35 Crucial Digital Marketing Trends You Shouldn’t Ignore

The digital landscape has changed significantly over the last 10 years. It’s a dynamic area, and change is to be expected. It becomes even more imperative for marketers to keep up but to anticipate changes in digital marketing trends.

Marketers who get caught napping in this area will be out of business pretty quickly, so they need to note the upcoming marketing trends for 2021 and beyond. To that end, we’ve compiled this massive list of digital marketing statistics and facts to help you stay ahead of the pack.

We’ve consulted some of the top marketing gurus and top authority sites to find the stats and trends that will impact the future.

The Top Digital Marketing Trends for 2021 (Editor’s Choice)

  • The US digital marketing spend is set to increase by 83% between 2019–2024.
  • 3–4 out of 10 technical recommendations by site auditors are a waste of time.
  • Higher-volume keywords could get you into trouble.
  • Chatbots have a customer satisfaction rate of 87.58%.
  • Programmatic advertising will account for 72% of all digital ad sales by the end of 2021.
  • 62% of US consumers are willing to disclose their email addresses for personalized offers.
  • Over half (55%) of 100 senior marketers are using AI for their marketing practices.
  • 56% of marketers believe that predictive analysis is one of the most important applications of AI.
  • 53% of marketers say they’re held back because they don’t know how to apply insights from data.
  • Content marketing can bring in three times more business than paid advertising.

Digital Marketing

1. Digital marketing spend in the United States is set to increase by 83% between 2019–2024.

(Source: Statista)

If you thought that digital marketing was a flash in the pan, think again. Trends in digital marketing indicate that it’s going to become increasingly important as people turn more toward digital media and away from traditional advertising channels.

2. One out of five marketers believes that content marketing is the most important advertising technique.

(Source: Statista)

Content marketing takes top honors when it comes to how many people consider it the most important marketing technique. As the latest SEO statistics show, this type of marketing generates three times more leads than conventional marketing. It’s one of the top digital marketing trends for 2021 as modern consumers become warier of traditional advertising.

3. The United States will account for 46% of 2024’s global digital ad spend.

(Source: Statista)

It would seem that people in the States have embraced digital advertising in a big way. The spend will be across several different platforms, like social media, mobile marketing, email marketing, and so on. On social media advertising alone, digital marketing predictions show that its ad spending will reach $110,628 this year, and $44,607 of that will come from the US.

Mobile Marketing

4. The United States’ mobile advertising spend will reach $146 billion by 2023.

(Source: Statista)

The United States has adapted mobile digital advertising tremendously, like everyone else in the world. The US spent $96.07 billion on mobile advertising in 2020. Reaching $146 billion three years later should be easy. These kinds of online marketing trends are worth watching out for.

5. Mobile advertising buy-in will decrease in the States.

(Source: Statista)

Mobile advertising is becoming less popular. It currently accounts for about 39% of the advertising spend in the US. Forecasts are that it will drop by 11% over the next four years. Why? Mobile marketing is becoming more difficult to execute. Its popularity is waning as a result.

What is digital marketing going to do with mobile in the future? Mobile marketing isn’t going to fall out of favor just yet, as these forecasts show. It might drop slightly, but it will still be in use.

6. Only 9% of marketers still believe that mobile marketing is the most effective tactic.

(Source: Statista)

Mobile advertising has challenges of its own. It’s simple enough for users to block messages or potentially ignore them.

SEO A/B Split Testing

It’s becoming increasingly important to take the principles of split testing and apply them to your SEO marketing strategy. The results, according to the top digital marketing trends for 2021, may surprise you. 

7. 3–4 out of 10 technical recommendations by site auditors are a waste of time.

(Source: MOZ)

Speak to the team maintaining your site about the changes you’ve been advised to make. And definitely perform split testing to ensure that they’ll make a significant difference. If you don’t, you’re wasting your time and your team’s time too.

8. Higher-volume keywords could get you into trouble.

(Source: MOZ)

We’ve all seen the advice about using phrases on our sites that people use in real life. It makes sense to target those phrases to get the most traffic. However, the latest marketing trends show that you should test the results first. Targeting high-volume keywords could drop organic traffic by as much as 20% because of these keywords’ high competition level. 

9. What works on one page may not work on another.

(Source: MOZ)

The team at MOZ focused specifically on category pages with SEO text on them. For one site, removing this text improved its ranking by 6%, which could potentially become one of the new marketing trends. However, on some, it made no difference at all. On others, the data showed that removing the text led to a drop in traffic. You can’t make any assumptions here. Test the results first.

