The Best Marketing Trends of The Past Year

top digital marketing trends year in review

Are you looking back on your previous year's marketing efforts?

You aren't alone. The New Year gives every business owner a great opportunity to assess the previous year's successes and marketing ROI.

It also offers a chance to change up current advertising schemes. After all, the most successful marketing campaigns are flexible ones.

So what did we see this last year in terms of advertising?

Quite a lot! Last year experienced several key trends that are still ongoing now. 

Here's a close look at the marketing trends this past year brought forth. Read on for insight on a marketer's review!

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence has been on the horizon for quite some time. But last year saw its full entrance into the marketing arena in the form of chatbots.

Chatbots are AI components that function as basic customer service representatives on websites. They typically "pop up" as a chat window a few seconds after a visitor navigates to a site.

In some cases, chatbots are actually linked to live customer representatives. Others function as funnels, designed to field select customer service questions and direct visitors accordingly.

Chatbots aren't likely to go away in the near future. They do a lot for a website's professionalism.

They also automate part of the customer service process, giving business owners and employees more time to take care of human-hand-dependent tasks.

In fact, automation of key marketing processes may be one of the most important recent advertising trends.

2. Video, Video, Video

Video content surged in the lat year, making it one of the most viable forms of digital advertising content. If you use video in your advertising campaigns last year, you know what we mean.

Consumers became pickier last year about the ads they chose to engage with. Ad blockers are still a thing, no-tracking settings are still being used, and the disappearance of cookies is on the horizon. 

Marketers sharply felt consumers' demand for engaging, high-quality content. They met this demand by using video content.

This was most notable on social media, what with Instagram's use of ephemeral video content via "stories" and Facebook Live. Marketers can now incorporate multimedia ads into news feeds, boosting customer engagement immediately. TikTok and Instagram Reels also took center stage.

Yet video has also become an important part of non-social media platforms, such as websites themselves. Video backgrounds transformed the world of web design, for example.

And video blogs have given marketers a chance to convey key information to audiences from just about anywhere.

Marketers who failed to jump on the video bandwagon may have felt the pinch in profit margins or, at the very least, customer engagement. If this summarizes your situation, make sure to knit video into your marketing strategy for this year.

3. Mobile-Friendly Content

In March Google announced it would be rolling out mobile-first indexing. This means that Google now checks out the mobile versions of sites when it assigns rankings.

This was a big deal for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) campaigns everywhere. 

The past year definitely saw an emphasis on mobile-friendly content, given the number of smartphone owners in the world.

But Google's announcement stepped up the game even further. Marketers are likely to still be catering to this new form of indexing.

They will do this by releasing 100% mobile-friendly content. Responsively designed websites were more competitive now. For example, now they will be the only sites that visitors navigate to.

Marketers spent a lot of time generating content easy to consume from any device (including video and blog posts). 

Take a minute to think about the mobile-friendliness of your online content. How would a mobile user fare when visiting your site? 

If you spent much of last year thinking of your mobile audience, you likely experienced a significant return on your investment. If not so much, you know where to focus your efforts this new year!

4. Data Protection and Brand Safety

In the past year, consumers everywhere learned more about the value of their own data. They became more wary about brands they didn't automatically trust.

They also developed caution when using social media platforms and sharing data online.

Data governance thus entered the marketing scene last year. As a business owner, you likely experienced this in some capacity.

Marketers had to work harder last year to both protect customer data and acquire market insights. This meant following the push for transparent, brand-strong content.

It also meant honing data governance practices. 

Consumers are still anxious to protect their data and to trust safe brands. Keep this in mind as you build your campaigns for the remainder of this year.

5. Long-Form, Educational Content

Content marketing has been slowly emerging in the last few years. In the past 12 months we saw the great value of high-quality content and its ability to impact marketing efforts.

For one thing, Google emphasizes the value of useful content in its guidelines to a Google-friendly site. SEO marketers are likely familiar with this stipulation.

For another, rich long-form content tends to rank more highly in search results. Marketers therefore produced blog posts, articles, and other ads longer than 500 words.

The most competitive of these were long-form articles pushing 2,000 words! What's more, these articles were (and are) deeply informative, designed to educate rather than "sell" visitors on key topics.

This is still a viable component of digital marketing. The more you can demonstrate your authority to potential customers, the more likely you are to experience conversions.

6. Outsourcing

Many business owners have recognized the value of deferring to professionals for marketing purposes.

This is especially the case when it comes to digital marketing, which keeps changing as technology advances.

What's more, digital marketing can be tough from a DIY perspective! As a business owner, you may simply not have time to devote to self-made campaigns.

One of the biggest marketing trends of this past year involved outsourcing principle advertising campaigns.

Marketing Trends In Review

Many of the marketing trends we experienced last year are still valid in the new economy. AI, for example, is likely to keep evolving in the coming year.

Video and mobile-friendly content will still be competitive, particularly when it comes to social media campaigns. The same goes for long-form content trending with businesses across digital platforms.

Business owners are also still likely to consider outsourcing marketing efforts as this year's demands for fabulous, high-converting content increase.

Curious about where content marketing will take us in the new normal? Learn more here!

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