The unique events from 2020 have set a precedent for change and progress in the digital marketing industry. SEO Manager Matt Elshaw, and Digital Advertising Manager Gabe Mach, share the top digital marketing trends in 2021 to inform marketers proactively preparing for the year ahead.
SEO Trends – Matt Elshaw, SEO Manager
1. Smarter Content Optimisation
Advancements to Google’s algorithm and platforms allows better interpretation of user behaviour for marketers. Google’s plan for the future of search is to provide great user experiences. Last month’s broad core update proved the importance of high-quality and relevant content. Taking the time to understand your brand’s primary buyer personas will ensure the content you publish is engaging, valuable, and relevant.
2. Page Experience, User Experience & AI
Artificial Intelligence (AI) has played a significant role in the progression of SEO, largely influenced by Google’s algorithm updates. Understanding these updates’ function can help you lay the foundations for great SEO across your brand’s digital network.
The upcoming Core Web Vitals update remains the key evolutionary factor for search in 2021. Page experience optimisation and the EAT framework will become the standard criteria for all web content.
As many would have noticed last year, the real strength in SEO comes from the ability to be prepared for change. Before moving forward into a new year, marketers need to plan for the future and maintain an open-minded mindset to new processes and strategies.
3. Organic Google Shopping
The past year has seen a significant increase in online shopping. In response to this uplift, Google expanded its Shopping product tab to showcase product listings organically. Businesses can advertise their products in search results to a much larger audience in a format that appeals to users.
4. Mobile-Led Design
As many marketers would be aware, it is vital that all websites and their content be mobile friendly. The most significant consideration for 2021 is ensuring that the overall mobile experience is designed for the user first. It’s been a while now since Google implemented mobile-first indexing, however, we still see many sites lagging behind in this area.
Digital Advertising Trends – Gabe Mach, Digital Advertising Manager
1. Data Privacy
Recent regulatory changes to data privacy are expected to impact search data in the coming years. Marketers must rethink the way they collect and analyse data. Our recent blog explores the ways businesses can harness the power of first-party data in privacy-considered marketing strategy.
Late last year, Apple announced a significant update in their pending iOS 14 posing major challenges for Facebook advertisers. The update will dramatically alter the way marketers manage and track paid campaigns across Facebook and Instagram. Our recent blog article provides key insight and advice for businesses in preparation for this inevitable update.
2. The Rise of Social Commerce
The e-commerce industry experienced a significant boom over the past year. Social media platforms have evolved to assist brands looking to capitalise on the increase of online buyers. Facebook announcement of its Shop feature early last year enables businesses to easily sell and advertise products and services. Many retailers embraced the move to social commerce to provide a shopping experience that complements, and in some ways, mirrors an in-store experience.
3. Automation & Acquisition – New Google Ad Types
Responsive Ads, powered by AI automates and optimises ad headlines, copy and Call-To-Action (CTA) based on particular search queries and audience. This ad type enables marketers to save valuable time and leverage Google insight to launch and manage high-performing campaigns. These are also becoming prevalent in Facebook Ads too, which when used strategically, can dramatically reduce the manual input and review necessary to deliver efficient results.
Search marketers can now capture leads directly from Google Ads via Google Discover and YouTube campaigns. Unfortunately, this feature is currently limited to accounts with ad spends of $50,000 (USD), so many businesses will not be able to take advantage of this feature at this time.
4. Engage Your Target Audience
Short-form content is the way of the future for businesses using digital marketing. The introduction of new post formats such as Stories, Reels and TikTok provides brands with greater organic exposure and higher engagement.
In November 2020, Instagram added new functionality to allow users to search across the app using keywords. SEO tactics are now more critical than ever to consider when executing social media content strategies. Employ the use of hashtags in your Social Media Marketing strategy to capitalise on this new trend to gain exposure to new audiences.
Automation, machine learning and user privacy are common themes for 2021 in the digital marketing industry. When planning and designing marketing strategies, ensure you consider key trends, new technologies and consumer expectations to drive goal-driven results.