Digital Marketing

How digital advertising and marketing will change: 14 predictions for 2021


Digital marketing is no stranger to change, especially after a year like 2020.

We need to stay connected if we are to stay relevant with the never-ending changes to algorithms and regulations – and part of that is positioning ourselves for success.

What will digital marketing look like in 2021?

We have had 14 digital marketers letting us know what they see on the horizon so we can all plan accordingly and have a great year of engagement, clicks and conversions.

Here are predictions from 13 of the best digital marketing minds for 2021.

Dan Dillon, Vice President Marketing at Reveal Mobile

When the pandemic subsides, shoppers, guests, tourists, and consumers of all kinds will run out. And when they go they grow up. Marketers need to know where their ideal customers are going, how often they visit, which competitors they shop with – as much as they can about the offline consumer journey. Reaching these audiences will be critical to business growth and will separate the 2021 winners from the laggards.

We saw a massive shift to online in 2020 because no one had a choice, NOW in 2021 those who have shifted have a choice. The first is to spur it on and keep thinking that they know what they are doing, the second is to get trained or outsource what they are doing to make sure they benefit from the new normal. Without doing one or the other, companies will eventually fail, which just makes me sad. 🙂

Kasim Aslam, Founder and CEO of Solutions 8

The massive and comprehensive emphasis on privacy will transform (and significantly hinder) the way advertisers can target and track prospects. This could be the first time in online advertising history that we have actually taken a step backwards in terms of our ability to collect and use data. I believe this will put a heavy emphasis on the quality of the subject used in online ads as well as the need to monitor and optimize the entire user journey (not just the conversion event). Advertisers need to work on qualifying potential customers through intrinsic values ​​(like user behavior and actions) rather than relying so heavily on extrinsic values ​​(like demographic information). The customer value journey became even more important!

Russ Henneberry, Founder at

We will see a rift in the Facebook / Google advertising duopoly as Amazon continues to steal shares from Google search ads and networks like Spotify, TikTok, Reddit, Pinterest make ads more efficient. These smaller networks are gaining traction in the areas of targeting, self-service ad platforms, and cost-per-acquisition goals (CPA and CPL), not just in CPM models. 2021 is a good year to dip your toes in the waters of some of these smaller ad platforms and start testing.

Rachel Pedersen, Consultant and Strategist at The Viral Touch & Social Media United

2021 is a whole new look at social media and marketing. After a long year of growth, hardship and survival (for many) people are ready to experience authenticity on a new level. How to implement it: Everything comes from intent.

It sounds fluffy, but it's actually incredibly basic.

What is your intention with this Instagram post? Sales or Service? What is the intent behind your YouTube video? Vanity Metrics or Value? What is your intention to respond to comments? Engagement or connection?

If you start with your intent before creating any single piece of content, your fans / followers will feel the authentic care that you and your brand take for them. Instead of resisting new platforms like Clubhouse and TikTok, focus on showing where your customers are.

Here are some starting points and ideas for intent:

  • To serve our fans and followers deeply.
  • To help our customers get out of pain and frustration, we offer solutions that actually help them.
  • To better understand our fan base and meet them in their needs. Shedding light on the issues that are important to our people.

Apply this prediction to your marketing and watch your fans / followers rise as your intent becomes felt.

Nathalie Lussier, founder of AccessAlly

Nathalie Lussier

In 2020, at AccessAlly, we saw a huge wave of personal trainers, associations and business owners creating online courses and membership sites around the world due to COVID-19 bans.

In 2021, these newly shaped online businesses will become more complex and find ways to differentiate themselves through:

  • Selling Bulk Course Licensing, where a course creator can sell multiple places in a program to a company and earn more for their intellectual property than they could sell courses to individuals.
  • Combat zoom fatigue with short, actionable learning videos at your own pace and asynchronous communication via forums and Slack groups.
  • Promoting user privacy while marketing by removing Facebook retargeting pixels and moving from Google Analytics to companies like Fathom who are privacy focused.
  • Creating reward programs and financial assistance for subscribers to put people first and support the community as a whole.

While it's hard to say when things will return to normal, we as marketers know that nothing stays the same for long.

Because of this, I think 2021 will be the year offline businesses that have had to learn online marketing will see a return in their efforts.

Some may opt to reopen in person for a bonus, but those who figure out how to connect with customers around the world will likely choose to keep growing their reach and sales online.

I believe 2021 will be the year of channel diversification for paid social spending. In the past, most of the ad budget for ecommerce brands was used for Facebook and Instagram advertising. With all of the changes coming with iOS 14 over the next year, Facebook's tracking, targeting, and reporting may not be as effective as it was in previous years. I believe brands will look more seriously at brands like Snapchat, TikTok, and Pinterest. Advertising technology, especially on Snapchat, is getting more advanced and many brands are seeing similar returns on Snapchat as they are on Facebook. I believe there will be a lot more marketing spend on Snapchat in the next year.

