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Monitoring Viral Incorrect information Forward of the 2020 Election



Credit score…Joe Raedle/Getty Pictures

Mere hours after defiantly advising American citizens to not worry the coronavirus or let it “dominate your existence,” President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday morning with deceptive comparisons of Covid-19 to the flu.

“Many of us annually, from time to time over 100,000, and in spite of the Vaccine, die from the Flu,” Mr. Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “Are we going to let it shut down our Nation? No, we have now discovered to reside with it, identical to we’re finding out to reside with Covid, in maximum populations some distance much less deadly!!!”

However his comparisons of Covid-19 and the flu stand in sharp distinction to months of information accrued via mavens, who’ve again and again mentioned that the coronavirus poses a much more severe risk than influenza viruses. In line with information accrued so far, maximum flu viruses are much less fatal and not more contagious than the coronavirus. And whilst flu vaccines and federally licensed remedies for the flu exist, no such merchandise were absolutely cleared via governing our bodies to be used in opposition to the coronavirus.

Twitter appended a be aware to Mr. Trump’s tweet, pronouncing that it violated the corporate’s regulations about spreading false and deceptive details about the virus. Nevertheless it stored the put up up, pronouncing that it was once within the public pastime to stay it obtainable. Fb got rid of a identical put up from Mr. Trump, pronouncing that the corporate eliminates mistaken details about the coronavirus.

In step with the Facilities for Illness Keep watch over and Prevention, between 24,00Zero and 62,00Zero flu-related deaths happen in the US every yr — considerably fewer than Mr. Trump claimed. In February, Mr. Trump caught nearer to the information at a White Space information convention. “The flu, in our nation, kills from 25,00Zero other people to 69,00Zero other people a yr. That was once stunning to me,” he mentioned on the time. Previous that month, consistent with the hot e book via Bob Woodward, Mr. Trump described the coronavirus as “extra fatal than even your strenuous flus.” On moderate, seasonal flu traces kill about 0.1 % of the folk they infect.

The coronavirus, however, has killed greater than 210,00Zero other people in the US, and multiple million international, because the get started of 2020. The virus’s true mortality charge stays unclear, as it’s tough to assemble such information whilst the pandemic rages on. Insufficient checking out has additionally made it exhausting to pinpoint what number of people were afflicted via the virus, which will unfold silently from individuals who by no means display signs.

Nonetheless, estimates from mavens generally tend to position the coronavirus’s dying charge upper than the flu’s. The virus’s dying toll was once particularly top in overdue iciness and spring, when hospitals have been crushed, clinically examined remedies have been scarce and protecting and distancing have been much more scarce than they’re now.

“That is principally nonsensical ranting and raving,” Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at Columbia College, mentioned about Mr. Trump’s statements. “This simply demonstrates that, for a businessman, President Trump doesn’t appear to have a lot of a grab of arithmetic.”

Widespread encounters with previous flu traces, together with efficient vaccines, too can bolster the frame’s defenses in opposition to new flu viruses. The coronavirus, then again, has swept thru a defenseless inhabitants of unprepared hosts at a dizzying charge.

Deaths additionally don’t disclose all the image. Researchers nonetheless don’t absolutely perceive the long-term penalties of coronavirus infections, that have saddled a rising collection of other people, known as long-haulers, with severe and debilitating signs that may linger for weeks or months.

Scientific mavens have additionally warned that because the northern hemisphere cools for iciness, the flu and Covid-19 may collide, fueling a brand new spate of deaths.

Mr. Trump, who examined sure for the coronavirus closing week, has downplayed the severity of the pathogen a number of occasions in contemporary days, although he was once despatched to Walter Reed Nationwide Army Scientific Heart to obtain remedy for Covid-19. Whilst on the clinic, he won a number of treatments in most cases designated handiest for individuals who are very significantly in poor health.

Fb and Twitter have pledged to stay their networks protected from incorrect information concerning the coronavirus to give protection to the general public’s well being. However on Monday, the websites have been examined when President Trump posted that folks must now not be afraid of the illness.

“Feeling truly excellent! Don’t be petrified of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your existence,” Mr. Trump wrote on his Fb and Twitter pages, pronouncing he can be discharged from the Walter Reed army clinic after being handled there for Covid-19 the previous couple of days. “I think higher than I did 20 years in the past!”

Scientific mavens in an instant took factor with the put up. Greater than 200,00Zero American citizens have died from the virus, and greater than 35 million circumstances were reported all over the world. Dr. Bob Wachter, the chair of the dept of medication on the College of California, San Francisco, mentioned Mr. Trump’s tweet was once “breathtakingly callous, inhumane & counterproductive.” Dr. Bernard P. Chang of Columbia College’s division of emergency drugs warned that folks must stay petrified of the virus.

However Fb and Twitter did not anything about Mr. Trump’s put up, although the firms have publicized their coronavirus incorrect information insurance policies.

Fb has mentioned it does now not permit coronavirus posts that may end up in direct bodily hurt, and can redirect other people to a Covid-19 data heart. Twitter additionally eliminates handiest posts that comprise demonstrably false data with the “easiest chance of resulting in bodily hurt.”

For Fb and Twitter, those main points subject. They’re paying shut consideration as to whether or now not Mr. Trump is giving a particular course or command to interact in an task that would in an instant put other people in peril. When he advised in April that mavens glance into whether or not other people may inject disinfectant to combat off the coronavirus, Fb and Twitter used the similar yardstick and took no motion to take away clips and posts concerning the unproven remedy.

Mr. Trump and his director of social media, Dan Scavino, have hewed intently to the road of what’s allowed on quite a lot of social media accounts over the last 4 years, reputedly pushing the envelope so far as imaginable with out inciting the tech firms to take punitive motion.

Fb didn’t reply to a request for remark. A Twitter spokesman mentioned the tweet didn’t violate the corporate’s regulations because it didn’t come with a transparent name to motion that would probably motive real-world hurt.

Via Monday night time, Mr. Trump’s tweet and Fb put up on Covid-19 were seen via multiple million other people throughout each networks. Mr. Trump later posted a video reiterating that folks must now not let the virus dominate their lives. “Get in the market,” he mentioned. “The vaccines are coming momentarily.”

Credit score…Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

President Trump’s determination to power via well-wishers outdoor Walter Reed Nationwide Army Scientific Heart on Sunday was once broadly criticized via clinical mavens as irresponsible for unnecessarily exposing Secret Carrier brokers throughout the automobile to the virus.

“Via taking a pleasure experience outdoor Walter Reed the president is hanging his Secret Carrier element at grave possibility,” tweeted Dr. Jonathan Reiner, professor of medication and surgical procedure at George Washington College. “That is the peak of irresponsibility.”

But many far-right commenters known as it one thing else: a miracle. They mentioned it was once proof that the president was once overcoming his sickness from the coronavirus.

The Gateway Pundit, a web page infamous for frequently spreading incorrect information and falsehoods, printed an editorial calling Mr. Trump’s drive-by to greet enthusiasts a “miracle in Maryland.”

“I imagine in miracles,” mentioned any other tweet on Sunday afternoon, after Mr. Trump’s physician mentioned he may go back to the White Space as early as Monday. “We’re going to see any other one in November!”

Others reposted and repeated Mr. Trump’s personal phrases in a video he launched on Saturday that his hospitalization and means of restoration constituted a “miracle from God coming down.”

Alex Plitsas, the vice president of the Fairfield Republican The town Committee in Connecticut and a onetime contributor to the conservative information and opinion web site The Day by day Caller, mentioned the folk criticizing Mr. Trump’s shuttle previous supporters on Sunday have been hypocritical. He mentioned that they advocated sporting mask to forestall the unfold of the virus, however that once Mr. Trump wore one they mentioned that was once now not sufficient to delight them.

The Facilities for Illness Keep watch over and Prevention and the International Well being Group say face coverings are a safeguard however now not an absolute ensure of forestalling transmission — particularly in a small, sealed house like a automobile occupied via an individual recognized to be inflamed, as was once the case on Sunday.

Mr. Plitsas didn’t in an instant reply to a request for remark.

Greg Worth, any other contributor to The Day by day Caller, mentioned the Secret Carrier brokers accompanying Mr. Trump all over the drive-by had at all times been in peril as a result of they have got been across the president all over his bout of sickness.

“The purpose of my tweet was once that the protection of the brokers didn’t turn into a large tale till President Trump did the power via,” Mr. Worth mentioned in a right away message on Monday.

Dr. James Phillips, an attending doctor at Walter Reed, mentioned the particular state of affairs of being in a sealed automobile larger the brokers’ possibility. “Presidential SUV is not just bulletproof, however hermetically sealed in opposition to chemical assault,” he tweeted. He added that the chance of Covid-19 transmission was once “as top because it will get outdoor of clinical procedures.”

The C.D.C. says fabric face coverings assist save you the individual sporting the masks from spreading Covid-19 to others, however it doesn’t say sporting a masks absolutely prevents the unfold of the virus. The power angered some individuals of the Secret Carrier, The Washington Publish reported.

“Lots of the statements which might be being driven via Trump’s supporters were debunked via clinical mavens, however at the moment, nobody is being rational,” mentioned Claire Wardle, govt director of First Draft, a company that fights on-line disinformation. “Those tweets and the web dialog isn’t about science or experience, it’s about feelings and partisanship.”

President Trump’s announcement on Friday that he examined sure for the coronavirus has reignited an internet fervor over hydroxychloroquine, a drug again and again promoted and brought via Mr. Trump in spite of a loss of proof that it successfully treats or prevents Covid-19.

Advocates of the drug have taken to Twitter and Fb over the last few days to counsel hydroxychloroquine as a process remedy for Mr. Trump. Amongst them was once Consultant Andy Biggs, a Republican of Arizona. On Friday, Mr. Biggs handed on his nicely needs to the president on Twitter prior to encouraging him and the primary woman, Melania Trump, who additionally shriveled the coronavirus, “to take hydroxychloroquine to lend a hand with their recoveries.”

Over the weekend, different Twitter customers additionally posted that Mr. Trump must use hydroxychloroquine, with some calling it a “miracle drug.” The hashtag #hydroxychloroquine popped up often on Twitter, with others posting underneath the hashtag #HCQWORKS.

The entire on-line task way it’s a great time to type thru what we find out about hydroxychloroquine.

The drug has lengthy been used to regard malaria, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Initially of the pandemic, a handful of small, poorly designed research advised that it will block the coronavirus from replicating in cells.

Since then, the information on hydroxychloroquine’s effectiveness in opposition to the virus has been combined. The early, reputedly promising effects, reinforced via political drive, induced the Meals and Drug Management to grant the drug an emergency authorization to be used in very in poor health Covid-19 sufferers. Apply-up research, then again, discovered the drug neither sped restoration nor averted wholesome other people from contracting the coronavirus or progressing to severe illness.

The F.D.A. in the long run revoked its emergency approval. The company now warns that hydroxychloroquine could cause bad abnormalities in middle rhythm in coronavirus sufferers. Researchers have additionally performed massive evaluations concluding that hydroxychloroquine does now not receive advantages Covid-19 sufferers, and feature reaffirmed the dangers of negative effects in those people.

Nonetheless, the drug has been championed via some — together with President Trump, who praised it in the course of the summer time.

So what remedy is Mr. Trump, who has been hospitalized at Walter Reed army clinic, in truth receiving?

His physician, Sean P. Conley, has mentioned Mr. Trump had won an infusion of an experimental antibody remedy advanced via drug maker Regeneron, and was once additionally taking zinc, diet D, melatonin, aspirin and a generic model of the heartburn remedy Pepcid. Dr. Conley has additionally mentioned the president has begun a five-day process remdesivir, an antiviral drug given emergency use authorization from the F.D.A. to regard hospitalized Covid-19 sufferers. And on Sunday, Dr. Conley mentioned Mr. Trump were given the steroid dexamethasone, which has been proven to assist sufferers who’re significantly in poor health with Covid-19 however may also be damaging for sufferers with gentle or average circumstances of the illness.

Hydroxychloroquine was once now not discussed via Mr. Trump’s clinical crew. That induced some on Twitter to talk out on what they noticed as an omission in his remedy.



Right here at Day by day Distortions, we attempt to debunk false and deceptive data that has long gone viral. We additionally wish to provide you with a way of the way well-liked that incorrect information is, within the total context of what’s being mentioned on social media. Every Friday, we can function a listing of the 10 most-engaged tales of the week in the US, as ranked via NewsWhip, a company that compiles social media efficiency information. (NewsWhip tracks the collection of reactions, stocks and feedback every tale receives on Fb, together with stocks on Pinterest and via a bunch of influential customers on Twitter.)

Prior to now week, two primary political tales — about President Trump’s taxes, and the primary presidential debate on Tuesday — ruled social media feeds. However there was once various different information making the rounds on-line, together with tales about Amy Coney Barrett, the Perfect Courtroom nominee, and the commercial toll of the coronavirus.

Here’s an annotated checklist of the 10 most-engaged information tales of the previous seven days. (Be aware: this week’s checklist captures information from Friday, Sept. 25 at Nine a.m. Jap time till Friday, Oct. 2 at Nine a.m. Jap time. It captures handiest the primary a number of hours of information on articles about President Trump checking out sure for Covid-19, which was once published early Friday morning.)

The Instances’s giant scoop about Mr. Trump’s taxes led the pack this week, with greater than 5 million interactions, making it the paper’s most-engaged article of the yr.

Proper-wing web sites like The Day by day Twine took purpose at Mr. Wallace after Tuesday’s debate. This text, which aggregated tweets from right-wing commentators, struck a nerve amongst Trump supporters who felt that the president were unfairly handled via the Fox Information anchor.

Every other Fox Information tale, this one about President Trump’s contemporary announcement that he would suggest designating the Ku Klux Klan and antifa “terrorist organizations.” (Prison mavens have mentioned that the proposal is in large part symbolic, and that there was once no felony authority for labeling a home staff this manner.)

After Mr. Trump advised the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist staff, to “stand again and stand via” all over Tuesday’s debate, the crowd’s supporters followed the president’s remarks as a rallying cry. (Be aware: NBC’s unique headline misstated Mr. Trump’s remark.)

UNICEF was once the highest sharer of this Washington Publish research, which concluded that in terms of the commercial toll of the coronavirus pandemic, “the gloom is handiest deepening.” (Be aware: UNICEF’s Fb posts obtain an extra spice up from the platform’s Covid-19 data panels.)

Days prior to Mr. Legend and his spouse, Chrissy Teigen, introduced that that they had misplaced their youngster after being pregnant headaches, The Day by day Twine were given greater than 800,00Zero interactions on an editorial calling consideration to Mr. Legend’s pronouncing that he would believe leaving The us if Mr. Trump have been re-elected.

The 10th most-engaged tale of the week was once a roundup of mag covers that includes BTS, the Okay-pop supergroup. By no means underestimate a Okay-pop supergroup.

President Trump’s announcement on Friday that he had examined sure for the coronavirus prompt a wave of tweets and Fb posts with a commonplace chorus, particularly at the left: Why must we imagine him?

There was once no proof that Mr. Trump was once mendacity. However in a single day, loads of tweets have been posted casting doubt on whether or not the president shriveled the coronavirus.

The White Space has given a couple of statements confirming Mr. Trump’s situation. His doctor showed the sure take a look at consequence, and Mark Meadows, the president’s leader of team of workers, mentioned that Mr. Trump had gentle signs of Covid-19.

