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2021 Marketing and Advertising Trends

Written by Kelly Kiely, Creative & Digital Marketing Specialist

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. Predicting the future feels particularly intimidating after the year we just had. But, there are marketing trends underway we anticipate will color the market in 2021. Let’s dive in!

Shoppable Social Media

Instagram shopping in 2021

This year Instagram introduced a major redesign: the Shop tab. The Shop tab congregates personalized product recommendations, editors’ picks, shoppable videos, and new product collections for a whole new shopping experience. YouTube is also planning on launching shopping integrations in the near future. This eliminates the need for an intermediary on social platforms and drives more user-friendly conversion, as users can easily find and purchase it without leaving the app. Shopping integrations on social media will push for seamless influencer marketing and increased brand presence. This means brands will have to adapt to these platforms as new standards emerge through social commerce into 2021. 


A Post-COVID-19 Shift in Ecommerce

Ecommerce in 2021

As we know, online shopping exploded in 2020 across all age demographics. E-commerce reached $211.5 billion in retail sales during Q2 of 2020, over a 31% increase from Q1. Online shopping is only expected to keep growing in 2021. This means retailers will need to quickly fulfill omnichannel goals to keep up with the demand.

The pandemic has also refined which categories of goods consumers feel are essential, the study found. Clothing, for example, declined in importance as more consumers began working and schooling from home. Some categories saw surges in e-commerce, like groceries (up 12%), alcohol (up 16%), and home improvement materials (up 14%). We’re only expected to see an expanding variety of online transactions through the new year, as more consumers suggest the way they shop is fundamentally changing.


More User Generated Content

Apples user Generated Content Marketing

User-generated content is exactly what it sounds like: customers make content on behalf of a brand in a more laid-back production. Take Apple’s “Creativity goes on” commercial for example. More and more brands are enlisting their customers to create the content they want to see. User-generated content is proven to outperform professionally made content by a longshot. While this isn’t a particularly new marketing strategy, the lockdowns and social distancing restrictions drove a huge increase in user-generated content this year. So while more customers are looking for brand authenticity, user-generated content is expected to stick around in 2021.


Increase in Virtual Events

At home concerts during COVID-19

In the face of the COVID-19, we saw a surge of live-streamed events. Entertainment had no choice but to become virtual. However, 2021 taught us that virtual events are more accessible than in-person events, and allow an entirely new audience to participate. Traveling, costs, and other restrictions are no cause for concern when events go virtual, meaning we see higher attendance and more engagement. Live-streamed events will only continue to be a popular way to entertain a wide variety of audiences, creating more opportunities for marketing in the digital age. 


Influencer and Brand Collaborations

Travis Scott Meal and Other Brand to Brand Collaborations

McDonald’s collaboration with Travis Scott this fall broke records. Who knew the demand for the rapper’s branded meal would be so high that McDonald’s would run out of ingredients? TikTok star Charli D’Amelio made her way from dancing online for her millions of followers to a Dunkin Donuts collaboration featuring her signature drink of choice. Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using key figures to amplify your brand message to a larger market. Whether they’re well-known celebrities, Instagram personalities, or YouTube stars, influencers have a huge niche following who can help spread the word about your business or product through their social channels.


At Access To Media, we are fully equipped to help you with all of your digital marketing and advertising needs. Learn more about what we offer and how our Digital Team and Media Team can help your business or organization thrive in 2021!

Contact us today and see how we can help you meet your advertising goals in 2021.

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