With 2020 behind us, let’s look toward the next 12 months to predict what lies ahead. The year 2020 was unpredictable, to say the least. That meant some of the predictions were proven true, while others failed to materialize – resulting in changes in the way the marketing landscape evolved.
More specifically, sales of eCommerce products skyrocketed, people spent a lot more time on social media and videoconferencing became commonplace. This has led to a major change in how brands connect with their consumers.
What trends for digital marketing will continue to take place in 2021? Here are some key trends to consider:
- Increased influencer content and live-streams
Stay-at-home orders caused canceled events, preventing consumers from attending in-person events. They were also unable to socialize with their friends and family.
This spiked the number of people tuning in to our brand-sponsored live streams, celebrity-hosted live videos, or online workshops.
In Facebook lockdown periods, live viewings spiked by 50%, while on Instagram, viewings surged by 70%. The use of TikTok increased by 50%, and it may continue to climb in 2021 as well.
Streaming human-driven content like live streams of influencers has the potential to develop trust, and tap into the ‘in-the-moment connection that 2020 consumers desire.
With the outbreak of the pandemic, Amazon Live exploded. Influencers leveraged the platform to promote their favorite products due to its shoppable live streams. More importantly, viewers were able to make purchases during the live streams.
- Goodwill and mission-driven brand missions
Social media report 2021 from Hootsuite indicates:
Brands that think smarter and more creatively will understand how their social media platforms fit into the lives of their customers and find ways to contribute creatively to conversations.”
Transparency is at the heart of this. In 2021, consumers will begin to suspect brands they perceive as ‘shady’ or insincere. Why would they trust a company they cannot trust or don’t believe in? This is why connecting consumers with brands will be crucial to their brand’s survival.
Today more than ever, brands are having to identify how to thrive in uncertain times. According to Deloitte, in order to do this, brands need to be “deeply aware of why they exist and whom they are built to serve”.
In the past year, we have seen brands do good things, but we expect this will get even hotter next year.
More programs like Hilton’s #HotelsForHeroes, which provided free rooms for medical workers, and Chanel’s contribution to the pandemic by requiring their seamstresses to make face masks..
3. UGC can improve customer experience
Customer experience is more important than ever before.
Consumers look for memorable brands that offer enjoyable experiences. A buyer wants assurance before buying – after all, nobody wants to make the wrong decision.
A connected world demands a continuous stream of user-generated content (UGC):
• It creates and strengthens communities
•It’s inspirational and relatable
•It enables brands to meet customers wherever they spend their time
Brands can leverage UGC as the best way to forge relationships with their customers and provide social proof in 2021, which will be a common theme due to the rise of stay-at-home orders and restrictive measures.
4. The importance of sustainability
81% of consumers strongly trust that companies should assist them in improving the environment.
A number like that shouldn’t be surprising as we’ve seen brands shift towards a more sustainable future in recent years, whether it’s through their packaging, systems, or anything else.
Consumers are actively seeking out purpose-driven brands that are conscious about the environment and have a positive impact on the world. With the world remaining fragile, 2021 will see brands need to demonstrate their sustainability.
Ocean Cleanup is such a good example of a brand that’s done this well. In late October, it released its first product made only from plastics discarded in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
They announced their commitment to creating beautiful, sustainable products by using recycled plastics from the ocean. As a full-circle turn of events, the revenue generated from these products will benefit the brand’s ocean cleanup campaign.
5. Diversity will be a key factor
Inclusivity is also a more prominent theme in 2020, as the Black Lives Matter movement emphasizes endemic issues within societies.
Research by Accenture shows that consumers are shifting away from retailers that don’t reflect their beliefs about identity and diversity, with 41% of consumers shifting away from brands that don’t show enough diversity.
If a brand fails to prove its commitment to inclusivity or appears not to be participating in the inclusivity conversation, it might suffer impacts in 2021. Conversely, brands that openly demonstrate their commitment to inclusive causes will benefit and deepen their connections with buyers.