This year has been a rocky one for many businesses globally, and some of the business trends we see today are likely to continue in the coming year.

It’s important to look at your current market position and reflect over the past year; what you achieved, what you didn’t, what worked well and what failed. With the acceleration into digital marketing triggered by the global lockdowns, 2020 has been a year of digital transformation for everyone, where interactive meetings have become the new norm and e-commerce transactions are reaching new heights.

While a complete recovery might take some time, it is still important for brands to equip themselves with a robust marketing strategy for 2021.

So we looked at different trends that are expected to drive the most impact in 2021.

Relationships Matter

Consumers today are more socially aware than ever before. Generation Z and Alpha actively engage in conversations surrounding social issues like mental health, equality, education, and climate change. They consciously search for brands with social values that are in line with theirs, while avoiding those which aren’t.

So businesses will understand that being transparent, authentic, and even vulnerable is marketing in 2021.

People connecting with people.

Brands were always looking for new ways to exist in their customers’ eyes not only as a product manufacturer, but also as an important entity.

They wanted to be experts in many fields, they tried to be politically involved, now the time has come for them to simply be your friend.

The pandemic of distrust towards the mainstream information hasn’t left them much choice. The only way to get your trust will be to get close with you by revealing what you stand for.

Focus On Digital

The year of COVID-19 driven lockdowns has shown just about any business one simple truth: if you are not online, you do not exist.

With more businesses investing more in online marketing, the competition is inevitably growing. These days, we are all forced to invest more time and money into getting our content noticed.

So sharing engaging photos, offering educational blogs, and creating videos to keep your social media presence dynamic whilst targeting your audience with paid advertising on social media as well. Not only that, but you should focus on a critical analysis of your business website. So ask yourself:

These days, most sales have moved online, and there’s no reason to believe it’s changing any time soon.

Shopping Made Easier

A more important trend in commerce in the last couple of years than reducing the number of obstacles between a customer and a product. Every facilitation of product delivery, payment methods, or advertising has made a merchant’s life easier.

Think that not so long ago you would have to make a bank transfer to a shop to pay for a product. Now you can use credit cards whose credentials are stored in a web browser, or go with one of the many payment providers, or pay with virtual cards and even virtual currency.

At the same time, delivery methods are faster and more convenient.

The most recent advancement to the shopping experience are shoppable posts. Introduced by Instagram, followed by YouTube, these posts or videos allow its users to add products they see in social media straight to the checkout. No need for visiting a dedicated website and searching for products there.

You see clothes you like on a post. You click on them, buy them with an attached payment method, and you are done. Shopping couldn’t get any easier.

Short Form Videos Over Images

If the success of TikTok isn’t enough of an indication on the popularity of short videos, we can identify the fun and fancy features also rolling out for marketing on Instagram.

Influencers have found a way to use social video to great effect. Whether starting challenges on TikTok, offering tutorials on IGTV and quick effective content on Instagram reels.. the format gives creators a more dynamic and personalised way to engage with followers.

There was a similar pattern when Stories were introduced in 2016. Engagement and reach for feed posts decreased as social media platforms moved the attention of its users to stories. Now in 2020, we’re seeing the same thing happen; reach is dropping for Stories and feed posts but is exploding 10 times the number of views on short-form videos.

The time to embrace short-form video marketing is now!

These can be 15 or 30 seconds long and can be as easy as talking to your camera, just like stories. But what makes reels so engaging is the fact that you can add music and text to keep things interesting.

Not only that, but the Green Screen effect is uber-powerful for small businesses in Reels because it gives you the ability to share photos, screenshots, or videos in your reel.

The options are endless (and better explained in a visual way!)

Brands will continue to switch on to this trend in 2021, by focusing more time and effort on the creation of short-form video content in order to boost engagement levels.

Alternative Social Marketing

Stating the obvious, TikTok will be considered a mainstream marketing platform in 2021.

TikTok is still relatively unproven as a business, and remains challenged by a major geopolitical hurdle. But that hasn’t stopped advertisers from investing heavily in the social platform.

Today, TikTok makes money exclusively through advertising on the platform. But by the first half of 2021, it’s expected to integrate the buying and selling of consumer products into the app experience itself, harnessing the purchasing power of its growing Millennial and Gen Z audience.

TikTok ads appear in users’ feeds just like regular TikTok videos, except they’re made by brands, not users. That distinction isn’t always obvious. Many TikTok ads, like this one from the dating app Bumble, will look and feel like every other TikTok video a user sees in their feed. It’s a seamless, unobtrusive experience—and one much different from the ad experience on YouTube, or even Facebook.

So its future in the new year has so much potential.

While these digital marketing trends don’t represent a complete list, there’s a great place to start when planning your 2021 marketing strategy.

In conclusion, most marketing managers could improve their chances just by shifting more resources to social media and local search, adding more personalized and interactive content, and improving the engagement within their customer-facing teams.

These key trends can help you increase your site traffic, generate more leads, and grow sales, all while retaining your hard-earned customer-base. They are also critical to help you understand marketing trends and how they will impact the larger competitive landscape.