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Is it time we stopped trying to predict digital marketing trends?

By 29th December 2020May 16th, 2023No Comments
Marketing trend prediction | Tall Zebra

If you listened hard enough in March, you could hear the collective sigh of thousands of digital marketers, whose ‘top 10 trends for 2020’ had slipped into oblivion.

Nobody could have predicted what was going to happen this year. We saw an unprecedented need to scale up our digital offerings straight away or risk falling behind. Certainly, any predictions on the value of brick-and-mortar stores, when combined with digital, would have been very wrong.

When we don’t get digital marketing trends right

But it’s not just 2020 that has seen marketers falling short. In fact, we’ve been making wrong predictions about digital trends for years – which rather calls into question the value of trying to guess the next big thing.

Take a look at these instances when marketers’ crystal balls failed.

Moz underestimated the power of mobile

This very statement seems laughable in 2020, but in 2011, it was a reality. Search engine optimisation expert Moz claimed that mobile use would have a negligible effect on search. While Google didn’t start hammering mobile search until a little later, this was a short-sighted view of what would become a very different search landscape in years to come.


Like Y2K before it, 2015’s apparent ‘Mobilegeddon’ saw techies everywhere shaking in their boots everywhere as Google turned to mobile-first indexing. But did it cause World War III? Not exactly. On average, results dropped by 0.4 places – not the “40% of Fortune 500 websites” as TechCrunch predicted.

When green wasn’t expected to take off

At the turn of the century, marketers wrongly predicted that green marketing would fail to make a mark with consumers. Indeed, by 2013, there was only around a 15% interest in sustainable products throughout the US. But fast forward to 2018, and more than half of all consumer-packaged goods were classed as sustainable – likely goaded by household names like Greta Thunberg, or a large-scale opposition to Donald Trump.

What can we do instead of trying to predict digital marketing trends?

Of course, there’s no danger in trying to keep our finger on the pulse. We should always be reading, researching, and listening to what’s new with our target audience.

But if there’s anything that 2020 has taught us, it’s that we shouldn’t put all our eggs in one basket. For example, any businesses that invested heavily in face-to-face events for 2020 will likely have taken the strain.

Instead, we should focus on honing our current skills, while being aware of developing trends in the background. As digital marketing evolves, techniques do not simply come and go – rather, they evolve themselves.

Take blogging, which now has its place as a transactional tool, helping to answer user questions and guide users towards a conversion. (Blogging too has been a bone of contention for marketers over the years.)

Speak to your local digital marketing experts in Chorley

For helpful digital marketing ideas that aren’t reinventing the wheel, speak to the Tall Zebra Designs team. We’ll help you not only brush up on new developments, but hone your existing strategies to get more from your marketing. Contact us today.