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19 January 2022 by Samantha Swanepoel

Digital Marketing Lessons We Learnt in 2021

It’s that time of the year again where we are called to reflect on the marketing choices and campaigns that were put into place during the year. As we take a look back at 2021 there is no doubt that it has, once again, been a challenging year for digital marketers around the globe.

These challenges span from increased demand in digital marketing campaigns and an improved social media presence to major algorithm changes on both Facebook and Instagram and more.

Where digital marketing was once considered the supplementary advertising method to offline campaigns it has suddenly become the is-all-and-end-all of marketing since the start of the pandemic.

Your online presence is all that matters now.

That being said – let’s take a look at some of the digital marketing lessons that we have learnt from the new challenges faced in 2021.

1. Roll with the Punches

The biggest takeaway from the past year is definitely to learn how to adapt to change quickly and to stay up to date with the last developments as best as you can. The digital marketing environment has always been fast-paced but the digital marketing climate has evolved dramatically over the past two years specifically.

It is likely that most marketers noticed that their campaigns were receiving fewer impressions or engagement in the usual post slots than what they were pre-pandemic.

The reason for this is that consumer browsing habits have changed since much of the workforce has started working from home changing the times at which users are most likely to browse.

So then what is the answer?

The answers to all of your questions lie in the data that you accumulate from both successful and unsuccessful marketing campaigns. By disseminating this data it is possible to develop a new strategy, posting schedule and target audience for your campaigns.

2. Be Open to Change

The digital marketing landscape is going to continue to change whether or not you are prepared for it to do so. Many businesses suffered at the start of the pandemic due to a lack of forecasting and preparation.

The digital world can change at any given minute and your marketing team needs to be prepared to make the changes in their stride to avoid any setbacks.

As scary as it may seem, these changes can be easily dealt with if you worked through your customer data carefully. It is not enough to understand why changes have occurred; marketers need to use this new data to come up with an improved digital plan.

It is only through trial and error that improvements can be seen.

3. Your Website is your New Front Door

Brick and mortar businesses are somewhat fading away with many businesses using the pandemic as an opportunity to close up their physical storefront and replace it with an online one.

Consequently, websites have quite literally become the new front door of your business.

Websites have always been an important factor for brand awareness and also help to build credibility and positive brand recognition but the need for a website has increased tenfold since the start of the pandemic.

If your business does not have a website yet it is time to jump on the bandwagon and to make your mark on the digital community. If you need some extra convincing, be sure to check out our article about Why Every Business Needs a Website.

With more consumers opting to browse online instead of in-store, this provides an excellent opportunity to market your products and services to a wider audience and gain access to new marketing tools like search engine marketing.

4. Improved your Accessibility

Businesses with websites and active social media channels were able to make an easier transition into the pandemic than those without.

The reason for this is simple: accessibility.

With many consumers opting to be more homebound since the start of the pandemic, it has proven to be easier to reach customers through digital marketing methods than traditional offline advertising methods.

Because of this there has also been a large increase in the number of online queries that businesses receive through website enquiry forms, social media messages, emails and other forms of digital communication.

If your business has not yet caught up to the digital communication phase, the chances are that you are missing out on valuable online queries. In fact, businesses that implemented enquiry forms have experienced up to a 10% increase in revenue over a period of six to nine months.

More on this in our article about How Enquiry Forms Can Increase Leads.

5. More is More – Optimise your Budgets

Businesses aren’t the only ones that have had to adapt to changing consumer habits as a result of the pandemic. Digital marketing platforms like Google Ads, Facebook and Instagram have also had to introduce algorithm changes to better suit the needs of their users.

Algorithm changes aside – the major influx to digital marketing platforms has also resulted in a massive increase in competition with the user market having to be shared by a higher number of advertisers all hoping to achieve the highest ROI from their budget. But this has proven difficult with the influx of marketers.

In simple terms: there is a higher demand for advertising with the same size audience.

Because of this reality costs of marketing online have increased across all digital marketing platforms requiring businesses to invest more into their digital marketing budget in order to compete with other advertisers all hoping to get a piece of the pie.

In short: reevaluate your budget and think seriously about increasing the amount you are spending to get better results from your digital marketing campaigns.

6. Video Content is King

The biggest change to come into play in social media marketing this year is definitely the higher call for video content. This change is so drastic that reach, cost per engagement and impressions for video content on social media is significantly favoured by the Facebook and Instagram algorithms.

While video has always been classified as the superstar format, there is no doubt that video outperforms written or static content over and over again. Internet traffic forecasts estimated that video traffic will account for 81% of consumer internet traffic by the end of 2021 and that has most definitely proven to be true.

The biggest takeaway from this is that video should definitely be a part of your digital marketing strategy for the new year if it is not already.


In conclusion, digital marketing continues to remain a rapidly changing landscape and the need to adopt a digital marketing strategy has never been more precedent than what it is currently.

The biggest takeaway from this article is that digital markers need to be adaptive, responsive and prepared to make changes to their marketing strategy accordingly.

Trial and error is your new friend and failure is an opportunity to learn.

Need assistance with your marketing strategy?

The digital marketing team at Online Innovations is eager to help refine your marketing strategy for the new year. Call us on 041 365 4919, email sales@onlineinnovations, or visit www.onlineinnovations.com to find out more.

Need Assistance with your Marketing Strategy?

The digital marketing team at Online Innovations is eager to help refine your marketing strategy for the new year.

If you’re interested in our services, please give Bronwen a call or email her for more information.

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