Digital marketing has always been unpredictable. But 2020 didn’t make it any easier for us digital marketers. We started the year optimistically before the COVID-19 outbreak sent everything on a spin. Lockdowns were introduced and people got stuck at home scared and stretched out. Limitations on in-store shopping expedited the adoption of online shopping and intensified digital marketing competition among brands. But the closure of physical businesses and reduced consumer spending power meant that businesses didn’t have expansive budgets for digital marketing. Even Google saw its ad revenue decline for the first time ever.
Despite the gloom, everything’s still looking up. 2021 looks promising for digital marketing.
The digital marketing space is projected to grow by at least 20 percent in 2021. According to Morgan Stanley, Google, Facebook, and Pinterest will be the leading platforms for online advertising. In this article, we’ll focus on Google and Facebook- the world’s largest search engine and social media platform respectively. Both platforms enjoy billions of active users and massive data sets that can help brands to get their products in front of the right customers. Let’s look at some of the trends expected to drive online advertising on both platforms in 2021.
Google Ads Trends To Know in 2021
Here are four Google Ads trends that I expect to dictate the direction of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising this year:
1. Google’s focus on mid-funnel ads
Google already has strong channels in Google Search and YouTube that cater to the bottom and top of the funnel users respectively. It’s now shifting its focus to performance-driven mid-funnel channels. The platform has been making significant improvements to Discovery Ads as well as ensuring that YouTube has dynamic video display ads designed for performance.
Discovery Ads, which will be displayed on multiple Google platforms such as the Google Discover Feed, YouTube home feed, and Gmail Promotions, will offer brands new advertising opportunities. You will be able to drive users across the funnel by using Discovery Ads to offer relevant, rich, and engaging content.
2. Prepare for machine learning and smart campaigns
Google will also integrate smart campaigns and ad types that cut across its various ad channels. These include Google Search, Gmail, YouTube, and Google Shopping among others. It will also utilize machine learning to target ads to users across these channels. If you run a small business, this will give you an edge when it comes to Google Ads. Discovery Ads and Google Shopping are already showing that this approach can be effective in achieving campaign goals and scaling eCommerce business growth.
As a brand, you’ll be able to structure your campaigns based on a clear understanding of overarching goals, performance-based product segmentation, and flexible data management and reporting.
3. Onboarding official Google partners to be among top priorities
You already know that online reputation management is a very important aspect of any eCommerce business. That’s why your website should publish customer reviews and ratings in order to build trust. But Google has now introduced stricter Google Seller Rating (GSR) guidelines that will make it more challenging to collect site reviews, photos, and ratings. Collecting these through a trusted Google Reviews Partner such as Trustpilot or Verified Reviews will give you an advantage over your competitors.
4. Updated ads will keep you on top
It will also be important to keep your ads updated with fresh content. This should be done consistently across different channels. Because of the pandemic, users’ interest in real-time information has spiked and this will continue in 2021. You should be able to refresh your ads in line with changes in consumer behavior.
Facebook Ads Trends To Know in 2021
Despite the average price for an ad decreasing, Facebook still saw a growth in ad impressions. This means that Facebook will still be a top platform for advertising if you want to get your brand before audiences. Most digital marketers also consider the platform to be the most effective for online advertising. These are some of Facebook marketing trends to watch out for in the new year:
1. More video content
The consumption of video content grew in 2020 and is likely to continue in the new year. The use of Facebook Live will help brands to boost engagement, create awareness, and increase lead generation. You can speak directly to your target audience and provide them with a clear call to action on Facebook Live. Sharing recorded videos, such as explainer videos, will be able to achieve the same goal.
2. Say hello to Facebook Shops
Facebook is also getting into the online shopping experience in an attempt to support small businesses. Besides giving out over €100 million to small businesses through its Small Business Grants program in 2020, Facebook launched Facebook Shops to help merchants promote and sell their products through an online Facebook store. This will give you an opportunity to sell to over 3.3 million active Facebook users in Ireland.
3. The rise of Facebook hashtags
Previously, hashtags were the preserve of platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. But Facebook has also been working on making hashtags effective on its platform. It’s testing how it will encourage reach and engagement by providing a list of recommended, popular hashtags. Applying the right hashtags to Facebook content will enable brands to reach wider audiences faster. So prepare to hashtag it in 2021.
