Despite 2020’s obstacles, colleague Ashley Bowen Cook, vice president and brand director at Greteman Group, highlighted the business aviation industry’s innovation and resilience going into 2021. I see a similar drive for innovation in the digital marketing world.

Let’s take a look at marketing trends and tactics expected to make waves for advertisers this year and beyond.

Meet Your Remote Audience

Stay-at-home orders across the U.S. and around the world didn’t just reduce daily commutes for a majority of white-collar workers. It all but cancelled them. Traditional methods of advertising, such as broadcast, event-based marketing and signage, might have worked well for various businesses before COVID-19.

2021 digital marketing trend: more streaming more gaming

During? Not so much.

Digital advertising platform Centro also reported a 4% drop in digital ad spend in 2020. They anticipate a 16% increase in ad spend over last year’s loss in 2021, and the largest at 40% is slated for a surprising platform: connected TV.

We shouldn’t be that surprised, though, with what Centro described as a “massive growth” in gaming and a 20% increase in streaming. An increase in spend for advertising-based video on demand (AVOD) like YouTube TV makes sense.

Other key tactics seeing ad spend increases are easier to recognize, including video, search, podcasts and email. What do they all have in common? They’re perfect for advertising to the remote audience. It’s time to update your target personas, folks.

Social is the New A/V Club

Last year, we shared a slew of statistics to convince you that video was the most important tactic to add your marketing tool belt. Especially on social.

TikTok, a Vine-esque social network, enjoyed a wildly successful climb to popularity in 2020. While the coronavirus pandemic had a significant effect on its mass adoption – for the better – advertisers and marketers anticipate the channel sticking around for the long haul and joining the ranks of Facebook, Twitter and others.

new audio social channels tiktok, clubhouse and discord
With the arrival of Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and the changing face of popular gaming communication platform Discord, audio is joining the marketing ranks.

Our recommendation hasn’t changed much since last March. You absolutely need to invest in video, especially on your social channels. In 2021, add audio to that list.

We ramped up the creation our own animations and social videos in 2020. Results showed that, no matter which channel we posted to, video posts outperformed every other type of content. While the inclusion of audio seemed to have no significant effect, we expect it will soon.

adding video to our social channels increased engagement

Here are a few tips:

  • Focus on educating and entertaining. TikTok deserves all the credit for creating what eMarketer called “the future of social content and communication”: social entertainment.
  • Join Clubhouse. As a brand? No. As an influencer. Enlist your content strategist to develop a plan, and then deploy your representatives in their appropriate subjects across the platform.
  • Users on Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube Shorts like short videos, but Facebook users? They want something longer than three minutes.
  • User-generated content – developed by creators responsible for more than just TikTok trends – is trusted content. Do you have a brand loyal base? That’s where you need to invest first.

The Future of Data

Your remote audience might love online and streaming video as well as talking about the latest topics and trends with strangers, but they hate sharing their data. With you, me and any other advertiser or platform looking to make a buck by exploiting or selling their information.

We knew GDPR wasn’t going to be the end of restrictions on using data for targeted advertising. California’s Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and Privacy Rights Act (CPRA) pave the way for U.S. federal regulations. Some big names are already on board.

2021 digital marketing trend: the end of cookies

Google Chrome, the most widely used browser, plans to phase out cookies – little bits of data that track users across the internet – limiting the information advertisers can collect about those users. Apple eliminated cookies from Safari years ago. Now, they’re taking data privacy a step further by implementing a required user opt-in to ad tracking in apps used on their products.

While the loss of user data and tracking will affect marketers ad delivery, performance and reporting, we tend to look on the bright side.

Data privacy regulations like these make 2021 the perfect year to utilize your own first-party data and to “flip the funnel,” a strategy popularized by Seth Godin.

First-party data gives you an even better understanding of who’s interested in your products and services. These people are your customers. The people are responsible for creating the user-generated content about you, tagging you in Instagram Stories and talking about you off to their Clubhouse connections.

The future of free data might be bleak, but I don’t think the future of marketing is.

Learn more about 2021 digital marketing trends and tactics with Greteman Group. Sign up for our enews.