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Digital & Online Marketing Trends 2017 to 2021 ›› That Happens

This is curated content from the best of the best blogs around IMHO, indispersed with a few of my own.

Summary: Originally found on Net Press, this article discuses the digital and online marketing trends between the period of 2017 to 2021.


2021 is the new 2020! If you don’t go along now, you’ll be left behind! Trends as far as the eye can see, innovations as far as your feet can carry and mobiles until the battery glows. Slowly we should ask ourselves what marketing predictions we will leave behind for posterity. Let’s get ahead of the serious trends …

  1. In 2021, we will have reached 100% everywhere in terms of internet and social media use with mobile devices. Advertising income on Facebook & Co. will collapse, entire countries will disappear from the face of the earth.
  2. The latest trend: customer data bots. Fictitious customer profiles are created with the help of old original customer data. As soon as a new customer shows a match of at least 2/3 with this data, the profile is automatically assigned to him, no ifs or buts.
  3. Chatbots were the first. Using voice recordings (as with Siri), Speechbots can interactively simulate personal phone calls. Bye, bye, sales!
  4. Predictive analytics has found its way into all areas of everyday life – for example when assessing health risks. In connection with mobile payment, certain foods are no longer paid for after the weight limits set by the health insurance company are exceeded.
  5. Yahoo is being sold for the symbolic price of USD 1 to Donald Trump, who on the occasion says: “I will make Yahoo great again!”
  6. Apple buys Tesla.


Sounds crazy? Maybe it is too. But which technologies and megatrends are really crucial in content marketing for 2021? We present the top 8 of the – this time serious – marketing trends that give your company the chance to gain a competitive edge over the competition. In doing so, we rely on the research on marketing megatrends by Dave Chaffey, a specialist in the field of digital transformation and marketing technology innovations.

Here you will also find the five most important social media trends in B2B for 2021.


Trends in Customer Behaviour

Knowledge of the changing needs, wishes and idiosyncrasies of customers should form the basis of every marketing concept and every campaign. That is why this aspect is at the top of our blog post.

Trend #1: The Rapid Spread of Smartphones

When it comes to consumer behavior, two major trends stand out: the proliferation of smartphones and the continued popularity of mobile devices and messaging, especially through mobile devices, are evident. KPCB analyst Mary Meeker confirms this observation in the Global Internet Trends Review.

The following figures underline this:

  • Over 50% of all searches are performed on mobile devices
  • 91% of Facebook usage (active daily users) is on mobile devices
  • 80% of advertising revenue on Facebook is generated via mobile devices
  • 90% of time on mobile media is spent in apps


Trend #2: Increasing Popularity of Messaging Apps

From Facebook’s mobile messenger to Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, to the popularity of apps like WeChat, all signs point to an ongoing consumer need to communicate directly and outside of public social networks. This is where social media monetisation is ongoing, so we can expect some significant changes in 2021 with new options for paid media on messaging apps. However, app vendors’ promises to keep messaging ad-free will likely limit this development.

With the movement of public social media towards messaging, engaging with consumers and influencing them through marketing remains a challenge for businesses. But our next trend is showing new ways to contact prospects through messaging.


Trend #3: Use of Artificial Intelligence for Customer Approach and Customer Service

Artificial intelligence has now reached a technological level that enables bots to be used for customer support. You are probably familiar with Siri from Apple, Cortana from Microsoft, or the latest addition, Facebook’s bot engine for Messenger , which was introduced in April 2016. Google also announced an assistance service as part of the Google I / O conference in 2016.

The online news portal TechCrunch on the trend that chatbots are suddenly one of the most important technical developments :

“… [Chatbots] … can for the first time offer a possibility for personalized, interactive communication that corresponds to a conversation with a human employee from customer service or the sales team, but is significantly cheaper overall than any call center.”

An example of this would be Zingle. Zingle is a messaging solution from a start-up that doesn’t use AI but combines messaging from multiple sources including Facebook and Twitter. The Hyatt Hotel Group is already using this service.

