Digital Trends To Look Out For in 2021

The digital landscape is always evolving and we’re seeing new innovations changing the way we work and live our day-to-day lives. Businesses face the continuous challenge of being able to integrate these innovations and trends to provide solutions. The emergence of Artificial Intelligence has been a welcome and exciting one. Areas such as customer service has benefited greatly from such innovations, increasing engagement and results. 
Among trends, voice search technology has become popular and convenient for consumers; the next challenge is implementing voice-automated solutions in strategy. 


Voice Search 

Voice search is becoming more popular and the technologies available make it easy to use. Voice search can be conducted through various technologies including smart speakers, mobile phones, desktops and laptops. 

Amongst the top voice search devices are: 
 

  • Google Home
  • Amazon Echo/Alexa 
  • Google Assistant 
  • iPhone/Siri 
  • Android Devices 
  • Microsoft Cortana 


According to Quoracreative, 40% of the adults now use mobile voice search at least once daily. 20% of the adults use mobile voice search at least once monthly. When it comes to keywords that are used most when using voice , ‘how’ is the most used word at a total of 8.64%. Quoracreative 

Voice search is growing and businesses will be looking to stay one steal ahead of their competitors by optimising voice search effectively. Studies show that by 2021, 70% of searches will be done with voice search. 


Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Marketing 


Artificial Intelligence is playing it’s part in marketing; providing solutions in customer experiences. The trends that have been present and will likely evolve in 2021 include: 

  • Chatbots
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Enhanced Customization
  • AI driven customer support and Assistance


Not only businesses have benefitted from Artificial Intelligence, but also consumers in their day-to-day lives. Personal gadgets, media streaming gadgets, smart cars, and home appliances use artificial intelligence. 

The unfortunate circumstances regarding jobs in 2020 due to the outbreak of Covid-19 has left many businesses searching for next steps. With the implementation of AI, businesses are able to carry out activities with limited staff, and AI also opens up opportunities for sectors such as healthcare and increases business productivity.  


Video Marketing 


Video is having a huge influence on consumers and retaining them on websites and social media platforms for longer. 60% of customers say that they watch a product video before buying. Video marketing allows brands to interact with their customers on a personal level. Video allows consumers to see the brand in a new light, building that trust in the process. 

Often before customers come across a video advertising a brand, service or product, they may be asking themselves the following questions:
 

  • What is it? 
  • How can I use it? 
  • Is it worth buying? 
  • How much does it cost?


By creating video, brands are able to answer all of these questions within two minutes or even less. 

Most social platforms now have integrated story features, making video more important; even incorporating live events. This gives followers the chance to interact, whilst not being there physically. 

Video marketing is expected to become the most effective digital marketing trend in 2021. 


Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality 


Virtual and augmented reality is being looked at as one of the breakthroughs in marketing, technologies and communion strategies. 

AR and VR help to present a more realistic experience for the customer; an alternative for when they do not have time to visit the brands websites. Brands are investing in AR technologies in a bid to enhance the customer experience. Customers are able to now try on clothing and products whilst shopping online. The organic way of advertising products and services is still effective, however, unique experiences will be remembered by consumers who are likely to return. 

According to futurist, virtual reality is set to become completely realistic by 2030, and most people will be spending a significant amount of their time in virtual spaces.

According to BOSS Magazine, virtual reality is set to help the healthcare industry and VR will be able to virtually transport the patient into a conflict situation so they are facing the exact thing they are so desperate to avoid. 


Content Marketing To Become More Important 


Content has always been important, it’s what attract users and what retains them. The types of content that is used and how it is implemented depends. Some of the trends that to look out for in 2021 include: 
 

  • Personalised Content to increase 
  • Podcasts to keep making noise 
  • Video and live stream boosting interactivity 
  • Conversational marketing 


The content gracing timelines now varies, whether that includes imagery, videos or blogs. 


Cybersecurity – secured! 


