Issue: 19
Date: March, 2022

How Were Digital Marketing 2021 Trends

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It’s great that a research was conducted among 1500 global marketers regarding year 2021 digital marketing trends. It is vivid from the report that the marketing medium and method preferences of marketers seem to be constantly evolving and these preferences change over time.

We observe the prominent choices in digital marketing approaches for 2021 here. One interesting information is that “Brand Awareness” was in the 3rd place. Marketers seem to have increased their budgets by 63%. In 2020, marketers preferred focusing on customer experience and buyer-seller relations. 76% of marketers were already running campaigns and 35% planned to run them in 2021.

When we examine the marketing landscape, we observe that 69% prefer the social media channels. This is followed by SEO (40%), ABM (Customer Based Marketing 38%), Content Marketing (36%), targeted social ads'(28%), referral generation (22%), television ads (20%), inbound marketing (18%), fairs (12%), outdoor advertisements (12%), cold calling (5%) and other (4%).

Lead generation was the top annual marketing target. Customer loyalty was among the least preferred target, that year. Others’ aims differ in the following descending order: customer satisfaction, improving brand awareness, and closing deals.

That year, channels preferred in marketing was as follows: Social media (80%), web sites (78%), e-mail marketing (65%), content marketing (45%), paid social media (42%), search ads (37%), trade shows (32%), Facebook Messenger (25%), community and groups (20%), What's App (17%), other (2%).

Marketers that took part in the research seem to agree that success is only possible by constantly adapting to change and discovering and adapting the most effective channels for them. Talented top marketing competencies that are stated to be overlooked are: convincing, copywriting targeting sales, and prioritization (what to say no to, and what to invest in).

Their annual budgets mainly looks like the following: Paid media (27%), software (26% i.e. task management, content automation, chat bots), headcount (17%), and content creation (26%).

Content marketing seems to have broken a record with 82%. Being effective, it continues get plot of interest. While 17% preferred this method previous year, they were going with 28%.

If we take a look at evaluations and key performance indicators (KPI), we have: Sales at 61%, then website traffic at 52%, social interaction at 47%, lead generation at 38%, web site engagement at 38%, SEO success at 35%, authority at 14%, and other at 3%.

Video and blogs were the most popular content channels that year. Other choices in decreasing order are: infographics, case studies, interviews and e-books. Least ones are the whitepapers and checklists.

Perhaps, we are most curious about the top choices in Social Media channels. Channels work for companies differently depending on their client persona and their distinct features. Here is the majority of choices: 82% Instegram, 80% Twitter, 58% Youtube, 48% LinkedIn, 25% Snapchat, 22% pinterest, 8% Tublr, and 3% other. The highest returns were reported as follows: Facebook (42%), Instagram (33%), Linked In (9%), Youtube (7%), Twitter (6%).

The common opinion of marketers were that SEO was no longer just good to have. While top importance rank of 64% was noted in 2020, this number increased to 69% for 2021. Again, the top three strategies to consider for competitive edge are keyword planning, localization and optimization for mobile devices. Marketers agree that websites with SEO optimization are more effective in achieving goals. Those that think SEO is very important for their website are at 75%, and 83% think that it is also effective in multiple other aspects.

72% of digital marketers use marketing tools for measurement, and 53% review their data, customize, improve, and forecast customer-centric data when producing reports.

One marketing method on the rise was email marketing. It is important that messages are not perceived as "spam" in this critical area. Marketers argue that this method will work for those that segment their clients through extensive customer information. 77% of marketers state that this method was effective that year as well. Their main tactics are as follows: personalization of messages, mobile-friendly e-mail messages, subscriber categorization, e-mail campaigns and dynamic content. The majority send 0-2 e-mails a week.

It was expected that marketers will be effective in customization, customer acquisition, optimization and content creation in the coming years. There seems to be a slight increase in the use of artificial intelligence and bots in marketing. This rate increased from 45% to 47% since the year before.

It should be noted that the figures of this report by Hubspot (source of this article) are approximate in interpretation and near the values observed in their provided graphs. Here, the most important sections were selected in order to display a good perspective to portray last year and this year’s marketing outlook. The fact, that marketers use multiple methods and channels at the same time, suggests that percentages should not be considered as a piece of the pie. Although it is a global study, it is also wise to consider that the participants may be predominantly US marketers. It is a great study to acknowledge sustainable digital marketing choices.

Apart from the report, it is worth mentioning that Google continues to refine its complex searches using artificial intelligence to yield the best results. It continues to put its efforts to compile difficult to understand texts in various languages the best way possible. They are replacing the BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) artificial intelligence algorithm that it uses for sorting in search criteria with the more advanced AI called MUM (Multi-task Uniform Model). This change may require marketers and webmasters to review their SEO updates.

It seems, diversity, customization and creativity will remain important in digital marketing this year as well. Probably, the value of weak quality content and untargeted post and shares will gradually diminish, and strategic, planned and measured digital marketing activities and tactics will bring managers closer to success.


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