Google is also working on new developments in this area and this year announced its Google Assistant . According to Google, the new service should work as follows:

“Our assistant is dialogue-oriented and enables two-way conversation with Google. It understands your world and offers support in your daily activities. It lets you buy movie tickets quickly and easily, even when you are on the move, and finds the ideal restaurant for your family quick meal before the movie and then steer you to the cinema.”

Trends in Marketing Technology

As the infographic (below) based on research in the Essential Martech wheel and free report by Smartinsights shows, the variety of tools and solutions available in marketing technology is enormous and specific to each section of the buyers journey .

Many of the technologies used in this cycle are already familiar. B. Programmatic advertising (“Reach”), however, are still little known.

With all these developments, however, the main megatrend is the growing popularity of marketing cloud solutions for targeting different types of companies from providers such as Adobe, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, Marketo and Salesforce.


Trend #4: Automation and Programmatic Promotion of Marketing Cloud Services

Among the new developments in marketing technologies that emerged in 2016 and will continue to be of great importance in the next year is the automation and programmatic promotion of marketing cloud services.

In the case of marketing cloud solutions, a new approach to merging customer data for the entire customer life cycle from various internal and external sources will come to the fore. Linked to this is the evaluation of this data by a corresponding CRM platform.


Trend #5: Growth in the Area of ​​CRM Platforms and Predictive Analytics

In the financial services sector, for example, predictive analytics is a proven technology with specialised applications for assessing credit risks. We expect an increase in their use in the field of marketing as well. The reason for this is the spread of automatic lead scoring and lead grading, which is based on algorithms and not on human evaluation. Here you will find an example for evaluating the registration or purchase behaviour of DataStories, which describes their methods for a better understanding of customer behaviour depending on the frequency of visits, length of stay and the type of content viewed.

Trends in the Field of Marketing Methods

No major changes in marketing methods are to be expected, but rather an increasing importance of the new services from the platforms mentioned in trend 1 to 3. The most important digital marketing methods are now known under the collective term inbound marketing.

In the Digital Marketing Skills Report, Smartinsights has summarised marketing channels into 8 key techniques that companies and marketers need to consider today.


Trend #6: Mobile Marketing and Cross-Device Optimisation

Most companies can now properly implement the essential aspects of mobile marketing. They use responsive web design so that both customers and Google’s rating scheme perceive their website as “mobile device-friendly”. However, the trends of 2021 will require enhancement in mobile access, and thus likely adaptive design, so that businesses can tailor experiences for different devices. At the same time, detailed optimisation methods must then be used to promote conversion on different devices. This development could be partly enforced by the initiative of Google for 2021, to the devaluation of websites to smartphones pop-ups use.


Trend #7: Content and Inbound Marketing

In the last few years, content and inbound marketing have established themselves as permanent fixtures. Within the areas of content and inbound marketing, however, the future discussion will revolve around the right balance between quantity, frequency and quality of content – and of course the evaluation of the profitability of content marketing. This article on Buzzsumo’s research provides an interesting summary of whether the future of content marketing depends on less and shorter content .

Marketing Management Trends

The final category of trends that marketers and businesses should consider relates to the way marketing is being directed. The main ongoing trend in this area is digital transformation, that is, the integration of digital marketing activities and related technologies into broader marketing and business processes to develop a “digital business”.


Trend #8: Optimising Lifecycle Marketing

The optimisation of lifecycle marketing describes an integrated, data-driven approach to increase the effectiveness of contacts with customers on different devices and across different channels. This development marks a departure from the optimisation of individual touchpoints such as paid search or paid media, landing pages, e-mails and conversion pages as individual elements in favor of the concept of a multi-level process distributed over several channels.

This is about the consolidation of data from different providers in the field of marketing technologies in one place. Or the ability to reach consumers not only on the web, but also through other channels including web, email, in-app and push notifications .



As you can see, there is still a lot to do in 2021. Many existing systems should be constantly revised despite their good performance and adapted to customer behavior. With the use of new technologies you can be even closer to the customer. So stay with us always up-to-date.


To find out more about the source of this article about content marketing trends from 2017 to 2021, see here.