Marisa Murgatroyd, founder and CEO of Live Your Message

I have two predictions for this year!

The declining "Internet middle class".

As is often the case when markets get crowded and more demanding, some people win and some lose. Because with more opportunities comes more competition. The competition on all major online platforms – especially on Google, Facebook and Instagram – has never been so tough. Ask anyone who runs a Facebook ad agency and they will tell you it is getting harder and harder to get a significant return on ad spend (ROAS). I often tell my students that they need to be ready to blow at least $ 10,000 on Facebook ads (if not a lot more) before they see any real return. The same goes for listing it on the first page of Google or getting views, clicks and comments on social media. While this is still possible, it is becoming increasingly difficult to “be lucky” with talent and charisma alone. You need to develop highly specialized skills and give each platform what their specific algorithm wants. Which means, with a few notable exceptions, companies and individuals with deeper pockets, deeper connections, or deeper marketing opportunities are winning the internet … and the middle is failing. The big players either get bigger or step off the field while savvy new competitors jump on the bench to take their place. So don't despair – if you're reading this article – you still have the chance to sit on the bench when you're ready to learn the skills you need to be successful online – not just through talent and Charisma but also through intelligence and intelligence savvy.

The death of the talkative

With more opportunities and more competition, just playing the game is not enough. You have to play the game to win. With so much competition and the challenge of finding your audience online, if you want to succeed and take a seat on the bench as a real player, you have to double down and go all in. Since the middle is failing, it's easy to get stuck on the starting gate, especially if you're not 100% there. If you aren't fully aligned and reaching your brand, you won't make it on the bench. On the one hand, the old guard is stepping back and new spots are opening up. On the other hand, unless you specialize (trend # 2) and develop a real flair for internet marketing (trend # 4), these spots will be harder to get hold of. The Internet used to be the place where a “newbie” could literally become “Internet famous” overnight. And while it is FINALLY possible, it now takes real effort and effort to build an audience and grow your online business. There is no silver bullet. You need to take the time, learn proven strategies, to be successful (or, as I'd like to say, be the scientist in your company's experimental lab) and go all-in.

Scott Desgrosseilliers, CEO of Wicked Reports

The war between Apple and Facebook will bring seismic changes for Facebook advertisers. We're headed back to the future where advertisers have to use Facebook as a traffic source but are unable to trust, verify, or count on the accuracy of the reporting.

There's a tremendous opportunity to add personalization to your marketing in 2021. But not any kind of personalization. There was a massive backlash against so-called "Algorithmic Personalization". This is the case when the big advertising networks – like Facebook and Google – use the enormous amount of data they have about our online behavior to show us content, ads and products that their algorithm “thinks” us about might like.

This came to a head in the fourth quarter of 2020 when Apple announced that IOS 14.3 will come with standard privacy features that will prevent Facebook from tracking your behavior outside of the platform to support the big data algorithm.

Why did Apple do this? In response to user demand, of course. To take account of the fact that we as internet users do not want the “robot overlords” to tell us what we like, what we think and what to buy. At the same time, as users, with the vast amount of data, information and options that can be sorted online, we still rely on heuristics to decide "which is right for me" when it comes to making purchasing decisions online . This is where the BIG personalization option comes into play. While people don't want Algorithmic Personalization telling us what to do, we want to be actively involved (and be aware of) the online personalization experience. To decide what CONTENT we want to see and which PRODUCTS we want to buy. This is known as "interactive personalization". Where the user receives a CHOICE and AGENCY via the online expression of his preferences. In other words, instead of making decisions algorithmically without us even realizing that this is happening behind the scenes … The great opportunity is to invite your visitors to participate in the selection. Tactically, this means this: ask them to answer questions when they land on your website so you can show them the right content or product depending on how they answer those questions. In other words, to use what is called a "QUIZ funnel". We recently used this strategy ourselves to generate over $ 8.59 million in less than 55 days.

And there are thousands of entrepreneurs who have succeeded with this strategy, from starting from scratch to generating hundreds of leads and customers each day.

This is a strategy we are pursuing ALL IN 2021, and it is a strong hedge against the battles BIG TECH will wage – between companies like Apple, Facebook, Alphabet (Google), Amazon and Microsoft. It's a way to regain control of your business and provide your users with a powerful personalization experience so they can ultimately sell better and serve better in 2021 and beyond.

