Future trends that you used to steer your digital marketing approach may no longer be relevant. Find out what new trends are important right now.

As the worldwide pandemic increased the pace of change over the years, digital transformation became a reality for organisations of all types this past year.

Future trends that you used to guide your digital marketing strategy may no longer be relevant, while altogether new concerns have arisen to demand our attention. I myself manage a digital marketing agency in Oshawa, which helps me understand the ever-changing behaviour of customers.

Consumer demands and habits have shifted tremendously. In this column, we’ll look at what’s hot right now and where you should plan to spend your money in the next quarters to stay ahead of the pack. 

Consumer Behavior Changes in the Digital Age Are Here to Stay

According to McKinsey, the pandemic sped up eCommerce adoption by ten years in just three months.

In fact, new purchase behaviours were seen in 60% of organisations across all industries in the preceding year.

The time has passed to pivot and meet the need for quick and easy online purchasing, curbside pickup, and contactless delivery. Companies are now focusing on securing and resiliency in the future. 

According to IBM’s latest Institute for Business Value survey, 52% of retail organisations prioritise shifting to more resilient infrastructure, along with integrating contactless mobile payments (47%) and building more robust digital selling platforms (45%).

There’s no use in waiting for things to get back to normal, as vaccine and re-opening are already producing new online search opportunities, according to my company’s research.

Prior to the pandemic, any plans you had in place (or shelved as poor priority) must be re-evaluated and re-prioritized. Put everything on the table: deadlines, budget, scope, and priority order. Some initiatives may need to be hastened, while others may need to be abandoned outright. Plan for where you want to be five years after COVID, not where you imagined the company would be by now if it hadn’t happened.

Marketers must use real-time data to stay ahead of consumer demand

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: search insights are the closest thing you can get to real-time client feedback.

In search queries and onsite behaviour, consumers are openly notifying brands about their wants, requirements, and intent. You’re missing out on a huge potential to connect and engage if your company isn’t set up to listen to, analyse, and then act on these insights with real-time personalizations. Put the people, processes, and technology in place to make the most of this extremely important consumer data.

Improving Content Quality and Velocity to Gain an Advantage

It’s not always true that more is better, especially when it comes to content. As a result, any content marketing scaling approach must consider both velocity and quality in equal proportion.

When compared to your more productive competition, if you put a lot of effort and thought into your content but can only post once a month, you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities to appear in search, social, email, and other channels.

Nonetheless, we understand the value of expertise, authority, and trust (E-A-T) in the material. It’s pointless to produce a large volume of low-quality information. Instead, consider what needs to be improved and implemented in order to produce high-quality content on a large scale.

Customers want brands to provide them with connected digital experiences

According to Salesforce’s recent State of the Connected Customer survey, 80% of customers believe that a company’s experience is just as important as its products and services. Customers want agents to have access to their information whether they’re chatting with an AI support bot, calling a customer service representative, or interacting with sales.

They anticipate that one interaction will continue where the last one ended and that they will not have to start over with each new interaction with the brand. Customers’ expectations of other industries are influenced by their experiences with one industry, according to 62% of customers in the same survey.

Manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, for example, have been sluggish to adopt digital transformation, and they are now being forced to stay up with retail, business services, and other early adopters.

Intelligent Digital Automation Goes Beyond Simple Replication

Simply automating processes to decrease redundancy is no longer adequate for SEO specialists and digital marketers.

The number of consumer contacts and touch-points has exploded, which is a crucial digital trend. The amount of data we need to assess has skyrocketed.

Deep learning, machine learning, natural language processing, and robotic process automation (RPA) are all making inroads into SEO and digital marketing workflows as a result. Intelligent automation entails removing the need to make each and every decision.

It entails giving machines the ability to not just behave in pre-programmed if/then scenarios, but also to learn about and get to know each client in ways that humans simply cannot. It also entails allowing those computers to operate in real-time when the user is most receptive to personalised messaging, content, offers, and recommendations.

The Importance and Value of First-Party Data is Growing

PPC and SEO professionals alike are scurrying to plan for a cookie-free future as Google aims to phase out third-party cookies. In fact, 46% of respondents cite cookie devaluation as their #1 media concern for 2021.

The value and usefulness of first-party data are evident as ad targeting and behavioural analysis become more challenging.

Prepare now for queries and concerns from customers about privacy, data storage, and disposal. Determine the value you can provide consumers in exchange for their personal information. Examine the implications of this development for your measurement and analytics operations.

Hyperlocalization Extends Beyond Geographical Boundaries

The epidemic brought heightened awareness of supply chain difficulties, as well as a widespread desire among customers to support small businesses.

While “value for money” was the top purchase motivator for customers questioned by KPMG in late 2020, Ernst & Young recently discovered that 69% of consumers feel brands must positively impact the planet.

This is especially essential for Millennials, who consider it important that the businesses they buy from have values that are similar to their own. Marketers and executives must endeavour to ensure that the brand’s values are clearly articulated.

Getting hyperlocal requires understanding what is genuinely important to customers in any particular region, in addition to localising content by geography – providing information about local landmarks on your GMB profile, developing unique blog content by location, targeting ads by location. Personalized ad text, offers, email marketing, and more can represent those principles.

PPC and SEO Deepen the Bond

It’s not enough that the PPC and SEO teams are aware of one other’s activities. Not any longer.

Paid and organic search will be genuine partners in crime in the future; one should startup where the other left off. Both teams should be aware of the available SERP features and placements on the most valuable brands in the company.

They must collaborate to provide the most consistent coverage on those parameters while keeping expenses to a minimum so that ROI can be maximised. For example, SEO data is now providing product teams with greater insight into client preferences.

As Google prepares to roll out the Page Experience Update, our new research demonstrates that some businesses are better prepared than others for Core Web Vitals. This means that technical SEO will be a requirement, not an option, for organisations that need to prepare more than others.

Beyond communicating data and results back and forth, SEO and PPC synergy is required. In today’s marketplace, proactive preparation and a shared commitment to giving the greatest possible answer to each consumer’s requirement at every stage of their buying experience are required.

Greater Relevance through Semantics, Entities, and the Knowledge Graph

Entity-based SEO is a significant departure from keyword-driven optimizations of the past.

It’s critical for marketers and SEO professionals to keep up as Google’s Knowledge Graph improves its grasp of searcher intent.

This is what SEO is all about; we can’t possible optimise content without at least a basic comprehension of Google’s requirements.

The Way We Work Has Been Transformed

COVID-19 forced employees to leave the office in droves, and there’s no hurry to get back to business as usual.

According to Adobe, from Q1 to Q3 2020, the number of marketers working from home at least 1-2 days a week increased from 28% to 80%. And, despite widespread fears that we weren’t ready for entirely remote work and that it would be disastrous for businesses, 70% of managers indicated that productivity remained consistent or even improved.

The way we cooperate and innovate is changing, and in many firms, the shift to remote work has hastened the flattening of organisational structure.

We were obliged to innovate and problem-solve swiftly as a result of the outbreak. It propelled us over the technological and human constraints that had slowed the acceptance of remote work.

According to McKinsey, marketing and other professional services are among the industries with the most potential for successful remote work in the future. In addition to the technical components of the work, SEO and digital marketing team leaders must schedule time for remote people management.

How to Put These Digital Marketing Trends to Work for You

Trends in digital marketing and SEO give us an indication of how something is evolving, changing, or moving in general. They aren’t a road map; there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the issues listed above.

Keep an eye on them, though.

Examine the influence on your marketing department and the company as a whole. If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be flexible when it comes to people, technology, and digital trends, as well as be ready to respond to whatever market conditions arise next.


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