The tweets wondering Mr. Trump’s announcement peaked at 5 in line with minute on Friday morning consistent with Dataminr, a social media tracking provider. The doubters incorporated Jelani Cobb, a team of workers author at The New Yorker, and Anand Giridharadas, editor at massive of Time and an occasional contributor to The New York Instances.

Some advised that the announcement from the president may well be an excuse to prolong the election, since he’s trailing within the polls, and cancel long run presidential debates.

One of the vital other people doubting Mr. Trump mentioned they couldn’t imagine him as a result of how a lot false and deceptive data he has unfold concerning the virus prior to now.

Researchers at Cornell College printed a learn about this week appearing that Mr. Trump was once the one greatest motive force of false and deceptive details about the coronavirus. Mentions of Mr. Trump made up just about 38 % of the entire “incorrect information dialog,” the researchers mentioned.

Mr. Trump has additionally mentioned on no less than 34 separate events since February that the coronavirus would leave.

“We’re in an atmosphere the place conspiracies are thriving, partly for the reason that president encourages them,” mentioned Melissa Ryan, leader govt of Card Methods, a consulting company that researches disinformation. “And we have now a White Space comms operation that provides the clicking and public disinformation continuously.”

The location has created “the easiest typhoon for other people to suppose that the White Space isn’t being honest,” Ms. Ryan mentioned.

Lots of the deniers additionally latched directly to a tweet from Sept. 18 that had at first been shared in conspiracy circles, however was once reshared broadly on Fb and Twitter after Mr. Trump’s announcement on Friday. “Trump’s October marvel would be the announcement of ‘his an infection,’” it mentioned. “Pretend, however fairly dramatic.” The put up gathered just about 15,00Zero interactions throughout Fb and Twitter, most commonly from individuals who falsely asserted that Mr. Trump catching the virus was once a recognized plan.

And a few noticed other people’s reactions to the announcement as a mirrored image of the sheer magnitude of incorrect information that has emanated from the president.

Credit score…Jordan Gale for The New York Instances

After Tuesday’s chaotic presidential debate, by which President Trump again and again left out the bottom regulations, his supporters became their anger on Chris Wallace, the Fox Information anchor who served as the talk’s moderator, accusing him of being biased in opposition to the president.

Posts attacking Mr. Wallace ruled conservative social media on Wednesday and Thursday. One meme, which were given greater than one million interactions on Fb after the president shared it, depicted Mr. Trump taking up each Mr. Wallace and Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, in a Boulevard Fighter-style two-on-one brawl.

Every other meme, shared via the conservative influencers the Hodgetwins, depicted Mr. Wallace as Mr. Biden’s knight in shining armor.

Different conservatives attempted to color Mr. Wallace as a Trump hater in cover, declaring that he’s a registered Democrat. That is true. Mr. Wallace has described himself as “unbiased,” and has mentioned he registered as a Democrat as a result of “the place I reside, in Washington, D.C., the one elections that depend are the Democratic primaries.”

However different claims about Mr. Wallace weren’t true, comparable to a rumor that circulated on WeChat, the Chinese language messaging app, that claimed he was once “fired” from moderating any long run debates. Some customers additionally shared a picture that was once falsely categorised as appearing Mr. Wallace with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier and accused intercourse trafficker. (The photograph in truth confirmed Mr. Wallace with the actor George Clooney, a vocal liberal with whom he’s pleasant.)

The correct-wing assaults have now not stopped at Mr. Wallace. Conservatives have additionally begun casting doubts concerning the equity of the second one presidential debate, which is scheduled for Oct. 15 and is slated to be moderated via Steve Scully, an established C-SPAN political editor and host.

One right-wing meme accused Mr. Scully of being attached to the “deep state.” Different conservatives referred to him as a former Biden intern, or mentioned he and Mr. Biden had long gone to university in combination. (They didn’t move to university in combination, even supposing Mr. Scully did intern with Mr. Biden’s Senate place of business whilst an undergraduate at American College. He additionally was once an intern for Senator Edward M. Kennedy.)

Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, known as the selection of moderator “NUTS,” and proposed having long run debates moderated via groups of 1 Republican and one Democrat.

Professional-Trump partisans additionally started digging for proof that the Fee on Presidential Debates, the bipartisan group that sponsors the debates, was once biased in opposition to Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump has complained concerning the fee prior to now, calling it “very biased” and pronouncing it’s “stacked with Trump Haters & By no means Trumpers.” (The gang’s management is composed of each Democrats and Republicans.)

The ones claims were renewed after Tuesday’s debate. On Thursday, supporters of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy idea, started posting unfounded rumors about individuals of the talk fee, and declaring that President Barack Obama is an honorary co-chair. (He’s, as are former presidents from each events, together with George W. Bush.) Q, the pseudonymous message board poster whose posts gas the idea, additionally weighed in, calling the fee’s selection of Mr. Scully as a debate moderator proof of a “rigged gadget.”

Credit score…Jeff Dean/Agence France-Presse — Getty Pictures

It’s no marvel that folks pushing anti-mask arguments popped up on-line across the time the coronavirus pandemic hit the US in March and April.

However here’s what would possibly marvel you: The target audience for deceptive anti-mask posts on Fb has grown sharply within the closing 8 weeks, in spite of the rising proof that mask can assist save you the unfold of the virus.

The quantity of people that have joined anti-mask Fb teams has grown 1,800 %, to greater than 43,00Zero customers, because the starting of August, consistent with an research of information supplied via Crowdtangle, a media device that Fb owns. Nearly 1/2 of the 29 antimask teams came upon via The New York Instances have been created within the closing 3 months, with names like “Masks off Michigan” and “Masks Unfastened The us Coalition.”

The largest motive force of coronavirus incorrect information on-line was once President Trump, consistent with researchers at Cornell College who analyzed 38 million articles concerning the pandemic in English-language media all over the world. In overall, Mr. Trump made up just about 38 % of the entire “incorrect information dialog,” comparable to so-called miracle treatments for the coronavirus, the researchers discovered.

Credit score…Pool photograph via Stefani Reynolds

Consultant Tom Malinowski, Democrat of New Jersey, is dealing with down dying threats from QAnon supporters after the Space Republicans’ marketing campaign arm falsely accused him of lobbying to give protection to sexual predators.

QAnon supporters started concentrated on Mr. Malinowski, a first-term congressman, on Tuesday, after he led a bipartisan answer condemning the motion, which spreads a baseless conspiracy idea that President Trump is struggling with a cabal of Democratic pedophiles.

QAnon believers seized on an commercial launched closing month via the marketing campaign arm, the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee, that falsely claimed that Mr. Malinowski, then a lobbyist for Human Rights Watch, labored to dam a provision in a 2006 crime invoice that might have expanded registration necessities for intercourse offenders.

Dying threats and different harassing messages have since poured into Mr. Malinowski’s place of business in Washington. In an interview on Wednesday, he known as the threats “a right away consequence” of the commercial, noting that the calls his place of business had won cited its central accusation.

“We’ve been caution the Republicans working this play for no less than the closing two or 3 weeks that they have been enjoying with fireplace,” he mentioned. “Now the fit has been lit.”

The threats in opposition to Mr. Malinowski have been previous reported via BuzzFeed Information.

QAnon, the New York Instances columnist Kevin Roose has defined, is the umbrella time period for a sprawling set of web conspiracy theories that declare, falsely, that the arena is administered via a bunch of Devil-worshiping pedophiles who’re plotting in opposition to Mr. Trump whilst running a world youngster sex-trafficking ring. The F.B.I. has warned that QAnon poses a possible home terrorism risk.

The assault advert in opposition to Mr. Malinowski performed without delay to the crowd’s leader price.

“In each town, in each community, round each nook, intercourse offenders live amongst us,” the narrator of the advert intoned.

“Tom Malinowski selected intercourse offenders over your circle of relatives,” the advert mentioned.

A separate record circulated via Republican officers repeated the declare, particularly mentioning that Mr. Malinowski “labored to make sure intercourse offenders who violated kids” do not need to sign up for the registry.

Mr. Malinowski, a former State Division reliable within the Obama management, has mentioned he didn’t paintings on that invoice — a commentary corroborated via Human Rights Watch — and that his portfolio on the group was once serious about overseas coverage issues.

However the marketing campaign arm doubled down on its declare on Wednesday according to the BuzzFeed Information file.

“The one one that bears accountability here’s Tom Malinowski for his determination to foyer in opposition to the introduction of a countrywide intercourse culprit registry,” Chris Pack, the communications director for the committee, mentioned in a commentary, calling the congressman’s movements “disgusting.” “Congressman Malinowski should reside with the effects of his movements.”

Mr. Malinowski mentioned he had faced Consultant Tom Emmer of Minnesota, the Nationwide Republican Congressional Committee’s chairman, on Tuesday night time at the Space flooring concerning the QAnon dying threats impressed via his committee’s advertisements. Mr. Emmer, he mentioned, denied figuring out what QAnon was once and mentioned that he was once now not accountable for what others did with the committee’s marketing campaign subject matter.

Credit score…Charlie Riedel/Related Press

Of the entire election incorrect information this yr, false and deceptive details about vote casting via mail has been probably the most rampant, consistent with Zignal Labs, a media insights corporate.

Simply how a lot larger has it been? Of the 13.Four million mentions of vote casting via mail on social media; information on tv, print and on-line; blogs and on-line boards between January and September, just about a fourth — or 3.1 million mentions — have in all probability been incorrect information, Zignal Labs mentioned.

That was once 160 % greater than the 1.2 million mentions of incorrect information on Invoice and Hillary Clinton and their Clinton Basis, the following largest class, Zignal mentioned. Different incorrect information classes incorporated George Soros, the billionaire investor and Democratic donor (915,300 mentions); incorrect information about vaccines (628,700 mentions); and Kamala Harris “birtherism” claims (69,200 mentions).

The deceptive details about vote casting via mail was once now not uniform. It broke down into six major classes, consistent with the research. Within the month of September, they incorporated:

  • mentions of absentee vote casting or ballots, such because the false concept that it’ll be an unreliable solution to vote: 410,918 mentions

  • mentions of voter fraud, comparable to mentions of deceptive tales about legal habits involving mail-in ballots: 345,040 mentions

  • mentions of voter IDs, such because the baseless concept that during states with strict voter ID rules, mail-in ballots were dumped out: 31,021 mentions

  • mentions of overseas interference, comparable to inaccurately announcing that “overseas powers” are counterfeiting thousands and thousands of votes: 11,857 mentions

  • mentions of poll “harvesting,” a loaded political time period utilized by President Trump for poll assortment, a procedure this is felony in 26 states the place any person rather than a circle of relatives member can drop off your absentee poll for you: 10,562 mentions

  • mentions of a “rigged election”: 10,140 mentions

Fb, YouTube and Twitter have made preventing false details about vote casting a concern, together with highlighting correct data on vote and sign up to vote. However the platforms have struggled to use their election incorrect information insurance policies flippantly, and lots of the false posts don’t seem to be got rid of until the messages are particular about inflicting forthcoming hurt within the vote casting procedure.

A misleading video launched on Sunday via the conservative activist James O’Keefe, which claimed thru unidentified resources and with out a verifiable proof that Consultant Ilhan Omar’s marketing campaign had gathered ballots illegally, was once most certainly a part of a coordinated disinformation effort, consistent with researchers at Stanford College and the College of Washington.

What are the highest Fb pages attractive customers on Tuesday’s presidential debate and their percentage of the dialog at the social community forward of the development? It is probably not what you are expecting.

The 3 public pages on Fb which might be seeing the biggest percentage of the talk dialog at the web site all leaned conservative. On the most sensible was once Fox Information (with a 25 % percentage of the dialog), adopted via Breitbart (15 % of the dialog) after which the conservative commentator Ben Shapiro (12 % percentage).

The ratings have been generated via CrowdTangle, the Fb-owned device that analyzes interactions at the social community. CrowdTangle measured the percentage of the talk dialog via the use of key phrases like “2020 debate” and “presidential debate.”

Credit score…CrowdTangle

The Fb pages of the Democratic presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., the inside track web site The Hill and MSNBC were given the No. 4, No. Five and No. 6 slots, with a complete percentage of 17 % of the talk dialog at the social community.

Simply outdoor the highest 10 was once CNN, at No. 12 with 1 % of the dialog. The New York Instances had the No. 33 slot, consistent with CrowdTangle.

The false declare that Joseph R. Biden Jr. won inquiries to Tuesday evening’s presidential debate upfront has been circulating on right-wing media websites.

A put up on Twitter via the radio character Todd Starnes was once shared over 18,00Zero occasions and was once used as the root for tales on quite a few right-wing websites, together with Infowars and Gateway Pundit.

The talk, moderated via Chris Wallace of Fox Information, would be the first time that President Trump and Mr. Biden, the Democratic nominee, face off.

A spokesperson from Fox Information mentioned the declare was once “completely false, and any statement in a different way is patently absurd.”

Requested whether or not it had get admission to to the questions prior to the talk, a spokesman for the Biden marketing campaign, Andrew Bates, mentioned, “No.”

On Tuesday, right-wing websites additionally shared the false declare that Mr. Biden was once being geared up with a hidden earpiece prior to the talk.

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Forward of Tuesday’s presidential debate, rumors started spreading amongst right-wing influencers and Trump marketing campaign surrogates that Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, was once being geared up with a hidden earpiece in an effort to obtain surreptitious assist all over the debate, and that Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign had refused a request from the Trump marketing campaign to permit a 3rd celebration to check up on each applicants’ ears for hidden earpiece receivers prior to the talk.

“If Joe Biden isn’t hiding the rest,” wrote the conservative activist Charlie Kirk on Twitter, “why received’t he consent to a 3rd celebration checking for an earpiece prior to this night’s debate?”

The talk, in fact, has now not but begun, and there’s no proof that Mr. Biden can be assisted via an earpiece as soon as it does. (A member of Mr. Biden’s marketing campaign team of workers known as the rumor “totally absurd” all over a choice with newshounds on Tuesday.) However the idea is being speculated about in right-wing media, together with on Fox Information, and it’s been shared 1000’s of occasions on Fb. It was once additionally complex via “Q,” the pseudonymous poster at the back of the QAnon conspiracy idea.

“Secret earpiece” rumors are not anything new. Actually, they’ve turn into one thing of a fixture all over presidential debate cycles, and a part of a baseless conspiracy idea that has a tendency to rear its head each 4 years.

The primary genuine earpiece conspiracy idea dates to 2000, when Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio host, accused then-candidate Al Gore of having solutions fed to him thru an earpiece all over a “Meet the Press” look. (A consultant from the display showed to Slate that every one visitors put on earpieces in an effort to pay attention the audio tracks of stories clips performed all over the display, however there’s no proof Mr. Gore was once fed any solutions.)

4 years later, all over the 2004 presidential debates, rumors circulated amongst left-wing bloggers that George W. Bush was once getting assist from a surreptitiously positioned earpiece.

“This idea is going an extended tactics towards explaining the president’s constantly atypical speech patterns,” wrote the liberal blogger Joseph Cannon.

Credit score…Pool tv

Commentators at the left speculated a couple of “bulge” in Mr. Bush’s jacket (above), which they imagined hid a hidden receiver into which Karl Rove, the previous president’s political adviser, was once talking. The Bush marketing campaign attempted to bat down the rumors, however they continued, although no cast proof ever surfaced. A NASA scientist even were given inquisitive about examining pictures of Mr. Bush’s jacket all over the talk, in search of clues concerning the mysterious bulge.

