It’s December 2020 – finally! We are less than a month away before we wave goodbye to this rollercoaster year. While we “deck the halls” and “keep our spirits bright,” we eagerly await 2021 and hope for somewhat of a return to normalcy in the new year. Digital Marketing Agencies, as a whole, actually fared well in the uncertain economy. The Facebook Ad Boycott in June had little effect on Facebook’s bottom line. Overall spending on search advertising didn’t take the hit that was forecasted as retailers turned to more online marketing strategies to make up for lost in-store revenue. Looking through our shades at the hopefully brighter future ahead, we have identified some marketing trends in 2021 that brands and advertisers can expect as we transition into a new calendar year.
No more 3rd party cookie targeting.
Utilizing 3rd party advertising cookies to track user behavior on websites throughout the internet is a practice this is slowly being burned to a crisp and tossed down the disposal. Search engines and device makers have already eliminated or banned 3rd party cookie tracking or have plans to do so in 2021. Brands that are not properly prepared for this will have a gap in their digital ad audience targeting. It will be important to start implementing data collection tools and methods in order to serve ads to the most engaged users who are likely to convert into a sale.
Google Analytics has a new face.
The future of analytics is now and in the form of Google Analytics 4. GA4 utilizes an event-based tracking method that features AI learning designed to help advertisers make smarter marketing decisions based on specific actions users take when visiting a website. Though not quite 100% fully developed, it’s best to set up and configure a GA4 analytics property along with the global site tag property and configure custom conversion tracking. As 2021 rolls along, we can expect to see more features added to GA4 to make it the analytics powerhouse that it’s promised to become.
Companies will continue to improve their customer’s digital buying experience.
As shoppers were locked out of retail stores in 2020, brands shifted their dollars and strategies towards improving the customer’s online buying experience much sooner than previously forecasted. Improvements to the mobile buying experience were a large focus as well as virtual customer services. It is unknown how long it will take for retail shoppers to feel comfortable in a traditional shopping environment, however we could eventually learn that more and more shoppers actually prefer a digital shopping experience. Amazon is now where more that half of consumers begin their search for products surpassing search engines, retailer websites, and brand websites.
Search Ad spending will continue to increase.
Despite forecasters’ predictions for 2020 search ad spend, the reality is that rather than taking huge losses now and in the foreseeable future, search ad spend will be on par with the original 2021 predictions and actually surpass forecasted estimates in 2022 and beyond. This comes as large retail brands shifted their marketing efforts to enhanced digital strategies during the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
SEO will continue to stay relevant.
Google continues to make core adjustments to their search algorithm and announced in May that the next update was going to focus on page load speed and mobile-friendliness. SEOs will need to adapt to these new guidelines in order to maintain site rankings and competitiveness in the organic search environment. Google tools, such as Lighthouse and Page Speed Insights, will assist in identifying site speed issues. It will be up to the SEOs to make the proper site adjustments. Mobile web experience adjustments will also be worth the investment. Websites will refine their mobile versions to enhance user experience and more sites will invest in development of AMP encoded mobile site versions designed to load faster on mobile platforms. All of these proactive measures will positively contribute to site ranking.
Ad revenues will increase for streaming devices and apps.
As more households cancel their cable services and switch to one of the many streaming options, more ad dollars will be spent trying to target these customers. Devices such as Smart TVs and Chromecast show video advertisements on free streaming apps that provide viewers with television shows and movies. One YouTube ad option (managed through the Google Ads platform) is to target Smart TV screens as well as streaming apps downloaded to those devices. Expect this feature to continue to gain momentum as it provides advertisers a streamlined option to publish video ads without directly going through paid media reps.
Facebook Ads will be limited.
Starting in February of 2021, Facebook will start to limit the number of ads that a page can concurrently run. According to Facebook, “running too many ads at once can hurt performance.” SMBs (small and medium sized businesses) are not likely to see their ad account affected by the limitations, however larger businesses that utilize widespread regional advertising will find themselves having to identify and focus on the most successful types of ads for their business goals.
TikTok Advertising spend will increase.
The newest social media platform has taken the US by storm after already leading Asian countries such as China and India in total downloads and daily users. TikTok has not only attracted the younger generation – it has become popular with those between the ages of 30-50 which opens opportunities for more advertisers to join in on the craze and reach consumers through another medium. TikTok should be included in any brand’s marketing plan in 2021.
Podcasts and Music Streaming Ad revenue will increase.
More people are working from home and companies are offering this option as part of an employment perk. As more people ditch their long commutes to work, they are turning away from traditional radio broadcasts and switching to Podcast programming and streamed music apps. There is a big market for advertising on these platforms as most users opt for free streaming versions that are ad supported.
As a full-service marketing agency, Brand Ranch Media develops and manages diverse marketing strategies that can propel your business into solid year-over-year revenue growth. Our experienced marketing experts bring diverse skillsets and understand all components of successful marketing campaigns. There is always time to adjust your marketing goals and that’s where we come in! Call us at 713-309-6380 or contact us to discuss!