For almost a year and a half now, the various players in the world of marketing and communications must be more resilient than ever. In addition to the usual changes that are transforming their industry, they have to deal with the even less predictable effects of the pandemic. In this month of August, here are some events that marked the beginning of 2021.   

After a difficult 2020, we expected a recovery in early 2021. Covid-19 decided otherwise, as several countries started the year at the worst of their second wave. This is the case in Quebec, where in addition to curfew, the reopening of non-essential businesses was delayed by one month compared to the original plan.

The reopening finally took place and consumers now seem to be at the rendezvous in several types of commerce, including shopping malls. In fact, the labour shortage issue quickly came back to haunt many businesses.

However, shops downtown are still struggling to get back on their feet, abandoned by tourists and office tower workers, who mostly continue to work from home. Telework is expected to change many habits in the coming years. For the moment, many do not know what their employer’s policies are in this regard.

Working remotely should have an effect not only on downtown businesses, but also on those in the suburbs, where many workers live. It will also have an impact on the airline and hotel industry, a significant portion of which is made up of business travelers who are likely to be more sedentary in the coming months and years.  

Consumer changes to watch

In addition to telework, the pandemic has brought a multitude of other behavioural changes. According to the firm Accenture, 95% of consumers have significantly changed the way they live, work and consume. The firm also warns against some myths, such as the fact that the vaccine will take people out of their homes at the same rate as before the pandemic. In this regard, two-thirds of the people interviewed by Accenture expect to carry out the majority of their social activities from home in the coming months.

Whether it is buying online, buying local, delivering meals, spending more on entertainment at home, or fearing public places, several trends introduced during the pandemic will need to be closely monitored in the coming months.

Things are brewing on social media

There is always a lot of action on social media every year. This year is no exception.

First, the day after the attack on the Capitol on January 6, one of the most popular and controversial social media actors, Donald Trump, was denied access to his Twitter and Facebook accounts. On Twitter, the exclusion is permanent, whereas Facebook extended it by two years last June.

These events have once again brought back the debate on the spread of hate speech and the limits of freedom of expression. In this regard, many are still trying to find solutions. For its part, Twitter proposed a feature to validate with the author of a message containing hateful comments if he really wants to publish it on his feed.  

CBC News, for its part, withdrew the opportunity to comment on its Facebook publications in order to improve the climate surrounding them. The initial one-month pilot project was extended to October 31. It remains to be seen whether others will imitate them in the coming months.

Disinformation also remains a scourge on the various platforms. US President Joe Biden has accused Facebook of helping to “kill people” because of its laxity in the face of misinformation about vaccines.

Finally, Snapchat and Twitter each celebrated a significant anniversary. Snapchat blew out its ten candles as Twitter reached 15 years of existence. They also launched a paid version of their service. This gives the right to new features, including the possibility of correcting a message containing an error.

Privacy at the centre of digital marketing turmoil

The privacy of Internet users is an ongoing concern for Canadians. This is one of the reasons the government introduced legislation in November 2020 to better protect the personal data of online shoppers. A few months before a possible election, this bill is still not passed, and its future is therefore uncertain. The protection of privacy is also mentioned by various major players of the Web in order to justify their abandonment of third-party cookies and the development of alternatives. To this end, Google announced last June that it is delaying the launch of its in-house solution, Privacy Sandbox, by almost two years, which is definitely not ready to be deployed. This delay will give some companies a second chance to adequately prepare for the disappearance of third-party cookies, a significant change in the industry.   

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