4. Prepare for Artificial Intelligence, automation & Augmented Reality
Just like Google, Facebook is also venturing into smart advertising and machine learning. It has invested in improving the performance of Facebook Ads through AI and automation tools. Some of the tools include:
- Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO): This is a tool for managing campaign budgets across different ad sets for the best results. It offers budgeting flexibility and makes it simple to set up campaigns by reducing the number of budgets you have to manage manually.
- Automatic Placements: Automatic Placements enable you to optimize your advertising costs by automatically placing your ads on Facebook, Messenger, Audience Network, and Instagram.
- Dynamic Formats and Ad Creative: This is a machine-learning tool that will show personalized ad versions to your audiences based on what they’re likely to respond to. Some of the elements that’ll change include ad format, destination, description variations for carousel ads, and media and creative options for collection ads. This will enable you to create ads that are relevant to your audiences.
- Automatic Language Translation: You will be able to let Facebook automatically translate your ads into the user’s preferred language. But you may still have to review the translations as Facebook doesn’t guarantee their quality. The Automatic Language Translation tool will be available for the news feed, Instagram feed, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, Instagram Explore, Messenger Stories, and Facebook In-Stream Videos.
- Multiple Text Optimization: This feature is yet to be fully rolled out. But it will allow you to add different text versions to your ads in order to highlight different aspects of your products. The feature will be used for ads intended to increase page likes, video views, app installs, event responses, messages, post engagements, brand awareness and reach, lead generation, and conversion rates.
Additionally, Facebook introduced Augmented Reality Ads which enable users to interact better with your products. They’ll be able to play games or try on make-up among other things.
Tips For Getting The Best of Facebook Ads and Google Ads in 2021
It’s difficult to predict how the digital marketing sphere will be in 2021. Especially with the coronavirus pandemic still hanging over our heads and new strains of the virus being announced almost daily. But to have successful online advertising, you will need to have a diversified and nimble marketing strategy. Here are some tips that I have compiled to help you navigate the unpredictable world of digital marketing in 2021:
1. Embrace video content best practices
Video marketing is still going to be an important aspect of any digital marketing strategy, especially for social media advertising. Some of the best practices you should include in your video marketing strategy include:
- Using a 3 to 5-second trailer to generate interest
- Framing your videos in a 4:5 aspect ratio
- Commenting on your video posts to engage your audiences
- Ensuring video length of between a minute and 5 minutes for best performance
It’s also important to create original, engaging videos that are relevant to your target audience.
2. Humanize your brand
2020 proved the value of human connection. People being able to connect to other people is the most important aspect of any society. As a business, it will be important for you to personify your brand and reveal who and what you stand for. You can do this by being authentic, transparent, and even vulnerable. Put a face to your brand and engage your consumers in areas that matter most to them.
3. Take note of your customers’ life cycle
The success of your Google and Facebook advertising will depend on your customers’ life cycle. Assess the customer life cycle and the average customer value so you can know how to reduce your customer acquisition costs. Some of the factors you should think of include:
- How leads join your list
- How long it takes prospects to move through the sales funnel
- How much sales you generate from the average customer
This information will help in building your online advertising strategy and even inform marketing automation decisions. They are key to developing innovative ad campaigns that perform on Google Ads and Facebook Ads.
4. Leverage user-generated content
User-generated content is fast becoming a key element of social media marketing. It’s very effective. It not only allows you to reduce your marketing costs but also increases engagement and reach. One of the brands that have been able to hack the use of user-generated content is American tech company, GoPro. It awards users who generate content for publishing on their Facebook page. This has seen a spike in Facebook engagements and interest in the company.
Which platform should you choose to advertise on between Google Ads and Facebook Ads? As mentioned at the start, digital marketing is unpredictable even for experienced digital marketers like me. It works differently for different industries. Both platforms are suited for different uses. From my expertise and past data, Facebook Ads offer better brand awareness while Google Ads offer better conversion rates. Facebook Ads is more suited to low-cost and social products while Google Ads is best for high-cost products and retargeting campaigns. But both are great advertising platforms that can be used together for maximum results. If your brand is already established, you should put more focus on Google Ads than Facebook Ads and vice versa if you’re just starting out. You can leverage the upcoming features for both platforms mentioned above to grow your online business.
2021 is here. You need to get your business ready for the new year. It’s important to be aware of key changes in major advertising platforms to stay ahead of the competition. Leverage the above-mentioned trends and tools to scale your business to new levels. These tips can help you to improve the results of your digital marketing efforts and grow your eCommerce business in 2021. Our team of digital marketing experts can help you to grow your brand. If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency you can trust to grow your brand, get in touch with Salt Marketing today.