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2021 Marketing Trends to Look Out For

by | Jan 26, 2021 | Marketing

Now that the unpredictable year of 2020 is finally in the rearview, it’s time to look ahead to the new year with what we can expect to see in marketing trends these coming months.

The year proved that while you must keep up with technological advances, you must also be prepared for the overall unexpected in the world as a whole. This created the undeniable buzz-word for 2020: PIVOT.




Thanks to the pandemic, the landscape has forever transformed. Customers are adopting new shopping habits that demand a seamless online experience, as well as higher customer service expectations and personalization.

With that, you’ll need to stay on top of what’s happening in the digital marketing space, so here are a few of the top trends you need to know about as we head full-steam into 2021:

1. pivots made in 2020 may be permanent

It’s time to embrace the changes you made to survive in 2020 and keep moving forward. For example, if you launched an eCommerce store on your site, consider enriching your user’s experience by leveraging or adding new features to your shop. Use your time in 2021 to optimize what you raced to complete in order to keep your doors open.

We can help with that.


2. Video Content

Stay at home orders meant canceled events and other in-person activities, personal or professional. This led to an increase in tuning into live-streams and other video content from not only brands but from the internet-famous and other celebrities. On Facebook, watching live videos spiked by 50% during lockdown periods, while viewings on Instagram topped 70%. The data suggests that this trend will definitely grow in 2021.  

It seems like every year digital marketing agencies will tell you that video should be of utmost importance with your online marketing strategies. Top-quality content has always been the basis of any great strategy for several years now. 

GCD Tip: Don’t get stuck in the weeds of technology right off the bat. Advances in technology have made creating video content more accessible than ever. You can easily leverage “age-old” channels like YouTube or Facebook video to get started. 

 3. Influencer Marketing

Speaking of video content, continue to use or investigate using influencers in your marketing strategy. Influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that uses endorsements and product mentions from influencers – individuals who have a dedicated social following and are viewed as experts within their niche. Because influencer marketing is generally more authentic than corporate advertising:

  • 63% of consumers trust influencers’ opinions of products much more than what brands say about themselves
  • 58% of people have bought a new product in the past six months because of an influencer’s recommendation

Influencer marketing is not just a trend; plan on it sticking around as it is estimated that the worldwide marketing spend on influencers just on Instagram is estimated at $8 billion. (Statista)

 4. More Emphasis on Purpose-Driven Brands

“The smartest brands will understand where they fit into customers’ lives on social media, and they’ll find creative ways of fitting into the conversation.” – 2021 Hootsuite Social Trends

More than ever brands will need to focus on being transparent with their mission. If anything the pandemic has made us realize is what’s important. This is true for brands too as customers will only invest in what they believe in. How could you spend money in conscience with a company that seems shady? Building connection by simply interacting with your customers and followers on social media will be of utmost importance in order to build and maintain trust from consumers. 


5. A Bigger Focus on UGC

User-generated content (UGC) has been a solid marketing strategy for years now. However, as we enter 2021, building the customer experience has been more important than ever. Not only does it build consumer trust through social proof, UGC:

  • Strengthens communities
  • Is relatable
  • Helps generate tons of content (a marketing team’s favorite!)


6. User Privacy Protections Will Impact Your Targeting

You may have already adapted to the implementation GDPR (General Data Privacy Regulation) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) by asking your customers if you can collect data when they land on your website or subscribe to your email list. However, more hits are coming in the future of ad targeting; upcoming changes to Apple iOS and Google will affect the way the industry currently tracks, targets, and retargets customers and will see major changes this year. 

Here are some steps you can take:

  • Pay close attention to consumer privacy and consent by reading up on the latest industry news.
  • Review potential privacy changes that might impact your pipeline.
  • Start conveying the value proposition of data collection to customers so they feel reassured that their privacy concerns are being addressed.

GCD Tip: ALWAYS collect and maintain a list of email addresses. This is your marketing list, your most important business asset that no social media platform or web browser can take away from you with algorithms and stipulations. Keep in mind however, that you cannot collect an email address without consent. 

7. Smooth and Seamless Online User Experience Will No Longer Be a Nice-to-Have

According to online marketing guru, Neil Patel, the user’s online experience will be more important than ever. Check out these tips to help with this:

  • Page speed will be more important in 2021 and beyond. Be sure you audit your website and look for areas where it takes a long time for your website to load. Be sure to check other internet connections to make sure the website loads quickly. Consider user experience to be the new SEO:
  1. What is your visitor’s page level experience?
  2. Is your site optimized for mobile?
  3. How is the mobile experience compared to other websites in your space?
  4. Are your users finding what they want right away?
  • Content length will not matter as much as before. Google is tracking and ranking user signals relating to the quality of the content, versus the quantity. 
  1. Google will be using user signals (behavioral patterns of users which Google uses to establish the rankings of your website in the search results) more than ever before (ex. bounce rate)
  2. Focus on quality vs. quantity when serving your content
  3. The user’s experience on the page is most important
  • Repurposing and updating content will serve you on Google. When reviewing old content, you can do things like:
  1. Go in-depth on a particular topic
  2. Don’t stop with video, look at recording audio for your content
  3. Shift your efforts on updating old content more often than you release new content
  4. Optimize for new platforms like Clubhouse


Are You Ready for 2021?

This past year has forced most businesses to think really hard about the state of their operations as well as how to connect with their customers moving forward. 

The record-breaking number of hours that users spent online during mandatory shut-down orders pushed brands to think about new people-centric ways they can connect with their buyers. 

Over the next several months, we’ll see this continue. Are you ready?

If you need help determining where you want to start with your 2021 strategy changes including website optimization, content development, or social media strategy, let us know! GreenCup Digital has a team waiting to help you succeed!

About the Author

Anne DiVitto

Anne loves music, so she makes your social media sing. She builds brand awareness with fun, informative content. Anne once skied in Patagonia, swam with dolphins in Mexico, and if given the chance she would have been a rockstar.