One study shows that 74% of businesses set marketing goals, however, only 3% of them are able to always achieve them. 

To get the desired results, brands need to have a strong digital marketing strategy. 

However, digital marketing is constantly evolving. Each year, there are new technologies and trends that burst onto the scene with the promise of fostering brand growth.

Adapt the right techniques soon, and you can reach your specific goals efficiently.

Alter your strategy too late, and you’ll lag behind the competition that beat you to market.

It can be tricky to determine which digital marketing trends to adopt, especially because it does change so quickly.

Luckily, we spoke with experts at leading digital marketing companies All Things Media and Elevated Internet Marketing to determine the top digital marketing trends of 2021.

The best 2021 digital marketing techniques include:

Extended Reality

Extended reality is simply an all-encompassing term for augmented reality and virtual reality – two innovative techniques that change a user’s perception of their own reality (AR) or transport them to a new reality (VR).

They are becoming increasingly popular among consumers and in 2020 they were used by 100 million shoppers.

In fact, augmented reality and virtual reality are projected to have a market value of $72.8 billion in 2024.

Although AR/VR can be used through specific glasses or headsets designed for them, the concepts can also be integrated into:

  • Mobile apps
  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Video marketing
  • Digital games
  • And more!

What The Experts Have To Say

Robert Spierenburg, CEO and Co-Founder of All Things Media

Augmented and virtual reality have already made inroads in retail and will become more mainstream in the coming year. As online shopping continues to grow, so do returns and customer complaints. 

In order to increase efficiency, online retailers are beginning to adopt extended reality tools to assist the customer. This adoption can be seen across a wide range of product types ranging from everyday household items from Amazon all the way up to luxury automobiles like Cadillac. 

For instance:

  • Amazon has integrated an augmented reality viewer into their mobile application allowing customers to view multiple product types in their homes before purchase.
  • With the help of ATM, Cadillac has deployed mobile virtual reality experiences designed to help users visualize vehicles from the comfort of their homes.
  • The Ikea Place app allows shoppers to virtually place Ikea furniture in their homes.
  • The Dulux Visualizer lets customers virtually paint a room without touching a roller.
  • The Converse Sampler app lets users virtually try on shoes.

As extended reality devices become more commonplace and cost-effective, this trend will only increase leading to a more immersive and practical online shopping experience.

Top AR/VR Companies

Creative Targeting Tactics

Digital marketing tactics have many benefits, such clear key performance indicators, easy campaign performance management, and access to plenty of consumer data – which traditional marketing techniques often don’t offer.

However, with access to digital information comes an increased risk of cybersecurity breaches. Plus, new technologies such as the Internet of Things are proven to increase the risk of data breach, according to Norton.

So, the prospect of customer dissatisfaction or a major PR nightmare and governmental crackdowns on information collection and distribution (such as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR) have made it difficult for brands to aggregate helpful data or target customized audiences through digital marketing tactics such as pay-per-click paid media and social media ads.

What The Experts Have To Say

Cary Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at Elevated Internet Marketing

Data breaches are everywhere. With privacy being an ongoing and growing issue, we have seen a lot of changes in the digital marketing world that have limited our ability to targeted as effectively as we once did, especially after the fallout of Facebook’s many data breaches and GDPR updates (in fact, Facebook had three large data breaches in 2018).

With this in mind, one of the changes we have started to see (and are prepared for it to happen more extensively) is the diminishing ability to target effectively within platforms like Facebook and Google, where they will take further steps back from utilizing their own data to target in an effort to protect themselves.

This will require marketers to defer to third-party targeting tools like Experion, Valassis and others to access the segmentation and targeting needs they have.

There will also be an increasing need for advanced first party data from companies to use for advertising purposes.

We predict that first party data will continue to have an ever-growing role in targeting, whether it is for retention, lookalikes or follow ups, the best customer is one you already have. So, you should have your privacy policy polished, at some point, these will undoubtedly come under fire.

To improve your own targeting efforts in digital marketing campaigns, use customized and segmented lists, personalize messaging and make the online experience a positive one when using these lists or you run the risk of betraying (and annoying) your most valuable audience.

Interested in learning how to protect your brand from cybersecurity breaches?
Learn here!

Artificial Intelligence

From chatbots to machine learning to intuitive eCommerce platforms, artificial intelligence is permeating every facet of digital marketing. And these emerging trend offers massive rewards.

Studies show that AI will increase business profitability by upwards of 38% by 2035.

What’s more? Almost 90% of digital display ads will be programmed through artificial intelligence technology by 2020.

Artificial intelligence can be incorporated in many digital marketing strategies, such as:

  • Display and digital advertising
  • Landing page content
  • Curating content
  • Personalizing email marketing campaigns
  • Smart search and voice search
  • Chatbots
  • And more!

