The digital marketing industry is ever-evolving, always adapting to the changing needs and priorities of internet users and consumers. According to Postclick’s 2021 Digital Advertising Trends report, the significant shifts in digital advertising spend over the past year mean it’s time to readjust your online marketing priorities.
As a digital marketing agency specializing in paid search, content marketing, and SEO, we’ve seen the most compelling parts of this report firsthand, namely that “the coronavirus pandemic fundamentally altered the digital advertising landscape. Marketers not only shifted their budgets from traditional to digital channels, but they also significantly increased their digital spend. They expect the resulting spike in demand to increase prices and spur competition, leading to a cutthroat environment in which only the most advanced strategies prevail.”
We expect COVID-19 to impact our industry well beyond this year. We recommend a proactive approach to our clients and colleagues who want to stay ahead of the game.
Half or more of people surveyed in the Postclick report are shifting their marketing and advertising spend away from offline channels like print, TV, and radio ads. Instead, leaders in every industry are prioritizing search engine optimization (SEO) across digital media by integrating it into their advertising.
Ranked from the smallest to largest shift in spending, here are the four areas where companies plan to spend the lion’s share of their marketing budget for the rest of 2021 and beyond.
FOUR FASTEST GROWING AREAS OF DIGITAL MARKETING SPENDING
1. Content Marketing
Content marketing is a key vehicle for search engine optimization. It’s the cornerstone of both paid digital advertising campaigns and any strategy focused on getting sales leads organically. Content marketing investment could include:
- Working with a marketing agency that specializes in content creation and content marketing strategy.
- Hiring a staff writer familiar with your brand, your industry, and/or content best practices.
- Developing a comprehensive editorial schedule that includes blogs, website improvements, landing pages, webinars, videos, social media posts, press releases, and anything else that adds value for the people your brand serves.
Content marketing is the story you’re telling people about your brand, and your content should make it clear you want them to participate in that story as clients, customers, or partners.
To do that, create copy that empowers them, their business, or their community by connecting them with the products and services you offer. This will only help your content rank better in Google, whose algorithms value authoritative content far beyond content that’s focused only on hitting a word count or stuffing a page with keywords.
2. Paid Search Advertising
Put simply, paid search advertising only works if you’re leveraging high-value pay-per-click advertising (PPC) strategies. According to one report by PPC Protect, 33% of people surveyed said they click on a paid search ad because it directly answers their search query. Successful investment in paid search requires:
- Thorough knowledge of keywords your target market uses.
- Successful placement of those keywords in correctly-targeted ads.
- Copy that doesn’t violate Google’s standards for PPC content.
- Landing pages that will be a high-quality complement to your ad once someone clicks through to your website.
Partnering with a digital advertising agency with a strong track record in paid search is a smart way to protect that investment. Their detailed analytics monitoring and campaign customization will help prevent overspending by getting your content in front of people with the greatest need for your services.
3. Video Marketing
Online video marketing (via YouTube and other video platforms) has exploded in popularity and impact as more of the country continues to spend more time at home in an effort to live, work, and socialize more safely. When developing a video marketing strategy, we suggest:
- Creating high-quality videos that incorporate visual branding.
- Optimizing each video channel and listing with keywords for your brand, your product, your services, and your geographic service area.
- Regularly releasing short videos that answer questions customers are likely to have quickly and accurately.
Video content is a great way to show the “human element” of your brand. Keep anything you create professional, but don’t be afraid to be personable, warm, and engaging. It’s also important, during any discussion in your videos, to use relevant keywords that refer to your topic the way the viewer would. Depending on your target audience, that likely means more accessible language, less “shop talk” and jargon.
4. Paid Social Media Advertising
Paid social media advertising leads the way in terms of the greatest shift in digital spend. An April 2021 report by Oberlo found that “73% of marketers believe that social media marketing has been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” for their business”, so it’s no surprise they’re continuing to invest more digital advertising dollars on social media platforms in the coming months. Planning a social media marketing strategy should include:
- Keyword and analytics data for your company and your competitors’.
- Data about which platforms your target market spend the most time on and best practices for those platforms.
- Your content plan, including a way to track and monitor how that content performs.
One of the unique things about paid social is that users can engage with your content directly. You can learn, as it happens, which ads and paid content are getting the most traction and the most favorable engagement. With digital marketing guided by expertise and driven by data, you’ll see a stronger return on investment than you if you’re only going with your gut.