In 2008, rumors once more circulated on-line {that a} candidate was once being fed solutions all over a debate. Ann Althouse, a legislation professor and conservative blogger, wrote that close-up TV stills confirmed that Barack Obama “was once sporting an earpiece” all over a debate with John McCain. (Ms. Althouse later recanted her idea, pronouncing it was once most certainly simply mild reflecting off Mr. Obama’s ear.)

In 2016, the rumor gave the impression once more, this time hooked up to Hillary Clinton, who was once accused via right-wing web sites of sporting a secret earpiece. (One such tale, which gave the impression at the conspiracy idea web page Infowars, was once shared via Donald Trump Jr. and different pro-Trump influencers.)

The name of the game earpiece rumor isn’t solely an American phenomenon. Overseas politicians, together with Emmanuel Macron of France, have additionally been baselessly accused of sporting earpieces all over debates.

Accusing the opposing celebration’s candidate of sporting a secret earpiece isn’t a in particular subtle disinformation tactic, nor would it not most certainly supply a lot assist to a candidate even supposing it have been true. (Actually, as any individual who has ever watched a reside TV anchor fumble with a manufacturer’s directions may inform you, paying attention to instructions in an earpiece whilst staying aware of a moderator’s onstage questions calls for a somewhat spectacular act of multitasking.)

However the concept of a hidden helper giving one facet an unfair debate merit has proved seductive to marketing campaign operatives making an attempt to provide an explanation for away a lopsided debate, or sow doubts about dishonest at the different facet. As a 2016 Salon piece concerning the earpiece conspiracy idea mentioned, those rumors basically appear to enchantment to hyperpartisans whose perspectives at the applicants are already made up.

“When any person items you with grainy display captures of George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton and claims that they display telecommunications apparatus hidden on their our bodies,” the piece mentioned, “your partisanship allows you to bridge the sizable hole between the deficient proof and the company conclusion that any person offstage was once whispering into the candidate’s ear.”

Credit score…Joseph Prezioso/AFP — Getty Pictures

Closing yr, QAnon was once at the ropes.

The professional-Trump conspiracy idea were left homeless via the disappearance of 8chan, the message board the place “Q,” its pseudonymous central determine, posted cryptic clues a couple of cabal of child-eating Satanic pedophiles. The message board were bring to a halt via its safety supplier after the El Paso mass taking pictures, and whilst 8chan’s proprietor, Jim Watkins, was once suffering to carry a alternative web site on-line, some QAnon believers gave the look to be becoming bored.

Then, the pandemic hit — and with it, a brand new wave of incorrect information that QAnon may incorporate into its overarching narrative, from false claims about mask-wearing to conspiracy theories about Invoice Gates and a Covid-19 vaccine. The Black Lives Topic protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Might also supplied new fodder for QAnon’s “bakers” — the novice sleuths who accumulate in personal Fb teams and chat rooms to decode Q’s newest posts and speak about their theories concerning the international cabal.

However new analysis means that the most important jolt to QAnon got here from the so-called “Save the Kids” motion. It began out as a fund-raising marketing campaign for a valid anti-trafficking charity, however was once then hijacked via QAnon believers, who used the motion to unfold false and exaggerated claims about a world child-trafficking conspiracy led via most sensible Democrats and Hollywood elites. This hijacking started in July, round the similar time that Twitter and Fb started cracking down on QAnon accounts.

Marc-André Argentino, a doctoral scholar at Concordia College who research QAnon, has been monitoring the expansion of “Save the Kids” Fb teams, lots of which perform as comfortable fronts for the motion.

Mr. Argentino recognized 114 teams that invoice themselves as anti-trafficking issues, however are in truth ruled via QAnon content material. Since July, he discovered, those teams have larger their club via greater than 3,00Zero % — sure, 3,00Zero % — with a corresponding surge in task inside those teams.

“Save the Kids truly revitalized the neighborhood after Twitter and Fb took motion in opposition to QAnon,” Mr. Argentino mentioned. “It’s offered a complete new inhabitants to QAnon.”

Mr. Argentino additionally discovered that visitors to a number of items of core QAnon content material — comparable to “Fall of Cabal,” a YouTube video that many QAnon believers have credited with spurring their pastime within the staff — has surged in contemporary weeks, after months of decline.

Fb, Twitter and different social networks have attempted to restrict the unfold of QAnon, shutting down some accounts and pages related to the motion. However “Save the Kids” is a fuzzier house for platform enforcers, as a result of it may be tough to inform who’s in reality interested in youngster exploitation and who’s benefiting from the ones issues to sow incorrect information. That vagueness has helped QAnon believers steer clear of a complete crackdown, and has given them venues to speak about their theories that aren’t as prone to being taken away.

Adopting “Save the Kids” as a mantra helped save QAnon in different alternative ways. It created one of those “QAnon Lite” on-ramp — a subject QAnon believers may discuss brazenly with out scaring off attainable recruits with strange claims about Hillary Clinton dining young children, and one that would move just about neglected in teams dedicated to parenting, herbal well being and different nonpolitical subjects.

Standard of the brand new, understated QAnon genre are Fb movies by which folks sound the alarm about pedophiles brainwashing and preying on kids. Those movies, wrote Annie Kelly, a researcher who wrote a Instances op-ed about QAnon’s enchantment to girls this month, make for “compelling and dramatic content material” this is “simply shared in different parenting teams with little indication in their far-right origins.”

Since preventing youngster exploitation is a matter that has wide and bipartisan sympathy, QAnon’s anti-trafficking rebranding has additionally allowed politicians to enchantment to QAnon supporters with out explicitly citing the idea. And seeding incorrect information about youngster intercourse trafficking on platforms like Instagram and TikTok has allowed QAnon to faucet right into a more youthful and not more explicitly pro-Trump demographic.

“It’s bringing down the typical age of a QAnon follower,” Mr. Argentino mentioned. “In 2019, this was once basically a boomer motion. Now we’re seeing millennials and Gen Z getting on board.”

Mr. Argentino’s analysis presentations simply how efficient QAnon’s “Save the Kids” pivot has been. Along with spurring in-person rallies everywhere the arena, the motion has turn into one of the potent forces on Fb. Tales about youngster exploitation and human trafficking mechanically finally end up being a few of the most-shared information articles at the web site, and a few QAnon-adjacent scandals — comparable to the uproar over Netflix’s “Cuties” movie, which was once mentioned for weeks within QAnon Fb teams prior to it was once condemned via Republican lawmakers as selling youngster sexualization — have crossed over into mainstream political discourse.

There may be not anything mistaken with expressing issues about youngster exploitation, which is genuine and damaging. However QAnon’s include of the “Save the Kids” motion has created its personal harms. Reliable anti-trafficking teams have reported being flooded with calls from QAnon believers passing on false and debunked guidelines, forcing the teams to divert sources clear of their exact paintings. QAnon believers have arranged virulent harassment campaigns in opposition to other people they accuse of being pedophiles, together with celebrities like Chrissy Teigen and Ellen DeGeneres.

And a few QAnon fans have pursued acts of vigilante justice in opposition to the imagined “cabal” they imagine is working an underground youngster sex-trafficking ring. Closing yr, a Colorado girl was once arrested on suspicion of plotting with different QAnon supporters to have her son abducted from foster care. (The girl, Cynthia Abcug, has pleaded now not responsible.)

As Mr. Argentino issues out in a contemporary Twitter thread about his findings, there’s some proof that the expansion of “Save the Kids” could also be slowing down. Sharing of posts throughout the 114 teams he tracked has declined in contemporary weeks, whilst club within the teams has endured to upward thrust. Fb’s contemporary crackdowns might provide an explanation for a part of the falloff in sharing. Nevertheless it may well be proof that QAnon — which wishes a relentless provide of unpolluted incorrect information and new narratives to stay its neighborhood hooked — is making ready to transport on.

“Persons are losing interest,” Mr. Argentino mentioned. “There’s handiest such a lot content material about youngster intercourse trafficking that you’ll be able to percentage.”

Election officers in Sonoma County, Calif., requested the wider social media neighborhood on Friday to assist them rebut a false file about mail-in ballots within the county.

After receiving telephone calls from constituents claiming they noticed on-line footage of mail-in ballots in a landfill, the county posted a message on its major Twitter account alerting citizens and different Twitter customers {that a} false file was once circulating. The image confirmed 2018 election fabrics that were despatched out for recycling, as state legislation allows, the county mentioned.

County officers mentioned they weren’t positive of the foundation of the false file, however via Friday it were picked up via some conservative media shops on Twitter. Conservatives and President Trump have lately seized on information stories of problems with mail-in ballots, comparable to 9 that have been discovered to were discarded in a northeastern Pennsylvania county.

Sonoma County’s put up underscored the difficulties that native election officers face in preventing incorrect information within the ultimate six weeks prior to the Nov. Three election. With the native information media in disaster around the country, combating incorrect information in large part falls on house officers, who’re already stretched skinny to fulfill the calls for of probably the most advanced election in many years.

For officers at the entrance traces in Sonoma, correcting the document as briefly as imaginable was once paramount.

“I feel we would have liked to be proactive and be sure that other people were given the ideas from us, as a result of we did pay attention from some involved electorate,” mentioned Deva Marie Proto, the county registrar of citizens in Sonoma County.



Right here at Day by day Distortions, we attempt to debunk false and deceptive data that has long gone viral. We additionally wish to provide you with a way of the way well-liked that incorrect information is, within the total context of what’s being mentioned on social media. Every Friday, we can function a listing of the 10 most-engaged tales of the week.

Within the closing week, information of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying, and the political fallout from the hole of her Perfect Courtroom seat, ruled the mainstream information. However on social media, various different tales went viral, together with some false and deceptive tales.

Here’s an annotated checklist of the 10 most-engaged information tales of the previous seven days, consistent with NewsWhip, a company that compiles social media efficiency information. (NewsWhip tracks the collection of reactions, stocks and feedback every tale receives on Fb, together with stocks on Pinterest and via a bunch of influential customers on Twitter.)

1. NPR: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Champion Of Gender Equality, Dies At 87 (10,689,157 interactions)

NPR’s obituary for Justice Ginsburg, “the demure firebrand who in her 80s was a felony, cultural and feminist icon,” led the week’s viral tales.

2. CNN: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg useless at 87 (3,665,720 interactions)

3. The Babylon Bee: NBA Avid gamers Put on Particular Lace Collars To Honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg (1,910,507 interactions)

This tale from a right-wing satire web site, whole with a photoshopped image of LeBron James sporting a lace doily round his neck, was once now not true, however some who shared it appeared to leave out the shaggy dog story. (“That is so touching,” one Twitter person commented.)

4. Don’t fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Perfect Courtroom seat till after the 2021 inauguration (1,508,381 interactions)

A petition at the liberal web site suggested senators to not fill Justice Ginsburg’s seat till January.

5. Prison Riot: Lady Motive force Crashes Automotive Whilst Flipping the Chicken at Trump Supporters (1,326,475 interactions)

A right-wing web site’s put up a couple of video that it claimed confirmed a lady dropping keep an eye on of her automobile whilst making an obscene gesture to Trump supporters was once shared gleefully via many conservatives.

6. The Babylon Bee: Fisher-Worth Releases ‘My First Non violent Protest’ Playset With Space You Can In fact Burn Down (1,231,167 interactions)

Every other put up from the right-wing satire web site, taking a jab at left-wing protesters.

7. Forbes: Trump Threatens To Factor Govt Order Combating Biden From Being Elected President (1,217,425 interactions)

This tale, from Forbes, took significantly President Trump’s remark about preventing Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s election by means of an govt order. (Whether or not or now not Mr. Trump was once joking is up for interpretation.)

8. NBC Information: Greater than 200 retired generals, admirals endorse Biden (1,182,029 interactions)

9. NTD: 262 Arrested, Five Lacking Kids Present in Gang Sweep in Oklahoma Town (1,179,470 interactions)

This tale posted via the NTD tv community, which is affiliated with the Falun Gong religious staff, was once shared via many supporters of QAnon, the pro-Trump conspiracy idea motion. Tales about youngster trafficking regularly move viral in QAnon teams, which use them as proof for his or her false trust that Mr. Trump is breaking apart a world cabal of Satanist pedophiles.

10. The New York Instances: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Perfect Courtroom’s Feminist Icon, Is Lifeless at 87 (1,135,419 interactions)

On Wednesday evening, as protests shaped over a grand jury’s determination to not price cops for the killing of Breonna Taylor, photos started circulating on social media of a U-Haul truck getting used to distribute indicators, shields and different fabrics to protesters in Louisville, Ky.

Nearly in an instant, right-wing commentators started casting doubts on the concept the protest was once spontaneous, and asking questions on who was once truly at the back of it. The Police Tribune, a right-wing web site this is supportive of legislation enforcement, claimed that the pictures of the U-Haul “point out riots have been preplanned.” Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity and different outstanding conservatives additionally posted concerning the U-Haul, claiming that it advised an arranged, premeditated effort.

And as hypothesis concerning the U-Haul’s origins fixed, some seized at the baseless declare that George Soros, the left-wing financier, was once inquisitive about investment it.

“Whilst there has but to be a right away affirmation that Soros is investment the crowd, it’s all too coincidental,” learn a put up on Mr. Hannity’s web page.

One of the vital alleged ties to Mr. Soros stem from claims {that a} girl recognized via right-wing activists because the U-Haul’s renter works for a bail group in Kentucky, which additionally employs any person who prior to now labored as a Soros Justice Fellow, a felony grant given out via Mr. Soros’s philanthropic group, Open Society Foundations.

However there’s no indication of Mr. Soros’s involvement within the Louisville protests, and the declare is incredible even on its face. (Observers briefly famous {that a} native U-Haul condo prices not up to $100 an afternoon — rarely the type of expense requiring a billionaire’s bankroll.)

False conspiracy theories about Mr. Soros performing as a “hidden hand” at the back of left-wing protest actions don’t seem to be new. However this baseless rumor has gotten extra traction than maximum.

Laura Silber, the manager communications officer for Open Society Foundations, mentioned Mr. Soros had “completely now not” paid for a U-Haul condo in Louisville, or funded antifa in any respect.

“Sadly, right-wing trolls proceed to spew numerous false and malicious claims,” Ms. Silber added. “The Open Society Foundations helps the First Modification correct of each American to petition their executive for redress of grievances thru non violent protest.”

This week, protests erupted across the country after a Louisville grand jury didn’t price any cops within the killing of Breonna Taylor. And on social media, false and exaggerated claims about Ms. Taylor started recirculating, the use of a years-old layout that was once popularized years in the past via far-right YouTube personalities.

Charlie Kirk, the right-wing founding father of Turning Level USA, posted a video titled “The Fact About Breonna Taylor,” which was once a few of the maximum shared Fb posts about Ms. Taylor on Wednesday, consistent with information from CrowdTangle, a Fb-owned information platform.

Graham Allen, Candace Owens and Brandon Tatum, 3 different right-wing commentators, additionally had well-liked posts calling consideration to “the reality about” Ms. Taylor’s killing.

This playbook isn’t new. Years in the past, Stefan Molyneux, a right-wing podcaster and YouTube character, were given thousands and thousands of perspectives with a sequence of movies claiming to inform “the reality about” quite a lot of outstanding information tales, together with the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black guy whose killing via police in Ferguson, Mo., prompt the unique Black Lives Topic protests.