Natasha Takahashi, Co-founder of the School of Bots

In 2021 we will see the biggest increase in corporate usage Chatbot previous marketing (AKA marketing with mobile messaging apps.)

Why? Because companies can now market three of the largest messaging apps in the world: Facebook Messenger, Instagram DM, WhatsApp.

As a marketer, you can Lists grow on Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram DM and Automate conversations for hundreds of use cases.

In 2016, we saw Facebook activate marketers with messenger bots. Messenger has been an incredible guinea pig for marketers to understand conversation psychology and what leads / customers want to do in a conversation.

Now we can reach the next phase of marketing with messaging apps: Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram – together and individually.

If you are wondering what you can do now … From January 2021, Messenger bots will already be available to you, which you can use with full power. Instagram DM bots are in private beta (we are currently testing use cases with Facebook). and WhatsApp bots are in private beta (we are currently testing use cases with Facebook.)

In 2020, the number of users of mobile messaging apps and the daily time they spend on the apps grew exponentially. More companies than ever had to open communication channels through messaging apps that they didn't have before, or they would have gone out of business.

Even if you don't personally plan to learn this new conversation marketing skill, you need to at least understand how it works and plays a role in a company's marketing system.

When I think about success in 2021, I think getting back to basics and basics of marketing will be more important than ever as the online space becomes more saturated. I have 8 predictions that I believe will be critical to your marketing success in 2021:

1. Knowing your customer value and the average life cycle of your customer (how long it takes to first appear on your list to become a paying customer) is more important. In 2020 my team and I saw the average customer lifestyle increase. This data is key as it should drive your strategy forward. Knowing that it takes an average of three months for one of your leads to go from first listing to paying customer can be used to plan your marketing strategy and projections. It's also important to know your average customer benefit as advertising costs will continue to rise. You need to know exactly how much you can pay for a lead and still be profitable. If after getting this data you find that you are not profitable, you can develop strategies to increase your customer benefit.

2. Videos and Instagram roles will still take precedence and convert better than ads that use images. Over the past few months I've found that ads that use short videos or Instagram Reel cut CPMs (cost per thousand impressions) in half. I believe this will continue to be the case when Facebook tries to compete with Tik Tok.

3. Facebook groups will begin to die in 2021 (if they are not already dead). I've seen that as the admin of a Facebook group, your posts get only a fraction of the reach and engagement than your group members' posts, and it's getting harder and harder to get your Facebook group members to convert into customers. If you've already built a very engaging community on Facebook, you'll probably be fine, but I wouldn't go into 2021 and try to build a new group from scratch. I think you should instead look to more direct ways of nurturing and connecting with people like podcasts, engagement videos, contacting Instagram DMs, etc.

4. The innovation of your webinar experience is vital. The digital marketing space is heavily saturated with webinars, many of which follow the same templates, formulas, and pitching techniques that your audience has likely seen hundreds of times. If you are to succeed with your webinars in 2021 and want to keep your audience from turning you off, you MUST innovate the experience you give your clients so they get noticed and don't drown. You need to think about how to get more in touch with your audience, how you can get them to engage, how you can provide them with valuable content they can't find anywhere else. That can mean making it shorter, longer, turning it into a workshop, turning it into a popup podcast series, regularly updating the title and content, etc.

5. Promoting your audience is becoming more and more important as the online space gets denser. There is so much more noise being heard in webinars, funnels, and online businesses than there was a few years ago. This does not mean that it will be impossible to succeed, just that you need to get noticed and connect with your audience. To do this, you need to prioritize so your audience will consistently deliver extremely valuable content that will impact their lives. You also need to develop a solid nurturing strategy for people who don't even know about you / your brand through brand awareness and visibility content. You also need to promote the people you already know but haven't bought from you yet. Why? Because there is a large percentage of people who will join your list, watch your video, listen to your podcast, whatever it is but are not yet a customer. You need to strategically nurture these people and bring them back to your offering if you want them to convert. If you don't care about showing up for your audience and how you can influence them in a positive way, you won't have lasting success.

6. You need to update and innovate your ad theme to highlight and stop scrolling. Not only can you create template images and ad copies – that won't cut. You need to focus on connection, emotion, community, and trust in your ads and go even deeper if you want to stand out from your competition and attract your ideal clients and customers.

7. Online business will continue to boom. I think course and coaching service sales will increase significantly over the next year as more people go online. More and more people are catching up with where those of us who are established in digital marketing have been for years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More and more people are jumping into Zoom, exploring remote learning, getting their businesses online, using Facebook ads, etc. I think a lot of people are going to be investing in courses to help them figure out what to do online for success and create a new one Reality in itself. So if you can serve your audience this way in 2021, I see immense success for your business.

