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As we begin 2021 with an unsteady step, we continue to look for new ways to adapt to the changing world we live in. We shared client predictions for the 2020 holidays and what’s to come in 2021 in Part I of this series, but there are still several questions left to answer across the verticals of ad tech, social, health, finance and banking, restaurants and small businesses. 

Blast clients tapped into their expert knowledge to help illuminate perspectives for the new year, including thoughts on the evolution of creative messaging, the digitalization of operational workflows and more. You can find their insights for 2021 below.

Ad Tech

“Household targeting, omnichannel video and CTV will take centre stage as marketers enhance their focus on the “sphere of  influence” impacting most buying decisions, understanding that consumers often look to family and friends for advice before making purchases. This is especially true for big-ticket items such as cars and vacations, but also for daily decisions such as which restaurants to order from, which movies to watch, or which nearby stores carry the best wine selection. This underscores the importance of localisation within creative messaging as well, as studies show most consumers fulfil daily purchases close to home. Additionally, consumers are increasingly buying online to pick up in store (BOPIS), and looking to support local businesses as communities around the country recover from the pandemic.” – Jim Johnson, VP, Account Planning, 


“Social campaigns still hold great importance, with our recent study revealing that 60% of consumers report that ads on social media influence their holiday purchases and decision-making. However, with the move to a cookie-less world, 2021 will present some targeting and data challenges across the industry. This will place a greater importance on the brand’s creative to be relevant and engaging. We’ll expect to see brands and agencies lean in on industry-leading digital creative solutions in order to stand out on social channels, as well as leveraging new, exciting tactics to engage with target audiences, including the use of CTV platforms.” – Les Seifer, VP & Head of Creative, Tremor Video


“Looking ahead to 2021, we expect trends that were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to develop. For example, digital health solutions that support care delivery will expand, offering “virtual first” interactions between patients and providers. Remote monitoring and digital pharmacies will provide the convenience that healthcare consumers expect in other consumer categories. Additionally, Healthcare API marketplaces and government mandates for increased healthcare interoperability will create opportunities for innovation. The connection between data providers, payers, pharmaceutical firms and digital healthcare companies will improve the patient journey.” – Okie Emuoyibo, SVP, ENGINE Insights

Finance & Banking

“As we move into 2021, the citizen developer movement will take off. It will remind us of days gone by when traders coded their own algorithms. However, the citizen developer trend will prevail beyond the simple automation of operational workflows — it will start to drive and power customer experiences. The newly empowered knowledge workers that are being borne out of the workforce shift and the need for speed will be key drivers of this movement, aided by enterprise cost and efficiency directives for automation and integration. We’ll continue to see no-code platforms quickly rise and become verticalised, which will add value as shift-to-cloud and as-a-service models take off and drive the need for micro-services to enable open banking models and ecosystems.” – Michelle Palomera, Global Head of Banking and Capital Markets, Rightpoint

Restaurants & Small Businesses

This year we can expect to see retailers leveraging all their channels as they strive to offer a holistic experience that will resonate with their customers. Given the regulations and restrictions in place, customers will be venturing into a store with a clear purpose. Therefore, retailers—especially smaller brick-and-mortar stores—need to prove their purpose and remind their customer base of their unique value, including by focusing more on digital and in-store messaging. With a renewed focus on messaging, retailers, big and small, will be able to connect with customers, making them feel safe and informed while tying them closer to the brand. – Jaime Bettencourt, Senior Vice President of Global Account Management, Mood Media