2020 was a dark and difficult year, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel with 2021.

Last year, businesses faced many different challenges, and had to start thinking out of the box to reach their cliental. This year, people have become accustomed to the swing of things with the new norm.

Judging by how 2020 went, here are 8 digital marketing trends we predict will make a huge impact for 2021.

1. Personalization

At Graphic Image, we’re firm believers in the use of personalization in marketing. We’ve seen it work time and time again with both print and digital marketing campaigns.

When it comes to both print and digital marketing, the more personalized the better. People are inundated with ads and promotions in this day and age. So much so, that most of it becomes noise and people turn a blind eye to it. Thousands of emails go unread and unopened; thousands of pieces of mail are regarded as junk.

But the magic comes when something is personalized.

People love to feel special. They love catered and unique content. And, they’re loyal to brands that make them feel valued.

Personalization and targeting both grab your viewer’s attention. It’ll pique their interest, and they’ll wonder what’s in it for them.

Further, it strengthens relationships and improves brand experience.

Digital Marketing Trends

Who doesn’t love a coupon or free product for their birthday every year from their favorite brands? It increases loyalty, and customers will be more likely to shop with you if they know they’re getting a bargain. Thus, they’ll keep coming back as a repeat customer.

2. Social Media

Marketing and social media go hand and hand, like ice cream and summer. Your message can reach thousands upon thousands of people all across the world.

People love connecting with their favorite brands and companies. They want to stay in the loop with the latest products and promotions. Additionally, they want to see the human side of your business.

When people were quarantined last year, they had tons of free time. Out of boredom, they resorted to entertainment on their phone and scrolling through their social media feeds.

When so many people were isolated from the world, social media provided a source of escapism. They could check up on the people and brands that they care about. It was a huge chance for businesses to connect with their audience.

Digital Marketing Trends

And did you know that 84% of buyers use social media to influence purchasing decisions? They want to see product reviews from real people. It’s easy to sense sincerity through social media, and easy to see how people feel about a company.

On top of that, the average adult spends 3 hours a day browsing social media.

3 hours is a tremendous chunk of time, and some of that time can be spent on them discovering and interacting with your brand.

If you’re not on social media yet, you need to make an account yesterday. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter are the big 4.

It’s completely free to sign up, and you can begin to promote what you have to offer.

3. Influencers

Influencers are a huge part of social media. To put it simply, they’re people with a following that inspire or “influence” their viewers. Each influencer normally has a niche; one could specialize in travel and another could specialize in healthy eating.

A lot of companies reach out to influencers to advertise their product in a social media post or a story.

In order to broaden your reach, start investigating the influencers in your niche. Follow them and engage with their posts (liking, commenting, viewing stories). Start following and engaging with their followers to really understand your audience.

You can then begin to emulate that content on your own social media pages, as you have an idea of what people like and expect.

Reach out to influencers and ask them to feature your brand or product, and offer something in return. For example, restaurants will often ask influencers to come and dine at their restaurant for free in exchange for a shoutout on their page.

It’s huge exposure for your business. And the more followers an influencer has, the greater their reach.

4. Stories

A story is a quick video or image that can be posted to social media sites like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.

They’re a collection of short videos and images that last a few seconds on screen. These stories last for 24 hours before disappearing.

Users can add additional content to their stories, creating a sequence of content or a “story”. They can feature filters, effects, and stickers to emphasize what they’re showing.

70% of Instagram users watch stories on a daily basis. And the average person spends between 28-32 minutes watching stories everyday. People are naturally inquisitive, so they’ll be curious what you have to show them in a story.

Digital Marketing Trends

Starbuck’s Instagram Story

Not to mention, even the biggest brand names are implementing stories in the marketing campaigns. Amazon, Adidas, and Nike are a few examples.

Use stories to highlight promotions and products, make announcements, or just touch base to say “hi” to your followers. The possibilities are endless.

5. Memes

Without any doubt, memes are the undisputed champion of the internet.

People love humor, and they love companies that have a sense of humor. Humor humanizes brands, and people feel like they can relate to them. It feels like they’re connecting with a friend, rather than a corporation out to get your money.

It gives a glimmer of personality to your company. And after the year we just went through, we all deserve some laughter and joy.

For example, let’s take a look at the brand Simulate. Simulate (previously known as NUGGS) is a company that makes plant-based chicken products. And their marketing tactic?

Just. Memes.

Digital Marketing Trends

Simulate’s Instagram Page

Their entire Instagram feed is catered around their nugget-products featured in meme format. Each post has thousands of likes and tons of comments; consumers singing praise for their humor and relatability.

Simulate’s popularity skyrocketed with the shift in their marketing campaign. They’re now expanding to include other plant-based meat alternatives; DOGGS (hot dogs) are in the works.

