2021 Digital Marketing Trends@2x

Digital Marketing

2021 Digital Marketing Trends

Last Updated on April 23, 2021

It’s here! We made it! Happy 2021, y’all. After one heck of a year, you can’t help but want a fresh start. Say no more. Let’s get inspired, let’s get excited, and let’s get a handle on the upcoming 2021 digital marketing trends. You never know which digital marketing trend will become your company’s saving grace. Keep in mind, not every tip will be relevant to your business. It’s all about knowing your audience, your offering, and finding a leg up on the competition. Let’s dive in! 

Social Media for E-commerce. Say what?

You’ve no doubt encountered direct shopping during your social media scrolling. By allowing for direct shopping on social media, you eliminate an extra click. Want to know the price of a product? A few details? It’s right there. If you are a B2C business, this technique puts you directly in front of the consumer. And with algorithms on your side, these leads are quality, so you aren’t shooting in the dark. You can find out more about other eCommerce best practices here.


ecommerce is a 2021 digital marketing trend


Virtual Events are Here to Stay 

Here we are, zooming into the new year with… ZOOM. And although we might be sick of it, virtual events still have major benefits. First of all, it’s an event. Not a meeting, not a call… an event. Virtual or not, the people in attendance are receiving value and hopefully are already interested in the topic. 

Keys to Successful Virtual Events

  • Stick to the point. Subject experts can get into the weeds pretty quickly. Keep in mind that your audience may be hearing your information for the first time. Keep it simple. 
  • Short and sweet. A long virtual event with tons of information can feel overwhelming. Your audience might be logging on during their lunch break or squeezing it into their day. No need to go overboard.  Stick to high-value content. 
  • Q&A. Running a successful question and answer session can be tricky online. The best thing to do is include a moderator, who can filter the questions posed in comments or chat. Instead of people talking over one another or risking technical difficulties, the moderator can read the inquiries aloud and keep the discussion focused. 
  • Send out a reminder. Make that multiple reminders. Free events and busy schedules make it easy for people to forget or bail. Send a reminder the day before and the day of the event. This gives people the chance to plan ahead and look forward to it, rather than scrambling to fit in an event they may have forgotten about.  


Conversational Marketing: User-generated content (UGC) and Influencers

If consumers aren’t familiar with your brand yet, that’s a hurdle for your prospective customers. A great way to instill trust in a brand is word-of-mouth from people you trust already. Their word is as good as gold. Let’s talk about how people get the conversation started and keep the momentum going to make a sale. 

There are three key parts of this process. Engagement, understanding, and recommendation. A good marketing strategy and a sales funnel can take care of the first two, but a solid recommendation comes from someone you already trust. That’s why user-generated content, or UGC, and influencer marketing plays such an integral part in brand confidence today. 

Examples of hot places in Cincinnati - 2021 digital marketing trends blog post

One of our clients, Cincinnati Experience, is crushing it with user-generated content. Check out their Instagram. (And did we mention they have a pretty cool website too? ) 



Appealing to our nostalgic hearts isn’t new. We know revisiting the past tugs on our emotions. But in 2021, when the world feels frightening and everyone has suffered from some loss of traditions, activities, or relationships, looking to simple and fond symbols of the past feels comforting. Nostalgia helps people feel more optimistic and more willing to part with their money. Plus, brands feel more human when you see them related to uplifting old-school references.  

Millennials and younger generations love this too.  Thrifting, repurposing old fashions, gritty photo filters—all are fascinating to younger generations. And can you blame ‘em? Whether you have lived through a decade and are longing for it, or are finding something new in the old, this marketing tactic is working! 

Have you seen this happening? Here are some examples of nostalgia:  

  • Graphic tees. You can find a slogan, logo, or cartoon character to suit your era, just about everywhere.
  • The Bob Ross chia pet.
  • “Your memories on Facebook.”
  • Cobra Kai, the cheesy, yet incredibly watchable Karate Kid follow-up.
  • Vans Old Skool sneakers.
  • The popularity of “vintage” clothing, lunchboxes, and TV shows like Stranger Things reminding us of childhood.

We’re also betting on a resurgence of fonts and imagery from past decades. How can your business bring comfort to your audience? Whether it’s in a new product or service you bring to market, or the language and imagery you use, finding a way to be empathetic and deliver comfort or nostalgia is a trend worth your time.


Story Time

Remember when we used to say, “Hey friends, you should add some video to your marketing. You’ll be one step ahead of the game!” Well, guess what? If you’re still avoiding video, you are officially behind.  

Good video content can captivate your audience, and if done right, they stick around for more. So how do you do it “right?” The key is short-form video content. That’s not to say that long videos are bad. They can be awesome, but there is a time and place for that. Plus we are talking NEW trends here. Still need to know more about video? Get the breakdown here of how video can boost your business.

We’ve always touted that video is a strong form of storytelling. But now more than ever it has become essential. Almost every social outlet has a special component for accessing digestible video content: IGTV, Instagram Stories, Facebook Stories, Pinterest Stories, Twitter Fleets, Google Stories, TikTok, etc. We have been conditioned to consume content in this way and it works. A recent study estimates that people watch an average of 16 hours of video content per week. If you aren’t publishing content with video, you are missing out on the chance to connect with your audience in the way that is most natural for them. 

Check us out on IGTV where we give our clients fast facts and fun insights via video on Instagram.

USDP team talking about 2021 digital marketing trends


Visualize it 

People can make quick connections, assumptions, and decisions based on imagery. 

Visual Search

Having images pop up in a Google search is nothing new. In fact, there is a whole tab just for images. But now we are seeing images more prevalent on the initial search page. With advancements like Google Shopping, we are able to see images of what we are looking for instead of only reading headlines. We also see this with blog posts under the Google My Business platform, so adding feature images becomes a must. 

Visual Navigation

Take Gorilla Glue for example. Instead of just a word leading to a product page through a site, there’s also an accompanying image that helps the customer to make a visual connection. An individual looking for an item may not know what it is called but knows what it looks like, or might do the research online and try to find the product in-store. With images connected to the titles throughout the site (not just on the product page), customers can more easily find the product they want. 


Table of Contents 

With any lengthy blog post, you are going to start seeing one common element: a table of contents. You may have noticed we used one in this post. A table of contents helps skimmers quickly find information in a long-form blog. This works especially well if you link the headlines to a specific point on the page, allowing your reader to quickly jump down to the right spot.

Benefits reach beyond the user’s fast-paced navigation. This is also GREAT for your search engine optimization. Google is starting to grab these blog post tables of contents and have them available when searching as well. Introducing this to your content can help bolster your company’s search results and overall site traffic. 


I’m already trendy. What else ya got?

Schedule some time with the USDPeeps and get some one-on-one advice for what your company should be doing to make your digital marketing thrive. 

Kayla Brighter Image Alt

By: Kayla Brighter

Kayla is an Interactive Designer at USDP.
She owns the most desk plants of anyone in the office.