The landscape of digital marketing changes constantly.

So how can you stay aware?

Reviewing the latest digital marketing statistics is a good starting point.

By looking at the latest statistics in digital marketing, you can adjust your marketing strategy. 

Whether you’re focused on content marketing, search engine optimization, or paid advertising, we’ve got you covered.

Keep reading to get the latest digital marketing statistics and trends for 2021, including:

  • Why is digital marketing important in 2021?
  • Core web vitals and site speed
  • Search engine optimization (SEO) in 2021
  • Social media marketing trends for 2021
  • Mobile vs. desktop in 2021
  • Content marketing statistics for 2021
  • Paid advertising in 2021

Why is digital marketing important in 2021?

  1. More than 75% of consumers took a new interest in online activities in 2020. Of those, 21% purchased a product online for the first time. (Qualtrics, 2021)
  2. 80% of people prefer to buy from brands whose actions align with their values. (KPMG, 2020)
  3. Companies that excel at nurturing leads with inbound marketing make 50% more sales. (Marketo, 2020)
  4. 85% of marketers believe that consumers expect a personalized experience. (Evergage, 2019)

In 2020, the landscape of consumer behavior changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

More consumers began shopping online and became selective with their purchases. They also wanted to build connections with the companies they bought from. 

Not to mention, these consumers wanted a personalized experience. 

These are just a few of the reasons digital marketing is important in 2021.

Digital marketing allows your brand to tailor your marketing activity to the needs of your consumers. 

Using marketing technology, you can create a personalized user experience from start to finish. 

Take ActiveCampaign, for example. Our marketing automation software helps businesses target consumers at the right time, with the right information. 

Core web vitals and site speed 

Core web vitals are one of the most important quantifiable updates Google has made in recent years. Here are 6 digital marketing statistics you can use to improve your website’s performance:

  1. A 0-4 second load time is best for conversion rates. (Portent, 2019)
  2. Largest contentful paint (LCP) measures loading performance. LCP should happen within 2.5 seconds to provide a good user experience. (web.dev, 2020)
  3. A 1-second delay can reduce customer satisfaction by 16%. (Website Builder Expert, 2021)
  1. Mobile devices (phones and tablets) accounted for 60.9% of organic searches on Google in Q2 2021. (Merkle, 2021)
  2. 70% of websites in Google’s search results use mobile-first indexing. (Google Search Central, 2020)
  3. Google removed ​​37% of URLs from their top 10 when the search query was made from a mobile device. (SEMRush, 2021)

Site performance can impact user experience and can affect your conversions. 

To increase your chances of getting a conversion, aim for a zero to two-second load time. Take advantage of site tracking tools to monitor how your site is performing and spot areas for improvement. 

To give your site a higher chance of ranking on Google, make sure it’s both mobile-friendly and indexed for mobile use. Take a look at this mobile-indexing outline from Google for more information. 

Search engine optimization (SEO) in 2021 

  1. As of June 2021 – 87.8% of searches come from Google, Bing is 5.6%. (Statista, 2021)
  2. The number one ranked website on Google’s search results has an average click-through rate (CTR) of 31.7%. (Backlinko, 2019)
  3. The #1 result has 3.8x more backlinks than the results ranking #2-#10 (Backlinko, 2020)
  4. Less than 1% of online users click on something from Google’s second page. (Backlinko, 2019)
  5. 90.63% of pages get no organic search traffic from Google after the first year of publishing. Only 0.21% gets 1001+ visits. (Ahrefs, 2020)

SEO involves improving the ranking of web pages in search results. It helps you get your website in front of the right people at the right time. 

For 2021, the statistics reinforce what we already know about SEO: 

  • Google is the most popular search engine. 
  • The higher the ranking on Google, the more likely it is to get clicked. 
  • Pages that have more backlinks tend to rank better in search.
  • Google indexes and evaluates the mobile version of your website. 

The core tenants of SEO have been the same over the past few years. Content that matches searcher intent has a higher chance of ranking in search. Page speed and backlinks can amplify the ability for content to rank. 

Keep these core ranking factors in mind when building out your SEO strategy. 

Social media marketing trends for 2021 

  1. 85.7% of marketers increased their social media activity when the pandemic began. (Statista, 2021)
  2. Marketers post on social media on average three to four times per week. (G2, 2020)
  3. As of March 2020, 29.7% of social media users spent an additional one to two hours per day on social media. (Statista, 2021)
  4. 66% of marketers use social media to generate leads. (G2, 2020)
  5. 81% of marketers integrate their social networks with commerce systems. (G2, 2020)
  6. 68% of marketers report using a social media influencer in a campaign. (G2, 2020)
  7. Social consumer segmentation helps marketers understand if their social media programs resonate with the target audience. (Forrester, 2021)

More people used social media in 2020 than ever before. It became a way to connect with other people when they were unable to meet face-to-face. 

As a result, businesses increased their use of social media. 

With users spending more time on the channel, it was a great opportunity for businesses to reach a wider audience and engage with existing customers. 

The most popular social media platforms 

  1. Facebook was the most-used social platform in the U.S. when the pandemic hit (78.1%), followed by Instagram (49.5%). (Statista, 2021)
  2. Facebook is the most popular social media platform used by B2B marketers. (G2, 2020)
  3. B2B marketers agree that Linkedin is the most effective social media channel for lead generation, but only 47% of them actively use it. (G2, 2020)
  4. YouTube is the second most popular website after Google. (G2, 2020)

Facebook is the most popular social media channel unless you’re a B2B marketer. Then you need to useLinkedIn. 

