Top 5 digital marketing trends for 2021

Written by: Paula Ferrai

If it wasn’t for the binary-woven digital ecosystem of the Internet, many of us wouldn’t have made it out of 2020 alive. We learned how to shop, inform, and entertain ourselves during unprecedented lockdowns to try to continue our lives with a semblance of normality, leveraging the possibilities of the digital world to meet our every need. Marketers have been able to gain invaluable insights into how people interact with the digital world thanks to COVID-19, and have discovered clever ways to reach audiences and provide memorable user experiences. With this in mind, what does the future of digital marketing look like now that people are forced to conduct more of their daily lives online?

Here is our list of the top 5 digital marketing trends we think will continue to make a large impact in 2021:

1. Interactive content

Interactive content marketing has recently turned from a trend to best practice largely because it works at establishing a deep connection between brands and their audience. Interactive content usually comes in the form of online surveys, quizzes, contests, giveaways, polls, and general questions which aim to engage users directly to elicit a response or interaction with them, thus establishing a connection between brand, content, and user.

Primarily aimed at engaging and entertaining audiences to boost the user experience, interactive content is also used to increase the length of time users engage on a platform which helps a brand to feature better in searches and feeds. With people spending more hours on their smart devices, interactive content is set to rise in 2021.

2. Image and video SEO

Most people type their queries into a search bar or just talk to them, but that is so 2020. Next year, we expect to see a rise in reverse image searches: uploading an image or video as a way of finding the source of the image. Take Google Lens as a great example: if you see an image of someone wearing a great pair of jeans, you can upload the image and the Gods of Algorithms will match it to the source so you can find out where to get your very own pair.

Reverse image (and video) search is set to spread like wildfire in 2021 as more businesses see the benefits of this evolving technology, leading to a demand for image and video Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). Marketers will need to truly understand SEO in order to create room for optimising their video and image content to feature high in searches.

3. Social shopping

Shoppable posts are social media posts that promote products and connect users directly to the checkout via a single swipe or click. They aim to increase conversions by streamlining the payment process, making it easier for you to bankrupt yourself overnight because you simply had to get that gold-tinted coffee machine. 

Shoppable posts are most commonly found on social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. With 3.8 billion active social media users worldwide, we expect to see a heightened drive for shoppable posts in most major marketing departments next year.

4. Voice search

We will no doubt see a major adoption of voice search capabilities in 2021 and beyond as this technology becomes more nuanced and efficient, with widespread adoption in the marketing industry growing each year. The global voice recognition market size is forecast to increase from USD10.7 billion in 2019 to USD27.16 billion by 2025

Voice search is changing the fundamentals of SEO as people speak differently to how they type, resulting in a new niche for marketers to exploit in the groundswell of opportunities presented by this technology. Thanks to more people having access to smart devices, we are beginning to see voice search as the new way to search for content well beyond 2021.

5. AI-powered marketing

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been helping digital marketers reach their target audiences for a few years now but we expect to see a spike in adoption in 2021 as the technology evolves and also becomes more accessible. AI is used to maximise reach, enhance communication, analyse data, and track sales in real-time, giving marketers valuable insight into the performance of each campaign and overall strategy. 

Machine Learning (ML) capabilities are leveraged with AI to assist marketers in creating highly personalised target messaging by learning from users’ online activity to gather an audience profile according to their tastes and needs. From this, marketers can suggest, recommend, and promote products and services ML algorithms have shown they will be interested in. This is commonly seen in YouTube or Netflix recommendations based on what you have previously watched. We will see more targeted marketing messaging and improved recommendation algorithms in 2021, ensuring AI-powered marketing continues its popularity.


There you have it, our list of the top 5 digital marketing trends we see continuing to make a huge impact in 2021. When brands uphold their promise for improved personalised engagement with their audience to understand their needs and requirements to create memorable user experiences, it is no wonder we are seeing these types of technologies growing in popularity and adoption. These trends set out to increase user-brand engagement to establish deep connections which drive brand loyalty.

How many of these trends is your business planning to leverage in 2021? Let WeAreBrain help you strategise your digital marketing efforts and utilise these valuable technologies to drive your audience engagement. Get in touch with us today.

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Last modified: March 2, 2021
Author info
Paula Ferrai
Paula leads our Marketing & Communications team. Her career started 20 years ago in advertising, and she’s since picked up a wealth of experience both in the corporate and agency worlds. She loves scuba-diving and dreams of swimming with dolphins again.