The “Fact About” layout, which promised one of those secret wisdom to audience, was once interesting to people who distrusted the mainstream media and sought after to listen to an alternate reason for police violence. And it was once in the long run mimicked via different right-wing influencers, together with the far-right conspiracy theorist Paul Joseph Watson, whose movies come with “The Fact About Black Lives Topic,” “The Fact About Oprah” and “The Fact About Trendy Artwork.”



Maximum “Fact About” remedies of police killings practice an ordinary layout. In every case, an influencer calls into query the mainstream media’s framing of the episode, and barrages the target audience with information about the sufferers’ pasts and the instances in their deaths in an try to turn out that, whilst they won’t have deserved to die, they have been some distance from blameless. (Mr. Molyneux, who ultimately was a full-fledged white nationalist, has since been banned from YouTube for selling hate speech, and the movies on his channel were deleted.)

Like Mr. Molyneux’s movies 1/2 a decade in the past, the “Fact About Breonna Taylor” content material going viral on social media this week incorporates a mix of truths, half-truths, exaggerations, purple herrings and outright falsehoods.

Mr. Tatum’s Instagram put up, as an example, claims that Ms. Taylor was once “terminated” as an E.M.T. in 2017. That is false. In fact, she surrender that task, annoyed via the lengthy hours and coffee pay.

Mr. Tatum additionally claims that Ms. Taylor was once “knee deep in legal/drug dealing actions” along with her ex-boyfriend. This declare is exaggerated at absolute best. Ms. Taylor’s ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover, was once a convicted drug broker and were out and in of prison all over the 4 years that they dated, however it’s unclear if Ms. Taylor was once inquisitive about his criminality. In 2016, she was once interrogated along him via cops after she rented a automobile, lent it to Mr. Glover and he in flip passed the keys to any other suspected drug broker, who was once discovered useless within the automobile hours later. However police then concluded that Ms. Taylor had no foreknowledge of the way the condo automobile can be used, and she or he had no legal convictions of her personal.

In his “The Fact About Breonna Taylor” video, Mr. Kirk claims that Louisville police had a “no-knock warrant to head arrest Breonna Taylor.” That is false. Police had a seek warrant for her condo, now not an arrest warrant.

Left-wing resources have additionally unfold false details about Ms. Taylor’s dying, such because the declare that she was once “asleep in mattress” on the time of her dying. (She was once within the hallway with Mr. Walker strolling towards the entrance door, consistent with his account to investigators, having been woken up via the loud knocks on her door.)

However the right-wing incorrect information is extra bold, in that it seeks to reframe the Black Lives Topic motion completely, drawing consideration clear of cops’ movements and onto the private lives of Ms. Taylor and different sufferers of police shootings. On this, it’s very similar to Mr. Molyneux’s movies, which sought to justify the killings of unarmed Black males via portray them as criminals whose movements performed a task in their very own deaths.

“It is a case that comes down to private accountability,” Ms. Owens mentioned of Ms. Taylor’s killing, in a video posted Wednesday that were given greater than one million perspectives on Fb.

Rukmini Callimachi contributed reporting.

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6 essential marketing trends for 2020 | Smart Insights



Examples of digital marketing tools and techniques to give you an edge in the year ahead

Well, we’ve nearly made it! For years I’ve been looking to the future, predicting how innovations in digital media, platforms and technology will shape marketing in 2020. The cutting edge examples certainly show the exciting opportunities available – there is almost too much choice…

In this article, I’ll explore six key marketing trends based on examples and research on the adoption of the latest marketing techniques and technology marketers can use.

For recommendations on tapping into the innovations in different digital marketing channels, including email, social media and search engine marketing, see all the other posts from the Smart Insights team covering channel-specific digital marketing trends for 2020.

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In 2020, we can see the huge impact that digital marketing has had over the last decade, and more. Looking at advertising alone, these eMarketer predictions show how the duopoly of Facebook and Google dominate paid media investments online, although offline media buys remain important for many larger brands.alfred

Trend 1. Lifecycle marketing

Although it’s often said that the ‘funnel is dead’ since consumer follows non-linear journeys, regardless of the product or service you’re involved with marketing, it will always be the case that to grow a business, your primary focus is growing awareness, closely followed by increasing customer leads and prospects.

This focus is shown by the latest Altimeter / Prophet State of Digital Marketing report, which shows a primary focus on increasing awareness.

The role of digital in creating a unified customer experience is also high in the response, but it’s shocking that digital marketing isn’t seen as a driver of boosting revenue from existing customers. It’s an artefact of the question since digital marketing is effective in achieving all of these goals, including customer retention.

A more practical way to plan to integrate online marketing into marketing activities is to consider communications from a customer point-of-view through the customer journey. I call this always-on lifecycle marketing and recommend you review your use of online AND offline media across the customer lifecycle.

An example of an audit is shown by this example of the use of marketing activities by a B2B company, which although strong at the top-of-funnel in terms of activities used, is less strong in the middle and bottom-of-funnel nurture and re-targeting activities. Many businesses are adopting marketing automation and account-based marketing technology to implement these touchpoints. See the article linked to above for all of the potential activities that can be audited.

Trend 2. Conversational marketing

For me, this is the most exciting trend in marketing today, bringing together rapid consumer adoption of smart speakers and innovation in search query processing, conversational interfaces and messaging.

Conversational marketing was highlighted as a key innovation in the latest Gartner hype cycle alongside Artificial Intelligence, which often fuels it.  You can see that of the technologies on the Innovation Trigger slope, many aren’t expected to become mainstream for 5 to 10 years. Of those forecast to hit the mainstream within the next 2 to 5 years, the three most significant for marketers to consider are personification, real-time and conversational marketing.

Gartner explains:

Conversational marketing technologies enable interactions between companies and customers that mimic human dialogue and do so at scale. This category is near the Peak of Inflated Expectations phase”.

Personally, I think the hype about smart speakers to support the purchase journey is just that. While some products lend themselves to purchase, where a choice is to be made amongst complex products, they just won’t cut it until we have truly intelligent comparison bots. However, the research suggests I may be wrong. A study of 2,000 British adults commissioned by Artefact UK, an AI and data-driven agency, reveals that:

“Six out of ten smart speaker owners (60%) have used them to make a purchase in the past year. In fact, nearly a quarter (22%) said they have done so within the past week”.

I believe that building in more relevant to web, email and mobile-based conversations can have a bigger impact by boosting relevance and speaking in a more personal tone. Persado is an interesting tech here.

Persado uses a copy impact classification applied to existing copy, which is used to tailor copy and calls-to-action on an individual basis.

For example, using Persado Natural Language Generation to run an experiment, Air Canada sparked a higher response using Anxiety language getting a 3% engagement lift, compared to a 5% drop using Exclusivity language, and a 3% drop using Safety language.

Another example of  AI application is nutrition and wellness retailer Holland & Barrett using AI to provide better-targeted emails. This Machine Learning approach from Tinyclues goes beyond optimizing copy using a tool like Persado, instead, it also involves targeting based on the behaviour of individuals to create more micro-targeted campaigns.

Speaking at a session I chaired at the Email Innovation Summit, Richard Lallo, Head of Digital Marketing, described what he calls ‘strategic promotions and mono-product pushes’ in a campaign. The business was able to drive campaign revenue and increase re-purchase rate while sending emails. Campaign revenue increased by 27%, open rates increased by 19%, while email send volume decreased by 23%, which also gives cost savings.

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Trend 3. Insights-driven marketing

At Smart Insights we’re huge fans of using analytics and insight to drive business performance and optimize the results from digital marketing. It’s why we’re called what we are.

Improving their data-driven marketing is an aim of many businesses indicated by the most desired skill amongst digital marketers revealed by the Altimeter/Prophet State of Digital Marketing report.

Data-driven marketing

Businesses using this approach are trying to gain the benefits reported by Mckinsey research that suggested that:

Intensive users of customer analytics are 23 times more likely to clearly outperform their competitors in terms of new customer acquisition than non-intensive users, and nine times more likely to surpass them in customer loyalty.

In addition to advances in customer analytics supported by CDPs described in the next section, new Voice of the Customer (VoC) techniques, such as online-hosted customer communities, can improve customer preferences for future products and how they are delivered.

For example, Red Bull used insight platform Vision Critical to launch a community of consumers passionate about the energy drink category. By providing a deeper understanding of consumer preferences, the community challenges widely-held assumptions. The company, for instance, learned who consumes Red Bull drinks — and how and when they buy — were changing. Data from the community provides insight on the competitive landscape, revealing channels the company can enhance to improve growth. The community also helps Red Bull deliver more value to retailers.

Trend 4. Marketing technology

Today, Marketing Technology (Martech for short) presents a bewildering choice of software services for businesses looking to improve their management of digital media, experiences and supporting data. If your business and your agencies adopt the right blend of Martech, it can help give you an edge against competitors, but if not, you may be missing out on the insights and automation processes they are using.

The latest 2019 Martech supergraphic from Scott Brinker, a specialist who hosts Martech conferences and has advised on technology for HubSpot, has created this somewhat scary map of all the potential categories and services that companies can use.

To highlight the range of great services available and to simplify the options a little, we designed this essential digital marketing tools infographic to recommend the categories of tools you should consider across the Smart Insights RACE Planning system and highlight the most popular, most capable tools.

We will create the annual update for this in early 2020, discussing it recently on LinkedIn has highlighted some of the latest trends that aren’t evident from this version of the wheel. Raviv Turner, Co-Founder, of B2B service @CaliberMind said:

“No MarTech stack is complete these days without the third leg of CRM, MAP & CDP. The only way to map, store, analyze and act on the complete end-to-end customer journey is having all the data in one place using a Customer Data Platform (CDPs).”

I’m not sure ‘the only-way’ is accurate, but that is the sentiment.

Kristen Obaid, Always On digital marketing campaigns manager for an international Education company, added:

“The Salesforce and Adobe MAPs are underrepresented here (eg Pardot can be used for email, social, CRM, CMS, audience management, analytics. Krux is now SF. They can both be used as DMPs if the data is configured properly.) BI with simple data integrations (like Domo, Tableau) are also missing, plus Intercom for service CMS eg FAQs, and Drift for automated service chat”.

Trend 5. Consumer Privacy and KYC

Repeated privacy faux-pas by Facebook, Google and security breaches at other brands leading to the release of customer details have highlighted to consumers that their data isn’t as safe with online brands as they may have once thought. Privacy regulations like GDPR have been enacted to improve data privacy with increased fines.

Record fines have arisen in 2019 from the maximum penalty for contraventions increasing under GDPR to up to €20m (£17.5m) or four percent of global turnover – whichever is the greater.

British Airways, was issued with a proposed fine of £183m for a breach of customer data and a £99 million fine on hotel chain Marriott for failing to protect personal data contained in approximately 339 million guest records.

While these may be more the concerns of the CIO or CFO rather than the CMO, it shows the need for marketers to work with colleagues to mitigate the potential impact of security breaches and reassure customers.

At the same time, we have seen a decreasing effectiveness of traditional identification methods such as cookies for tracking, which makes media ROI determination – supposedly one of the key benefits of digital channels – more difficult.

Emerging technologies can potentially help with both of these challenges.

New Identify Management or Know Your Customer solutions are being developed that can both improve security, reduce fraud and improve insight about customers across multiple devices.

For example, UK startup Hooyu blends traditional methods of customer verification such as database checks (where available) with ID document validation, digital footprint analysis, geo-location and facial biometrics. While this is most relevant for banks and other gambling applications, it indicates the range of data points that are now available.

With these consumer concerns and new legislation such as the EU ePrivacy legislation about to be launched and the inaccuracy of tracking online with increasing restrictions built into browser like Chrome and Safari it seems like the days of the cookie (and particularly third-party cookies) and digital fingerprinting may be numbered. This means that businesses should be considering other alternatives if they aren’t already.

Discussing Unified ID – Why Identity becomes a key success factor in the post-cookie era era – Alwin Viereck, Head of Programmatic Advertising and Ad Management, United Internet Media estimates that

More than 20% of all cookies in a desktop environment do not live longer than a day and a further 15–20% do not survive a month. For vendors in a third party context (which are typically all participants of the programmatic ecosystem), the problem might even be worse.

Multiplatform consent solutions like Sourcepoint and Identity and Access Management integration solutions like Auth0 and OneIdentity will be adopted more widely. Within AdTech new solutions will have to be found in response to Google and Apples Ad-targeting limitations.

Trend 6. Digital transformation and Marketing Transformation

Our managing digital marketing research revealed many challenges in terms of how digital marketing is run in companies today. Problems included a lack of focus on integrated strategy, testing, and optimization and structural issues like teams working in silos or a lack of skills in integrated communications.

To counter these types of problems and to make the most of the opportunities for growing a business through digital marketing, many businesses are now putting a digital transformation programme in place.

Digital Transformation research

The aim of digital transformation is to develop a roadmap to improve digital capabilities and skills, while at the same time, integrating ‘always-on’ digital marketing activities with brand and product marketing in the business.

This chart from the research shows that many businesses are active in transformation to try to achieve this aim through the success factors covered in this briefing.

Despite some talk that we might be in a post-digital world by 2020 and some traditional marketers suggesting that “it’s time to shut down digital marketing for good” the reality is that many specialist digital job roles and are needed to run digital marketing activities as my post ‘10 reasons you still need a digital team‘ shows.

A common practice that we can expect to continue in the future is a move to a hybrid approach to managing digital marketing with digital marketing skills being developed in marketing teams as suggested by this structure.

Digital marketing governance modelHowever, the label of a ‘digital department’ is outmoded, since the creation of large digital teams has caused silos to develop with other marketing and product teams. Instead, we can expect a continued move to a digital/marketing Centre of Excellence model. The DCoE will be smaller ‘digital services units’ that track the latest developments in development, advising on new digital techniques and technologies.

Through the year, we’ve been adding to our tools to help all members assess how well their businesses are adapting to using digital media and technology as part of Digital Transformation. To review your digital readiness, either for integrated digital marketing or individual channels, download our benchmarks or take our interactive capability graders.

All the best for grasping the opportunities from digital marketing in 2020 and beyond! To help you on your way take a look at our benchmarking templates, each of which will give you a quick review for digital marketing governance and the key channels like search, social, email marketing plus analytics, content marketing and experience.

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📈 42 Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2021



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At one time, artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing and voice search engine optimization (VSEO) were ambitious concepts bordering on the ridiculous. Today, these innovative digital marketing trends are among the top priorities for most business owners in 2021.

And why wouldn’t they be? After all, if your business has any intention of remaining competitive in today’s online landscape, you must adapt to the rapidly evolving changes in digital marketing. As Brian Solis puts it:

“Each business is a victim of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than the ability to exploit it. Digital Darwinism does not discriminate. Every business is threatened.”

Make no mistake: We live in a time when technology marketing moves fast and consumer interests and behaviors are hard to predict. Marketers can no longer stick their heads in the sand and hope that educated guesses and the same old methods will work forever.



42 Digital Marketing Trends for 2021

Read on to discover 42 digital marketing trends that will help your business not just survive, but thrive in this age of innovation.

1) AI-Powered Optimization

Just a couple years ago, Gartner analysts predicted that by 2020, AI technologies would be pervasive in almost every new software product and service. In fact, according to Techgrabyte:

“Artificial intelligence is the biggest commercial opportunity for companies, industries, and nations over the next few decades,” which means that “AI latecomers will find themselves at a serious competitive disadvantage within the next several years.”

Here are the top reasons why organizations are adopting AI in their business:

Reasons for adopting AI

AI can analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services.