10. Around 70% of marketers believe SEO is more effective than PPC.

(Source: Impact)

It’s been no secret for a while now that building organic traffic is the best course for online success. So it’s hardly any surprise that this is on the list of the top digital marketing trends for 2021 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence

11. Intel Capital has 55 different projects in the AI field.

(Source: Statista)

This gives them the honor of being the company with the largest investment in AI. Other companies heavily invest in this field too. Artificial intelligence startup funding increased to more than $8.2 billion in 2020.

Will Intel Capital apply some of that knowledge to the marketing sphere? Only time will tell, but we believe there’s a good chance of them doing so, which will then be one of the emerging trends in digital marketing.

12. The AI software market is projected to grow sixfold between 2020–2025.

(Source: Statista)

In 2020, the global market for AI software was worth $22.59 billion. Forecasts peg the value in 2025 at $126 billion. AI is an essential field for marketers to watch. You can use it to understand natural language queries, automate marketing processes, and analyze big data. It might be able to change the digital marketing landscape sooner than expected.

13. 86% of marketers believe that AI-based hyper-personalization strategies are becoming more accurate.

(Source: Ascend2)

AI is becoming a lot more sophisticated and so much more effective at matching the right message to the right customer. It would seem that digital marketing is leaning more and more toward automation. 

14. Over half (55%) of 100 senior marketers are using AI for their marketing practices.

(Source: MagePlaza / Encharge)

Similar to task software management, AI can be beneficial to marketers. It can help sort clients into their different personas, organize tasks, ensure that every client receives the right marketing message at the right time, and analyze a lot of data. Incorporating AI into marketing processes is the biggest trend in online marketing and one that promises some exciting developments.

Another trend to watch for is marketing automation specialists, even though their position within organizations is not clearly defined.

15. 56% of marketers believe that predictive analysis is one of the most important applications of AI.

(Source: Ascend2)

AI can crunch vast amounts of data to come up with highly accurate predictive models. Predictive models can be used to establish market sizes, the potential response to ad campaigns, and so on.

Chatbots

16. Marketing industry trends show that conversations with chatbots have a satisfaction rate of 87.58%.

(Source: 99 Firms)

Initially, people may have been reluctant to use chatbots. The first round of chatbots to come out was clunky and limited in usefulness. But AI is improving the effectiveness and accuracy of chatbots. Clients can see the advantages of dealing with an “assistant” that always gives the right advice and is available at any time of day. Additionally, the chatbot industry is expected to reach a high of $1.2 billion globally in the next ten years.

Programmatic Advertising

One of the emerging trends in digital marketing that’s bound to explode on the scene is programmatic advertising. It allows you to automate your ad buying process. Automation makes the process more efficient and faster. You get to reap the benefits of better conversion rates and lowered costs. 

17. By the end of 2021, programmatic advertising will account for 72% of all digital ad sales, the digital marketing trends for 2021 show.

(Source: Advendio)

The convenience of automating the ad buying process is something that most companies will come to rely upon. It really doesn’t make much sense to assign this to a human employee when it’s a simple task that AI can handle easily.  

18. Video advertising through programmatic channels will account for 29% of all incremental spending in 2021.

(Source: Emarketer)

Automation will affect several different platforms and media types, and AI can be set to deal with any form of communication. If you take just one thing from this article on digital marketing trends, it should be that you need to look into programmatic advertising.

19. 84% of programmatic advertisers in 2020 were only using digital ads.

(Source: MEDIARadar)

This norm is set to change significantly over the next couple of years because AI-based programs have become a lot more accurate and sophisticated. The technology makes them even more useful to marketers today.

Personalization

The importance of personalization is one of the digital marketing predictions that marketing gurus have been going on about for a while. Buckle up; it looks like it’s going to become essential in the future if you want to maintain a competitive edge.

20. 62% of US consumers are willing to disclose their email address for personalized offers

(Source: Statista) 

For most people, receiving marketing material via emails in this way isn’t a problem. That is if the material is relevant to them. When it’s appropriate or exciting, they don’t feel as though their time has been wasted. The digital marketing trends reveal that sending out generic emails to all and sundry on your list is a losing strategy.

It’s even more true if we consider that email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media.

21. 53% of marketers cite that they’re held back because they don’t know how to apply data insights to decisions.

(Source: Ascend2)

Getting access to data swathes won’t do much good if you don’t understand how to apply it. One out of two marketers admits to having difficulty when using these insights constructively. This, however, based on trends in digital marketing, is an issue that AI might be helpful in.

22. 60% of marketers believe that improving customer experience is integral in succeeding with a hyper-personalization strategy.

(Source: Ascend2)

Sending the client the perfect offer at the perfect time is just the first step. If the customer experience doesn’t meet the client’s expectations, they won’t be repeat customers. Digital marketing industry gurus are warning businesses to ensure that every interaction with the client is positive.

23. 86% of marketers believe that AI-powered hyper-personalization is improving.

