A major takeaway from the pandemic is that it permanently changed consumer behaviour, both online and offline. Subsequently, marketing professionals, businesses and organisations need to adapt to this behaviour change.

For many businesses, the move to digital was supported by social media campaigns and online advertising to ensure that their products and services were top of mind for their target market.

While these two factors continue to drive digital trends, there are three areas within digital marketing that you need to be aware of and use within your digital strategy for 2021 and beyond. They are the following:

1. Marketing through messaging

Fifty-eight percent of South African mobile phone users use WhatsApp daily. A messaging app is a great tool for businesses to engage with their customers. In 2021, more organisations will adopt a messaging strategy to better engage with their customers and target market.

Messaging apps allow customers to learn more about a brand or business, while making them feel valued, as they're not being spammed with generic content but personal, relevant and factual messages that are tailored especially for them.

Customers want businesses and brands to talk to them in ways that's convenient and relevant. Customers crave instant replies to their queries and want to engage with brands on platforms that are easily accessible.

Messaging apps are cost-effective and easy to implement; it can be a great tool for a business's digital arsenal.

2. Social and environmental responsibility

Amidst the devastation of the pandemic, social inequality, racial protests and environmental concerns were highlighted. This put pressure on brands and businesses to reconsider not only their messaging but their offering, processes and influencers they align with.

Brands that show concern for social and environmental issues will flourish.

3. Enhanced image and video search

Technology makes it easier for users to search for products or services by uploading an image or even a video. This means businesses should enhance their image and video SEO descriptions, and consider including an image sitemap on their website. This will make their products and services more visible in search query results.

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