One exciting example of AI in practice is chatbots (more on that later). Mastercard created a Facebook messenger bot – which uses natural language processing software to decipher what the customer wants and respond as if it were a real person – to automate handling payments:

Mastercard chatbot

Artificial intelligence is fast becoming the driving force behind many services, including content creation.

If you want to rank your content in tough niches, content optimization is necessary. “Content optimization” in SEO refers to things like:

  • Including primary and secondary keywords at the correct densities
  • Having an appropriate word count
  • Ensuring great readability
  • Having optimal meta title and description tags

And, most importantly, making sure you nail the search intent.

Google understands what people are looking for and what kind of content best serves their intent. For example, if you search for ‘fish oil’, Google knows that the dominant search intent is to learn about the health benefits and side effects:

fish oil example in the SERPs

Therefore it’s highly unlikely you could rank #1 for this keyword with an e-commerce product page. If you get this step wrong, all the time and effort you spend on content production, promotion and link building will go to waste.

The easiest way to implement content optimization into your SEO and content workflows is by using a content optimization tool like ClickFlow. ClickFlow’s Content Editor feature pulls data from the top 20 current ranking pages, and helps your writing team put together a perfectly optimized piece of content.

Using Artificial Intelligence to serve up subtopics and related keywords will make any article ultra-comprehensive and give it the best possible chance to rank on page one. It gives you a recommended word count, feedback on readability, and an overall optimization grade based on keywords and subtopics covered:


This was one of the key strategies used in this case study, in which was able to increase organic clicks by 327% in 30 days. Using the Content Editor helped them identify that their existing content was not nearly in-depth enough and the important keywords that were missing:

Electricity Rates

Businesses adopting AI in 2021 will be able to cut staffing costs and accelerate growth, getting an edge over their competitors.

ClickFlow CTA

2) Programmatic Advertising

Programmatic advertising means using AI to automate ad buying so you can target more specific audiences. Real-time bidding, for example, is a type of programmatic ad buying. This automation is much more efficient and fast, which means higher conversions and lower customer acquisition costs.

It’s changing the face of digital advertising so swiftly that, according to eMarketer, 86.2% of digital display ads in the U.S. will be programmatic by 2020.

According to Irina Kovalenko of SmartyAds:

“Most search-driven manual advertising campaigns (even those performed with professional tools) take into account three or four targets: the keyword, time of day, and location. Such tools like programmatic demand-side platforms can use hundreds of targeting signals to individualize the advertisement and even target according to lifestyle or behavior habits when integrated with customer data platforms.”

Here’s a quick look at how programmatic advertising works:


To learn how to capitalize on this digital marketing trend, check out PPC Hero’s guide to get started.

Dive Deeper:

3) Chatbots

Chatbots will continue to be an important part of digital marketing in 2021. This AI-based technology uses instant messaging to chat in real-time, day or night, with your customers or site visitors.

Surveys show that:


Many customers prefer interacting with chatbots as they are responsive 24/7, give answers promptly, accurately recall your entire buying history, and never lose patience. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks – which means that you can focus on more important work.

Many brands already use chatbot technology, including rideshare brand Lyft. You can request a ride from Lyft via chat (Facebook Messenger and Slack) or voice (Amazon Echo), and their chatbot will let you know the current location of your driver:

Lyft's chatbot

Passengers can use the app to choose the type of ride, make a request, track the location of the car, send friends a time estimate of their arrival, and make payment.

Other brands that are successfully using chatbot technology include Whole Foods Market, Fandango, Sephora, Staples, The Wall Street Journal and Pizza Hut.

Dive Deeper:

4) Conversational Marketing

With all that talk about chatbots, the reality of modern marketing becomes clear: it’s more conversational. People want it that way, and so brands are reacting. When consumers have a question, 82% want an “immediate” response.

Conversational marketing facilitates a one-to-one, real-time connection between marketers and customers:

conversational AI dialogue

Unlike traditional strategies, this form of marketing is now available across multiple channels, allowing brands to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit the customer best.

As per David Cancel, founder and CEO of Drift:

“Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later. As we prepare for the future, it will be more important than ever for businesses to be available across a broad spectrum of channels, and to make sure you’re communicating the way people prefer to communicate.”

Ultimately, the primary goal of conversational marketing is to enhance the user experience through a feedback-driven model that fosters higher engagement and greater loyalty.

Dive Deeper:

5) Personalization

If you want to stand out in 2021, you need to personalize your marketing – and that means personalized content, products, emails and more.

Consider these personalization stats:

  • 63% of consumers are highly annoyed with generic advertising blasts
  • 80% say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers personalized experiences
  • 90% claim they find personalization appealing

Kevin George from EmailMonks asserts that personalized, triggered emails based on behavior are 3x better than batch-and-blast emails.”

When you want to study examples of the power of personalization, it’s hard to overlook Netflix and Amazon, with their tailored recommended products or movie titles. Here are a few other companies that are successfully using personalization today:

  • EasyJet launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to build personalized stories, which then suggest where they might like to travel next. About 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
  • Cadbury’s created a personalized video campaign that matches a Dairy Milk flavor with users based on data from their Facebook profile, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6% conversion rate, proving that the personal touch works.
  • Starbucks uses a gamified mobile app that draws on data like purchase history and location to get as personal as possible, allows customers to customize their drinks, and encourages further use with its rewards system – which skyrocketed their revenue to $2.56 billion:

Starbucks app

Dive Deeper:

6) Video Marketing

Video marketing is one of, if not the, most important marketing trend today and likely for the next 5-10 years. These numbers show the importance of incorporating video into your digital marketing strategy in 2021:

  • 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video
  • 72% of businesses say that video has improved their conversion rate
  • 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions
  • 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video

Video is by far the most popular way customers want to learn about new products:


And don’t just think YouTube. There are plenty of ways to drive higher engagement with your video marketing, as you can make a video post or start a live broadcast on Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn.

One of the issues that marketers have faced in recent years is the growing shift to mobile devices. Those long-form sales pages and emails of yesteryear are fading fast because they’re simply too difficult to read on small mobile screens. However, video can present the same information in a format that works perfectly regardless of the device.

If your site includes video, it’s 50X more likely (50 times!) to drive organic search results compared to text. Why? Because people find video content more compelling, so Google pushes pages that include videos higher in the rankings.

One of the best things about video marketing is that it makes it easy to reformat your content. Imagine that you’ve recorded a video for your YouTube channel. Instead of just publishing it on YouTube, you could also:

  • Get it transcribed so you have a text version of the video
  • Publish the transcription on your blog under an embedded YouTube video for better rankings
  • Upload the raw video with the transcription as subtitles to Facebook (native Facebook videos get a much higher impression share and engagement than shared YouTube videos)
  • Turn the transcription into a standalone blog article with a short rewrite and addition of relevant stats and images
  • Rip the audio alone and use it as a podcast episode
  • Use video thumbnails in your email marketing campaigns and the word “video” in subject lines to increase open rates by 19%

Here are some other video marketing trends that are gaining more and more traction:

  • Live video is particularly popular with a large number of businesses who use it for interviews, product demos and behind-the-scenes glimpses of the brand, such as life in the office, how products are made, company events, etc.
  • 1:1 video is when businesses or marketers create personalized video messages rather than make phone calls or send emails. With the decreasing cost of film equipment and increasingly high-quality smartphone cameras, this is easier than ever.
  • Video SEO. YouTube and other videos are displayed in the SERPs, so video optimization is becoming much more important – like using text overlays and closed captions, in addition to your description, title and file names. Check out this guide to learn more about YouTube SEO.
  • 360-degree video content. This trend towards a more interactive experience is on the rise – just look for the circular symbol in the top left corner to start sliding the moving image left or right as it’s playing, like this 360˚ video from Hong Kong Airlines (香港航空):

Dive Deeper:

7) Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is a type of word-of-mouth marketing that focuses on using key leaders to amplify your brand message to a larger market. Influencers can be well-known celebrities, but more often they are Instagram or YouTube personalities with a huge niche following who can help spread the word about your business or product through their social channels.

Because influencer marketing is generally more authentic than corporate advertising:

  • 63% of consumers trust influencers’ opinions of products much more than what brands say about themselves
  • 58% of people have bought a new product in the past six months because of an influencer’s recommendation

For this reason, Iceland, a popular British supermarket chain, switched from ads with celebrities to a campaign that features real-life moms. Teaming up with YouTube community Channel Mum, it now works with a number of vloggers to promote its products in a more “authentic” fashion.

And research shows that 35% of moms trust online videos more than traditional ads.

Influencer marketing is not just a trend: A mediakix study predicts that the ad spend for influencer marketing could reach $10 billion by next year:


Influencer marketing is also going to be affected by artificial intelligence. With each year, AI is making the process of finding the right influencers to partner with easier and faster. It’s helping identify those with better engagement, fewer fake followers, and a higher chance of generating a positive return on investment (ROI). In addition, artificial intelligence is transforming influencer marketing in the following ways:

  • Image recognition with ANN (Artificial Neural Networks)
  • Determining influencer performance with NLP (Natural Language Processing)
  • Predicting incentives with ANN
  • Determining an influencer’s influence
  • Flagging posts that don’t follow disclosure guidelines
  • Elimination of fake engagements and spam bots


Dive Deeper:

8) Social Messaging Apps

If you think social messaging apps are just for sending emojis to your friends, take a look at these numbers:


These statistics show the popularity of social messaging apps, and since people are spending more time messaging each other, it makes sense to market your company’s products and services where your potential customers are hanging out.

Social messaging apps can be very useful in sending messages to customers directly, as they allow personalization and add value to the user experience. In addition, people expect businesses to have a presence on messaging apps because it’s a direct and easy way to interact with them. In fact:

63% of customers are more likely to return to a company website that has live chat. Click To Tweet

Reasons for your brand to use messaging apps include:

  • Cultivate contact
  • Deliver information
  • Boost sales
  • Involve people in events
  • Regain potential customers
  • Provide support and assistance

ClickFlow CTA

9) Visual Search

Visual search can take the user experience to a totally new level: People can upload an image to conduct a search and get more specific results.


A) Pinterest Lens

Not surprisingly, Pinterest has jumped on the visual search bandwagon. They came out with Lens, a visual search tool that allows users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products or view pinboards of related items.

As Marketing Land puts it, it turns your phone’s camera into a search bar:Pinterest_LensGIF

Since the launch of the beta version, Pinterest’s Lens now recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion objects, has inspired over 600 million searches on Pinterest’s mobile apps and browser extensions, and has seen a 140% uptick from launch day.

Pinterest has continued to update its functionality:

  • They introduced Pincodes, a QR code-type technology that enables you to find inspiration while you’re out shopping or flipping through your favorite magazines.
  • They launched Lens Your Look to take the guesswork out of outfit planning.
  • They partnered with brands like Samsung to bring visual search to its latest smartphones and Target to allow customers to search their catalog using related products they see in the real world.
  • They’ve fully automated Shop the Look, a feature that helps users buy products from companies that work with Pinterest, so you can, for example, buy a pair of jeans you see in a picture.
  • They launched a bunch of new tools to help merchants sell their products, including Catalogs, which lets anyone upload and convert their entire product catalog into shoppable Pins.

Make sure you are optimizing for visual search, because (not surprisingly) the top search categories for Lens are:

  • Fashion
  • Home decor
  • Art
  • Food
  • Products
  • Animals
  • Outfits
  • Beauty
  • Vehicles
  • Travel

B) Google Lens

And Pinterest is not the only one with visual search. Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects and landmarks through a camera app. Here’s what you can do when you take a photo of the following items:

  • Apparel and home goods: Find similar products and where to buy them.
  • Barcodes: Use a barcode to find info about a product, like where to buy it.
  • Business card: Save the phone number or address to a contact.
  • Book: Get a summary and read reviews.
  • Event flyer or billboard: Add the event to your calendar.
  • Landmark or building: See historical facts, hours of operation, and more.
  • Painting in a museum: Read about the artist and learn more.
  • Plant or animal: Learn about species and breeds.

As CNet says, “Google Lens is turning into what Google Glass never was” when it comes to real-time augmented reality.

C) CamFind

CamFind is another visual search mobile app which enables you to search for anything from your phone simply by snapping a picture.

Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can directly search via images to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc. You can also take a picture of a movie poster and CamFind will show you movie information, trailers, showtimes and local theaters.


D) Bing Visual Search

And with Bing Visual Search, you can search for a specific element within an image without having to go through all the current hoops.

For example, say you’re looking for kitchen decoration inspiration and an image attracts your attention. You click on a thumbnail result to get to the “Detail View.” The overall décor is great, but you’re particularly interested in that nice-looking chandelier. Wouldn’t you love to know where you can get one just like it? With Bing Visual Search, now you can.


As per Social Media Today:

  • 62% of Millennials are more interested in visual search capabilities than any other new technology
  • Images are returned for 19% of search queries on Google
  • There are over 600 million visual searches on Pinterest each month

Marketers can get the edge on competitors by jumping on the visual search trend in 2021 to draw customers and serve them the perfect product.

10) Micro-Moments

A micro-moment is “An intent-rich moment when a person turns to a device to act on a need – to know, go, do or buy.”

Micro Moment definition

People generally make instant decisions within these four Micro-Moments:

Micro Moments

To take advantage of micro-moments in 2021, you need to be where consumers are searching for information in the moment – or, as Google puts it, marketers have to “be there, be useful, be quick.”

The growing popularity of micro-moments means that marketers must rethink the linear marketing funnel that follows a set path: awareness, consideration and decision.

In 2021 and beyond, the customer journey will be more dynamic and unpredictable, as it needs to respond to rapid changes in consumer desires. After all, in the mobile age, people have become accustomed to instant gratification. If they think or talk about something, they want to learn more, see more and buy more of it with just a few clicks of a button.

According to Mention: 

“When we act on our needs in the moment, our expectations are high and our patience is low. This makes the quality, relevance and usefulness of marketing more important than ever.”

To get the most out of micro-moments in 2021, you should:

  • Identify your consumers’ “I want to buy” moments
  • Be there in these moments of need
  • Deliver relevant content
  • Make it easy for them to make a purchase
  • Measure every moment that matters

11) Voice Search & Smart Speakers

The increasing use of voice search has made it important for companies to rethink their digital marketing strategies in 2021. Consider these numbers:

  • 50% of all searches will be via voice by 2020
  • 55% of all American homes will own a smart speaker by 2022
  • 72% of people who own voice-activated speakers say that their devices are used as part of their daily routines
  • Voice shopping is set to jump to $40 billion in 2022, up from $2 billion today
  • Global smart speaker shipments have almost trebled between Q1 2018 and Q2 2019, growing from 9.36 million units to 26.1 million units

Overall, people expect to be using voice search far more in the future:


Voice search plays an important role in providing all the relevant information that people are searching for through audio content. AI is getting smarter and the number of errors made by voice assistants like Alexa, Siri and Google has reduced greatly.

As Digital Marketing Institute puts it:

“Adopting a voice search strategy isn’t just about remaining relevant – it’s also about creating a unique and optimized customer experience that will foster relationships and build brand loyalty.”

