2020 was a turbulent year and the uncertainty has somewhat continued well into 2021. This means that many pre-pandemic trend predictions either didn’t come to fruition or were adapted to deal with the ‘new normal’.
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The last 12 months has seen eCommerce sales skyrocket, more people than ever spending time on social media and live streaming and video conferencing become the new way of life. Let’s take a look at the techniques smart businesses are currently using to successfully engage and connect with their customers during this unpredictable time.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is here and it is predicted to ramp up in the months and years ahead. An exciting example of AI is chatbots and these are an important part of digital marketing now and will be into the future. Chatbots are virtual assistants, which use instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with customers or any site visitors. With learning capabilities that allow them to build off previous conversational data from a customer and use that to personalize future conversations, chatbots can initialize a relationship with a customer 24/7, and can provide instant responses to inquiries and answers to basic questions. Chatbots allow a business to offer a new level of customer service and moving forward is something most businesses must leverage to keep up with their competition.
Live Streaming and Influencer Marketing
Lockdowns saw events cancelled, and people unable to socialize with their friends and family. This led to a dramatic rise in the number of people tuning into live-streams, in fact during lockdown periods Facebook live viewings spiked by 50%, while viewings on Instagram climbed to 70%. TikTok use has skyrocketed over the last 12 months and it’s only going to continue into the future. The result of this is a surge in influencer content marketing. What is influencer marketing? It’s a type of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing that focuses on using key influential people to amplify a brand to a larger market. These key leaders or ‘influencers’ are usually celebrities or social media personalities with a huge niche following and they help to spread the word about products or services through their social channels. Usually considered more authentic than corporate advertising, consumers tend to trust an influencer’s opinion much more than what brands promote about themselves. It is also estimated that over 50% of people have bought a new product in the past six months because of an influencer’s recommendation!
Social Messaging Apps
With 1.3 billion people actively using Facebook Messenger to send over 10 billion messages each month, and 1.6 billion active WhatsApp users sending 55 billion messages every day – if you aren’t taking advantage of the top three social messaging apps (WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat) to market your company’s products and services you are seriously behind. Not only can you create paid ads that can be targeted to groups of people on these platforms, social messaging apps can significantly increase the customer experience of a business, as they can be used to send personalised messages to customers directly. These days, consumers even expect businesses to have a presence on messaging apps as it is a direct and easy way to interact with them.
UGC (User Generated Content)
With so many people shopping and doing business online, it has never been more important to provide an exceptional customer experience. However, gone are the days when every piece of content was created by professionals. Regular consumers are generating high quality content every day and sharing it with others online. Why is UGC important and how can it impact a brand or business? UGC is real and it is this authentic content that consumers crave. Consumers are more likely to trust the recommendation of a real person over what a brand says about itself. UGC is a cost-effective and scalable way to create the visually engaging and personalized content experiences that consumers want and it will be a common throughout the foreseeable future.
With the rise of smart home speakers, there has been an increased number of consumers searching via voice-activated tools such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. It has become so popular that it is estimated that by the end of 2021, businesses that adapt their websites to support voice search could increase their digital commerce revenue by around 30%. So why is that? When searching via voice, the search query is answered immediately and without the need for scrolling through the other various search results available. The searcher is usually inclined to go with the first result that appears as this is typically a satisfactory answer to their question. In short, soon it will no longer be enough just to be on the first page of a search result, the top spot will be the most coveted. There are a number of alterations and additions you can make to your current SEO campaign to include voice search compatibility. A specialist SEO marketing agency will be able help.
Video marketing is considered one most important marketing trends of today and will likely be well into the future. Did you know, if a site includes video, it’s 50X more likely to drive organic search results compared to a site with only text? This is because Google knows people find video content more exciting and engaging so it pushes pages that incorporate videos higher up in the rankings, such as these social media platforms.
The events of 2020 forced businesses to evolve and adapt the ways they connect with their customers. With people locked indoors and spending much more time online, brands have had to create more unique and interesting ways to engage with their buyers. For the rest of 2021 and into next year, we expect these trends will continue to grow.
If you want to stay ahead of the game and see your business thrive even in these unpredictable times, Digital Elder is here to help. With a Melbourne-based team of digital marketing specialists offering a wide range of digital and SEO services to businesses across Australia, we work with you to implement new and innovative strategies to create a winning campaign tailored to your needs and budget. Get in touch with us today to find out more.