I have my own thoughts about what 2021 will look like for marketers, but just in case this year also turns out to be unprecedented, I’d rather not share them (I’m 99% sure I predicted last year that Instagram removing likes would be the biggest change to marketing in 2020…lol).
So instead, let’s take a look at the most common 2021 marketing predictions from experts across the universe internet.
Social commerce is the new sliced bread
Social media platforms accelerating their e-commerce capabilities was far and away the most popular prediction for 2021. Here’s how it took shape across the board:
Instagram: Facebook’s favorite child could add more TikTok-like live shopping options, one-click purchasing, and new ways for creators to let audiences buy direct.
Facebook: Many social media marketing experts looked into their crystal balls for 2021 and saw Facebook continuing its focus on Shops, as well as further developing Facebook Pay, in order to further lock in DTCs diversify its revenue streams.
- Some predict that new e-commerce initiatives—like cross-platform ad campaigns between Instagram and Facebook Messenger—could pop up as FB consolidates Messenger in 2021.
TikTok: That Walmart live shopping event = a window into TikTok’s 2021. “TikTok needs to find more ways to ensure its top creators get paid, otherwise they’ll drift off to other platforms where they can make real money,” wrote Andrew Hutchinson for Social Media Today.
The quote that sums it all up: Josh Cole, the CMO of Sky Zone, said it best for Adweek, making the point that our ad spend will follow shoppers in 2021:
“The pandemic-driven spike in ecommerce, and a related impact on advertising budget allocations, are both projected to continue. According to eMarketer, advertising on ecommerce platforms jumped 39% in 2020 and will grow another 30% in 2021, capturing 13% of total U.S. digital ad spend,” wrote Cole.
Diversity and inclusion are here to stay
The industry’s reckoning with racism made marketers wish their company had stronger diversity and inclusion (D&I) structures in place. Many predict 2021 will grant that wish.
In the office: 2020 talked the talk so 2021 could walk the walk when it comes to giving all marketers what they need to succeed.
- “If 2020 was about setting goals, the New Year will be about showing evidence and progress. Agencies and brands will be measured, not just by the new hires they make, but by their ability to retain these employees,” wrote Jeanine Poggi for Ad Age.
In public: In 2021, more of Gen Z will enter the workforce—which some experts predict will further push brands to take a stand on social issues.
- “Brand marketers will feel compelled and inspired to push their organizations to take meaningful stands on social issues,” wrote Cole of Gen Z.
- “This mindset will impact a range of initiatives, yielding more programs like the partnership benefitting HBCUs integrated into Peloton,” Cole continued.
My takeaway: Those predicting that D&I efforts will solidify across the marketing industry could be proven wrong come 2022 if the movement loses its steam. Keep educating yourselves and each other about how to be an antiracist to make this one a reality.