Many brands are already including voice search in their digital marketing strategies to deliver value-based content effectively to their customers:

  • Patrón Tequila helps consumers access personalized cocktail recipes
  • Domino’s allows pizza-lovers to order from the comfort of their couch without having to pick up the phone or even place an online order
  • PayPal users can engage Siri to send money to friends, family or businesses
  • Nestlé created a skill that provides voice instructions as you cook
  • Campbell’s has a skill that helps hungry consumers choose and cook recipes

Google Assistant has 2,000 “actions” and Alexa has 30,000 “skills,” which are functions that allow these voice assistants to react very specifically to user commands and queries:

Alexa skills

And keep in mind that not only will more companies produce audio content in the hopes of gaining brand awareness (so you should, too), but ads are likely on their way next. That means that Alexa will tell you the answer to your question along with a “word from her sponsor.”

For all voice technology, remember to write in a conversational tone, focus on getting featured snippets on Google, and think about keywords that people will speak rather than type.

Optimizing for voice search is a great way to spread brand awareness, but how is that going to convert into sales? Well, in 2021, we’ll see more businesses try to tap into this potential, experimenting with new ideas to use smart speakers as a lucrative channel for driving sales.

Right now, Jetson is an early runner in the voice commerce space, allowing people to use their voice-enabled devices to make purchases:

The key for companies to realize is that voice search isn’t another channel to force messaging and sales. Instead, marketers must develop a unique approach to consumer interaction, and this channel should be part of a broader, more connected brand experience.

Dive Deeper:

12) Social Media Stories

First, Snapchat came out with the concept of “My Story,” then Instagram and Facebook stories were introduced, and then YouTube unveiled their own story format: Reels.

To keep it all straight, here’s a social media stories timeline:


Since these types of stories disappear after a set period of time, this is a great opportunity for marketers to make good use of FOMO (fear of missing out).

The benefits of using social media stories include:

  • Increased brand awareness
  • Constant engagement with followers
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Increased traffic to your web page
  • Opportunity to reach younger audiences

Get inspired by some of these ways to use social media stories:

  • Use polls within Instagram Stories
  • Add links to your social media Stories
  • Take advantage of Snapchat geofilters
  • Add location tags
  • Add mentions for other brands and your fans
  • Give live video a try when creating Stories
  • Invite followers to explore more with clear call-to-actions

ClickFlow CTA

13) Browser Push Notifications

Push notifications are on the rise, with 85% of online stores using them last year. Consider these other stats:

  • At least twice as many people sign up for web push notifications compared to a newsletter.
  • Only 10% of the best email marketers can achieve a newsletter sign-up rate that matches the performance of web push.
  • 6.4 hours is the average time that passes before the recipient opens a newsletter. In the case of web push, the recipient will see the message immediately.

The updates to the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and stricter filters have dented the potency of email marketing. Moreover, the younger audience favors other methods of communication and prefers to deal with less touchpoints when engaging brands.

As part of the bid to engage users on multiple channels, browser push notifications are something you will see more and more brands adopting in 2021 – and they are getting more sophisticated and personalized. In fact, using personalized push notifications increases conversions:

  • 7% open rate for segmented push messaging compared to a 3% open rate for generic, broadcast messages (a 2x improvement)
  • 54% of users convert from a segmented push notification, compared to only 15% for broadcast messages (a 3x improvement)

Notifications triggered by behavior are being used to re-engage people who have shown interest but failed to convert, and in recovering revenue from abandoned shopping carts:

push alert, simple

Notifications can even include images and CTAs to maximize conversion rates from such efforts:

push alerts

Dive Deeper:

14) Content Marketing Continues to Dominate SEO

In November 2019, Google rolled out some major updates to its search algorithm. The updates included the new BERT system, which is designed to aid Google in its efforts to understand the natural language that people use in their search queries.

The advice from Google’s John Mueller is that “rather than chase the latest SEO trends, it’s more important to ensure a site has fast speeds, useful links, and well-written content.”

In fact, content marketing is so important that 88% of B2B content marketers agree that creating content makes their audience view their organization as a credible and trusted resource:


Stats from Content Marketing Institute:

  • Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates 3x as many leads.
  • Content marketing has lower up-front costs and deeper long-term benefits than paid search.
  • 615 million devices now use ad blockers, which means your ads are not being seen by as many people.
  • Small businesses with blogs generate 126% more leads than those without blogs.
  • Content marketing rakes in conversion rates 6x higher than other methods.

Even amid all the innovation, content marketing remains a reliable, powerful way to attract new customers to your site and build relationships with them in real, quantifiable ways that deliver long-term value for your business. Click To Tweet

With Google continuing to value well-researched, regularly updated articles, many leading businesses will continue to invest heavily in content marketing.

Dive Deeper:

15) SEO A/B Split Testing

Modern marketing is all about testing and analysis. By using SEO A/B split-testing, you can isolate the variables in your campaign and easily identify which versions are driving the results you need. This form of testing offers marketers a methodical approach to making effective changes to their content.

Platforms like ClickFlow suggest pages with untapped SEO potential — a high-impression count but a low click-through rate (CTR) — which you can then improve to increase traffic, leads and, of course, conversions:


ClickFlow lets you set a target CTR value, then it serves up pages along with a keyword report that lists the keywords that your page is already ranking for now. Better yet, it suggests valuable new keywords that you should target to get more traffic.

Inside the app, you make changes to title, meta description, title tag and body content, which are automatically reflected on your site:


Choose your target CTR:


Run the experiment for at least 15 days and ClickFlow will show you how many more clicks you’re getting — and the additional revenue you’re gaining from the enhancements.

SEO A/B testing squeezes the most SEO juice out of your site and gives you insight into the variables that move the needle. With this strategy and the right tools, even a small budget can deliver a great ROI.

ClickFlow CTA

16) Social Commerce & Shoppable Posts

With e-commerce and social media both growing at alarming rates, it’s no wonder brands are using the two together to maximize opportunities for sales.

In March of last year, Instagram unveiled Instagram Checkout, which lets users complete their purchase from within Instagram:


E-commerce brands hope this will reduce the risk that customers will abandon their purchase because they have to switch apps or sign in to an unknown store.

By now you’ve heard that Instagram is hiding likes, and with all the fuss, you’d think that the photo-sharing app was on the decline. Think again.

Social media is integral to digital marketing, and visual platforms like Instagram are gold for marketers. Better yet, visual commerce is taking off as more consumers are willing to buy products through ads they see in their feeds.

Instagram reports that the platform has 1 billion users, and 90% of them already follow active shopping brands, with many visiting these profiles on a daily basis. So what better way to leverage this massive potential than by using shoppable posts?



E-commerce brands can create and post interactive ads that allow users to click and shop with ease. Instagram believes this will make it easier for businesses to reach prospective new customers, as it will effectively shorten the sales funnel, giving consumers the instant access they desire.

17) Interactive Content

Speaking of instant access, that brings us to one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends in recent times: interactive content.

In 2021, we’re destined to see a shift from traditional text-based content toward dynamic, engaging content that offers users an immersive experience. For example, think about:

  • Quizzes and polls
  • Embedded calculators
  • Augmented reality ads
  • 360-degree videos

Here’s a good example of a 360 VR video:

And here’s an example of our Marketing Impact Calculator to help you calculate how much more money you’ll make with marketing:

Single Grain's Marketing Impact Calculator

If you need convincing, consider that 91% of buyers are actively searching for more interactive content. People like it not just because it’s fresh and original, but because it makes them feel more connected to brands and more involved in the buying process.

Interactive content is more engaging, more memorable and more likely to generate the results your business needs.

Learn More: 7 Types of Interactive Content – Why & How to Use Them

18) Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing was one of the buzzwords of 2020. While the phrase may now seem a little worn out, the strategy is as ripe and relevant as ever in 2021.

Omnichannel marketing is the process of marketing across multiple platforms (such as social media, apps, email and blog) so you can connect with prospects on more touchpoints. When you do omnichannel marketing right, you can offer an enhanced user experience and cohesive brand message that drives people to action.

To stay ahead, brands must present a seamless, consistent voice and message across all available mediums, including physical storefronts, social media channels, online, in catalogs and anywhere else you can imagine. All channels should be linked in one all-encompassing strategy for the best results.

Stats show that brands using three or more channels in an automation workflow can generate great results:

  • Engagement rate: 18.96% on omnichannel vs. 5.4% on single-channel
  • Purchase frequency: 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single-channel
  • Average order value: 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single-channel
  • Customer retention rates: 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single-channel

With ever-more sophisticated SaaS companies providing the tools to manage multiple channels more efficiently, it’s becoming easier to manage an omnichannel strategy, although it can be a challenge.

Users demand personalization and want to be able to browse a physical store, view products on social media, and purchase online. And if you’re not keeping up with their demands, someone else will get that business.

This is another area where AI and big data are playing a role by helping brands understand consumer behavior better and personalize at an individual level at scale. Getting inside the head of your ideal customer’s buying journey is key to actioning an effective omnichannel approach.

Dive Deeper:

19) Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies

Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70% of enterprises will be experimenting with immersive technologies, and 25% will have deployed to production.

While virtual reality (VR) makes a lot of noise and gets everyone excited with grand sci-fi ideas, AR is much more implementable from a marketing standpoint. Experts predict that AR will continue to outpace VR in terms of market share:


Brands are increasingly using this technology to enhance the consumer experience and increase sales.

ModiFace, which has recently been acquired by L’Oreal, produces AR applications for brands. Sephora Virtual Artist, an impressive example of ModiFace’s technology, allows you to see how the different colors of various forms of make-up will look on your face, without having to go to a store and physically apply it:

Sephora GIF
And IKEA has their own AR app called IKEA Place which allows you to take a picture of a room in your home with your smartphone camera (with just iOS 11.0.1 for now) in order to “test drive” IKEA’s furniture in it. You can move the furniture around and check out how it looks from different angles:


With AR improving rapidly, we will see a huge uptake in brands finding useful applications for the technology in the future.

20) Predictive & Augmented Analytics

Predictive analytics is the practice of using data mining, predictive modeling and machine learning to identify patterns and attempt to predict the future. It is becoming more and more sophisticated and widespread in many industries.

In terms of digital marketing trends, we will see a lot more of this, as it is being used in advanced lead scoring, as well as for segmentation and individual personalization, which helps marketers reduce churn and improve customer loyalty.

One such example is Amazon Assistant, a Chrome extension from the retail giant that allows users to permit product recommendations from Amazon to extend beyond the website to make personalized offers while they are browsing elsewhere on the web:


Augmented Analytics, on the other hand, uses machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) to automate data preparation and enable data sharing.

As Bonnie D. Graham, host of the Game-Changers Business podcast, says:

“Where predictive analytics uses machine learning to predict what will happen, augmented analytics uses machine intelligence to boost human intelligence with the why, so we can work faster and smarter on ever-larger datasets.”

Gartner predicts by 2020 over 40% of data science tasks will be automated, which means that insight into the enormous amounts of big data that businesses are collecting will allow for better and more personalized decision-making and thus increased productivity.

Dive Deeper:

21) Growth of Geo-Fencing

While the idea of marketing to people based on their location is nothing new, we do expect an increase in the use of geo-fencing – this market is set to grow to $2.4 billion by 2023 – along with the rise of mobile use:


Geo-fencing allows real-time targeting based on a user’s location. A target area is defined as, say, within a mile of a restaurant, and when a user enters or leaves this area, they receive a push notification, text message or another form of marketing communication.

Research shows that of people who open a push notification, 54% of users convert from segmented push compared to only 15% for broadcast messages. And 52% of users enable push messaging on their apps.

76, an American gas company, used Waze to mark their gas stations on a map throughout California. As drivers approached, a logo would pop up on their map showing them where to stop for gas and offering entry to a competition if they filled up. Their “Tank 5” campaign resulted in a 6.5% navigation rate to fuel stations:

76 and Waze

For industries that need to convert digital users into brick-and-mortar customers, geo-fencing is going to become more and more important in their marketing strategy.

22) Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)

Progressive Web Apps are essentially websites that work like mobile apps. They offer the functionality of a native mobile app – fast load times, push notifications, working offline, utilizing device hardware, etc. – without being limited to one platform (which in reality means Android or iOS).

This allows development teams to create web apps for any device that works just like a mobile app.

By 2020, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 2.87 billion. With total page views on mobile increasing year-over-year by almost 50% worldwide, mobile is more crucial than ever to your digital strategy:


PWAs are going to become ever-more prevalent as the mobile revolution continues at pace.

Dive Deeper:

23) User-Generated Content (UGC)

User-generated content (UGC) is a potent resource for marketers who want to tap into the Millennial and Gen Z markets. You can encourage your audience to share unique content by offering them an incentive, such as a discount, or even partnering with them for a good cause.

Aerie, a women’s clothing company, “made a pledge to stop retouching photos of models in its bathing suits. And for every Instagram user that posted an unedited photo of themselves in a bathing suit (using the hashtag #AerieReal, of course), Aerie now donates $1 to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).”

Aerie UGC

This simple UGC strategy can quickly increase brand engagement and drive conversion rates as more people discover your brand, and its products and services.

People trust others like themselves far more than they trust companies. In fact, one survey found that 90% of shoppers reported that UGC influenced their decision to purchase more than any other form of advertising, with a whopping 97% of 18-29 year olds saying that it had an “extreme influence.”

UGC can be as basic as blog comments and testimonials or it can take the form of blog posts, images and videos created by users. GoPro’s entire YouTube channel is dedicated to UGC, showing high-quality videos produced by its customers using its hardy, portable cameras. The channel is currently pushing 8 million subscribers.

Recently, GoPro created a UGC contest with the hashtag #MillionDollarChallenge in which their customers created and shared videos – and 25,000 people entered!

Dive Deeper: 8 Ways to Encourage More User-Generated Content (UGC)

24) Blockchain Technology

As defined by Blockgeeks:

“A blockchain is, in the simplest of terms, a time-stamped series of immutable data records that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data (i.e. block) is secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e. chain).”

How a Blockchain Works


The uses of blockchain are far more wide-reaching than just the financial world, however; this technology is also making waves in the digital marketing world. Blockchain eliminates the digital marketing intermediary, builds trust by means of transparency, drives public accountability and offers benefits for branding.

But in 2021 and beyond, we’ll see these trends in blockchain:

Dive Deeper:

25) Quantum Computing

Quantum computing is a new technology based on a quantum physics theory, which asserts that subatomic particles exist in more than one state simultaneously.

As per ITSPmagazine:

Traditional computers store data in bits, which can exist in one of two states: one or zero. Quantum computers, however, use a new unit of measurement, a single atom known as a qubit (literally ‘quantum bit’), which greatly increases the computational power of a system.”

Another way to visualize quantum computing is to imagine a huge library:

“While a classic computer would read every book in a library in a linear fashion, a quantum computer would read all the books simultaneously. Quantum computers are able to theoretically work on millions of computations at once.”

Quantum computing


So, how can marketers use quantum computing? Here’s what we can expect:

  • Improved mobile data coverage (a boon for mobile marketers)
  • AI becoming more human-like (Google AI is developing quantum algorithms that will drastically improve machine learning)
  • Increased relevance of ads (quantum annealing can help advertisements reach a wider range of people at a better cost)

quantum computing uses


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26) Big Data and Deep Learning

In 2021, the world’s big data industry will continue to grow exponentially, which is great news for marketers – if you know how to harness the power of big data. A huge part of this task comes down to the tools you use, which is something that a lot of companies find challenging.

Forbes report that 78% of organizations either already have or are developing a customer data platform to help manage, analyze and leverage their data. It comes as no surprise that data experts top the priority list for many enterprises, with 41% of company owners saying it’s now their most desired skill to hire.

