When we started 2021, we thought we would quickly leave the chaos of 2020 behind us. But the desired big change is turning out to be slower than expected. The countries with the most vaccination are those that are beginning to see the light, but unfortunately, others are suffering another wave of infections in a very difficult and complicated situation. To all of you, I wish you all the best.
In this context, digital marketing has also had to adapt to the situation and has been impacted by the fact of having to stay at home. For example, in 2020 we saw online sales grow as never before. We had never spent so much time on social media and video conferencing became the norm.
Let’s look at some of the trends that were driven during the pandemic and are here to stay. Notice that most of the trends I mention are not technological novelties but trends that are finding their place in the market.
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In 2020, probably because the new reality was difficult to assimilate, many people were in a state of mind in which it was not easy to concentrate and think about new projects. It was easier to consume content that came directly to our inboxes or on social networks.
Whoever though that newsletters would die with the GDPR was very wrong and several studies indicate the opposite: even in 2020 the volume of users increased. Currently, there are more than 3.9 billion daily email users and this figure is expected to increase to 4.3 billion by 2023 (Statista, 2020).
Precisely what the GDPR has brought about is that many people are concerned about being subscribed only to those newsletters that are of interest to them. Therefore, now more than ever, you should worry about getting more visitors to your website to sign up for your newsletter and provide them with the content they are looking for. Remember that you have a good tool, Nelio A/B Testing, which will be of great help to improve conversion on your website.
Probably also due to the fact of being locked up at home all day and needing not to be alone in front of the screen all day, podcasts have gained popularity and are expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
In addition, this format is also highly consumed by young people. It is increasingly common to find people with headphones on the street or practicing a sport, who instead of listening to music, use that time to listen to a podcast of their interest. Podcasts can be used to entertain, tell interesting stories, or conduct interviews, and are also useful as a means of training course. They allow you a kind of closeness with your users that is not easy to achieve in other media, they are easy to produce and allow you to differentiate yourself from the competition easily.
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In 2020 there was a big explosion of Tik Toks and other short videos to distract us from the stress or boredom (to whichever applies) in which we found ourselves. It was a way to escape from the situation we were living in.
But leaving aside pure entertainment, the fact that all kinds of face-to-face events were eliminated forced a great growth of professionals and companies publishing short videos to promote themselves, not only on Facebook, but also on other social networks that we had not seen before such as LinkedIn and Twitter.
From here, this type of promotion has become common in professional social networks. It is another way of promoting yourself that allows you to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Just as conferences, congresses, and face-to-face events were eliminated, so were courses and any type of face-to-face training. Many professionals, in order not to lose their market, were forced to create webinars and live sessions to train and connect with their audience.
On Facebook, live views increased by 50% during the peak period, while views on Instagram increased by 70%. From fitness classes to workshops of all kinds, live video communication grew exponentially and is here to stay.
Particularly interesting was the case of Amazon Live that was launched during the pandemic. Influencers came to the platform to promote their favorite products during live events. In addition, during the live broadcasts, viewers could buy the products advertised in them, while watching them.
More Social Awareness
The pandemic, apart from the impact on physical health, has had a psychological impact on everyone. There are people who have suffered directly or very closely from COVID, others have lost their jobs, others have suffered great isolation, etc. and all of this leads to a need to stop and spend more time reflecting on our meaning in life and what really matters to us.
This reflection has led to greater social awareness, and more sensitivity in what and how we want to consume products and services and connect with our favorite brands. Surely, now not everything goes and there is more demand from consumers for more transparency about the purpose of the company. We want to be happier and we want to trust more in those sincere companies and professionals who defend humanitarian and fair causes.
For example, in the hotel sector, one of the most affected by the pandemic, Hilton together with American Express carried out the #HotelsForHeroes campaign, in which they gave away one million rooms to medical workers so that they could more easily perform their work without suffering in case they infected their families. This says a lot about a company. Another example: Chanel during the pandemic pick also altruistically commissioned its sewing professionals to make face masks. And of course, there were many, many more.
It is not that it is new that we see brands doing good things, but due to the situation now there is more sensitivity and there will be an even greater emphasis on this aspect. For a company to be aware that, beyond the revenue it can earn, it can also bring value to society, will ultimate bring more benefits than if it only focuses on its bottom line.
Emphasis on Sustainability
Not only has social awareness increased, but so has concern for the environment. According to a recent Deloitte study on consumer habits, the pandemic has had an impact on consumer habits from a sustainability point of view.
Avoiding single-use plastics is the most common way consumers demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, with 61% saying they have reduced their consumption. The next areas of interest are paying attention to seasonality (49%) and buying local products (45%). Sustainability issues remain a key factor for nearly a third of consumers, who say they have stopped buying certain brands due to sustainability concerns. In addition, around one in five have opted for low-carbon transport or switched to renewable energy.
In the last couple of years we have seen a shift in brands moving towards a more sustainable future, whether through the materials they use, their packaging, their systems, or anything else.
The Ocean Cleanup is a great example of a non-profit foundation that is making a big impact. At the end of October last year, they introduced their first product, a pair of sunglasses made solely from plastic collected from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
In addition, the income generated by the products they sell will be returned to the foundation’s clean-up campaign.
Even if you can’t reach the level of this foundation, there are many aspects that you can take care of to do your bit. Giving visibility of all of them to your audience, builds trust and promotes the desire to be part of your community.
Inclusion Will Be Key
Inclusion also became a focus in 2020, particularly with the Black Lives Matter movement highlighting some of the endemic problems that persist in society.
In a study conducted by Female Quotien, Ipsos and Google interviewed nearly 3,000 American consumers from diverse backgrounds to better understand perceptions around diverse or inclusive ads. The study asked participants about their perceptions regarding 12 categories related to diversity and inclusion in advertising. Specifically, they were asked to think about which of the following aspects, if any, they believe are important for brands to be aware of in order to be inclusive and diverse in their advertising campaigns: gender identity, age, body type, race/ethnicity, culture, sexual orientation, skin tone, language, religious/spiritual affiliation, physical ability, socioeconomic status, and overall appearance.
As you can see in the image above, of the different groups surveyed, LGBTQ and Black consumers expressed the strongest preference for diverse and inclusive ads.
Brands that consider themselves non-inclusive, or that don’t appear to be part of the conversation about inclusion, will likely see impacts in 2021. On the other hand, brands that openly show their involvement in inclusive causes will reap the benefits and better connect with their shoppers.
Increased Voice and Visual Search
Perhaps because people at home had few opportunities for conversation, or perhaps simply because this type of technology is more readily available (roughly one in four U.S. households has a smart speaker of some kind), more and more consumers are doing searches through voice tools like Alexa.
And you may be wondering, what impact this type of searches can have on your website. I recommend reading the article Okay Google, How Do I Optimize for Voice Search? by Travis McGinnis in which he explains the keys so that your website is not harmed, if not the opposite, with voice searches.
But it is not just voice search that will prevail this year and next: we can also expect other creative search methods, such as visual search, to gain a foothold in the market. Tools like Google Lens allow consumers to search for anything they can see. This means that we will have to focus even more on the alt text of the images and image sitemaps. Visual elements will become increasingly important in the SEO game. In your post publishing process, if you incorporate a tool like Nelio Content, there will be no shortage of images in any of your posts.
The Importance of Digital Marketing
The pandemic has affected us and continues to affect us all. We are more aware of our fragility and want more authentic experiences. Those companies and brands that incorporate and promote in the company’s digital culture and marketing the contribution of value to society will see how they will achieve a better positioning in the market.