5 Top Digital Trends for 2021

eCommerce, SEO, Social Media

By Sharanya Venkatesh on 02/15/2021

It’s a brand new year and we at Watersky Digital are pleased to continue our tradition of bringing you the latest digital trends for 2021. As always, we aim to help you plan for the year ahead and specifically understand what these trends mean for you.

Digital lifestyles have been on the rise and with COVID-19 in 2020, the acceleration of digital was exponential even in hitherto non-digital sectors.
We had everyone from our colleagues to our favorite radio host working from home and making it work.

For the world of business, the reliance on digital marketing actually doubled. The predicted value of digital marketing & advertising for 2020 was over $300 billion. However, PR Newswire reported that the value in 2020 exceeded $600 Billion.

This is not shocking for marketing professionals who realized that the lives of our customers were being lived online. Online was the best place to reach them. Whether through eCommerce, data-driven advertising, social media, or customized communications.

Here are the top 5 digital marketing trends in 2021

TREND 1

VIDEO


Both short and long-form videos have gained great prominence in 2020. Facebook’s launch of Facebook Watch, Instagram’s launch of IGTV, and Apple’s continued development of Apple TV are all evidence of the same.

TikTok ruled the roost when it came to short-form video. So much so, that the addictive form was later introduced by Instagram as a new feature called Instagram Reels.

What this means for you: Think Visually

TikTok may or may not be the right fit for your industry. However, you can benefit from additional video features on Instagram like stories, IGTV, and Reels. Mixing up media forms on Instagram can give you an extended reach on the platform.

Reels are highly addictive and have seen great results since their launch. For instance, Sephora France sees close to half a million views on each reel. Reels are quick to produce and can be cost-effective as they are vertical videos and typically about 15 seconds long.

Video, in general, can also be a big theme in your internal marketing or corporate communications strategy this year as colleagues continue from home offices for the foreseeable future.

TREND 2

SOCIAL COMMERCE


Another effect of lockdowns and digital lifestyles meant that any non-essential shopping had to be done online. Social commerce or shopping through social media platforms saw a boom in investments and infrastructure in 2020. Instagram made shopping more seamless through the app. Facebook launched Facebook Shops. Even LinkedIn messages started to be used as a sales tool by companies or individuals offering services.

In 2021, this means we will see more shopping activity not only on eCommerce sites but also on social media platforms.

What this means for you: Don’t Discount Social 

As a B2B enterprise, social commerce may seem like an abstract concept to you. However, do not discount the influence that social platforms can have on your end consumers. E.g., you could evaluate what kind of social commerce activities your retail partners have planned in 2021. It may be worth collaborating with them from a brand standpoint to see if engagement on social leads to higher conversions.

TREND 3

DEMAND HABITUATION IN E-COMMERCE


As with the previous topic, eCommerce saw a boom in 2020. The global eCommerce market value hit $3.9tn in 2020 accounting for an unprecedented 17% of all retail sales.

This happened because online shopping was the only viable and safe way to shop for many segments of the population. Demand habituation is when new users start a new habit in a particular circumstance. But the behavior continues long after the circumstances change. This means new users, older users who started shopping online in 2020 are going to continue their online shopping habits after having discovered the convenience.

What this means for you: Accommodate Wider User Basis

If you have your own online store, in 2021 it will be important to make the site user-friendly to a broader base of users. This means making your site more user-friendly and intuitive. If you work with online retail partners, it may be beneficial to examine their usability. This is even more true for mobile sites or apps. Checking for consistency between the desktop and mobile experience can also help identify any gaps that can discredit the site or app.

Want to know more about evaluating your retail partner’s eCommerce capabilities?  Talk to us.

TREND 4

MOBILE SEO


We’ve been working for a global, luxury beauty brand over the past few months and our research has shown us that the ratio of desktop to mobile users is becoming more and more uneven. We’re looking at 30% desktop users and 70% mobile across several categories of websites. Mobile apps have become the preferred way for users to interact with their chosen brands.

This has implications not only for mobile UX but also for SEO.

What this means for you: Optimize for Small Screens

It is time to ask yourself the following questions:
Is your app optimized for app store searches?
Is your content written to be consumed easily on mobile screens?

Optimizing your SEO for mobile touches upon various areas from mobile-first indexing to optimizing images, content, page speed, content structure (how your content pieces connect), and your backlink profile. For instance, creating links that lead users to your app.

TREND 5

IoT & VOICE OPTIMIZATION


With people spending more time at home and trying to find a balance between work and life, smart home devices have become increasingly popular. IoT or the Internet of Things is another key digital trend for 2021. IoT is seeing increased usage not only in homes but also in the retail sector for processes like inventory management.

This is connected to the increase in voice-led transactions on mobile, smart home devices, etc. Therefore, voice optimization is a related digital trend for 2021. For instance, voice can be four times faster as an input technique compared to touchscreen input.

What this means for you: Humanize Your Approach

Digital lives mean more screen fatigue. Imagine your customers are working on their computer screens, shopping on handheld devices, consuming streaming video or short-form video to relax. With this being the case, voice commands or input can actually offer some relief from this. If you optimize your site or your SEO set up to accept more human language friendly commands or keyphrases, you can set yourself up for early success with IoT and voice.

WHAT TO DO NEXT


We hope this round-up of the top digital trends for 2021 was a useful read. We wish you a safe and successful year ahead! If you want to keep up with the latest digital trends, subscribe to Watersky Digital’s newsletter.

We wish you a successful start to 2021!

Best digital regards,