With the benefits of big data comes the need for companies to leverage this data better to “significantly simplify tasks that formerly could only be completed by data scientists.” More importantly, “This continued democratization will lead to new use cases that are closer to the needs of business users and will enable faster time-to-market for AI applications in the enterprise.”

big data

One caveat is that as big data grows even more powerful, the demands on how companies should manage consumer data becomes increasingly precarious. The GDPR changes lit the touchpaper for a global revolution on data privacy, with California set to roll out the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) on January 1, 2020.

As such, big data is a double-edged sword, but one that many digital marketers will find hard to resist in the very near future.

Dive Deeper:

27) Automation (& AI)

Gartner projects that 30% of businesses will incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) in their sales processes in 2021. In fairness, we should expect more, especially when you consider the amazing benefits of AI and automation for sales and marketing:

marketing automation uses

For example, you can use artificial intelligence and automation to:

  • Improve Customer Retention and Loyalty
  • Predict the Behavior of Your Customer with Propensity Modeling and Predictive Analytics
  • Use AI-Powered Chatbots to Improve User Experience
  • Leverage the Power of Audience Insights to Boost Search Ads
  • Scale Up Your Content Marketing with AI-Generated Content
  • Deliver a Highly Personalized Website Experience to Every User
  • Optimize for Voice Search Queries
  • Identify “Hot Leads”
  • Reduce Cart Abandonment
  • Target Customers Across Different Channels
  • Boost Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)
  • Upsell and Cross Sell to Customers
  • Improve Blogger Outreach
  • Generate Leads from Thank You Pages
  • Automatically Suggest Content to Visitors
  • Identify Bottlenecks in Your Sales Pipeline
  • Measure the Performance of Your Marketing Campaigns
  • Maintain a Central Hub for all Your Marketing Activities
  • Cut Costs and Save Time

But don’t just take our word for it. As Neil Patel says:

“Marketing will become a more even playing field and you’ll have no choice but to use automation.”

Related Reading:

28) Google Ads Smart Bidding

With intense competition on social media slowly suffocating organic reach, paid advertising will become a more trusted force in 2021. And when you consider the Smart Bidding feature on Google Ads, you’d be a fool not to give it a try.

Google explains that with Smart Bidding:

“Machine learning algorithms train on data at a vast scale to help you make more accurate predictions across your account about how different bid amounts might impact conversions or conversion value.”

In other words, advertisers can hand the reins of their pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to Google’s AI system, which will then optimize their budget to maximize their ROI. This works for any number of PPC goals, including:

  • Target CPA – Generate new leads and customers for a maximum cost per acquisition that you set.
  • Target ROAS – Set your sights on getting the best return on your advertising spend.
  • Maximize Conversions – Rack up your advertising conversion rates, whether your aim is to get more email subscribers, downloads, or product sales.

Smart bidding allows you to use many different signals for your bid optimization, including:

  • Device
  • Physical location
  • Location intent
  • Weekday and time of day
  • Remarketing list
  • Ad characteristics
  • Interface language
  • Browser
  • Operating system

Some of these signals are available as manual bid adjustments, but other signals (and combinations of signals) are only available via Smart Bidding:

Smart Bidding signals

The bottom line is that with Smart Bidding running the show, marketers will have more free time to focus on strategy, copywriting, and analytics.

29) SERP Position Zero

For the past couple of years, voice search has been causing waves, changing the way search engine optimization works. Most notable is the rise of the featured snippet, which appears in the highly coveted “position zero” in Google’s search engine results pages, like in this example:

featured snippet, position zero

In 2021, at least 30% of all Internet searches will be conducted without a screen, and since 40.7% of all voice search answers come from a featured snippet, if your marketing is strong enough, you could be the one hitting that coveted spot.

Also known as rank zero snippet or position zero, this is the holy grail of modern-day SEO, as it directly answers user search queries without any need for the user to click a link. VSEO (voice search engine optimization) can give you an enormous competitive advantage (of course, this is only good news for one brand…).

This trend is growing, with 62.5% of mobile searches and 34.4% of desktop searches now resulting in “zero-click search” results. And according to Ahrefs, these are the most common words in search queries with featured snippets:


Because of this, more marketers will invest their resources in On-SERP SEO, which is the practice of optimizing web pages with the goal of claiming as much space in Google SERPs as possible. This boosts your click-through rate (CTR), driving more organic traffic to your site and increases the likelihood of claiming the top spot.

Dive Deeper:

30) Branding

We live in a time when consumers are spoiled for choice. It doesn’t matter what niche you’re in – it’s unlikely that you operate in a vacuum. 66% of consumers say that they feel connected to a brand whenever they trust it, and to earn their  trust, you have to establish a solid brand.

The reason branding is so important now is because of Google’s E.A.T. ranking factor, which stands for:

  • Expertise: the page needs to have quality content written by an expert writer
  • Authority: the site itself needs to have some authority on the subject
  • Trustworthiness: the site needs to have other authoritative links pointing to it from trusted sites

In essence, Google wants to do more than rank good content; they are catering to the user experience by demanding the most accurate, up-to-date, well-researched (i.e. authoritative) content on any given topic, preferably created by true experts in the field.

If Jimmy’s Medical Blog (not a real site) gives some bad advice that leads to a mom poisoning her child with some amateur advice on home remedies, that’s not good for Jimmy’s brand – or Google’s reputation of delivering quality results. So as the new year progresses and SEO evolves, Google may crack down on major industries, particularly in health and finance where accurate information is critical.

Neil Patel advises marketers to focus on building their expertise, pointing out that they can bolster their reputation with guest posts on industry-leading blogs, speaking at conferences, and by applying for awards. Always include an updated author bio at the bottom of all your published content pieces to build brand recognition and earn readers’ trust:


Dive Deeper:

31) Better Analytics

Modern marketing and metrics go hand-in-hand, so if you’re not investing in better analytics, you’ll struggle to drive the results you want to see. The problem, however, is that the customer journey is more complex now. We live in an omnichannel age where the average consumer engages a brand on up to six touchpoints before making a purchase.

With multiple channels to manage and a myriad of ways to market your products and services, the job of analytics tracking is fast becoming a gargantuan mission. As a result, many companies are looking beyond the basics of Google Analytics for a comprehensive business intelligence solution or analytics dashboard like Amplitude:


Another way this trend will play out is by moving towards business intelligence, the “technologies, applications and practices for the collection, integration, analysis and presentation of business information. The purpose of Business Intelligence is to support better business decision making.”

As Neil Patel puts it, a BI options is “A central place where you can tie in all your data and make better-informed decisions so you can optimize for your lifetime value instead of your short-term income.”

There are many business intelligence options, both paid and free, such as Google Data Studio (Google’s reporting solution for power users who want to go beyond the data and dashboards of Google Analytics), Metabase and Tableau:


Dive Deeper:

32) 5G Technology

In a world gone mad for mobile, arguably one of the most significant digital marketing trends of 2021 is the dawn of 5G technology, or fifth generation of mobile technology. This update heralds a new era of digital communications and its impact will be felt across virtually every industry.

Asha Keddy of Intel says:

“5G will enable a fully-mobile and connected society — unleashing human and technological possibility, and fuelling business and financial opportunity.”

As Adage puts it:

“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.”

T-Mobile points to the benefits 5G speed has for the burgeoning augmented reality industry, noting how it could be instrumental in developing a virtual heads-up display. As this picture below shows, 5G Internet speeds can help cyclists spot danger from all sides:


The European Union has an ambitious 5G action plan that includes uninterrupted 5G coverage for major roads and railways by 2025. What’s more is that the technology is expected to power a staggering one hundredfold increase in the number of connected devices. Of course, this brings up concerns of adverse effects on health and the environment from RF (radio frequency) radiation, the electromagnetic emissions produced by wireless phones, but that is a topic for another article.

All that is to say 5G technology will transform how we access online content, from digital marketers to the average user.

33) Privacy Marketing

Recently, Forbes reported that British Airways was slapped with a £183M fine for a data breach, and the hotel chain, Marriott, got stung for £99M after failing to protect the personal data of 339 million guests.

The aforementioned CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) in trend #26 above will be the most restrictive state privacy law passed in the U.S. when it comes into effect in 2021. Despite opposition from big players in Silicon Valley like Facebook, the world’s fifth-largest economy is pushing forward with its new consumer privacy act.

It’s clear that the people (but not the companies) of the world are getting serious about privacy, and marketers – who rely on those people – have no choice but to play by the new rules or miss out. One of the new rules is that marketers and brands will have to “‘earn’ the contact information of their targets” rather than engage in mass marketing. As Forbes points out:

“In the United States, marketers have become so lax in their targeting practices that every one of us has to take several minutes a day to delete from our inbox – both professional and personal – the dozens of emails that are not relevant and clearly not welcome.”

People want to know they can trust brands, and that their personal data is safe. Instead of being complacent, digital marketing teams should get strategic to reinforce their commitment to privacy so they can earn the trust of potential customers.

Some of the ways brands can earn consumers’ trust is by:

  • Researching and understanding our audience(s)
  • Developing a relevant message to get an audience to engage
  • Finding the right channel to engage with that specific audience
  • Developing an “intimate” relationship through thoughtful engagement

Dive Deeper:

34) Website Security

In the same breath as privacy, we need to mention website security.

When a visitor lands on your site for the first time, they’ll make up their mind about your security within seconds. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t hang around, which leads to increased bounce rates. Over time, a high bounce rate is bad news for your business, as you’ll slide down in the SERPs when Google realizes that people don’t want to stay long on your site.

Tech Republic notes that there have been over 3,800 data breaches within organizations – in one year alone! While the hacks at huge companies like Yahoo, Facebook, Equifax and Marriott make the headlines, there are plenty of breaches at smaller firms, too. As a result, just 25% of consumers believe that most companies handle their sensitive personal data responsibly.

In 2021, website security is no longer an option. As of August 2014, Google announced that HTTPS is a ranking signal and flags every site as unsafe unless it has an HTTPS (the “S” stands for “secure”) certification:


From now on, the bare minimum is to enable the HTTPS protocol for your site, which will show your visitors a little green padlock icon in the URL:

SSL green padlock green bar

In addition, prominently displaying a security seal of trust or trust badge on your website will reassure your site visitors that you take their safety seriously:


Learn More: How Poor Website Security Negatively Impacts SEO Rankings

35) IoT Advertising

Never mind our mobile devices and laptops – from smart cars to household appliances to wearable tech, the Internet of Things (IoT) is getting more and more connected:


As per QuanticMind:

“These days, it’s expected that connected devices and technologies will unobtrusively, and sometimes stealthily, collect data on our vital functions, what we do, where we go, what we share, what we believe, what we buy, who we know, how we move and even what we eat.”

Which means, of course, that brands and marketers want to use (or are already using) this data for their own business and advertising purposes. For example:

  • Johnnie Walker has a Blue Label bottle with built-in electronic sensors that can tell if the bottle has been opened and where it is in the supply chain.
  • Malibu, another drinks company, takes it a step further, using their “connected” bottles as digital touchpoint to promote exclusive content.

And as 5G technology matures, more IoT devices will present more on-demand content for consumers and more advertising opportunities for marketers.

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36) Long-Form Content

In 2021, shorter posts won’t get you anywhere – with Google or your audience. Typically, posts that are at least 3,000 words long attract the most traffic, as they offer readers an in-depth exploration of topics. Long-form content allows content creators to establish themselves as an expert on a subject and gives them more scope for targeting keywords.

A study from Search Engine Journal indicates that long-form content gets 77% more backlinks than short articles, which is critical for driving organic traffic:


According to Small Biz Trends, 56% of bloggers generate a better ROI on their content when they spend over six hours creating a single blog post. That may seem excessive, but when it attracts more traffic, increases on-page time, and boosts your organic search rankings, it’s a great business investment.

These epic posts are sometimes called 10X content or pillar content, which is basically content that provides a complete answer to any question a user may be searching for on a given topic. It’s specifically designed to provide value for the reader, and also to rank highly in the search engines.

The benefits of long-form or pillar content are:

  • Longer time spent on your site’s pages. The more content available for users to consume, the more time they’ll spend doing so.
  • A decrease in bounce rate. If users find what they’re looking for on your page, they won’t go back to Google to find another source.
  • Backlinks and a ton of social media shares. Pillar pages get shared widely and often, especially among influencers in a given space.
  • Gets traffic throughout the lifetime of your blog or website. Pillar content is evergreen content, so its value doesn’t diminish over time.
  • A high Google ranking. The high word count, shares and backlinks will all contribute to improved visibility on SERPs.

Dive Deeper:

37) Semantic Keyword Research

Here’s something you need to keep in mind when you’re creating long-form content: You must write for people, not for Google.

Banging out a 5,000-word post every other day is great, but you won’t see the results you’re hoping for if you don’t keep user intent in mind. Also known as search intent or keyword intent, this is the main goal that a person has when they type or speak a search query. It could be to find a product, information or a store location.

Think about how Google analyzes your content. The search engine doesn’t just evaluate keywords in a search box; it considers the content of a query and drills down to determine the user search intent. In this example below, if someone were searching for a missing cat, Google would use semantic analysis to include concepts like:

  1. Related concepts (i.e. “pets” not just “cats”; “lost”, not just “missing”; “pet shelters” and “animal control centers”)
  2. Related areas
  3. Other possible ways to help you out


This analysis is called semantic search, and with AI and voice search on a meteoric rise, it’s becoming a more central aspect of how search works.

Content marketers can leverage this to their benefit by going beyond their primary keyword to include related terms, questions and phrases in their content. Together, these latent semantic keywords will give Google a much better understanding of the nature of your content, as well as the solutions and benefits it offers to users.

In 2019, the annual Content Marketing Institute B2B report revealed that 90% of the world’s most successful marketers put their audience’s needs ahead of promotional targets. The companies with this attitude will rise to the top in 2021.

Dive Deeper:

38) Structured Data SEO

Among all the digital marketing trends you’ll hear about soon (if not already), there will no doubt be the now obligatory annual claims that SEO is dead.”

Ignore these claims. Once again, SEO is not dead – it’s a shapeshifter. In 2021, we’ll see that structured data will become more prevalent in search engine results.

Structured data is any data that is organized in such a way that makes it easier for search engines to crawl and categorize. Content creators can do this in their back-end code or by neatly organizing information in tables with labeled columns and rows.

When it’s done right, structured data delivers a big SEO boost, as you may rank in that coveted Position Zero in one form or another, such as a Knowledge Graph Box, which displays important information about your business:


Another possible boon of using structured data is that you can generate Rich Snippet results, which display images, review stats, and pricing. These rich snippets – also known as rich cards – are excellent for driving clicks, especially on mobile.

image36 is a semantic vocabulary of tags that enables website owners to embed structured data on their web pages so that search engines can clearly understand, interpret and represent the content in response to a search query. The list keeps growing but so far, here are the content-only types that Google is actively using:

Schema types

With almost 50% of all global Internet traffic now happening on mobile devices, the competition for these rich results is heating up, so we’ll see a lot of marketers focusing on leveraging structured data in 2021.

Learn More: How (and Why) to Create an Effective Content Structure for Better Ranking

39) Alternate Search Engines

Research from StatCounter shows that over 92% of all traffic on search engines is through Google, dwarfing its “closest” rivals, Yahoo and Bing:

Search engine market share

The world’s most dominant search engine is a sophisticated juggernaut of innovation, finely-tuned to deliver the most relevant, recent and comprehensive results for any user search query. It’s hard to fathom a catastrophic collapse happening any time soon, making it seemingly impossible for any other search engine to give Google a run for its money.