8. The life cycle for which the content is good is shortened. I think at least once every quarter of next year you need to get serious about your marketing, strategy, and messaging, making pivotal points and changes if necessary based on what your data suggests. Maybe four years ago you could get away with not updating your content for six months to a year, but not as much. The people who add value, innovation, updated content and creativity, and perform for their audience in a proactive and consistent manner, will be doing their best for the next year.

2020 has forced many entrepreneurs online. And of all the many free tools available today for growing a business online, social media has proven to be the leader in terms of its effectiveness.

When it comes to building a business with Instagram (arguably the world's leading social app and parent company Facebook darling), I predict this in 2021: Photo-only feeds will continue to hurt your account engagement.

What worked in 2016 is no longer effective for 2021. Gone are the days of perfectly placed or edited images. Instagram is no longer a place for photographers to show their snapshots, but a content hub for videos, memes, life, and reality TV-like stories.

Companies need to go on video. Even if it's a 15 second story to be comfortable in front of the camera. But the key is to start today. As customers shop with brands, they feel connected, and video is the fastest way to make that connection.

Find and use the tools that make content creation quick and fun. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Canva for quote cards and memes
  • Kapwing for videos like IGTV
  • InShot for creating roles outside of the Instagram app

However, if turning your account into a video hub sounds intimidating, start small: film yourself on Instagram Stories, then switch to Instagram Reels. Bet you will see faster growth in 2021 using just these two free tools from Instagram.

Mike Rhodes, CEO of WebSavvy

Mike Rhodes

What a decade this year has been. Covid has accelerated many trends, not least consumer behavior and thus digital marketing. But where does this take us in 21 and what do you have to focus on in order to offer your customers the best possible service?

As a digital marketer, I believe you have three main options:

Data: Dive deep into the data side, understand automation and where AI (& ML) can help.

Creativity: Be convinced by copying, creating offers and understanding human behavior.

Strategy: or sit over both disciplines. You can synthesize information from a variety of sources and use it in your decision-making.

In this quick post on prediction, I'll focus on data and drill down into Google Ads.


Under the guise of data protection, you expect that ad platforms will continue to pass on less and less data to you in the future. For example, Google will no longer tell you the video your Youtube ad was shown on, just the channel. As of September 2020, they have drastically reduced the search query data that you can access.

Of course, we've all known for a while that ITP, rather than third-party cookies, interferes with our tracking and reduces reliance on remarketing (would you buy stock in criteo?). In 2021, other tracking methods (think digital coupon codes) are likely to increase, as well as marketers focusing on longer-term, more valuable metrics like Lifetime Value (LTV).

If you're not focused on getting more / better first party data just yet, get started soon.


We need to use the data we need to make better predictions (and decisions) about the near future. According to BCG, only 9% of CMOs can accurately predict the outcome of a 10% postponement in marketing investments.

At my agency we have certainly noticed a shift in this direction. Customers love dashboards and tables that model various scenarios and forecast changes in ROAS, ROI, and LTV.

How sure are you about the return on your next $ 20,000 in a given channel?


Don't expect the ad platforms to try and optimize your profit anytime soon. Spending more to get additional leads and sales isn't always the best approach.

The little-used "Performance Planner" from Google is a typical example. They show you cumulative graphs (which always go up and to the right) for costs and conversions. However, if you want to maximize profits, you MUST understand the additional costs and revenues. Sure, your average CPA may only go from $ 50 to $ 52, but if that means the next lead will actually cost you $ 250, was that a wise investment?

Google recently improved this tool for shopping campaigns and search. Unfortunately, there are no plans to share Performance Planner data through the Ads API. So we have developed a tool to help you use it. More information is available at


Google continues to urge brands and agencies to use the "smart" set of tools in Google Ads. Smart bidding is excellent and much stronger than it was two years ago. However, be careful when using tools like "smart campaigns" until you master the basics

(Readers of this blog can get my $ 299 Google Ad Fundamentals course here for free.)


We all know that Google is an AI-first company and possibly the biggest AI user, at least outside of China. So expect them to continue to force more automation and AI on us.

Of course, not all AI is bad. Models such as GPT-3 (at least examples made from cherries) showed stunning creativity. It can do wonderful things (write code, write poetry, even do arithmetic) but it cannot be used 100% and when it goes wrong it goes really wrong. So use tools like, and as a source of ideas, not as a substitute for your team.

And if SEO is your thing, keep this in mind, as natural language answers such as GPT-3 can give are likely to change the whole world of search sooner than we think.


2021 will undoubtedly hold many surprises in store for us.

Use your time to rebuild and prepare – whatever you expected by 2030, get ready now. The future is here.


Jeffrey Rabinowitz