Strategic DigitaLab
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Global digitalisation continues to accelerate in 2021 as we see greater digital growth and adoption from 2020. With the tremendous rise of 13.2% in active social media users, we can see how social media marketing is riding the tide and becoming one of the key contributors to the rise of digital marketing.

E-commerce has also been seen rising in leaps and bounds as sales reached $196.66 billion by the first quarter of 2021, up 39.0% year-on-year from $141.52 billion during the same period in 2020. 

COVID-19 magnified these trend lines in a big way. Setting new records of e-commerce and social media growth rates as users get increasingly comfortable purchasing online and retailers fine-tune their digital marketing to market and deliver goods and services more effectively and efficiently.

Death Of Cookies

For years cookies have been the foundation of audience targeting on advertising platforms where advertisers are able to almost accurately identify their target audience to deliver their brand messages. Consumers have also been accepting cookies in order to get access to information on the internet. However, consumers want assurances that their personal information and identity are safe as they browse the internet. 

Starting 2022, Google will lead the start of the cookie-less world, gradually phasing out support for third-party cookies in its Chrome browser. All major browsers, including Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari, will have third-party cookies blocked too. This spells trouble for brands and advertisers who have traditionally relied on cookies to understand their target audience behaviour, actions and conversion attribution, as well as deliver personalised brand experiences.

For the non-marketing folks, cookies are codes placed on users’ browsers when they visit a website, where it captures information such as a user’s ID, language preferences, login details, product interests, etc.

In an act towards a more privacy-oriented approach, Google has taken the lead to introduce- Privacy Sandbox to help businesses reach their audiences with relevant content and ads based on interest targeting, igniting a pivotal change for digital marketers.

Ad tech players have also started working on ways to balance consumer privacy while maintaining personalisation in advertising after they can no longer use cookies. To hit marketing KPIs, Digital Marketers should consider prioritising other marketing channels within their marketing ecosystem. Some of these marketing channels may include leveraging on social channels that are known to allow advertisers to target their campaigns based on the platform’s first-party data, email marketing which allows marketers to collect customer data through opt-ins and can be segmented for delivery of marketing messages, just to name a few. 

Rise of Micro-content and Short Videos 

Scientific research has shown that one’s average attention span has remarkably declined from 12 seconds in 2020 to 8.25 seconds in 2015. The average page visit lasts less than a minute and users often leave web pages in just 10-20 seconds.

Such consumer behaviour gave way to the birth of micro-content, built to attract users with imagery, copy content or videos that can be consumed within 10 to 30 seconds or less. Social platforms that house short videos such as TikTok has risen tremendously with 689 million monthly active users around the world and has become one of the top social apps people would spend their time on. Fast-followers, such as Youtube Shorts and Instagram Reels, are also quick to ride on the highs of the new influencer marketing trend of short-form video content creation. 

Influencers and marketers have hopped onto the bandwagon as well, recreating and publishing their contents in short videos and joining in the latest Tik Tok dance trends to build their online reputation, gaining awareness and popularity.

These platforms have opened a gateway of budget-friendly opportunities for brands to create more user-generated content and generate higher engagements, shares and audience attention. 

Shoppable Social Posts

“Swipe up to view more”, “Click here to download for free”,  “Link in bio to order now” – sounds familiar? These call-to-actions have been pivotal in driving consumers towards a conversion action, that is, to download content or to purchase goods and services.

Shoppable posts are prevalent on almost every other social media feeds now but it isn’t new. Accelerated in 2020 due to the pandemic when people were unable to shop in-store, and retailers were unable to survive without sales, many businesses pivoted online, by setting up stores online and letting customers purchase through their desktop or mobile devices. 

Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and even TikTok partnered with e-commerce platforms and retailers such as Shopify and Walmart, to bring in a “Shop” feature for online audiences to do e-commerce shopping and make purchases through social media platforms. 

With social commerce projected to reach $604.5 Billion by 2027, brands need to consider digitalising and optimising their online and offline purchase journeys in order to consistently retain their consumer base as well as capture a wider global audience.  

Search Marketing Is Still King 

Social media marketing has proven to be a blessing for start-ups, small and medium-sized businesses, as well as large enterprises. As companies work on increasing their digital presence, SEO is most crucial in improving the ranking of their brand presence on the search engine. As we know, searches with a specific intent typically translate to higher conversion.

When done correctly, search engines generate more quality traffic than any other digital platforms. Consumers also tend to think organic search results are more credible than paid advertising. Seasoned digital marketers need to understand the importance of SEO and integrate search marketing into their digital marketing ecosystem. 

Bottom line

The only thing constant in the world of digital marketing is change. We have discussed the Digital Marketing Trends For 2021 that will have a long-lasting impact.

Some things that annoyed us for years, like cookies, will be gone for good. Social media platforms and offerings are ever-evolving, as always. Digital Marketers need to be on top of all these trends to capitalise on the potential and opportunities presented in the digital world.  

Our team of highly experienced strategists, creatives, digital marketing specialists, and technophiles can help you craft a search marketing strategy. Reach us by email at or fill in our enquiry form to discuss. You can also take a look at our list of services