2020 inspired us to consume media differently to stay connected in a time when we were forced apart. Now in 2021, we must try to look even further into the future of digital marketing.
While there are a few trends that have already been forgotten, there are a few that are here to stay – and grow. Among the top digital trends we anticipate in 2021, a boom in live streaming & influencer marketing, a shift towards “buy local” movements, and a move towards digital privacy made the top of our list.
Digital Trend #1:
Boom in Influencer Marketing & Livestreaming
The popular solution to 2020’s stay-home orders became livestreaming. Whether it was your virtually tuning into yoga class or your favorite band, individuals turned to their screens in an attempt to maintain a degree of normalcy in our routines. Virtual meetings became the norm for workplaces that were fortunate enough to transition to remote work, and more time at home saw unprecedented growth from popular livestreaming platforms like Twitch & YouTube – the result being a whopping 99% growth year over year in the livestream industry.
Livestreaming is a natural medium for influencer marketing to take place, especially during a time when in-person events were, and remain, restricted. In lieu of past sponsorships that came from on-site events, influencers have turned to alternate revenue streams to fill the gap. TikTok, whose users surged in July 2020, has seen a new pool of influencers emerge as the app gains popularity. Reels (Instagram’s competitor to TikTok) has seen similar trends, making it easier than ever for influencers to “go live” – and for advertisers to take advantage of influencer partnerships.
Our prediction: Livestreaming will continue to surge, and influencer marketing, which has steadily been on the rise, will boom in 2021, bolstered by the popularity of platforms that make it easy & effortless.
Digital Trend #2:
Ecommerce Expands as a Result of ‘Buying Local’ movements across the US
In 2020, “shop local” movements cropped up across the country, encouraging shoppers to support their community and keep their favorite retailers and restaurants open by spending their dollars in their own backyard.
Retailers have been forced to change the way they do business if they want to make it through these safety woods. Countless restaurants have had to set up online ordering systems as curbside pickup becomes the norm. Boutique shops, which rely on the atmosphere of their store to sell their items, have been faced with translating that “feel” to the digital realm.
These efforts are worth it – the demand is there. Consumers are eager to support small businesses and their continued patronage during the pandemic has given them a chance to succeed. During the 2020 holiday season, small retailers saw a record average increase of 110% in online sales. Many retailers express being grateful for push they needed to get their website enhanced and their online shops up and running.
Our prediction: Small businesses will continue to see the benefit of operating online, even after the country begins to reopen. They will respond to the demand of their customers by taking advantage of e-commerce options and learning to become more social media savvy.
Digital Trend #3:
Less Targeting Options for Advertisers as Users Continue to Call for Privacy
When it comes to social media, the sentiment in the air can often smell of distrust. According to a recent study, 85% of Americans think at least one big tech company is spying on them. The same study found that when Americans have privacy concerns, up to 40% of them will simply stop using the app, suggesting that privacy is more important to them than maintaining a presence on social media.
Cries for the government to step in and regulate social media platforms have become pervasive over the past couple of years and have not gone ignored. The US House of Representatives’ wrapped up a 16 month investigation into the monopoly held by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, citing the need to restore competition to the digital space.
But 2020 proved to be a tipping point for digital privacy, as Google announced a plan to phase out cookies, the means by which website users are tracked and user data is collected. In a game-changing announcement that ruffled the feathers of Facebook, Apple announced a significant change in their App privacy settings, requiring all Apps to ask permission to track users and collect their data. This will impact digital advertisers across the globe, limiting their targeting options and making reporting less accurate.
Our prediction: On the heels of Apple’s decision, device manufacturers and advertising platforms will limit user data collection and make efforts to improve privacy for users on their devices and apps.
What Does 2021 Have in Store for You?
2020 has thrown everyone a few curveballs, whether you’re a small business owner in need of a new website, an independent influencer wondering how to make the most out of social media, or a digital advertiser that will be impacted by Apple’s new privacy changes.
Keep an eye on the digital trends we’ve outlined and you’ll be poised for success in 2021. Need a hand managing it all? Seek out a digital marketing expert or agency you trust to help you grow your marketing strategy.