11 New Media Trends in 2021

11 New Media Trends in 2021


A lot happened in 2020. And with those happenings came changes to our media consumption. More time was spent on social media and streaming services, while eCommerce sales were at an all time high. So what will happen in 2021? Here are 11 new media trends to be on the lookout for.

There’s no question that TikTok took off during the pandemic. The average attention span of a Millennial is 12 seconds, but it’s only eight seconds for Generation Z. In 2021, marketing teams need to start experimenting on how to best convey their brand, messaging and call to action all within a quick and catchy video.

Building trust was a common theme we saw in 2020 and that won’t be going away any time soon. People are more likely to invest in brands that express similar values to theirs. When people see brands doing good things, they connect with them more and ultimately invest with them more. In 2020, we saw brands like Hilton give free rooms to front line workers and Medieval Times making masks to donate to the community.

Speaking of trust, in 2021 paid media targeting will be impacted by privacy acts. The California Consumer Privacy Act limits how companies are allowed to handle the personal information of shoppers in California.  Apple’s iOS 14 release privacy feature will stop the automatic background collection of data used for personalized ad tracking. Privacy acts like these are just the beginning. Be sure to pay close attention to the latest industry news and start focusing efforts on collecting first party data.

Facebook Shops and Instagram Shoppable posts are leading the way for consumers to buy products without ever leaving the app. What was once a difficult task to “disrupt” a user scrolling their feed to make a purchase, is now more commonplace. Consumers like the convenience, while it opens up more opportunities for businesses to sell products.

5G Technology will significantly change how we access online content. Adage said “The arrival of 5G may also finally bring millions of rural consumers into the high-speed data lanes where marketers increasingly sell their products. It might even disrupt the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook by arming telecom companies with unprecedented data for ad services.” This will open many new opportunities for digital marketers.

Visual search allows people to turn their phone’s camera into a search bar. With the launch of Pinterest Lens, Google Lens and Bing Visual Search, there’s no question that visual search will soon be just as popular as text search. With the point of a camera, people can now find similar products and where to buy them, see product information and read reviews, save phone numbers or contact info and add events to calendars. The options for marketers are limitless.

The Black Lives Matter movement created a cultural shift towards inclusivity which also impacted consumer behavior. A study by Accenture showed that 41% of shoppers shifted away from retailers that didn’t reflect their views on identity and diversity. Brands that are inclusive and show involvement in these causes will benefit, all while creating a better connection with their buyers.

Interactive content is more engaging, more memorable and will grow the connection between brands and consumers. Marketers should begin shifting away from text-based content and focusing more on things like quizzes or polls, augmented reality and 360 degree videos. Items like these make the consumer feel more involved in the buying process.

2020 brought rising concerns about privacy and fake news. 75% of people don’t accept advertisements as truth, yet 90% of people believe brand recommendations from friends and 70% believe consumer opinions. Products that receive 50+ reviews create greater returns. Marketers should be investing in building relationships with their customers which will then translate into more reviews.

Today’s consumers crave content that they can connect to (are you sensing a theme here?). Videos and photoshoots no longer need to be the highest quality production, but instead be relatable, provide social proof and build that relationship between brand and consumer. Ads based on user-generated content receive 4 times higher click-through rates and a 50% drop in cost-per-click compared to average ads. If you haven’t already, start building campaigns that encourage your users to share their own generated content.

Now that you’ve improved your marketing campaigns, what good is it if you can’t track performance properly? An average consumer engages with a brand on up to six touch-points before making a purchase. Because of this, marketers are taking an omni-channel approach to where they place their ads. Many companies are looking beyond Google Analytics for reporting and are moving to things like Google Data Studio, Metabase or Tableau in order to see the whole customer journey and make more informed decisions.

2020 was quite the year and many of those events shaped how marketing will be used in 2021. We hope this list helps guide you in your 2021 marketing decisions. Reach out to The James Agency if you would like help on any of your marketing needs.

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