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Digital Marketing Trends & Predictions For 2021

Digital marketing predictions in 2021

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At the beginning of each year, we like to sit down and talk to our iPhone (on Facebook live) about how we see digital marketing shifting during the year and what type of digital marketing trends we believe we will see along with those shifts. We also like to make a couple of bold predictions, so watch out for those too! 

Click here to watch our Facebook Live about 2021 Digital Marketing Predictions.

We like to break down our predictions into categories including social media, content, websites, and bold predictions with both Kevin and myself giving you one apiece. But without any more hype, let’s jump into our digital marketing predictions for 2021! 

Social Media Marketing

Social media is a huge part of our agency, and this is the area we talk about more than any other type of digital marketing. We talk about it so much because we know how often new trends occur in the space and how often brand new platforms rise and demand attention, such a TikTok. The big trends we see to continue in 2021 in the social media marketing industry are branding, stories, reels, and privacy. 

Branding Will Be The Key To Social Media In 2021

Kevin’s prediction was specifically, “Whoever sells less [on social media] will sell more.” Here at SocialSurge we typically abide by the 80/20 rule – meaning we believe in posting beneficial content 80% of the time and call to actions 20% of the time. 

Kevin is predicting, and our strategy is changing, to be close to 90/10 now, with such a high focus on making sure people are actually getting the content they want and will be beneficial to them. 

The reason behind this is that social media users are getting smarter and smarter every day. People are becoming more educated about the algorithms that social media platforms, such as Facebook, use and are feeling more intruded on than ever. With documentaries such as The Social Dilemma that explain how social media platforms work, branding is going to be more important than ever for businesses on social media. And this is a good transition into our next prediction for 2021…

Users Will Continue To Care About Privacy

Privacy is becoming more and more important on the internet as a whole. Social media privacy, in particular, has been a big reason for the recent worries about privacy and security with more education around all of the data social media platforms truly have on each individual. 

Really what this means is that you can expect to see fewer options for social media advertising as laws and regulations continue to change and catch up to the digital world. 

Stories And Reels Will Be Instagram’s Focus In 2021

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about Instagram over the last 5 years, it’s that if they make a new feature, you go all-in on it. It’s been a pretty standard practice for Instagram to continue to add new features to its app since the inception of Instagram in 2010. They love to take ideas from other social media platforms and use them as their own. To name a few – hashtags from X, stories from Snapchat, and reels from TikTok. 

Anytime Instagram has implemented one of these features, they basically redesign the app to make sure that people need to use them in order to get the most out of their app. With hashtags, they created the “explore” tab and the ability to follow hashtags. When they added stories, it was the very first thing you saw at the top of your screen when opening Instagram. Now with reels, there is an entire new reels tab, conveniently where you used to click to add a new post to Instagram. 

So why is all of this important? It’s important to really understand that if you listen to social media platforms and watch what they’re doing, they will give you the roadmap to success on their platform! 

Content Marketing

Content can mean so many different things since there are such many different types of content out there. Photos, videos, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, and the list goes on, but how do you decide what to focus your efforts on in 2021? 

Video Remain The Best Content

Nothing new here. Video has been the king of content for a long time now, and that is not going to change in 2021. The type of videos used for marketing does seem to be changing over the last couple of years though, and the trend has been lower production but more authentic videos. It seems to be more of the norm with tools such as stories, Facebook/Instagram/LinkedIn Live, TikTok, etc. that promote more authentic content that have an on-the-go type feel. 

Something else to note about video is that people have become more used to being on video with our world being forced to be more digital with working-from-home a requirement for most for some part of 2021. A tough part about video for a lot of people is that you can see yourself talking and hear your voice, which can be a hurdle for some people to get over at first. People are more comfortable and more willing to get on camera and talk now, which will make video content in 2021 an all-time high. 

Scalable Content

Chances are that if you’re a small business owner, you’ve had to have the unfortunate experience of trimming expenses during 2020. Chances are that you are going to be spread a bit thinner this year across the board as well. Finding ways to best use your time is going to be a common theme of 2021, especially in the digital marketing space. One way we recommend doing this is to create “scalable content”. What this means is that you should create content that can be used in many places and formats and can be cut down and repurposed later. 

For example, If you write a blog post on a certain topic, you can create quote graphics from it, make a video about it, and even chop it down into shorter blogs to be used again later.

If you can plan ahead and create content that can be scalable, you’re going to get a lot of value out of this content and you’re going to save a lot of time and money in the process. 


Websites seem to be one of those things to small business owners that often are forgotten about and pushed to the side. It’s also one of those things that we remind small businesses how important they truly are. Enter 2020 – where what we’ve been saying for a while proved its point. Having a presence online was really a make or break factor to a lot of small businesses during the pandemic. Those who focused on keeping their website up to date and looking good were 10 steps ahead of their competitors. But how do we see this changing in 2021? 

eCommerce Sales Stick Around

Online shopping had one of the largest increases ever in a year during 2020. While this was basically solely to do with COVID and shoppers being forced online, this trend is here to stay. Shoppers have gotten more comfortable with buying online and there have even been people shopping for the first time online. 

The education around how to shop online correctly and the overall better user experience are going to be two of the reasons why it’s important to continue to allow online purchases for your small business. 

It’s Time To Redo Your Website (For real this time)

Last year Kevin mentioned the exact same prediction for 2020, but COVID threw a wrench into things and we’ve come to the conclusion that most businesses probably didn’t have the budget to redesign their website in 2020. 

If your website hasn’t had a redo in a few years, this is the perfect time to make sure to update your website with 2020 breaking records of online sales and people surfing the web now more than ever. 

Our Bold Predictions For Digital Marketing In 2021

Kevin – There will be no new major social media platform this year. Kevin feels like, with the entrance of TikTok in 2020, there currently isn’t enough space for a new social media platform to fit into 2021. 

Eric – Machine learning and automation are going to take big steps forward in 2021. Eric feels since Google has released Google Analytics 4 there is a lot of thought around how machine learning can improve analytics and digital marketing as a whole throughout the year. There should be a lot of companies that follow Google in their efforts!

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