There have been two titanic shifts in marketing – ad-based media is declining in trust and popularity, and advertising spend is getting wild. 

Users are just getting sick of traditional media, and there are just too many changes with advertising. The thing that all of these have in common is privacy. Users are wising up to what they can and cannot control on the web. 

People Are Choosing Privacy

MeWe gained 2.5 million new members in January 2021 because users are looking for privacy-focused apps. The social network has more than 16 million members. The anti-Facebook app makes privacy its number one goal, as it does not share data. Users love how there are no ads or newsfeed manipulation. MeWe is one of the top downloaded social apps

More and more users are looking to delete their Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts. The below chart demonstrates a sample of searches done over the past 12 months on the subject: 

how to delete


Additionally, privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo is becoming increasingly popular. It surpassed 100 million daily search queries in January 2021. The search engine does not collect user data and provides the same search results to all users. 

Advertising Spend is Getting Wild

Traditional media is even making a shift when it comes to gathering revenue. The push towards digital subscriptions and other forms of payment by readers will continue to increase. Paid services like Cameo (app with personalized videos) or Patreon (content creators monetize their influence) were popular and profitable in 2020. So, gains from personalization have come from the users directly supporting the content they want.

Also, display and social media advertising are just not that impactful. More companies are becoming victim to ad fraud, and accurate data is more critical than ever. It’s an embedded and expensive problem in digital advertising. An excellent example of this is when Uber sued its agency for ad fraud. They turned off $100 million of annual spend out of the $150 million and saw no change in the number of rider app installs. 

While in previous years, social media was all the hype, companies are starting to see that it’s not really that important. In 2020, the boycott on buying advertising on Facebook included large companies like Adidas, Birchbox, Best Buy, and Clorox. The boycott was an effort to pressure Facebook into cracking down on misinformation. Out of the 43 companies who boycotted, seven saw a revenue decline and 36 saw a revenue increase. 

SEO is gaining in popularity. As the largest trackable channel, organic is still one of the top and most reliable conversion paths in Google Analytics, and it is growing. It plays a big role in the discovery process when users are looking for solutions to problems. 

As we get further into 2021, companies are going to need to embrace change. Digital marketing always evolves, but we must understand how all the channels work together and what our society values before promoting to it.

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