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Debacle Catastrophe
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2020 was all this and more. So, let’s move past it.

As we head into 2021

Here are 7 insights to help digital marketers make the most of the coming year.
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ADA Compliance

Accessibility is serious business now

If you’ve been putting off AODA compliance, stop. Aside from ensuring a smooth user experience for your disabled clients and customers, failure to comply is about to start costing big bucks.

Fines for non-compliance:

Up to
enforced by the Accessible Canada Act 2019.
  • Applicable to any government agency or federally-regulated private sector company (broadcasting, telecommunications, banking and transportation).

/day (SMB) to
/day (corporation)
for failing to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA Web Accessibility requirements.
  • Applicable to private companies with 50+ employees.

  • Manitoba and Saskatchewan have similar laws, with other provinces enacting various pieces of new legislation.

Although there is no federal mandate accessibility mandate, yet, many states have enacted their own laws.
  • Accessibility-related lawsuits are on a steep rise.

  • Most plaintiffs are winning their cases.

2021 takeaway:

Prioritize accessibility. Verify compliance using one of the widely available online tools, and make required changes asap to avoid fines and lawsuits.

< google page experience

The quality of your UX now affects your search rank

Google’s search algorithms have always been a moving target for SEO pros. Now user experience is about to become a factor in your ranking.

Starting in May 2021 Google’s new algorithm, Page Experience, will prioritize UX items on every site it spiders.

Which UX features will be ranked?

  • Site security

  • Page speed

  • Responsiveness

2021 takeaway:

Invest in UX. Even before this development, the rule of thumb was that every $1 invested in UX yields $100 in return. Use Google tools like Page Speed Insights and Lighthouse to test your site. Be ruthless in your evaluation and make changes where necessary.

google page experience
Time processing payment

Animations Are Good Interaction Design

When it comes to interaction design (ID), one thing is certain:

Static is out. Animation is in.

Building animations into site architecture can lengthen the time users remain on your page, and increase conversions by drawing attention to CTAs. Animations can also give you an opportunity to tell brand stories as pages scroll.
What sort of animations should you be thinking about?
If you’re worried about load times, have no fear. Unlike Flash, today’s technology—HTML 5, JavaScript and CSS3—add motion without slowing pages down.
2021 takeaway:

Animation can go a long way to improve site ID (as long as you don’t overdo it). What’s more, you can enhance an existing site with animated elements, without needing a full redesign.

Get ready for voice commerce

OK Google, order me toothpaste from Costco.

Smart speakers are here to stay. In fact, Amazon Echo, Apple Home Pod and Google Nest are set to overtake tablet usage over the coming year.

Search by voice is immediate, always on, conversational and personalized. It also lets consumers shop while actively engaged in day-to-day activities, i.e. cooking or running on a treadmill.

Brands - especially retailers - need to get ready to ride the incoming wave of voicecom:

  • In 2018, only 3% of smart speaker owners used voice commerce to shop online

  • In 2021, this figure will increase 6x to 18%

  • Voice commerce volume will increase to $40 Billion in 2022 and $80 Billion in 2023

Voicecom isn’t just for the big players either. Companies like Jetson, a voice commerce platform, are partnering with eCom platforms like Shopify, to provide turnkey solutions for SMBs.

2021 takeaway:

Ensure your sites and online stores are voice-friendly. Add natural language to help with conversational search queries, and include FAQ content to address customer questions.


Short form video ain’t just for Gen Z anymore

Way back in 2015, studies showed that average attention span was lower than that of a goldfish. Now, thanks to pandemic-driven rules like shelter-in-place and work/school-from home, it’s even shorter. Now what?
Well, if you’re going to make or publish videos, the shorter the better. How short?

Snack-sized: 15 to 60 seconds.

Short enough to hold a viewer’s attention.
Long enough to communicate a concept.
This is a great way to showcase:
  • Product announcements & teasers

  • How to assemble/use/clean/fix products

  • Customer reviews & testimonials

  • Live streaming from events

  • Behind the scenes content

Check out examples from companies like Louis Vuitton, Mac Cosmetics or the NBA to see how short-form videos strengthen their marketing mix.
2021 takeaway:

Think about making short-form video content a priority across your existing social properties. Also consider establishing a presence on newer purpose-built social platforms like Tiktok, Instagram (Reels) and Snapchat.


Mind the new privacy rules

Meet 2021’s new hot button topic: consumer privacy.

Here’s why digital marketers and advertisers need to think about this over the coming year:

Data breaches

With data breaches increasing every year, more consumers than ever are worried about their privacy.

Browser initiatives

In 2020, Apple (Safari), Google (Chrome) and Mozilla (Firefox) browsers gave users increased privacy controls. These controls make it easier for users to block or clear third-party cookies (including cross-site tracking) without losing sign-in information, threatening the reach of ad platforms.

New legislation

The California Consumer Privacy Act 2020 (CCPA) limits how companies manage consumer data, which has affected Facebook ad buys for multiple companies in the state. Other US states are expected to follow suit.

2021 takeaway:

It’s more crucial than ever to stay on top of industry news and be transparent. Let customers know how you’re using their data so they’re comfortable with your approach. And if you aren’t sure, speak with your data marketing SaaS vendors about how new legislation could affect your programs with them.

iOS 14

Apple’s upcoming software release includes a privacy feature that will stop automatic data collection used for personalized ad tracking. Users will now be able to find out how they’re being tracked, and what’s being collected.


Canada’s long-standing privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act is expected to be overhauled shortly. This will offer increased data protection to Canadian consumers and make things more complicated for digital marketers.

2021 takeaway:

It’s more crucial than ever to stay on top of industry news and be transparent. Let customers know how you’re using their data so they’re comfortable with your approach. And if you aren’t sure, speak with your data marketing SaaS vendors about how new legislation could affect your programs with them.


Gamification can drive sales

In an era of customer disloyalty and fragmentation, an engaged consumer is a loyal one.
Thanks to 2020’s stay-at-home reality however, screen time is up along with digital clutter. How can brands break through? Gamification.
Brands that treat content like a game rather than an overt selling opportunity are hitting high scores:
  • Piloted a gamified process to inform customers about their offering

  • Conversion rates rose from 2% to 14%

  • Teleflora gamified its entire store. Points were awarded for product reviews, comments or responses to other customer queries

  • Users were also awarded badges and placement on a leaderboard

  • Conversions increased by 92%

  • Facebook referrals doubled

2021 takeaway:

Game elements can fuel engagement, drive conversions and help close sales. Look for opportunities to leverage gamification in non-game contexts.

Ready to make 2021 work for you?
Let’s talk.


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