We’re halfway through 2021, and it’s been a challenging year for many people. The pandemic continues to shift consumer behaviour, and brands have had to adapt swiftly, accelerating new digital marketing trends. Some of these trends have taken off not because they are new, but because of how effective they are at reaching the masses in this virtual, stay-home age.

This year, many marketers also identified workflow issues and legacy tech as barriers to effective marketing. Some industries have emerged unscathed where demand has held up, but many have had their budgets cut left and right. In 2021, low-cost methods of marketing are more important than ever. Check out these digital marketing trends that have taken off in 2021. If you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon, now’s the time to start!

1. Live videos

One in five videos on Facebooks are live streams, and other social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn have also embraced the format. In 2020, many brands and businesses were forced to take their events online, and this has continued on into 2021. Live videos cost next to nothing as all you need is a strong internet connection and your laptop or phone, and they allow brands creative opportunities to reach and interact with their followers. People love live videos too, as they can see raw and unedited footage, or go behind the scenes with their favourite brands and influencers. 

2. Bite-sized content

Bite-sized content is short, straightforward, and easily digestible. As attention spans continue to shrink and more people scroll endlessly, we also see the rise of TikTok, Instagram Reels and stories content. These days, users love getting value from a piece of content without spending too much time watching or looking at it. Apart from short videos, other forms of bite-sized content can also include memes, GIFs and infographics.

3. Personalization

Personalization has been a big part of digital marketing trends for many years. It means delivering content that is tailored to individual customers. According to this study, 72% of consumers say they only engage with content that is personalized and tailored to their interests. With advancements in data and AI technologies, personalization has become much more achievable. By extracting insights from your data, they can help you shape your campaigns and content, from timings, channels, frequency and more.

4. Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is now the fastest growing channel for brands, beating out email marketing, organic search and paid search. More surprisingly, it is also the most cost-effective. For every $1 spents, businesses are making $6.50 on average. The top 13% earns $20 or more. Also, 51% of businesses said that they acquired a higher quality of customers through influencer marketing. However, working with influencers with a large following can be costly. Here’s a guide on finding and engaging the right influencers for you.

5. Social media platforms as shopping channels

With the pandemic, many people learnt how to do business online. Social media platforms also adapted to develop online business solutions. Facebook and Instagram in particular brought purchasing and shopping capabilities directly onto their apps. Now, with Facebook Marketplace and Shops, along with shoppable posts on Instagram, users can make a purchase without switching apps.

shoppable posts

Photo credit: instagram.com/hudabeauty

For consumers, this is even greater convenience. For businesses and brands, this is a way to sell products online apart from building their own online store and website.

6. Chatbots

One of the rising digital marketing trends in 2021 is also the use of chatbots. They offer lots of ease and efficiency for businesses as they can help solve any customer’s query 24/7, 365 days. According to this survey, customers also like resolving issues or completing a purchase without calling or emailing customer service.


Photo credit: mednews.com

The use of chatbots enables a dialogue with customers while solving their queries, adding a human touch to interactions which helps to build customer relationships. On the business side of things, brands can now have conversations with multiple customers at one go, reducing the cost and need of customer service personnels.

7. Authenticity 

Consumers and brands are living in uncertain times and facing a major health pandemic. Many major events such as Black Lives Matter, Stop Asian Hate and the LGBTQ+ movement have also given us pause. Now, consumers need more than just great deals and discounts to identify with and trust brands. They need authenticity, and to know that the business shares in their beliefs. Now more than ever, accountability, transparency, empathy and advocacy are crucial elements in messages and campaigns. The days of ‘fake it till you make it’ are over. Being authentic and human is a trend that will continue to take center stage.

8. Omnichannel marketing

Over half of consumers engage with three to five different channels during their purchasing process. Omnichannel marketing is not just marketing across different platforms. It also responds to customers’ needs and delivers a cohesive message that drives people to action. A consumer’s thought process changes along their purchasing journey, and a brand’s message needs to change according to that. Say for example, a customer receives a text for a new promotion and checks it out, however they abandon their cart. Omnichannel marketing means that the customer would receive a cart abandonment email, as well as retargeting ads for the abandoned products. Statistics show that brands that utilize three or more channels generate great results – purchase frequency is a whopping 250% higher than brands who only use a single channel!