Digital marketing, as a field, is the opposite of complacent and stationary. It’s evolutionary and progressive. The technologies, trends, and perceptions in and around digital marketing are constantly changing for the better. And even in a year when normalcy has been pushed to the back burner, digital marketing continues to evolve.
Here’s a look at some of the latest trends and what they mean for us, as marketers, business owners, and professionals.
1. Video Content Explodes
Video content has been steadily increasing for the last decade and a half. But this is the year where it’s truly exploded.
In 2020, 92 percent of all marketers say video is an integral part of their marketing strategy. (That’s up from 78 percent in 2015.) And in 2021, it’s estimated that the average person will spend 100 minutes watching online video every single day.
This increase can be tied to the growth of a few different types of video, but is largely due to the rise in live streaming video. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or webinars, live video grabs the viewer’s attention and hooks them in.
Perhaps that’s why 95 percent of marketers plan on increasing or maintaining video spend in the coming year.
2. LinkedIn Sees Major Growth
LinkedIn has added 15 million new users since the start of 2020, while growth in user sessions is up 26 percent. In particular, LinkedIn has seen its “Learning” platform increase by nearly 50 percent.
This surge in LinkedIn is partially due to the COVID crisis and the massive layoffs that have caused people to reconsider their web presences. However, experts don’t expect numbers to revert. In fact, they believe the platform’s popularity will continue to rise over the next few months and years.
3. Voice Search Takes Center Stage
Long Island digital marketing company Active Web Group has noticed a steep rise in voice search in recent months. Thanks to an influx of digital assistants (including Alexa, Siri, Google, and Cortana), voice searches are becoming more common. This is changing the face of SEO and requiring businesses to shift their approach to content and keywords.
For example, instead of searching for “pizza place Atlanta,” people are searching, “what’s the best pizza place near my hotel.” This has made long-tail, semantic keywords more important than ever before.
4. Rise of the Pillar Page
Sales pages are out and pillar pages are in.
Rather than driving cold traffic directly to a sales page where visitors are expected to open up their wallets, successful digital marketers are finding it far more effective to nurture with pillar pages.
A pillar page is basically a long-form, in-depth page that educates and tells a story. These pages offer massive value for free. Then at the end of the page – or carefully spliced throughout – there are CTAs for small upsells that relate to the content on the pillar page.
This sort of marketing – where you give and then make an ask – is the most effective method of selling in today’s environment.
5. Email Experiences a Resurgence
Email has always been a critically important aspect of digital marketing, but it was teetering on the edge for a few years. In 2020, it’s experienced some degree of resurgence. Many brands have cracked the code on newsletters and have been able to develop loyal followings by focusing on adding value (rather than providing boring company updates). If you’re looking for an example, Robinhood’s Snacks email is one of the best.
6. Chatbots Become Mainstream
We’ve been talking about the rise of chatbots for years. But until recently, they haven’t had much utility outside of customer service. Now, in 2020, the script is changing. Chatbots are becoming a mainstream marketing tool – particularly on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
The most successful marketers are leveraging chatbots to start conversations, qualify prospects, and then make a seamless hand-off to a human who can further nudge customers down the marketing funnel.
Putting it All Together
When you look at all of the different ways digital marketing is evolving, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. However, that’s not the goal of this article. Digital marketing should be something that you press into with excitement – not stress and anxiety. So identify the trends that you find manageable and forget about the ones that feel like “just another thing” on your to-do list. But whatever you do, make sure you’re growing alongside the industry. Because if you don’t make a good faith effort to keep up, it’ll quickly pass you by.