Digital marketing, without doubt, is one of the fastest-growing industries today, and it is constantly evolving and changing. With millions and billions of people worldwide now spending a vast amount of time online, businesses are leveraging the power and potential of digital marketing for achieving their company objectives.
The use of Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Optimization and Digital Advertisement has grown exponentially. In addition, the digital growth due to pandemic induced factors continues as brands who were reluctant before are joining the bandwagon of those succeeding with digital strategies. As the year 2021 comes to a close, it is indeed the appropriate time to reflect on the innovations, news and trends that shaped the industry. Let’s dive in.
According to the latest reports released by Statista, the number of social media users saw a massive jump of approximately 32% from 2017 to 2021. Today, there are close to 3.7 billion social media users, a growth of 5% from 2020.
Given the enormous number of users, the social media giants always look to develop innovative features that cater to their audience and give them a memorable experience. And 2021 was no different as lots of features were released by all major social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and others. Explore the major news of 2021 below.
The year 2021 saw the social media behemoth Facebook rebrand itself as Meta, which is now the parent company and signifies the company’s focus on metaverse. Besides rebranding itself, a series of interesting new features were released or tested this year.
Facebook Pages Redesign was one of the highlights this year. It was the newly designed page aimed at the new page experience for Indian users, specifically public figures and content creators. The intuitive layout plus crisp and clean look made navigation a better experience.
Facebook Reels, the short-form videos was another feature that caught the attention of the users in India who are fond of making videos and sharing them on the platform. Similar to video, Facebook is already testing Live Audio Rooms. The audio-focused platform was the talk of the town since Clubhouse launched. However, the feature is rolled out only in the US and for those with the iOS device. Moreover, only selected Facebook groups and prominent individuals are allowed to create and use Live Audio Rooms. Everyone is hoping that Live Audio Room will soon be rolled out for all soon.
Facebook is also keen to provide an enriching experience to its users beyond chats, videos and community options. In keeping with this new approach, the company is working hard to integrate Live game streaming on its social media app, aimed at creating the world’s biggest gaming community and getting new users from across the world. Horizon Worlds is yet another fascinating VR social platform that enables hanging out with close to 20 people virtually. Interesting, isn’t it?
Instagram came up with some exciting new features for its users in the form of Live Rooms, extending the number of people to four who can access live broadcast. It was previously limited to only one who could be added on Instagram Live. The users also found the Recently Deleted feature helpful as it allows to retrieve deleted photos and videos.
In April 2021, Instagram incorporated a new feature into its Reels-remix. This allows users to add reactions to the original video clip, enabling users to run wild with their ideas and creativity. Additionally, Colab is another feature that users can use to collaborate with others and share new posts and reels.
Giving more power to the user, the Limiting Comments option is made available. Now hide or limit comments who are not followers. Links on Stories was a long pending feature that users were clamoring about for quite a while, and now it is made possible in 2021.
Twitter, the micro-blogging site, released several exciting features which enhanced the user experience. For example, the auto-cropping algorithm always frustrated the user. In 2021, full-size images can be previewed, used and viewed on the platform.
A plethora of features were introduced to control the nature of conversations. Prompts is now implemented on the platform which warns users about conversations that are not pleasant and might heat up. Change who can reply is another valuable option that can prevent unwanted replies from unknown people.
Twitter has also worked on its technical features with upgraded quality of photos, GIFs and videos now available on the app.
Unsurprisingly, there were multiple Google updates, search results page features and other updates that challenged SEO experts and industry. Find the recap of some important news that made headlines in 2021.
Google Algorithm Updates
Core updates happen every year, and they continued in 2021 with three of them in June, July and November months. Wide volatility was caused in the results due to the first two updates. However, it was the third update that caused the most volatility, affecting results.
Another group of updates from Google were related to Page Title Rewrites, which saw significant changes to SERP titles, reducing quality. On the feedback of marketers, Google rolled back some updates. Spam Updates were common throughout the year, but with no major change in rankings. To combat low-quality product reviews and spam, Google released Product Review Updates. In addition, Passage Indexing was introduced, aimed at ranking certain sections of content on a page.
Besides updates, Google provided guides for SEO experts to understand and address issues associated with HTTP status codes, network and DNS errors, YMYL and low-quality content.
Analytics and Reporting
Google Search Console was revamped with a new design in November 2021. One of the other highlights in Google Search Console this year was the addition of a tool that enabled reporting of indexing issues in August. Some changes were introduced to Google Analytics 4 as well such as search console integration, machine learning models and data-focused attribution.
Google My Business is now Google Business Profile
More recently, Google made the announcement that Google My Business is now Google Business Profile. A wide range of features are introduced giving more control to the user in the form of claiming and verification, call history, direct message from Search and message read receipts.
According to a GroupM report, digital advertising worldwide accounted for 64% in 2021, from 60% in 2020. In India, a TAM Media Research report showed that approximately seventy thousand brands used digital advertisement in 2021. The key attraction has always been the opportunity to advertise to the specific target audience and geography.
Google Ads has been the go-to platform for brands for a long time. Some of the updates that happened in 2021 are listed below:
- Improved Google Ads Image Extension for visually striking search ads.
- Performance Planner received multiple updates which will now help users to plan, revise campaigns.
- The insights page was updated
- Budget Reports can be accessed now related to the campaign page, shared library and groups page.
- Smart display and Standard display campaigns are now combined as one campaign type.
- Attribution models now support YouTube and Display Ads.
These are some major trends and updates that marked digital marketing in 2021. As the new year 2022 comes, it is certainly going to be an eventful year. As per experts, the digital marketing industry will continue its dream run in the coming years, opening up endless opportunities and possibilities for all.