What The Experts Have To Say

Robert Spierenburg, CEO and Co-Founder of All Things Media

Customers who shop online will always have questions they need to be answered by knowledgeable salespeople.

To address this need, retailers have increasingly moved to Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Chatbots have moved beyond simple text exchanges to full phone conversations.

As mixed reality becomes a larger part of the shopping experience, virtual AI salespeople won’t be far behind. The challenge in the coming years will be to create AI sales representatives that capture the nuances of person to person communication.

People like working with people. So, the more AI emulates real interpersonal communication the more widely accepted it will become.

Top Digital Marketing Companies

5 Best Digital Marketing Agencies

NEXT/NOW has won multiple awards and worked with some highly esteemed clients

1. NEXT/NOW

Location: Chicago, IL

Website: https://nextnowagency.com/

Expertise:

  • Software Development
  • AR/VR
  • Wearable Technology
  • Internet of Things

Minimal budget: $50,000 and up

Hourly rate: Inquire

Year founded: 2011

Employees: <49

ABOUT NEXT/NOW

Winner of multiple awards, NEXT/NOW creates “deeply immersive environments” to connect people with brands. Their portfolio contains projects for McDonald’s NBA star Steph Curry, LG, Allstate and more. The company's list of past clients includes Intel, Nissan, Goodyear, Ogilvy, Mazda, BP etc.

Mayple provides expertise for clients who lack in-house capacities

2. Mayple

Location: London, UK

Website: https://welcome.mayple.com/

Expertise:

  • Ad Agency Services
  • Consulting
  • Website Design
  • eCommerce Design and Development
  • Shopify
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more!

Minimal budget: $1,000 - $10,000

Hourly rate: Inquire

Year founded: 2017

Employees: <49

ABOUT MAYPLE

Mayple’s digital marketing services include PPC, SEO, social media management, creative content and paid media campaign management among others. They compensate for the clients' lack of in-house expertise and work exclusively with experts in their fields. 

SmartSites is one of the fastest-growing US companies

3. SmartSites

Location: Paramus, NJ

Website: https://www.smartsites.com/

Expertise:

  • Logo Design
  • Website Design
  • eCommerce Design
  • Website Development
  • Magento
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more!

Minimal budget: Inquire

Hourly rate: $100

Year Founded: 2011

Employees: 50-99

ABOUT SMARTSITES

An award-winning digital marketing agency with expertise in SEO and PPC. One of USA’s fastest-growing companies, they have worked with clients in medicine and healthcare, commercial industries, B2B, B2C, hospitality and entertainment and media sectors.

Smashed Media cares about their clients' user experience

4. Smashed Media

Location: Boca Raton, FL

Website: https://smashedmedia.com/

Expertise:

  • Branding Agencies
  • Logo Design
  • Ad Agency Services
  • Website Design
  • eCommerce Design & Development
  • Website Development
  • And more!

Minimal budget: $1,000 - $10,000

Hourly rate: Inquire

Year Founded: 2014

Employees: 50-99

ABOUT SMASHED MEDIA

A digital marketing agency that is focused on results. Their team possesses experience in web and graphic design, corporate identity development, data and technology integration - all for the purpose of enticing business growth and superior user experiences. 

Kobe Digital is renowned for their bespoke digital marketing solutions

5. Kobe Digital

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Website: https://www.kobedigital.com/

Expertise:

  • Ad Agency Services
  • Website Design
  • eCommerce Design & Development
  • Website Development
  • Shopify
  • Digital Marketing
  • And more!

Minimal budget: $1,000 - $10,000

Hourly rate: $150

Year Founded: 2016

Employees: <49

ABOUT KOBE DIGITAL

Building highly performing, personalized marketing campaigns for worldwide clients, Kobe Digital makes building value for companies of all profiles their priority. They understand that every business demands a tailored approach and, therefore, create bespoke solutions to meet their needs. 

Conclusion

When brands incorporate the latest digital marketing trends, they increase the likelihood that they will surpass the competition and stay at the forefront of their industry.

By constantly innovating, brands – like yourself – can create engaging brand experiences, effectively find your target audience online and serve them relevant content, and customize their interactions on several platforms.

These digital marketing tactics will improve brand awareness, increase online traffic, boost conversions, and increase the change that one-time users will transform into long-time customers.

When you integrate the top digital marketing trends of:

  1. Augmented reality
  2. Virtual reality
  3. Effective audience targeting, and
  4. Artificial intelligence

you’ll position your brand as a leader in your industry and in the market, cultivating long-term success for years to come.

Seeking a digital marketing agency for your next marketing campaign, strategy or project? Check out the top digital marketing companies from around the world on DesignRush.