3 Digital Marketing Trends For 2021

Things To Watch In The 2021 Marketing Landscape

2020 was a year of turbulence throughout nearly every facet of life. The fear of COVID-19 changed consumer habits and digital needs. The workplace quickly moved from downtown offices to digital conference rooms.

With these changes, and turning to 2021 here are some notable predictions that could effect the marketing landscape.

Removal of Third Party Pixels

Since it’s inception pixel/cookie-based targeting have been one of the most significant drivers of digital advertising. These 1x1 pixel, subliminal trackers carry all sorts of capabilities. From the moment your browser loads a site, the image is downloaded and the pixel can start to tell all sorts of things about your behavior — what sites they’ve gone to, what content they’ve interacted with, what products they intended to buy, etc.

What’s the problem with third party cookies? The problem lays in the subliminal nature of the tracking. It’s highly debated as to whether targeted advertising is beneficial or not, but most have a difficult time in debating the merits of passively collecting a person’s data without their permission.

Where is the world going with cookies? The world is not moving away from tracking, but towards active permission and transparent conference of data. GDPR and CCPA have both enforced permission-based data collection in Europe and California.

With Apple’s IOS 14 looking to eliminate pixel tracking and Google indicating that they’re looking to completely phase out cookies for targeting by 2022, the industry is being forced to change abruptly to discover new ways of staying effective.

Google for instance has stepped up it’s ability to track without cookies in it’s new GA4 analytics instance.

Stepping up first party tracking is also going to be more crucial in your marketing plan, which means relying more on collecting customer information like names and emails, and completing marketing/advertising objectives on the platforms they’re being advertised, rather than back on your website!

Lead generation ads on places like Google Search, Facebook, LinkedIn and even areas like Snapchat now are increasing in prominence as they can be tracked using the platforms 1st Party Pixels (they only become third party when the tracking moves from their platform to your website).

Start looking at how to better provision your advertising to support 1st Party Pixels, or pixel-less advertising!

Advertising to the “New Norm”

COVID-19 didn’t destabilize the digital environment in the same way it may have done in other areas, rather it just expedited it. Expedited the digital environment by pushing to further utilizing the full digital environment. This has been seen from the significant increase in OTT usage and general video viewing, increase in ecommerce purchasing, taking on-location features on-site, and pushing for more usage out of websites, rather than just a showcase.

These new norms are just the pulling the world ahead for digital usage. Not necessarily enhancing technology capabilities, but certainly pushing ahead in terms of popular utilization.

During COVID-19, organizations were forced to take in-person visualizations and put them online. For instance, we saw it with:

  • Restaurants using QR codes for engaging, online menus.
  • Online scheduling for in-person events, online meetings and more.
  • Organizations moving in-person performances, meetings or congregations to “Live” online videos.
  • Increased utilization of virtual exploration.
  • Consuming Over-The-Top video rather than TV.

Leveraging these newly embraced ways of communicating and content consumption will help position yourself more with customer needs.

Continuation of Stories-Brands

Story brands has been a concept that’s been around for some time. This concept has been strategic and also tactical.

  • Strategic Story Telling: Branding in a natural story of values and benefits.
  • Tactical Story Telling: Using stories to convey individual messages.

Social media has been offering stories a lot, and even recently LinkedIn has started offering a Story post option. The natural continuation of that is moving to news and other stories, off of social. Let’s take a look at some Web Stories, being pushed by Google for their Google Discovery placements.

Web Stories:

Google Web Stories are engaging stories that are mobile-first in experience. The goal is to also be visually engaging through imagery and video, along with captions. They also have the benefit of being a natural, swipe progression rather than a continuous scroll.

Web Story Examples:

These stories are being leveraged across media platforms and heavily pushed by Google Search, on Android devices and Google News Feeds.

With the recent push behind “Discover” traffic and reports on Google Search Console, Web Stories are one of the newest components to your SEV. With the nature of some “Discovery” placements, this even expands from true search into other areas that are more passive.

Learn more about Google Web Stories.

If you’re using WordPress or other popular CMS’s, Google Web Stories is an easy integration. The WordPress plugin comes with an easy to build WYSIWYG editor and allows you to plug in video and photos.

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