That being said, DuckDuckGo – a privacy-focused search engine founded in 2008 that has gained a niche popularity among privacy-minded users – has made some waves recently with its tagline “the search engine that doesn’t track you” because “search engines don’t need to track users to make money.”

According to DuckDuckGo’s general counsel and head of policy, Megan Gray, this model is profitable: “We make a ton of money. We are a privately held company, so I can’t tell you exactly how much we make. But we are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which requires at least $25 million in annual revenue, and we are well above that.”

In the spirit of online privacy (trend #33 above), while Google has become embroiled in data scandals such as the Cambridge Analytics fiasco, DuckDuckGo has meanwhile seen massive growth as it hit 1 billion searches in the month of January 2019:


Just recently, the engine got another boost when it was endorsed by Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey:


Ultimately, marketers should consider their audience and think about where their brand’s content is likely to be viewed. With that in mind, optimize your content for more than just one search engine.

40) Voice Marketing Funnels

We already mentioned the impact of voice search earlier in this guide (trend #11). What we didn’t explore was the cumulative impact that voice-enabled devices and voice search will have on a fundamental aspect of business: your marketing funnel.

With these rapidly growing digital marketing trends, there’s no way that your traditional funnel can stay the same. It must evolve. In 2021, the linear funnel will cease to be relevant. In fact, that transition is already underway.

In the new voice marketing funnel, leads can enter the funnel at different stages of the customer journey, as many consumers now conduct a lot of their own research online. This updated model demands that each customer is treated as an individual instead of a generic prospect. As a result, the funnel must cater to the demand for customized solutions:


Another way that the sales funnel is being revolutionized is from funnel to engine, in which the brand no longer dictates the buyer’s journey – rather, the brand and customer “synergistically interact with each other”:

from funnel to engine

The bottom line is that we can, and should, expect that technology will continue to metamorphose, so marketers must develop funnels that are capable of reacting to constant shifts in the digital landscape.

Search Engine Journal asserts that the first brands to adjust to the demands of voice search will reap the greatest rewards, increasing their digital online revenue by 30% or more.

Related Reading: How to Create the Ultimate Marketing Funnel (Templates Included)

41) Social Media Marketing

In 2021, we’ll see brands tapping more into the potential of video and interactive content on social media to get attention, but they must follow it up by being authentic on their social channels, and by working hard to nurture a community of engaged, loyal followers.

As social media strategy consultant Neal Schaffer puts it:

“If your business wants to survive in organic social media in 2021, I believe that this sort of humanization of your brand will be necessary.”

This growth is unlikely to falter in the wake of Instagram removing likes from the platform.

From Social Media Today, here are some social media trends to keep an eye on:

  • Facebook Pay: Launched in the U.S. in November 2019, this payment feature would “facilitate on-platform payments, in-stream, making it easier for people to buy products on Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.”
  • Facebook Watch: Facebook’s own video-on-demand service.
  • Oculus: VR technology that makes social media more interactive, which Facebook is touting as “the next evolution of social.”
  • Cross-stream messaging: Facebook’s integration of messaging functionalities of Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.
  • Instagram removing likes: In response the growing realization of the adverse effects on mental health, Instagram is focusing on better humanization of their brand.
  • IGTV: Instagram’s long-form video platform is not new, but will probably get another push in 2021.
  • Twitter’s mDAU: A new monthly and daily active user metric called “monetizable daily active users,” a move to clean up its platform from bots.
  • Narrowcast tweets: An option that would “limit the audience and usage of your tweets, including the capability to remove the retweet function from chosen tweets, and to restrict your tweet reach to only chosen hashtag discussions and/or to certain friends…[and allow you] to target your tweets to specific audiences.”
  • Tweet streaming: A new live-streaming feature.
  • LinkedIn groups: Similar to Facebook Groups. Not exactly a new feature, but LinkedIn may try to push it again next year.
  • LinkedIn video: Since LinkedIn users are 20x more likely to share a video on this platform than any other type of post, LinkedIn seems bent on improving their video discovery tools and putting more emphasis on uploaded video content.
  • Snapchat AR: An Augmented Reality version of its Spectacles could be on the way, which would “overlay digital graphics over people’s real-world view.”

Dive Deeper: The Beginner’s Guide to Crafting a Highly Effective Social Media Strategy

42) Neuromarketing

Last, but certainly not least, we’ll dip our toes into one of the most wow-inspiring digital marketing trends of 2021: neuromarketing. While this may sound like we’re quoting from a sci-fi movie, the reality is that this technology is advancing quickly and may become a viable tool for marketers soon.

For the uninitiated, neuromarketing is a strategy that analyzes measurements of a person’s brain activity and nervous system to determine which types of content they find engaging.

It is essentially designing marketing materials (including your website, ads, email campaigns and content) to evoke specific neurological reactions that trigger emotions or responses that are linked to purchasing. You can use this information to optimize your content accordingly and adjust your strategies, improving the effectiveness of your marketing.

SPARK Neuro, a neuroanalytics company that measures emotion and attention to optimize advertising and entertainment, is a leader in the space. The company combines biometrics, neurometrics and complex algorithms to analyze attention and emotion levels, effectively helping marketers figure out what content to focus on and what to avoid.


Forbes reports that the company is expected to work with political campaigns in the future. But whether that happens or not, we can be sure that neuromarketing will have a major impact on the future of marketing. The richest consumer data resides in the brain and any tool that helps companies understand the brains of their prospective customers is sure to be worth its weight in gold.

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Wrapping Up

So, there you have it – our definitive guide to the 42 most important digital marketing trends you can’t ignore in 2021.

As John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

For anyone in digital marketing, change is an integral part of the job. You must keep looking ahead and strive to embrace new technologies, tools and strategies in order to gain an edge over your competitors.

Check out our 10-minute video How Digital Marketing Will Change in 2021 (and find tons more marketing videos on our YouTube channel!):

Additional contributions by CJ Haughey, a creative tech copywriter with a desire to help innovative brands grow. He specializes in creating engaging growth content for exciting brands and startups in eCommerce, SaaS, AI, and martech. Find him on Twitter @cyberjuicetweet

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9 top digital marketing trends for 2021 – 99designs



So far, the digital marketing trends for 2021 seem to revolve around two distinct, but almost contradictory concepts. First is a general humanization, addressing real issues and tailoring content to suit the individual (as opposed to mass appeal) for more personal engagement. Second is a much more mechanical and technical optimization, fine-tuning the behind-the-scenes areas like SEO and how you structure campaigns—the nitty-gritty that your satisfied customers don’t see.

Below, we’ll cover 9 of the hottest digital marketing trends of 2021, to give you a head-start over your competition. Take these marketing trends to heart and consider them when outlining your own digital marketing strategy for the new year.

Digital marketing trends 2021
Illustration by OrangeCrush

Here are the 9 best digital marketing trends of 2021:

  1. Inclusivity
  2. Featured snippets & no-click searches
  3. Sustainability: loud and proud
  4. Ad-blocker blockers
  5. Image and video SEO for visual searches
  6. Interactive content
  7. Customer segmentation
  8. Local SEO
  9. Oldies but goodies

1. Inclusivity

One look at the front page headlines shows the significance of inclusivity in our current time-and-place in history. Greater numbers by the day, especially younger audiences and marginalized groups, want to see a more optimistic depiction of equality in the content they consume and the brands they purchase from. Or more accurately, they don’t want to see the same homogeneous content we’re accustomed to from previous decades.

In 2021, digital marketing includes media and subject matters that cover a variety of races, sexualities, religions, etc., as well as representation for people with physical disabilities and learning disabilities. This includes the content for your imagery and videos, but also the topics you discuss in social media and blogs, or even the line of products you offer.

example of progressive marketing with inclusivity
The research from Kantar’s #WhatWomenWant marketing campaign shows the growing number of consumers who support equality.

According to Accenture, this cultural shift is already affecting purchasing behavior: 41% of shoppers “have shifted… their business away from a retailer that does not reflect how important [identity and diversity] is to them.” The same study showed that 29% of consumers are willing to switch brands completely if they don’t showcase enough diversity—and that percentage just goes up for ethnic minorities and the LGBT+ community.

2. Featured snippets & no-click searches

For many, many years, the goal of SEO has been to get your listing in the “position number one” spot of search results. Now, going into 2021, the end-goal is continuing to shift to more SEO visibility in “position zero.”

Position zero refers to Google’s “featured snippet”, and 2021 SEO marketing trends are prioritizing it above all else. The featured snippet works differently than other search results entries—for one thing, it’s separated by a small box and located at the top. More importantly, it also displays extra, relevant information with the attempt at answering the user’s question without them needed to click on it, prompting the nickname “no-click search.”

Featured snippet of 99designs for “How to design a logo”
Our blog article wins the featured snippet for “How to design a logo.” Notice how it’s set apart from the other search results for better visibility.

Although it sounds counter-intuitive to forego someone clicking on your link, the recognition you get as a thought-leader outweighs a single click/visit. Moreover, featured snippets are sometimes read aloud with Google Assistant voice searches.

If you’re going to target a featured snippet yourself, there’s a few things to know. For starters, featured snippets are mostly for long-tail keyword phrases like questions (such as “how to design a logo”). They come in different forms, from step-by-step lists to straight-up definitions to even videos (and more), so match your content with the appropriate format.

In the content itself, make sure you answer the keyword question clearly and succinctly, preferably with bulleted lists or a table structure.

3. Sustainability: loud and proud

Just like the digital marketing trend of inclusivity, people in 2021 are similarly passionate about environmentalism. They want to make sure the brands receiving their money are just as concerned for planet earth as they are.

With 81% of consumers strongly feeling companies should help improve the environment, what we’re seeing is a popularity boost for sustainable and eco-friendly brands, especially for younger consumers. This goes well-beyond the market for green products—every brand can benefit by broadcasting their sustainable practices.

Branding for ecofriendly, green, and environmental companies
With the right digital marketing design, you can visually communicate your brand’s environmentalism without saying a word.

The key is communicating your sustainability through your branding and content to make environmentalism part of your identity. There are plenty of different ways depending on your branding style, such as displaying a banner prominently on your site, or discussing it repeatedly on social media. You can even opt for more subtle methods, such as branded reusable tote bags or conveying green themes through your brand’s visual identity.

4. Ad-blocker blockers

The digital marketing trends of 2021 aren’t all about positivity and progress—it’s also about overcoming obstacles like ad blockers. With 27% of internet users expected to use ad blockers in 2021, many marketers are having their primary stream of traffic automatically cut off at the source, including PPC campaigns.

First, you want to check how big of a problem it is for you—your ad data and analytics should tell you what you need to know. Depending on your target audience or where you post ads, the damage might be negligible.

System32Comics webcomic about ad blockers
The customer is always right. Via System32Comics

If your ads do fall victim to ad blockers, your best strategy is to adapt—don’t waste time trying to convince potential customers to change their own preferences. Readjust your advertising budget to suit other, more fruitful campaigns, like influencer marketing or sponsored content. Younger audiences don’t respond well to display ads anyway, but they do respond well to influencer marketing, so making the switch is advisable in any situation.

5. Image and video SEO for visual searches

You already know you can search for images and videos by typing in keywords, but did you know you can also submit existing images for a search, or even take original photos and search for context? As more users discover these visual search techniques, it changes the overall landscape of SEO in general.

Google Lens promotional image on find products
With Google Lens, people can take a photo of something they want to buy and receive search results that lead directly to product pages.

To capitalize on the increased amount of visual searches, you want to make sure your image and video SEO campaigns are in tip-top shape. For starters, apply the basics:

Moreover, familiarize yourself with Google Lens, especially if you’re an ecommerce brand. Handle your SEO techniques right, and you can take traffic away from competitors when shoppers conduct picture searches for products or barcodes.

6. Interactive content

Here’s a trend that’s technically been around for awhile, but it’s just now being recognized as a best practice. Interactive content doesn’t just promote more engagement, it also improves the user’s enjoyment.

Interactive content like quizzes, open-ended questions, surveys, contests, giveaways, polls, calculator widgets, etc., can do wonders for your brand. At the very least, they increase the length of time users engage with you, which helps your standing in algorithm-based searches and feeds. But more importantly, people want to be engaged, so interactive content almost always improves your user experience.

Twitter polls used as a digital marketing trends for 2021
Twitter Polls are quick, easy and effective—just be sure to stay on brand with topics. Via @Social_Hire

Interactive content is part of the greater trend towards personalization; by allowing the users to answer for themselves or have their opinion heard, they feel a more personal connection to the brand. Don’t forget it can also be used to collect data on user preferences, such as for product or site improvements.

7. Customer segmentation

Another trend that’s not new but rather newly popular is customer segmentation. The idea is simple: instead of a small number of large marketing campaigns targeting general audiences, it’s better to have a large number of small marketing campaigns targeting specific audiences.

Customer segmentation means grouping your target audience by certain traits or behaviors, such as demographics or shopping habits. This allows you to more accurately tailor your content to suit their preferences; for example, having two separate email lists for big spenders and small spenders, and sending different newsletters to each that feature different products.

graphic explaining customer segmentation
You’re free to choose how to segment your customers, but the most common divisions are by demographic, psychographic, geographic, behavioral and customer journey. Via Intercom

This strategy works best for personalization and customer engagement, as your followers receive content hand-picked for them. Beyond email lists, you can apply customer segmentation to specialized ads on different sites, categories of blog content and social media content for multiple communities.

8. Local SEO

Google frequently updates their local SEO algorithm, so if you’re a local business, you should continuously update your business’ appearance in local results too. In a way, local SEO is even more powerful than broad SEO—people searching for a specific type of business with their geographic location have more intent to purchase, so it’s easier to convert them.

For starters, you have to get verified by Google. You can do this by signing up for Google My Business and either claiming your listing or creating a new one. This helps you rank higher in Google SERPS, and also gives you the chance to offer additional information about your company to online searchers.

Screenshot for Google My Business
Registering through Google My Business is easier than it sounds.

Additionally, you want to incorporate local keywords prominently into your SEO strategy. Obviously, prioritize the name of your city or town as a top keyword, but you can go the extra mile by also incorporating related keywords. If your location has a famous landmark or quirky claim-to-fame, mention it once or twice.

9. Oldies but goodies

Not all of the best digital marketing trends of 2021 are from 2021. Plenty of marketing trends from last year or the year before are still going strong, and will continue to be game changers throughout the next year as well. And if you still haven’t implemented them yet, there’s more urgency now than ever before.

In particular, don’t forget about these ongoing digital marketing trends from 2020:

  • Shoppable Posts: social media posts that directly connect users to product checkout tend to increase conversions by streamlining the payment process. See if you’re eligible for Checkout on Instagram.
  • Gen Z Marketing: last year saw the eldest of Gen Z turning 18 and entering the workforce. If you want to infiltrate this young market, first understand the best practices for marketing to Gen Z.
  • Microinfluencers: as opposed to premier influencers, microinfluencers are more like average people who have a larger-than-average social media follower. If you attract enough of them, typically through social media contests and giveaways, you can achieve the same numbers as top-level influencers at a fraction of the cost and effort.
  • Voice Search SEO: since voice assistants first hit market a few years ago, voice searches have been upending traditional SEO tactics—people don’t use the same keywords when they talk as when they type! Try altering your SEO strategy to incorporate speech keywords.

Keep checking back with the 99designs blog throughout the year to stay up-to-date on all the latest digital marketing trends yet to come!

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