Digital Marketing 2021: Beyond the Trends

The digital marketing landscape is dynamic and ever evolving. It is largely dominated by online trends, whose respective staying powers tend to vary. Even digital marketing today and this day last year are completely different animals. That’s why good marketers have a nimble, proactive approach, and are always looking ahead to see how emerging trends and upcoming technology can serve their business and their prospective customers. Every social media platform, app and fad ultimately has a shelf life, so putting all of your eggs in one basket is not a long term strategy for success.

With the new year edging closer, marketers may find themselves asking the following questions.

“Will content still be king?”

“How will SEO change?”

“Will consumers always be enamoured with their voice devices?”

Here are our predictions on what’s going to be hot in 2021.

Non-linear journeys

Gone are the days when advertisements were a way to attract customers to your brick and mortar stores to browse your product range in person. To keep up with today’s competition, marketing is all about using technology to provide customers with an interactive experience. For example, many online retailers don’t simply display product images. They also give their audience a chance to virtually use or even try on the product using sophisticated augmented reality software. We expect other e-commerce companies to follow suit in the coming years, as these integrations become more accessible and affordable.

Another example of how non-linear, fragmented journeys are disrupting traditional marketing paths is interest-based ads on social media. We’ve all been there – scrolling through your favourite platform only to see ads that are tailor made for you, and wondering how Facebook knew you were looking for these kinds of products. No, Mark Zuckerberg can’t read your mind. Rather, social media sites curate the marketing content on your feed based on your activity and behaviour. That specific ad may have appeared because you follow a celebrity who also uses it, or perhaps because you recently liked a post related to it. Mystery solved!

Automated marketing

Every business wants to make their customers happy. Happy customers = returning customers. But giving your customers, including prospective ones, the attention they deserve can be time-consuming. Marketing automation is a combination of software and strategy that eliminates repetitive tasks, helping to build your brand and boost customer loyalty in the process. Utilising marketing automation can also help you target people based on behaviour, preferences, and purchase history so that you can get the right message to the right people at the right time. Of course, it’s important to understand that the capabilities of marketing automation are limited. Generating leads and getting them to convert requires research and implementation – no matter how sophisticated the technology, it won’t solve these problems for you.

Google Tag Manager

Google has created this free tool to help marketers track specific events and actions on websites without the intervention of a web developer. Your website data can be shared using Google Analytics, Google Ads, Facebook Business Manager, LinkedIn Campaign Manager, and other third-party ad platforms. This allows for advanced customisation and ensures you are receiving the information you need, whenever you need it.

Conversion tracking: offline

Despite the shift towards e-commerce in retail, there are still plenty of physical stores out there that that require a digital strategy too. Though it’s a little harder to track and manage, many of these businesses regularly test new ways to measure their digital marketing efforts and how they translate to in-store foot traffic and offline sales. For now, they are using things like sensors, coupons, geo-targeting and promo codes. However, Facebook, Google, and the likes are in beta with launching offline conversion tracking methods to facilitate and streamline this tracking process in the future.

Voice search

Many businesses are turning to voice technology to boost their SEO and online sales. This trend is likely to grow in the next few years until it eventually becomes a mainstream integration. People like voice search queries because they are quick, easy and convenient. Though a voice search is typically much longer than a text search, you can accommodate these extra words by incorporating some longer keyword phrases in your content. Remember, voice searches tend to be expressed in the form of full questions, which is why businesses can also start using relevant question keyword phrases that your target audience might be asking.

Verified Google listings

If you have a physical business, it’s essential that you are visible on Google’s official listings so that new customers can find you. This adds a layer of legitimacy to your business that builds credibility and puts prospective clients at ease. Google My Business will help your business appear in local searches and attract customers to your location. Your address, opening hours, contact information and even reviews will be displayed. All of this will help your SEO, too. You will also appear across all other Google products, including maps. Once your GMB listing is created and live, make sure to update it whenever there are any changes to your operations – for example, if you’ve decided to close later in the run up to Christmas.

User-targeted ads

User-targeted ads work for the simple reason that if buyers are shown ads that are relevant to their lifestyle, personality, or the brands they purchase from regularly, they will be more likely to click on the ad. Google Ads offers user-targeted PPC by segmenting by various demographics including:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Device type/preference

You can also use custom intent keywords, advertise to users who are researching similar products, implement remarketing techniques, and advertise to similar audiences.

Fresh website

Online competition is growing fierce, and to stand out from the crowd, you need a sleek website with a seamless user experience. Your website is your brand’s digital storefront, and will be many people’s first impression of your business. Does yours need freshening up?

Don’t wait until 2021 to optimise your website. Modern websites are now coded on CSS grids with voice user interface (VUI), SEO elements, and even data-centric design to engage better with website visitors and improve SEO. Strong websites also feature more media such as videos, illustrations, GIFs and animations.. Important design elements to watch out for 2021 include 3D design, typography, gradients, bright colours and asymmetric layouts. Up-to-date security measures are also a must, so ensure your website is encrypted.


Is your business ready for 2021? Elephant in the Boardroom can help with that. Let’s talk digital, and develop a holistic marketing strategy tailor made for your brand. The team of experts at Elephant specialise in web design, SEO, social media, content and so much more. Visit us today at www.elephantintheboardroom.com.

We harness the power of technology to reimagine interactions between businesses and consumers. Pixel-perfect, cutting-edge websites, apps, software and campaigns that make an impact.








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