DIGITAL MARKETING TRENDS 2021

Digital marketing is constantly evolving, and with everything that’s happened over the last 12 months, there’s no surprise that things have moved along quickly. Now more than ever, a digital presence is key to promoting your business. Where advertisers once fought for prime positions in shopping centres and transport hubs, they’re now fighting to be seen at the top of Google, or create the best viral social media campaign.

At Verto, we’re constantly evolving. Looking for new ways to help our clients succeed in an ever-growing digital world. To do this, we must stay on top of the latest digital marketing trends. To kick-start 2021, we asked our team what they expect to be some of the most influential trends over the next 12 months.

Design

This year, designers are already looking at how they can focus on putting people first. We’re moving into a time where we want to make users feel comfortable and in control, making their lives easier and helping businesses to come across as being a bit more human (almost certainly some of this has been driven by COVID).

That will work on all kinds of levels and across all disciplines, and it will mean different things to different people.

For web and digital interfaces, it will mean a return to clean, simple design that has user experience at its core, making it easier to find the key piece of information and not bombarding users with unwanted informational or design-based clutter along the way. We’ll start to see website’s especially, stepping away from unnecessary technically-orientated functionality while replacing it with smoother, cleaner lines, graphics and typography.

From a design-for-content perspective, we envision things getting more human and personal with design trends shifting towards more organic and human themes; technical, scientific and detailed styling is out, psychedelic, retro and authentic are all in, plus lots of other trends around the same ball-park.

How these will transfer into corporate design is something else entirely, but expect simple trends to appear, the continued use of pastel and muted colour palettes and warm textures and also further movement towards ‘friendly’ typefaces with more character and bolder display properties.

Development

Integration, integration, integration! As websites become smarter, and the sheer volume of possible applications continues to increase, we can already see a growing trend towards websites integrating with third-party software – and not just one or two. From CRM systems to e-commerce databases, a much larger percentage of sites we’re building are pushing or pulling data from numerous systems’ APIs in order to create a seamless, single-platform interface for the customer.

Browser standardisation is also in a golden age with all modern browsers having mostly interchangeable feature support (with the exception of new experimental features), and old browsers that used to be a problem for general support are being fully discontinued. This frees up the creative process a lot.

Lastly, cybersecurity is prevalent as ever. Recently there have been huge data dumps of personal information from companies all over the world, and the speed of these types of leaks is increasing. Securing your site’s data and infrastructure is critical to ensure you keep your customers safe. Throughout 2021 and beyond, we will continue to use Cloudflare to provide a world-class protection layer between the server and visitors, and will provide constant training to prevent social engineering attacks.

SEO

E-A-T is one of Google’s most talked about updates. Coming to our attention in the summer of 2018, EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness and impacts a huge amount of search results every day. These factors help Google determine whether a webpage has useful and quality content based on what a user is searching for.

EAT is most important for search queries that come under the YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) topics. These include webpages that could potentially impact a person’s future happiness, health, financial stability, or safety.

Content that fits the EAT principle has been reported to rank higher than content that doesn’t. To ensure your content fits this principle, we recommend researching into what content your users enjoy reading/seeing when they search for a product or service. Simply reviewing the top results for specific search terms on a regular basis can help you understand what Google deems as valuable content and will allow you to adapt your strategy based on the results.

Additionally, voice search will continue to play a huge part in how users are finding content online. We’re seeing more often websites ranking for long-tail keywords, especially questions, thanks to the prevalence of AI technology such as Siri, Alexa and Google Home. Naturally, we ask questions when we speak, we rarely communicate solely using keywords or phrases, and therefore website’s and their content must look to answer these questions in clear and concise ways in order to appease both users and search engines.

Copywriting

Following on from the implications of voice search and cleaner design above, the trends surrounding copywriting are similar. As we head into 2021, we envision content becoming more human. No doubt this will have been accelerated by COVID-19 which has seen CEOs battling with their young children while trying to host a Zoom call and industry professionals taking deal-breaking calls in their kitchens. We’ve been given more of an insight into the personal lives of the professionals we connect with, helping us to realise we’re all human, and to really engage and communicate with each other, we must start to let our personalities shine both online and offline.

We’ll also see a gradual stop to companies reeling off all the great services they provide with little reference to their customers and instead see a focus on finding solutions to the challenges faced by the industry. Companies will start answering the questions their customers ask, rather than assuming they know what they want. It’s going to be less about what you do but why you do it.

Social Media

2020 may have felt like our least sociable year yet, but the way we see it, we just learnt how to connect in different ways. For some businesses, social media was a minor lifeline. Those who had never stepped foot on a platform now needed it as a way to communicate new rules and regulations to their customers, take orders for click and collect or to simply advertise their business where they once relied on footfall traffic.

Social media is the easiest place for consumers to find the most up-to-date information about a business they follow so we predict more businesses using the platform to share company-wide updates, communicate directly with their audiences and become a larger part of the community, rather than it being a them-and-us kind of environment.

We’ll see more human faces appearing on business social media channels. Interviews or celebratory announcements among others will flood our newsfeeds as businesses focus more on employee appreciation and wellbeing instead of sales when it comes to social media.

And now for the quick sales pitch…

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help build your business’s digital marketing footprint in 2021, call us on 01536 411153!

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