We’ve all felt the uncertainty, excitement, and terror that 2020 has brought upon us. Despite the challenges, we at Anvil continue to be optimistic about the future. Each year since 2004, we’ve developed digital marketing predictions based on trends we see or believe will emerge in the following year. You can view our 2020 digital marketing trends for reference, but for your convenience, we’ve graded the accuracy of those predictions below. We’ve found it’s a great way to frame up next year’s predictions on digital marketing trends. Enjoy our recap of 2020 digital marketing trends below, followed by 2021 predictions.
2020 Digital Marketing Predictions: How did we do?
Unfortunately, many of our “outlandish” predictions never materialized. If we wanted to play it safe, we would have taken a different approach. We do feel better about our 2021 predictions, however.
Amazon Will Eat Google and Facebook’s Lunch
Grade: C+: Market share for Google and Facebook ad budgets were largely stable in 2020, pandemic notwithstanding. Amazon’s whimsical approach to managing marketplace retailers has caused much consternation and chagrin, which may have impacted brand enthusiasm. Nike, among other brands, left Amazon in 2020.
Animated GIFs, Video and Interactivity will Replace Image Ads
Grade: B: Social media platforms have adopted GIFs and video ad options far more than Google, which shouldn’t have been a surprise based on Google’s ad structure. Conversely, streaming (OTT) connected TV advertising expanded adoption of video ads, more so than replacing Display ads.
Google Will Mandate That All Websites Be Voice Search Compliant
Grade: B-: Google has stopped short of a mandate but has made progress in terms of rewarding schema-enhanced websites. We expect this trend to continue through 2021, if not pick up momentum.
Structured Data Strategy will be More Important than Ever Before
Grade: A. Google’s BERT expansion to all search results has made this prediction very true, making this Anvil’s most accurate prediction.
Augmented Reality Will Play a Bigger Role in SEO
Grade: C-. Google has not moved AR forward as a component of search results or rankings criteria thus far, and the current Anvil team isn’t optimistic this will change in the next 2-3 years.
The Flywheel Will Displace the Traditional Sales Funnel
Grade: C. Brands have not tried to move to an updated concept from the original AIDA sales funnel concept, established in the late 1800s. In retrospect, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. While the Flywheel does offer a fresh take on the sales funnel, it’s not worthy of a mass market adoption.
Push Notifications Will Replace Email Marketing
Grade: D. Since push notifications require an app, that limits brands’ ability to use them. New phones and operating systems give more control of phone notifications to users, further limiting this prediction. We don’t expect this will change, ever. While we’re at it, email isn’t dead either, and won’t die until we have chips in our brains and can communicate telepathically.
Performance Metrics Will Replace Likes
Grade: B-. Due to push-back from influencers and platform users, Instagram and other platforms reverted to vanity metrics, including Likes. This prediction was ahead of its time and will likely be true in the next 2-3 years as behaviors change and technology evolves.
Consumers will Drive Alignment and Transparency in Influencer Marketing
Grade: B. This prediction turned out to be wishful thinking and still has far to go. Like above, consumers have demonstrated blind trust and appreciation of influencers (even virtual reality versions of humans) and we’re not optimistic this behavior will change significantly soon. Rather, it will be a slow boil over the next 5+ years.
TikTok Will Lose Momentum – Relegating It to a Snapchat Knockoff
Grade: C-. Only Donald Trump could slow down the growth of TikTok, and the best he could muster was a stumble by forcing an acquisition. TikTok use by teens surpassed Snapchat in 2020 and its partnership with Shopify to create social commerce opportunities only strengthens its position into 2021.
Check out the SEMpdx blog for our 2021 digital marketing predictions. We hope your 2021 is more fruitful than 2020. We admit, that’s a low bar.