The idea of digital marketing has changed a lot in the past few years. One of the biggest factors in that change has been artificial intelligence. Once considered an ambitious concept, AI has become a major factor in digital marketing and it is becoming more and more prominent. AI is so much more than a trend or fad. Digital marketers always keep up with the latest happenings in AI because of the significant role it plays.
There’s more to the advancement of digital marketing than just AI though. Here’s how this marketing concept will change in 2021.
- Chatbots Will Communicate with Customers More
Chatbots are another thing that are rooted in AI. The technology is backed by software that processes naturally language by deciphering it and responding to it. Chatbots are programmed to understand what a customer is saying, what they need, and offer an appropriate response.
Customers are already talking with chatbots, sometimes without even realizing it. They have been used across social media in particular and became more prominent in 2019. There are lots of benefits to using a chatbot to interact with people, including offering real-time responses to queries and instant answers 24/7/365.
It’s estimated that around 4/5 businesses (80%) will adopt chatbots at some point in 2021.
- Social Media Will Become a Branch of Marketing and Customer Service
Social media and messenger platforms such as Facebook Messenger, WeChat, and WhatsApp do more than just give people a way to speak to one another. They also give brands and companies the chance to communicate with customers in new and more effective ways.
Both Messenger and WhatsApp are owned and operated by Facebook with over a billion active users each month. Over 50 billion messages are sent on the platforms each day. It makes sense for businesses to be where the people are, including being available on messenger platforms.
Businesses have already adopted these apps to directly message customers and provide answers to their questions. They also use them to deliver more information about their products, services, and overall business purpose.
This communication goes both ways as brands can use the platform to get feedback and information from customers. They can ask customers to provide their experiences, complete surveys, take polls, and do more. Outside of just involving customers, social messaging can be used for;
- Cultivating contacts and communities
- Providing information about a brand, including the products and services they offer
- Increasing sales by informing customers about discounts and promotions and offering special codes
- Providing assistance and support whenever necessary
Direct communication between customers and brands is always a good idea. Most customers will demand brands be available on social media and messaging apps. Not only does it offer more personalized experiences, but it increases the overall value of the experience.
Around two-thirds (63%) of customers say that they would return to a website that had live chat options because of their convenience and simplicity.
- Video Marketing Will Remain the Most Important Marketing Strategy
Videos were big in 2018, they were big in 2019, and they will be big in 2021. Videos will soon become the most dominant aspect of digital marketing. This is something that is expected to happen by 2025.
It’s easy to understand how and why it happened too. Customers enjoy learning through videos. They are more confident about making purchases, particularly big purchases, after seeing video reviews and testimonials about products.
How digital marketing will be different in 2021 in terms of videos is that the videos themselves are changing.
The current trend is that short videos – between five to thirty seconds – are the most popular. These videos are generally included in longer videos as advertisements.
While vlogging is still a very popular medium these days, YouTube is no longer the only video-sharing platform marketers are interested in. Facebook Live videos and Facebook and Instagram stories offer other ways for digital marketers to show their flair. Another upcoming trend is the idea of 360-degree videos.
Videos offer some unique value to digital marketers, including;
- Videos can be watched on any device at any time
- They include the same information as an email or landing page without the eye strain that comes with reading a lot of information
- It’s easy to reformat and re-use videos – including as transcripts for blog posts or as podcasts
Videos also work wonders for traffic and views. Pages with videos on them are 50 times more likely to drive organic traffic. Pro tip: order a few niche relevant guest posts and include your video in the content to grab some indirect traffic.
- Visual Search Will Dominate Regular Search
We live in a busy world so it’s no wonder people value convenience and are always looking for more convenient ways to do things. That includes searching and shopping online. Visual search and image search are the answer to the problem.
Users can take photos and then upload them to Google Images for targeted results related to that image. It also works to allow people to search by image, uploading images they find online that they want to know more about.
Google and Pinterest launched its Lens visual search tool to view things in retail stores. For Pinterest, there are many shoppable posts organized into catalogs that allow people to “shop the look” with a click or two.
The trend of visual search has proved to be most effective with millennial customers. Social Media Today suggests that around 62% of millennials are interested in searching by an image like this over more traditional searches.
This means that digital marketing agencies need to expand their range of SEO services and work on optimizing their images to help their clients appear more in organic search results.
The Future of Digital Marketing is Smart and Visual
Digital marketing is becoming an increasingly visual medium. From images and videos to visual searches, people are interested in seeing products before buying them. Smart chatbots allow for people to learn about products and get answers before buying a product too, which makes them more likely to go through with the final purchase.