Try spicing up your social media with a meme that pertains to your business. More often than not, these posts will garner more attention and likes.

And you never know, but your meme could go viral.

6. Inclusivity

Our country is a melting pot of tons of different rich cultures. There’s no other place like it in the world. But with so many different people, they’re beginning to notice how brands are reacting to social issues.

Inclusivity became a huge focus in 2020, with the Black Lives Matter movement rocking the country in June.

Before, it always felt like it was taboo for brands to take a stance on social issues, politics, or the environment. Now, consumers are expecting their favorite brands to take a stance and speak out about important societal issues.

Staying silent can be incredibly damning for brands, and millennials and Gen Z are especially taking notice. They’re expecting brands to make a statement, or acknowledge the happenings in the world. Consumers are straying away from brands that don’t take a stance, as it conveys they only care about money and not about the people that support them.

68% of consumers expect brands to be clear about their values.

Consumers want to feel like they matter, and that brands see and care about them. Brands that choose to take a stance, will deepen relationships with their existing customers and gain new ones in the process.

Digital Marketing Trends

Target Models

Brands such as Aerie, Target, Dove, and ASOS pledged a commitment to no longer retouch or edit models. They want to show the beauty of every body type, and move away from the norm that only tall, slender, and people with flawless skin can be models.

It’s breaking the mold of what society considers beautiful or ideal. And as a result, people of all shapes and colors are feeling accepted, acknowledged, and beautiful.

7. Live Chat and Chatbots

Ever need to reach out to a company and dread the phone call that goes with it? You’re not alone.

You can expect to kiss that hour or two of your life goodbye, as you’re repeatedly put on hold listening to elevator music. And even worse, having to go back to square one since you didn’t select the proper extension.

Nowadays, people expect websites to feature some sort of chat feature. Especially after the pandemic, when people couldn’t get a hold of a company since no one was working in the office to pick up the phone.

Consumers typically will check a website first for a live chat, before resorting to a phone call or email. They can expect instant gratification with live chat and get quick and detailed responses. And, live chat enables consumers to get real time assistance from support and sales reps.

Digital Marketing Trends

LiveChat’s Chatbot

70% of consumers prefer live chat over phone or email interaction.

Why? Because their questions get answered immediately, they can multi-task, and believe it’s the most effective communication method. Personally, I definitely agree. If a website doesn’t have a live chat, I normally don’t bother contacting them.

Live chat generates leads, increases sales, encourages conversations, and improves the overall customer experience. 79% of business owners stated that live chat increased both sales and customer loyalty.

You can take live chats even further by implementing a chatbot. If you have a large company and can’t handle the influx of people contacting you through live chat, it may be time to depend on AI (artificial intelligence).

Unlike live chat (on during business hours), chatbots are running 24/7. They respond with speed and accuracy, and can handle thousands of conversations at once.

The only downside to chatbots is they can’t handle complex questions, but that’s when a human can step in to carry on with the conversation.

8. Videos

2020 was the year of videos, webinars, podcasts, and Zoom meetings. It’s no surprise to see the effectiveness of it all, and the popularity of these channels continues to grow in 2021.

Videos are a great way to explain your product or what services you have to offer. After all, customers will only buy something once they understand what the product does or how it can help them in some way.

93% of brands stated they received a new customer due to a video they posted on social media. No surprise there, when the average adult spends 3 hours a day scrolling through their social media feeds.

Another key point is that videos are a powerful way to build brand awareness. Many people will pause to watch a video, whether it’s for a few seconds or for the entirety. Even a few seconds of exposure is a win. A steady stream of constant exposure breeds familiarity and inquisitiveness.

Under Armour’s YouTube Video

They’re also a great way to increase SEO (search engine optimization). Google is 53% more likely to show your site if there’s a video embedded within your landing page.

Why? Because the longer a person stays on your page, the higher Google ranks the rating. You want people to dwell on your page, and videos are a time commitment. The longer someone stays on your page, the more optimized your SEO ranking.

Featuring a video about your product can boost conversion rates by 80%. Watching someone compelling and knowledgeable is a huge influence and heavily factors into someone’s purchasing decision.

Watching a short video is much easier than reading lengthy descriptions about your service or product. Humans are emotional, and it can be difficult conveying feelings accurately with just typed out descriptions of your product. Videos on the other hand can convey a story and elicit a vast amount of emotion to form a connection.


Consider implementing some of these digital marketing trends in your campaign if you haven’t already.

Build concrete and lasting connections with your customers by getting personal. In essence, show them the human side of your business. A quick way to lose someone’s interest is appearing impersonal and robotic.

Overall, people want to know that you value and care about them.

2021 has been off to a great start, and it’ll only get better from here.

Interested in more trends for digital marketing? You can email us at info@graphicimage.net or contact us here.