Cyber security isn’t at the top of the list in terms of digital trends considered to be the most exciting; however, considering the Covid-19 pandemic the world has suffered during 2020, it has become even more relevant. Hackers and online fraudsters are finding new ways to commit online fraud, with numbers surging throughout the UK. 

According to FintechNews, 80% of firms have seen an increase in cyberattacks and attacks were up 30% in Q1 2020 on UK businesses. 27% of attacks target banks or healthcare. 

As most UK workers had to work from home during the pandemic, it is not guaranteed that all networks are secure. With remote work likely to be a flexible option for most companies going forward, it’s vital that tighten their networks and upgrade their cybersecurity strategies, possibly expanding them to devices specifically for working from home. 

As a result of the breaches, the official statistics from the Cyber Security Breaches Survey revealed that the majority of businesses (80%) and charities (74%) say that cyber security is a high priority for their senior management. 

The same report revealed that the business sectors that attach a higher priority to cyber security are: 
 

  • Finance and insurance (71% say it is a very high priority, vs. 40% of all businesses)
  • Information and communications (57%)
  • Health, social work and social care (56%). 
     

Businesses are becoming aware of the online threats and are beginning to take action. 


Programmatic Advertising 


Online advertising is a sector that is always evolving as brands find new and innovative ways to connect with consumers. Some interesting advertising statistics: 

  • 70-80% of users ignore sponsored search results. (Search Engine Land) 
  • Videos are shared 1,200% more than text and links combined. (Forbes) 
  • 76% of marketers fail to use behavioural data for online ad targeting. (Adweek)
  • Over 70% of YouTube watch time comes from viewers on mobile devices.(eMarketer)


The introduction of programmatic advertising has changed digital advertising; using artificial intelligence to be able to automate ad purchases and target specific audiences.  

A programmatic advertising platform uses real-time data to identify the best online audience for the campaign, by taking into account things like:

  • Gender 
  • Age 
  • Interests 
  • Location/geography 
     

Programmatic advertising is predicted to be the future of advertising. 75% of all video ads are programmatic. ClickZ 

Have a look at the latest Online Merchandising opportunities here


Working From Home To Stick? 


2020 saw many businesses forced to work from home, following strict lockdown restrictions. As society begins to get back to some type of 'normal', employers may be faced with the task of getting employees back in the office.

The smart technologies that have been introduced such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Webex has enabled employees to maintain their level of communication whilst working remotely. Companies have better equipped employees with tools and technology to be more productive working, we could see this trend of this for the next few years.

The coronavirus pandemic caught most companies at surprise, but it also proved that work can still happen effectively with remote employees, and sometimes can result in improvements in productivity and lower operational costs.


Chatbots 


Chatbots are an exciting digital trend heading into 2021. Although some brands are now adopting chatbots, mainly through social media channels, according to Linchpin, AI will be a major investment in customer experience for a few years. 47% of organisations will be expected to implement chatbots for customer support and 40% are expected to adopt virtual assistants.

Businesses will benefit greatly from implementing chatbots, bringing convenience to both business and consumer. If a business runs 24/7 and is available worldwide, having a system to see to customer needs at all times comes in handy. A chatbot can also handle the requests of thousands of customers at a time, saving a business money and resources. 

For those that complain about customer service, the good news is chatbots don’t have mood swings! Although they will be programmed to pick up human qualities, they will always be nice to customers. 


Summary 


The future of digital is definitely exciting, with the way we communicate, analyse data and use social media; the possibilities seem endless. The shift towards digital for business seems imminent; whether that is a short or long term solution remains to be seen. 

To people planning their digital 2021 strategy, they will have to take some of these trends into consideration. Although this list is not a ‘complete list’ is definitely a good place to start. Businesses can give themselves a great chance by making more personalised and interactive content, optimising voice search and developing relationships with consumers via video. Artificial Intelligence is set to give consumers a more unique experience; enabling us to step into the unknown. 

 

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