2020 has come and gone, but the year has left a trail of social media marketing trends. We saw business services accelerate as brands shifted to e-commerce in the wake of the pandemic. Many of these trends will persist in 2021, in addition to an upcoming new wave of trends that you cannot ignore.

Wondering how you can get the most out of your digital marketing campaigns in the coming year? We gathered insights from our industry experts to understand what top social media marketing trends to expect for the rest of the year.

From increasing mobile consumption habits to the introduction of BOPIS in retail, here are the trends and forecasts for social media marketing for 2021.

2021 social media marketing trends

Insights from Lauren Cody, SVP Business Operations, AdParlor

What did you learn most from 2020?

Things can change at any time and we must all be ready. Flexibility and the ability to move quickly were critical to surviving 2020. While the challenges of 2020 required brands to fundamentally change their strategy, we've also learned so much. We know getting back to normal won't happen. "Normal" has shifted and will continue to do so. More than ever, strategies that allow quick pivot points will be the only strategies that survive.

What are some of your predictions for social media marketing in 2021?

  • Traditionally, brick and mortar stores will increasingly focus on online purchases with curb and in-app purchases such as Instagram Checkout and Snapchat Brand Profiles.
  • Brands need to be more transparent about what they stand for. It is important to position yourself in a more vulnerable position so that potential customers know who and what they stand for. Silence is perceived as negative.
  • More creative: Videos, GIFs, and an increase in text (yes, bigger, bolder uses of text). Creative images that go beyond static images with very limited characters will be big in 2021.
  • A struggle with relocating to a boilless world. Nobody knows how this will affect or what the timeline looks like at all. We can already see that the big players disagree on how best to improve people's privacy. This will be a theme to be seen.

We identified some ecommerce trends in 2020, such as roadside collection and BOPIS (buy online, in-store pickup), that have helped retailers spin and stay afloat during this time. Where do you see the future of BOPIS beyond COVID-19?

BOPIS is here to stay! It is our current reality to talk about the fact that there is no such thing as “normal”. While health and safety restrictions are less of a reason for BOPIS, sheer convenience will lead this trend to become the norm. BOPIS takes into account the fact that increased online shopping has resulted in longer and more expensive shipping and offers customers both the convenience and control that they are used to.

Insights from Ryan Santoro, Partner Manager, Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook

What did you learn most from 2020?

With 2020 brought a wealth of insight, it's difficult to pick just one. Overall, however, the biggest aspect I've seen is how 2020 accelerated existing consumer trends faster than they would naturally have. The e-commerce explosion is one of the best examples of the past year and one that I don't see going backwards. I was very impressed with how quickly traditional offline brands were able to move to online, but it's clear that digitally native brands had a first mover advantage given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

What are some of your predictions for social media marketing in 2021?

In general, I believe many of the trends we saw in 2020 will continue to shape the industry in 2021 and beyond. Many trends that have gained momentum over the past year accelerated sharply during the pandemic.

To name a few, mobile consumption habits grew dramatically in 2020, and I would expect these to continue to increase over the next few years. Digitally native brands that were already prioritizing mobile optimization seemed to have an inherent advantage over the past year. For brands that weren't designed for mobile in the past, they likely will in the future. 2020 demonstrated the importance of having a mobile-optimized experience. So if brands haven't prioritized this beforehand, they should think about it right away.

Similarly, video is another medium that has grown dramatically in 2020, especially video on mobile devices. According to eMarketer, 79% of all mobile traffic worldwide will be video by 2022. As we can safely all agree, consuming videos on mobile devices is vastly different from how individuals have viewed videos on their televisions in the past. Hence, it is important for brands to build for mobile devices or repurpose historical TV or video assets as they adhere to the current consumption habits of the specific platforms they run on.

We identified some ecommerce trends in 2020, such as roadside collection and BOPIS (buy online, in-store pickup), that have helped retailers spin and stay afloat during this time. Where do you see the future of BOPIS beyond COVID-19?

It's funny because most people probably never heard of the acronym BOPIS a few years ago. However, much like everything else, 2020 changed that quickly. I definitely assume that the adoption of BOPIS will continue to increase in 2021 and beyond. For the retailers who haven't rolled out BOPIS yet, it will likely be something they have or will prioritize for 2021. For retailers who have already rolled out BOPIS, I see that they continue to make this as smoothly as possible.

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