(Source: Ascend2)

The better you tailor your offer, the more relevant it will be to the consumer receiving it. Clients today expect companies to personalize their offers more effectively. 

Social Media

24. Vigor generated 500,000 leads by syncing advertising across Facebook and Instagram.

(Source: Facebook IQ)

A multiplatform approach is another one worth watching in the future of digital marketing. This Brazilian company’s campaign reached 65 million people. That’s 30% more than they expected. They credit their success to using a multi-pronged social media approach, and they created their campaign to cover both Instagram and Facebook. 

25. As much as 91.7% of US marketers used social media in 2020.

(Source: Statista)

The value of social media marketing is clear. If your target market is very active on social media, then it could pay off to use this method. It’s one of the online marketing trends that US marketers recognize. In fact, the number of US marketers using social media is expected to increase to 92.1% in 2022.

26. 96% of small businesses use social media marketing.

(Source: Fundera / Statista)

It doesn’t come as a surprise that almost all small businesses use social media in their marketing strategies. The fact that social media ad spend is expected to reach $110,628 million this year tells us that it’s proven to be effective.

27. Social media is the top influencer of fashion purchases in the 18–24 age category.

(Source: Mintel)

While social media doesn’t top every marketer’s list as the most effective marketing strategy, it’s one of the noteworthy digital marketing news, as it can be useful in some cases. Here, Mintel didn’t detail which social media channel takes the top spot, but it found out that 35% of young American women base their look around what they see on social media.  

28. Only 44% of marketers believe they can accurately measure their ROI from social media marketing.

(Source: Forbes)

In fact, 28% of marketers feel it’s impossible to get an accurate ROI in this area. Getting an accurate estimation of ROI can be difficult. New marketing trends show that marketers are working on a solution to this. Part of the problem with social media is that you can only really measure results based on users’ actions. Someone could see a photo but not like or comment on it. They might still, however, go to your site and buy.

29. 33.1% of US Instagram users are younger than 35.

(Source: Statista)

As of January 2021, the largest age group of Instagram users in the US remains those between 25 to 34 years old. The second-largest age group is those between 18 to 24 years old. But whatever age group they may be, digital marketing trends in 2021 show that Instagram is an excellent platform for marketers, given its over a billion monthly active users.

30. 59% of people in the US believe that social media makes it easier to get good customer service.

(Source: Hubspot)

Why not take advantage of that and have a chatbot monitor your social media accounts? That way, it can answer simple questions from prospects day or night without any additional strain on your employees. The digital marketing landscape has changed significantly, so ignoring social media is no longer an option.

31. 96% of those who mention a company on social media don’t follow its social media page.

(Source: Hubspot)

Don’t assume that you know what’s being said about your company because you monitor your social media page. You should do regular searches for posts or comments in which your company name appears. 

Almost everyone mentions their companies’ names on social media but doesn’t follow their pages, and this might compromise the future of the digital marketing efforts of those companies.

Content Marketing 

32. To make the final buying decision, 47% of consumers need to view at least 3–5 pieces of content.

(Source: Hubspot)

There are some people out there who are impulse buyers. They’ll see something they like and buy it right away. Around half of us, however, need a little more convincing and will do more research. This is one of the trends in digital marketing that requires patience. But when executed well, your customers will have the information they need to decide your product or service is the right one for them. 

33. Content marketing can bring in three times more business than paid advertising.

(Source: Hubspot)

As a society, we’ve become very wary of the claims advertisements make. In fact, most people will completely ignore paid search results. That’s why content marketing is one of the top digital marketing trends for 2021 and beyond. It’s not a hard sell—your company won’t even come up in the content except in your bio. People appreciate getting the information they need without being bombarded by sales offers. 

34. Content can mean a lot of different things.

(Source: Hubspot)

When we think about content for a website, written content automatically comes to mind. When it comes to marketing industry trends, PPT, videos, infographics, and so on are also all great ideas for content. Be guided by what your target market wants. 

35. 72% of marketers believe that content marketing increases engagement.

( Source: OptinMonster)

Additionally, 72% of marketers say that content marketing effectively attracts leads, proving that this marketing tactic is extremely reliable.

Conclusion

Marketers have to pay more attention to personalizing their offers and improving customer experience. Digital marketing future trends indicate that AI will play an ever-increasing role in achieving these goals through better analysis of data and automation.

Traditional digital marketing channels, like email marketing, social media marketing, and so on, are still going strong. Moreover, there’s a greater focus on long-term gains in organic traffic, making SEO and content marketing more crucial than ever.

Overall, this is an exciting time for marketers—there are no sure-fire recipes for marketing success anymore. This makes things more complicated, but it also opens up the opportunity for some creative new strategies. Watch this space—if these digital marketing trends are anything to go by, the future is exciting.

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