teams, UI UX teams, and performance teams will need to integrate with. Regional SEO and logic building will be the driving force for Tier 2 and Tier 3 in India with the JIO revolution and we can only be glad to see the industry grow. While Ads have taken over most of page1 of google, competition and better search engines will force google to relook this strategy.