But using the most popular platforms doesn’t mean sales for your business. 

Select a channel based on your customers and experiment with new ways to engage your audience.

Mobile vs. desktop in 2021

  1. Mobile devices account for 55% of the global market share, followed by desktops at 42%. (StatCounter, 2021)
  2. 25% of Internet users access the Internet solely on a mobile device. (G2, 2020)
  3. Consumers will download nearly 300 million mobile apps by 2023. (Cisco, 2020)
  4. 59% of consumers say that being able to shop on mobile is important when deciding where to buy. (G2, 2020)
  5. Mobile devices generate about half of all website traffic globally. (G2, 2020)

Mobile usage increased in 2020, and figures suggest it’ll continue to grow.  

Take mobile marketing into account. Whether that’s designing your website for mobile or making sure your marketing emails are mobile-friendly

Content marketing statistics for 2021 

  1. 62% of marketers plan to increase content marketing budgets within the next fiscal year. (G2, 2020)
  2. 80% of B2B companies use content marketing for lead generation. (G2, 2020)
  3. ​​74% of marketers said the pandemic made them more likely to use video, and 24% used video for the first time in 2020 (Wyzowl, 2021)
  4. It’s estimated that 82% of consumer internet traffic will be video in 2021. (Cisco, 2020)

Content marketing involves creating and publishing a variety of online content,  including blog posts, social media posts, videos, and ebooks.

In 2020, we saw a big spike in video marketing content. With the interest in video continuing to rise in 2021, seize the opportunity to use video as part of your marketing strategy. 

Platforms such as Animoto, Canva, and Adobe can help you create your own videos. 

How to use content marketing 

  1. Blogs (86%), case studies (42%), and customer success stories (36%) are the most popular content formats. (G2, 2020)
  2. Listicles get the most shares online and more traffic than other types of blogs. (SEMRush, 2019)
  3. 86% of businesses use video as a marketing tool, an increase of 41% from 2016.  (Wyzowl, 2021)
  4. 19% of marketers report producing original research and studies. (G2, 2020)
  5. Articles with long headlines (14+ words) get more traffic, more shares, and more backlinks than those with short headlines (7-10 words). (SEMRush, 2019)
  6. 51% of companies say updating old content has proven the most efficient tactic for their content marketing strategy. (G2, 2020)
  7. Longreads (3,000+ words) get more traffic, shares, and backlinks than articles of average length (901-1,200 words) (SEMRush, 2019)
  8. A well-structured content format is more likely to see a high performance. (SEMRush, 2019)
  9. In July 2020, 67% of marketers used virtual events as part of their content marketing strategies. (Statista, 2021)

Ultimately, the best type of content for your business will depend on what you want to achieve. 

Do you want to be a thought leader? Long reads and original research is the way to go. 

Or do you want to increase your website traffic? Listicles could be your best bet. 

Whatever you choose, make sure your content is aligned with your business goals. This will give your content purpose and help your company succeed. 

Paid advertising in 2021 

  1. The average person sees 5,000 ads per day. (G2, 2020)
  2. 54% of customers get annoyed when targeted with an ad for something they’ve already bought. (G2, 2020)
  3. In 2020, mobile ad placements increased by 70%. (App Annie, 2020)
  4. Mobile video ad spend will be around 72% of the digital ad spend in 2021. (G2, 2020)
  5. Total digital ad spending will reach $455.30 billion this year. (eMarketer, 2021) 
  6. 55.2% of ad spend will go to display ads, and 40.2% will go to search. (eMarketer, 2021) 

Paid advertising allows businesses to promote a product or service with online ads. Marketers use ads to target consumers throughout the sales funnel. If done well, you can increase sales. 

Not only do they help you reach more potential customers, but you also can use ads to personalize the consumer experience — and we already know that consumers want a personalized experience. 

To make the most of paid ads, you need to know who you want to target, what types of ads you want to use, and how much you’re willing to spend. 

Check out our blog post about paid search marketing to learn more.

Paid ads didn’t perform as expected in 2020

  1. Global ad spend projections dropped around $20 billion because of the pandemic. (Statista, 2020)
  2. Openness to engage with social ads increased due to the pandemic. (Statista, 2020)
  3. Digital ad spending increased 12.7% in 2020, which is less than the predicted 13.6%. (eMarketer, 2021) 
  4. As the ad market rebounds in 2021, digital spending will increase by 20.4%. (eMarketer, 2021) 

The amount of money invested in ads last year didn’t meet predictions. The pandemic influenced how businesses used ads and how consumers engaged with them. 

But don’t be deceived by these numbers. Estimates show that ad spend will make a comeback this year. 

Ad types vary depending on the platforms you use. From Google search and display ads to social media ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, find the right platform for your audience to avoid unnecessary spending. 

Improve your digital marketing strategy for 2021 

There’s a way to make your digital marketing strategy easier to manage.

Marketing automation targets your audience at the right time and place. 

Whether that’s welcome automations or win-back campaigns — ActiveCampaign makes digital marketing less overwhelming.