What does marketing look like in 2021?
After a challenging 2020, the marketing landscape shifted significantly, and marketers had to adapt their methods to virtual, almost overnight. 2021 brings with it new insights and a focus on online content and campaign activities.
HubSpot asked 1,500+ marketers worldwide about their marketing strategies and plans for 2021, and as we advance, it’s clear that marketing, sales, and customer service priorities have shifted. Let’s dive into the stats and discover the trends 2021 holds.
Content marketing isn’t new but has undoubtedly grown in the last year, with 82% of marketers using content marketing in their strategies. Marketers interested in boosting their organic search traffic should be producing more content as search is the number one traffic source to blogs across all industries. (SEMrush)
There are several content formats and styles, but list articles are getting 2x more shares than other blog formats, and the top-performing articles in the marketing industry are over 5,700 words in length. (SEMrush)
Getting started with content marketing is as simple as updating your existing content with relevant details and keywords. You can then progress to producing more and in various formats.
Key content marketing statistics
- In the marketing industry, the top-performing articles are over 5,700 words in length. (SEMrush)
- WordPress users produce about 70 million new posts and 77 million new comments each month. (WordPress)
- Search is the number one traffic source to blogs across all industries. (SEMrush)
- Listicles get 2x more shares than other blog post formats. (SEMrush)
Social Media marketing
It is very easy for brands to get caught up in a social media frenzy, but it’s essential to know that not all social media platforms work for your business or target audience. As of Q1 2020, 43% of LinkedIn’s audience identify as female and 57% as male. As of April 2020, 35% of global Instagram audiences were between 25 and 34. (Statista) Brands must understand their target audience and communicate with them on the right social media platforms by sharing relevant and helpful content.
Social media metrics
- As of Q1 2020, there are 2.6 billion monthly active Facebook users. (Statista)
- According to a 2020 survey, 43% of LinkedIn's audience members were female, and 57% were male. (Statista)
- As of April 2020, 35% of global Instagram audiences were between 25 and 34. (Statista)
- Instagram is the social channel with the second-highest ROI among marketers. (HubSpot)
- The most common publishing cadence for social media marketers is three-to-four times per week. (HubSpot)
- The number of global daily active users on Twitter is 166 million. (Statista)
- People are twice as likely to share video content with their friends than any other type of content. (Wyzowl)
SEO (search engine optimisation) is the organic alternative to pay per click (PPC) advertising. SEO puts your content out into the world for the right people to find just when they need it the most.
Many marketers overlook SEO as being too complicated and not bringing in enough return, but this could not be further from the truth. Yes, creating content that gets picked up by search engines takes time, but if you are willing to budget for the time, the benefits will outweigh the effort.
On the technical side, the first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time.
Almost 25% of companies invest in mobile optimisation as a top SEO tactic. That number is steadily on the rise as companies notice the increase in mobile traffic to their websites.
- The first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates. Website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of load time. (Portent)
- In a survey conducted by Databox, 70% of respondents said that SEO is better than PPC for generating sales. (Databox)
- Landing pages, the least popular signup form, have the highest conversion rate (24%). On the other hand, the most popular signup form, popups, have the second-lowest conversion rate (4%). (Omnisend)
- SEO drives 1000%+ more traffic than organic social media. (BrightEdge)
Reporting and attribution
Knowing what’s working and what’s not is essential to making an optimised and user-friendly flow. It is no good only to know the high-level details of a customer journey. You need to recognise the flaws and roll out successes across your campaigns to optimise effective and cost-efficient marketing.
- Just over 75% of marketers are reporting on how their campaigns are directly influencing revenue. (HubSpot)
- Only 52% of marketers are currently using attribution reporting. (HubSpot)
- 15% of marketers measure the success of their content programs by how many leads they generate. (HubSpot)
2021 has been a great year for email marketing as 77% of marketers reported seeing more engagement with email over the past year. This increase can be attributed to increased use of hyper-personalised messages, transparency and authenticity in a year that needed it most.
Engagement is up, and the number of emails is down as marketers send fewer weekly emails and prioritise segmentation, personalisation, and automation.
