These are my observations from the frontline of running a digital agency in 2021

Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

by Phil Aston

These are my observations from the frontline of running a digital agency in 2021

Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

by Phil Aston

by Phil Aston

Phil Aston SEO Cornwall Genius Loci Media

Digital Marketing Trends in 2021

These are my observations from the frontline of running a digital agency in 2021.


For what seems like years, various people have been saying the practice of SEO is dead. Perhaps the use of WordPress and Plugins like Yoast have given this impression. It is a bit like having an app on your phone telling you how many steps you have done. If you want to find out how healthy you are, you will need a different set of measures and data. SEO is more important now than ever.

The practice of SEO is a multi-disciplined set of skills now, but it still requires an intuition that comes from being aware of the real people trying to find you and the technology they are using to carry this out.

What I am seeing is people putting more effort and energy now into their websites again. Social Media (which I will come onto later) is going through many changes, and businesses are getting more nervous about relying on rented real-estate like Facebook.

SEO is at the heart of Content Marketing and Digital Marketing. When I see either phrase that is my first thought, how is the SEO going to be implemented?
Any content needs to start with the right intent and objective to help the people find it.

In 2021, your new content will more likely start as a video. The next steps might be extracting the audio for a Podcast, then the transcribed text used for blog posts. Extracts from these blog posts then become part of your social media strategy. The objective now is using all of your business channels to bring in leads and enquiries.

More than ever, customers are cross-checking social media posts with your brand pages and posts on your website. They ask questions on social media, forums, watching videos, reading reviews and then seeing what response they get when getting in touch via email or messenger.

Behind all this SEO is researching your market, key phrases, competitive data, hashtags and analytics across multiple channels and platforms.

2021 is the year you should be investing more in SEO and on a continual basis. Make sure you include your YouTube channel!

Social Media Marketing

I feel Social Media has taken a few body blows in the last 12 months. Covid19, The Election in the USA, Conspiracy Theories, lack of trust, privacy etc. Many people are looking for alternative platforms or growing tired of spending so much time on social media.

Privacy, Apple and new laws are also making the advertising landscape look less and less attractive and more expensive. I have also seen a vast and worrying trend in businesses getting their Ad accounts suspended on Facebook and Instagram. You could lose your entire brand off Facebook if this happens.
Although I have helped a couple of businesses get their Ad Accounts back, it is getting harder, and it is impossible to talk to anyone on these platforms.

Social media is also fragmenting as other fledgeling platforms start to surface. Bibo is going to make a comeback and Club House the audio-only platform is already popular.

Another observation I will make is that each platform has its fans and try as you may; you will not get them to move or join you elsewhere.

I run an online music magazine called Now Spinning. It has a dedicated community within a Facebook Group. It also has accounts on Instagram, Twitter, a Facebook page, Linkedin page, YouTube and of course, a website!
Over the last 12 months, the communities on YouTube and Facebook have been the most active. Although there is some cross over with fans on each platform, most people have NO interest in joining or even being on any other platform.

The idea of sending out one post to every platform is doomed to fail or at the very least result in very little engagement.
If you have a video to upload you are looking at uploading to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube separately. I have run several experiments, and although posting links from YouTube seems a more manageable option, you will get far less engagement on Facebook if you do this.

Is Advertising Worth it on Social Media?

I believe that cold calling is dead in 2021, and this includes all uninvited email campaigns.
I do feel, however, that there are some benefits to advertising on social media. If your objective is to raise your brand profile, then Facebook works very well with Instagram coming in behind it. Simply trying to sell on Facebook is not as effective as it was and if you get your Ad copy wrong, you can get penalised.
I do not recommend advertising on Twitter as the platform now is more news orientated.

Video Marketing

From personal experience, nothing builds trust faster than video. Of course, meeting people face to face may be better, but a video has the potential to be discovered globally.
Another tip for 2021 is to make sure your YouTube Channel is optimised and has new content regularly.
The other thing I cannot emphasise more is answering every comment and in a timely fashion. The difference this can make to you getting discovered and gaining new subscribers is enormous.

Where Should You Post?

Youtube – This is essential and as I have mentioned your channel should be optimised and updated whenever possible. Use 1080dpi

Facebook – Also very important, I find uploading at 720dpi gets the best results.

Instagram – I find this is best for video of fewer than 60 seconds. You can post on IGTV up to any length, but a long-form video is not why people are on Instagram, so I have found engagement falls in the last 12 months.

Vimeo – There are many reasons to use these platform but if you want to be discovered by people who do not know you, use YouTube.

Twitter / Linkedin – keep them short otherwise use YouTube and your website.

Stop Trying To Be Everyone Else

I work a lot with hospitality businesses, and in the last few years, the tone of voice used for branding has become almost interchangeable. The introductions, the descriptions of the rooms, food, the photos all look the same. It can take looking at the contact information to realise that you are in a different location.
For most businesses in 2021, you have 30 seconds to grab someone’s attention. By the time they find you, they may have a dozen tabs open as they flick from one to the other.
The businesses that talk from the heart and do not try to be anyone else are the ones that will get the enquiries in 2021.

If you want any help or advice on any of the topics raised here, please get in touch.

Phil Aston 

+44(0)1736 719342 | phil.aston@geniusloci.co.uk

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Phil Aston is a partner at Genius Loci a Digital Marketing & Media agency based in Cornwall. Phil has over 26 years experience in SEO, Marketing & Photography and works primarily in the Tourism & Retail sector. He is also a yoga teacher and musician.