2021 trend predictions, new Instagram updates and how does your Email Marketing compare

As we edge closer to 2021, it makes sense that the predictions start to pile in and we can start to make our plans for the brand new year. We begin this bulletin with the Facebook and eCommerce trends that we can expect for the coming year to make sure any planning has these at the forefront. There’s also updates from pretty much every social media platform this month, with big changes from Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp AND TikTok. Finally, we reveal every positive and negative action that the big brands have been making with their email marketing campaigns this year from the Hitting the Mark report, so you can plan your 2021 strategy with these things in mind. Let’s dive in, shall we?

1. Facebook trends for 2021

There are over 2.5 billion Facebook users, so getting ahead of their trends for 2021 is a no brainer. Facebook Live is set to be even bigger next year, with steady increases in its usage – which makes sense as video is truly king during a pandemic. This leads us seamlessly onto the fact that video marketing is set to be even bigger, thanks to the fact they generate more engagement as they’re harder to scroll past and Facebook tends to prioritise it on feeds. Next, we see that thanks to a huge eCommerce boom (more on that later) more and more users will be using social media to shop – including Facebook.

Facebook ads also remain on top and will continue to throughout the next year, with the higher click-through rates than Instagram. The use of chatbots will also grow, with 40 million businesses using messenger to communicate with customers.

The final big trends predicted are: more support for small business, more user-generated content and a rise in hashtag use.

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2. E-commerce trends for 2021

We’ve already mentioned this before on the bulletin, but the eCommerce sphere is changing rapidly and will definitely continue to change in 2021 as the reverberations of the pandemic continue to ripple through Australia. Something you might not have expected though, is the blend of live streaming and shopping, also known as ‘Shoppertainment’. It’s where Influencers take to video to promote products and brands in an entertaining way, through one of the many forms of video content that’s available, such as reels, live streams and IGTV.

Facebook and Instagram are also growing their in-app shopping features which is something that doesn’t show any signs of slowing down, despite the fact it seems to be something not many consumers are asking for. Another strange change to the eCommerce world is the growth of Click and Collect, which may not be new, but it might become standard as the effects of the pandemic keep being felt. Re-commerce, or the practice of re-using goods to sell, is skyrocketing as the move towards sustainable and cost-effective ways of shopping rises. Finally, a big trend for 2020 is the idea of building a brand that’s authentic and inclusive; it’s not just about the products anymore, but making sure the brand has a social impact.

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3. Instagram Updates

Another month, another Instagram update. Or, to be more accurate, three Instagram updates. You might have already seen that Instagram has switched the notification and upload photo buttons on the bottom bar, with their shopping and reel buttons taking centre stage. This change was met with quite a lot of furore with customers, but Instagram themselves have said that “it gives the app a much-needed refresh while staying true to our core value of simplicity.” They’re also exploring a new Guides feature to allow users to share longer-form content, such as travel guides and product recommendations, in its own tab, stepping away from photos and videos to more copy-focused content. It will allow users to stay longer on the posts as they wouldn’t have to leave the app to read the tips and resources. It’s an interesting move and whilst it’s still in production, it will be exciting to see what will happen. Finally, Instagram is adding branded content tags to Reels which is a logical step into easier branding and sale conversions through the short-form videos. The new tag will work the same way as on posts and is designed to help brands generate direct revenue from Reels. 

Reels & Shop Tabs New Guides Feature Branded Content

4. Hitting the Mark report - DotDigital release Email Marketing report

Now to take a deep dive into how your email marketing compares to 100 other global brands with this year’s Hitting the Mark report. For instance, they have found that a third of the brands they looked at have adopted Live Chat (which is predicted to rise in 2021 as mentioned earlier) with a huge 71% using a bot to chat to customers. More and more brands are also partnering with payment providers, such as AfterPay and Klarna, to ease customer experience as they can spread out the cost of their purchase – and are therefore more likely to make it in the first place. Brands that offer these options have seen a massive 10x increase in sales.

The research also found that not enough brands are utilising preferences within their emails. People are willing to give a little more information for a more personalised experience in return, which means marketing will be effective – not to mention it’s an easy way to gain more customer insight. In relation, brands also aren’t doing enough Omnichannel marketing, relying too heavily on e-mail and not make the most of other forms, such as display ads. Customer loyalty also isn’t being rewarded enough and as such shoppers don’t feel valued and will go elsewhere. An easy way to do this is through editorials in marketing or by introducing a loyalty program to convert one-time buyers into frequent purchasers. The research highlights that the best ways to acquire customers are through Welcome Emails, which 90% of the brands did, and Abandoned Cart emails, which only 57% were utilising.

It’s all definitely something to think about for your strategy in 2021.

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5. Snapchat launches a TikTok-like feed called Spotlight, kick-started by paying creators

We’re surprised that Snapchat is still going, so it makes sense that they’re doing everything they can to replicate their biggest rivals, TikTok, with that introduction of Spotlight. This new feature showcases creative videos with music, using an algorithm to recommend the most engaging posts. It doesn’t stop there. Snapchat is now offering $1 million per day for the videos that go the most viral. Interesting. 

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6. TikTok Adds New Option to Display Non-Profit Fundraisers on Your Profile

In an almost reverse move to Snapchat’s, TikTok has just announced the option to display support for non-profit organisations on user’s profiles. When a user clicks on the non-profit listing, they’ll be taken to a page which then allows the user to donate directly from the app. This will be useful for charities who want to build their profiles by working with influencers and boosting their awareness.  

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7. WhatsApp launches new disappearing messages option

In perhaps a quest to allow people to reduce their digital footprint, WhatsApp has been making waves in their announcement to introduce disappearing messages. The update will allow users to set an option for each individual chat to delete chats after 7 days. Of course, there’s nothing to stop other people screenshotting or forwarding on the messages but it’s an interesting move for the messaging app and we’re ready to see which apps decide to add the same option. 

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