What to expect from digital in 2021

By Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital

Many marketing professionals were unprepared for the digital revolution that came with the 2020 global lockdown and the urgent need for businesses and organisations to pivot to digital.

As customers started spending more time online, it was crucial for marketing professionals to engage with their target audience where they’re shopping, socialising or just browsing the Internet.

A major takeaway from the pandemic is that it permanently changed consumer behaviour, both online and offline, and marketing professionals, businesses and organisations need to adapt to this behaviour change.

For many businesses, the move to digital was supported by social media campaigns and online advertising to ensure their products and services were top of mind for their target market. While these two factors continue to drive digital trends, there are more factors to consider to succeed in digital marketing in 2021 and beyond.

Marketing through messaging
Fifty-eight percent of South African mobile phone users use WhatsApp daily. This messaging app is also a great tool for businesses to engage with their customers. In 2021, more organisations will adopt a messaging strategy to better engage with their customers and target market. Messaging apps allow customers to learn more about a brand or business while making them feel valued, as they’re not being spammed with generic content, but personal, relevant and factual messages, especially for them.

“Customers want businesses and brands to talk to them in ways that’s convenient and relevant,” said Desirée Gullan, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director of G&G Digital. “Customers crave instant replies to their queries, and want to engage with brands on platforms that are easily accessible. Messaging apps are cost-effective and easy to implement, and it can be a great tool for a business’s digital arsenal,” she added.

Social and environmental responsibility
Amidst the devastation of the pandemic, social inequality, racial protests and environmental concerns were spotlighted, putting pressure on brands and businesses to reconsider not only their messaging, but their offering, processes and influencers they align with. Brands that show concern for social and environmental issues will flourish.

Enhanced image and video search
Technology makes it easier for users to search for products or services by uploading an image or even a video. This means businesses should enhance their image and video SEO descriptions, and consider including an image sitemap on their website. This will make their products and services more visible, in search query results.

As you prepare for the year ahead, think about how you can adapt and diversify your content to reach a larger audience with these digital trends in mind. Ensure better engagement and a two-way conversation with customers and potential customers, and shift and adapt your strategy by utilising digital tools to stay connected.

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