Make marketing much more meaningful in 2021

There will be social media winners and losers. It’s important to know which is which so you back the winners

For the past five years, my end of November is usually marked by boarding an A380 to Japan with a short stint in Dubai to spend time with friends and colleagues in Tokyo. In a pre-covid year this article could have been along more normal lines of industry tool analysis, more general forecasting and where to Winter with a touch of where to purchase unique perfect gifts within the sprawling neon mega-metropolis that is Tokyo.

One of the joys in such a flight is the airtime, allowing me uninterrupted contemplation of our communication plans for the next year and to focus on the key messaging necessary to open doors in new markets. One of the biggest challenges many businesses face is knowing where to invest and push their relevant campaigns, usually linked to both seasonality and major cultural happenings, including significant days and events.

Breaking barriers across borders can be a challenge for even the most erudite of international relations communications consultants. What you need is an understanding of what’s happening on the ground and where emerging opportunities are with the technologies and platforms available.

So, here are a few things to consider while planning your communications strategy for 2021:

Pinterest – The platform now has 335 million monthly active users and surpassed $1bn in revenue last year. Unlike the other platforms that have seen fast rises and subsequent falls in users, Pinterest demonstrates consistent gradual growth year on year. New markets where growth is beginning to accelerate are in the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. Unlike TikTok and Instagram, Pinterest is yet to really expand in the East Asian markets. However, over the last year it has outpaced Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook in monthly active user growth .

Google – There are around 5.6 billion searches conducted on Google every day! This equates to around 2 trillion searches every year, met with a huge amount of content, with around a billion blogs.

When you use the search term – “what is digital marketing”, there are only 11,300 global searches a month but an enormous 665,000 pieces of content. One way to cut through the noise is to use AdWords. The language we use and how we position the answers to search queries is everything. A theme across campaigns that currently garner the greatest Click-Through Rates (CTRs) is when marketers choose to change their strategy from product solutions to education. This is all about giving value as an AdWords strategy, to encourage brand awareness and positive sentiment. This creates more value for customers whilst there’s a greater possibility that when the customer comes to purchase, you’ll be their preferred product solution.

WhatsApp – Facebook bought this SMS platform for $19bn in 2014. It is now the worlds fastest-growing communication app. Over half a billion people around the world are now regular, active users. There are more than 700 million photos and 100 million videos sent every single day. It currently has more users than Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest combined. It also has a 98% AOR (avg. open rate, i.e. how many recipients open messages) vs. typically 15-25%. This makes WhatsApp the most engaged marketing channel on the planet. WhatsApp currently gets 40% more positive responses than text message marketing and phone calls. It has the fastest buying consumer demographics too, with 71% of users aged 18 to 44. One brand that has exploited WhatsApp’s effectiveness is Colgate. They invited people to send selfies of their smile via WhatsApp, to a number displayed on the toothpaste pack. The buy-in was a chance to be styled by a celebrity stylist.

Influencers – Organic reach (the number of people who see your content without you paying for distribution) on all platforms is starting to nosedive due to excessive noise, and some gaming of the platforms’ algorithms either by financial or strategic means. We’ve also noticed that influencer marketing budgets are now decreasing massively across all sectors and that the reach of influencers is decreasing too, thus the cost to hire an influencer is at an all-time low. Good riddance? From us, the answer is a definite yes! We saw the hype for what it was some time ago.

Twitch – For all you gamers, you’ll be very acquainted with Twitch. For those that aren’t, it’s a mixture of YouTube Live and Facebook, owned by Amazon. It’s designed specifically for gamers to stream and share their adventures. People streaming can receive direct payments from their followers and viewers while they stream. It’s now estimated it will grow its regular viewership by 14% to 37.5 million this year and hit 47 million viewers by 2023. Its current growth is the strongest among live streaming platforms although it appears that competitors such as Google’s YouTube Gaming, Microsoft’s Mixer and Facebook Gaming will be investing massively to compete. Marketers can participate with direct sponsorships of streamers or by buying ad space. About 80% of Twitch’s audience is male, and 55% are 18 to 34. Media buying within the platform is on the rise and brands such as the NFL have signed further contracts with Twitch to reach its audience.

To improve your brand awareness, tighten up those client acquisition funnels and have a more cogent approach to your marketing, consider carefully where the market opportunities lie. For 2021 it’s obvious that there are some great opportunities on the platforms I’ve mentioned, and with a cogent strategic approach, you’ll be able to reap the rewards of your efforts.

Enjoy the festive season!

Our guest author, Johnny Pawlik, is CEO at Mantra Media. (See