Email marketing metrics
- Message Personalization is the number one tactic used by email marketers to improve performance. (HubSpot)
- Roughly 80% of marketers have reported an increase in email engagement over the past 12 months. (HubSpot)
- Friday is typically the day with the highest click-through rate potential, at 2.7%. (Campaign Monitor)
- Over 20% of marketers surveyed say that email design is improving their email engagement. (HubSpot)
- Companies that A/B test every email see email marketing returns 37% higher than brands that never include A/B tests. (Litmus)
- 40% of consumers say they have at least 50 unread emails in their inboxes. (Sinch)
Conversational marketing and AI
Marketers’ use of chatbots and AI is rising, as 47% of marketers report using bots for their marketing efforts. We expect this number to increase exponentially as marketers meet audience expectations of live chat and AI capabilities to be available to assist them quickly.
The barrier of entry for implementing live chat on your website has gotten significantly smaller as chatbot and AI developers continue to make simple and code-free programs for everyday marketers to pick up and implement with ease.
We all use AI in our marketing efforts, even when we don’t realise it. Most tools today strive to make the life of a marketer easier and faster with predictive content, advanced analytics, and automated tasks. It is vital to stay in the loop as to not miss out on these updates as they are regular and significant.
- 52% of consumers are more likely to make repeat purchases if the company offers support via live chat (Kayako).
- A study showed that 9 out of 10 consumers would like the option to use messaging to contact a business (Twilio).
- 79% of businesses that exceed their revenue goals have a documented personalization strategy (Monetate).
Account-based marketing (ABM)
Your demographic targeting and other strategies get even more personalised by targeting marketing efforts based on individual companies or accounts. Using ABM strategies like identifying target contacts/ roles and creating custom content, you can improve customer or prospect engagement by directly addressing their pain points.
Marketers have the most success targeting key accounts with social media, particularly LinkedIn in the B2B space. Marketers are diving into deeper analytics, data analysis, and strategic hyper-focused targeting to reach the right audience.
- 70% of marketers use ABM (HubSpot)
- Additionally, marketers strongly agree that personalized content (56%) and advanced data management (43%) are keys to ABM's success. (HubSpot)
- 57% of professionals say their companies target 1,000 accounts or under with ABM. (HubSpot)
Customer and market research
To successfully reach your target audience proactively, you need the latest data on their activities and interests. The half-life of customer analytics and research statistics has diminished to almost real-time, making it essential to regularly collect up-to-date and personalised data on your customers and personas.
Conduct regular surveys, monitor engagement rates and check in on your ongoing campaigns. Optimised campaigns get consistent maintenance and checkups. Remember, campaigns that didn’t work a year ago may work this year.
65% of marketers market internationally. Many marketers plan to market internationally but are facing challenges, mainly cultural differences and exchange rates. Making use of the right software makes all the difference, especially one that can accept foreign currencies.
Hiring members within your target location should manage cultural challenges. This is significantly easier with the hybrid workforce of today. Physical location is no longer a barrier to joining a team.
The methods of information consumption have taken a massive turn towards video content. With attention spans shrinking and the line between quality and quantity blurred, there is every reason to start video marketing. 64% of businesses said in the last 12 months, a video on Facebook resulted in a new client. (Animoto)
Video is the second most-used content type on social media used to increase audience engagement. The average length of videos has shifted drastically, with a 140% increase in long-form content between 30 and 60 minutes. The fact that people watched 12.2 billion minutes of video last year — that’s 23,211 years’ worth of content, is proof that audiences are loving it. (Animoto)
- Video is the second most-used content type on social media used to increase audience engagement. (HubSpot)
- 93% of brands got a new customer because of a video on social media. (Animoto)
- 83% of video marketers that have used YouTube said it had been successful for them. (Wyzowl)
As we have seen the increase in demand for video content, 2020 brought a huge need for live video and virtual events to bridge the new physical distance between businesses and consumers.
Experience producing these types of events will become a default for marketers moving forward. Be it being on camera or knowing how to best engage the audiences of live events.
- For large virtual conferences, 65% of marketers need more than 6 weeks to promote the event and drive the desired amount of registrations. (Markletic)
- 63% of people say that the ideal time for a virtual round table discussion is between 60 and 90 minutes. (Markletic)
Marketing has made some giant leaps in recent years, with marketers increasingly relying on technology and AI to provide a personalised and impactful experience. Marketers, however, need to be aware of their audiences increasing demand for privacy and control of the data collected on them. Dive into this year’s State of Marketing by downloading the full report.
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