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What does Paid Digital Marketing look like in 2021?

Monday, July 5th, 2021
Written by Content Team

Different future – accelerated digital.

As we saw in 2020 during the pandemic, physical marketing activities were forced to pivot to a digital marketing strategy with audiences being unable to engage with traditional sales messaging. We have seen this paid digital marketing trend continue into 2021, and it appears that it will remain a permanent digital shift, with companies realising that they are online marketing activities can connect them with more engaged online users than ever before. This shift to digital means that your business is accessible to your customers all day, everyday and gone is the concept of “regular” business hours. We will continue to see digital technology expand and with this growth, we will experience a massive shift in how business continue to operate in the future. Adapting your digital marketing strategy now by taking advantage of these new tools and technologies will mean that you will have the advantage over your competitors who are either late adapters or who entered the market too late.

Read on to discover some of the ways that paid digital marketing strategy changed during this digital transformation and discover some of the ways your business can best adapt to the rapidly changing digital landscape. Learn More:

  1. User Privacy
  2. The Messy-Middle
  3. Digital Experiences
  4. Interchangeable Budgets
  5. Automation

User Privacy 

Google announced in early 2020 that they will stop the use of third-party cookies in chrome before 2021, joining the other browsers that are now getting rid of the third-party tracking technology. This is not the end of tracking completely, the need for true end-user consent will still be around.  First-party cookies will still function as normal and will still require the consent from users as we see from many websites today. 

So how do you prepare for the cookie-less future?

Google’s plan is to create a privacy sandbox with open standards for tracking users while continuing to protect their privacy. This may improve tracking rather then weakening it, with a greater level of certainty around identification of users. Google Consent Mode was launched in 2020, this will allow you to continue tracking your users once third-party cookies are phrased out and enables your website to continue tracking users based on end-user consent.

The Messy-Middle

According to Google, the way that your prospective buyers decide to make purchase decisions can be messy, and with users engaging with an increasing number of digital channels while making purchase decisions, it is only going to get messier. This is because what happens between the initial discovery and purchase is not a linear process and digital touchpoints vary between users. 

The Messy-Middle is the space between initial research phase or discovery and the purchase. The messy middle may appear to be a complex environment that is impossible to navigate as marketers, but our goal should be to provide information that prospective customers need to decide. This can be done through building a brand presence through personalised digital experience and closing the gap between users first discovering your brand and purchase through thoughtful messaging and well-placed promotions.

Digital Experiences

Technology has given businesses the opportunity to communication to their users in multiple different ways, allowing potential customers to experience your products and interact with your brand. During the pandemic, digital brand experience became more important then ever, with users being more likely to convert with brands they felt gave them a personalised digital experience through multiple touch points. 

A way to improve on your paid digital marketing experience is to focus on personalisation, both for new customers to your site and returning customers. Use customer lists to show personalises offers, product recommendations and other site content based on their past behaviours on your site. Get the personalisation right on your site, and you will see an increase in your conversion rate and create a loyal customer base. 

Interchangeable budgets 

One of the great things about Paid Digital Marketing is that you can see results quickly because it is performance-based marketing. This means that within weeks of launching new campaigns for your business you can see if they are achieving the predicted return on investment. Based on performance, you can increase or decrease budgets across multiple different platforms instantly, being able to take budget from a poorly performing campaign and place it into a campaign that is performing well, may work great for your digital marketing performance. It is important that the money you are putting into digital marketing generates results, so the flexibility of interchangeable budgets is great for a marketing strategy that can adapt in any situation.


As we can see from our previous points, the customer journey is becoming increasingly complex, spanning cross multiple devices and platforms. The idea of dealing with this manually within your digital marketing strategy is a daunting one. This is where automation comes in. 

Google Ads allows you to use several automated techniques to increase return on investment and to allow you to use your time wisely on other tasks to further improve your return. Smart bidding and smart creative solutions use machine learning to maximise performance, meaning that it’s more likely your ad gets shown to the right person when compared to using manual methods. Smart bidding will optimise your keyword bids in real time for each individual auction, allowing you to achieved better results with your allocated marketing budget, Meanwhile, smart creatives will use machine learning to build the best combination of creative assets for each customer, allowing for personalisation and improved digital experience. 

With easy-to-use automation tools from Google Ads, you will be able to tap into great results while also feeing up time to work on tasks that really matter.


Your paid digital marketing strategy will have seen a massive shift during 2021, and this will continue to shift as technology further advances. The adaptation of digital marketing techniques has allowed businesses to reach new customers and re-engage with returning website visitors. 2021 has been a great opportunity for digital marketers to learn how consumers behaviours can shift and how they are likely to act in the future. For business, adapting a digital first attitude has allowed them to convert better, track results and generate truly personalised content that gets their customers excited.