The Covid-19 pandemic had one silver lining for online marketers: a newfound appreciation for the value of digital marketing. Forrester predicted that 60% of global respondents would increase their digital marketing spend as a result of the pandemic.
Even prior to the pandemic, digital marketing was in the midst of a major expansion. Global enterprises were taking the leap from traditional marketing approaches to more agile and data-driven strategies.
What will the world look like in 2021? Will digital marketing be valued as highly as it is today? How will consumers prefer to interact with brands? These are just some of the questions that await the online marketing industry as we look forward.
Digital Marketing Is Worth It
The simple answer is that digital marketing is still worth it, despite the pandemic. In fact, many industries saw an uptick in digital marketing spend thanks to the pandemic.
Anecdotally, we saw a 26% increase in website traffic and a 61% increase in mobile traffic following the announcement that U.S. restaurants would be allowed to reopen. Those figures are likely even greater now that businesses can operate remotely once again.
This trend will likely continue into the next year, as audiences continue to seek out digitally mediated content due to the ease and comfort afforded by virtual interactions. In fact, a new global survey from HubSpot and SurveyMonkey reveals that consumers will increasingly depend on digital marketing to learn about products and services, rather than advertising.
So, even though the Covid-19 pandemic may have changed the way we will interact with one another as individuals, it has not changed the way we will interact with brands. In fact, quite the opposite – we have rediscovered the value of connecting with others through digital marketing, and businesses across industries are responding by capitalizing on the opportunity.
The Importance Of Online Visibility
In the past, consumers would go to great lengths to prevent their business from being advertised to. Search engines would not rank their websites highly if they were seen as being “spammy” or “desperate” due to the pandemic.
Today, with many consumers forced to work remotely, the importance of online visibility cannot be overstated. Just ask HubSpot, which saw a 55% bounce back in organic traffic following the COVID-19 pandemic, proving that audiences are still more likely to discover content when it’s readily available online.
It’s also important to consider the platform a business is using to promote their products. For example, Google AdWords and Facebook Ads are valuable tools for reaching potential customers. However, if a business isn’t present on social media, they are practically missing out on an entire audience. In addition to driving traffic to websites, social media is also a great tool for engaging with customers and letting them know that their needs are being heard – regardless of whether they are virtual or physical interactions.
The Growth Of Video Marketing
One of the most exciting trends to emerge in the last year is the rise of video marketing. According to HubSpot and SurveyMonkey, the majority of consumers now depend on video content to learn about products and services – even if that content is simply a one- or two-minute video.
The most common format for videos today is short-form videos – such as GIFs or videos under three minutes – due to the increased distribution of short-form videos on platforms like TikTok. While longer videos have the benefit of providing more content, shorter videos allow for more interactions between creators and audiences. As a result, we are finally seeing the rise of micro-video platforms, which are catering to our every desire for snappy, bite-sized content – perfect for sharing online.
With the increased use of data in marketing, businesses can better tailor their strategies based on specific customer demographics or psychographics. The result is targeted marketing that is more effective and less wasteful. While it may seem like a luxury to have a database full of information about your customers, it’s a necessary evil in today’s world of digital marketing.
The beauty of data-driven marketing is that businesses can identify key performance indicators and establish metrics for measuring success. This allows for an objective basis for identifying improvements and identifying new areas of growth.
The Rise Of Virtual Shopping And The Changing Demographics Of Shoppers
Even prior to the pandemic, virtual shopping had become a common practice in e-commerce.
According to the 2019 E-commerce Marketing Benchmark Report from RetailNext, nearly all shopping now takes place online. In fact, consumers have shown that they will spend more time and have greater affinity for online shopping – even if they visit a retail store – because it’s easier and more convenient.
The changing demographics of shoppers are also playing a role in the growth of online shopping. The 2019 E-commerce Marketing Benchmark Report from RetailNext reveals that younger shoppers are more comfortable engaging with brands digitally and prefer to learn about products via online mediums like websites and social media.
Retailers must continue adapting to this changing landscape and ensuring that their websites and social media platforms are user-friendly and compelling for younger shoppers.
Where Do We Go From Here?
It’s clear that the world will look very different in a year’s time. The pandemic disrupted our personal lives, which led to a rediscovery of the importance of connecting with others, social distancing, and a shift to a more digital lifestyle. All of these factors will impact the way we behave and how we engage with businesses.
No matter what changes the future holds, businesses must continue to adapt to these new dynamics and find ways to utilize digital marketing to make their customers aware of their existence, offering, and services.