Are These 2021 Digital Trends Dead? Or Rising from the Grave?

By: Hileman Group  | 10/28/2021

Is that a shiver down your spine, or the fact that some of these digital trends haven’t moved on? While some are heading to the graveyard, others are clawing their way out of the dirt, determined to stick around. Still more hang over us like ghosts—still here, but we’re really not sure why.

Thanks to the Internet, the changing of trends happens faster than ever before. From the way we market and interact on an online space, it’s a constant adaption.  Digital trends die out so quickly, we may not even realize. So let’s pay homage to the dying trends of 2021 or those who live to see another day.




Internet Explorer

It is time we prepare ourselves for the death of Internet Explorer. The 25-year-old web browser’s drawn-out death has been imminent since at least 2015, when Microsoft was already stepping away from it. Internet Explorer’s end is marked for June 2022, but the speed of apps moving away from it has picked up. According to Microsoft, the future is in Microsoft Edge.

However, the ghost of Internet Explorer will linger in Microsoft Edge’s Internet Explorer mod.

Conference Meetings

Traditional in-person conferences and meetings are dead.

At the beginning of 2020, the virtual meeting method wasn’t on many people’s minds when it came to events and conferences; however, the pandemic has changed the approach to these previously in-person heavy events.

The way we look at gatherings is forever changed, using virtual streaming and hybrid options. Stretching beyond safety, these methods offer flexibility and reach. Like vampires, these virtual meeting formats will be around forever.



Google Ads

The end is in sight, the expiration date set: Google Ads’ expanded text ads (ETAs) are set to be done away with in June 2022.

Google will continue to take away data from advertising, leaving automation as the only solution left.

Google replaced ETAs with responsive search ads (RSAs) back in March. Then, in August, Google announced it is unsetting ETAs June 30, 2022.

The change will help simplify the creation of search ads as well as make it easier to drive performance with Google’s automated tools.

Existing ETAs will continue existing alongside RSAs. They can also be paused, resumed or removed, but their use is fading. After June 2022, those remaining will be little more than ghosts


Has Facebook signed its own death warrant?

We lost a lot of data in Facebook conversions due to iOS updates in 2021.

The iOS 14 updates have impacted how we receive and process conversion events, affecting business tools of those advertising mobile apps and any that optimize, target and report on web conversion events.

On Monday, Oct. 4, Facebook went down. Fortune estimates the crash amounted to a loss $100 million. While Fortune says this is something “investors will likely shrug off,” unlike a werewolf transforming under a full moon, it might be hard trusting when or if Facebook will transform into such an unpredictable beast again. The loss combined with a leak of internal Facebook research might lead to changes in the way advertisers interact with Facebook and other associated apps affected in the downtime on Monday.

So, while Facebook isn’t dead just yet, Monday’s crash has us just a little wary. After all, we can’t track the changes with a lunar cycle.


Cookies are nearly dead in 2021, but Google has extended their timeline, so they’ll live to see another day—for now.

According to Chrome, the plan is to phase out support for third party cookies. Starting in late 2022, Chrome estimates a nine-month phase allowing publishers and those in the advertising industry to mitigate services.

Mid-way through 2023, Chrome then plans to phase out third party cookies during a three-month period.

Apple Mail

With Apple’s new features allowing users to control and monitor how apps use their data, including email tracking, email marketing might be dying. This update can prevent senders from knowing when receivers open an email and mask IP addresses. The feature affects those utilizing the Mail app on Apple devices.

Ultimately, this new feature will prevent senders from tracking email open. Content dependent on location also won’t be accurate.

While this only affects those using Apple Mail, it could be a change with a wider range in the future. Those utilizing email marketing should be aware of this trend with privacy protection and how it will affect certain marketing strategies. For the moment, according to a Business 2 Community email engagement report in 2021, 13.3% reported using the Mail app, while 52.3% reported using other apps like Gmail. That majority won’t be impacted by the mail Privacy Protection.



Dark Mode

Dark design palettes, or dark mode, is gaining popularity. It’s a cool design, good for your eyes and good for your phone battery. While light mode will be passing on for a majority of people, those marketing through email will have to keep this in mind. The best practice is to test email marketing with both modes, since it is likely you will be reaching people utilizing dark mode as opposed to the tradition email setup.

Visual Content

While some trends are on their way out, others are here to stay. One trend that looks like it will be here for quite some time are visuals. From video to images to charts, visual content is gaining traction. We are seeing a need for micro content mixed with visual content in order to grab shorter attention spans and competing priorities.

The use of basic charts and tables on websites will be replaced with more abstract data visualization that gets right to the point and adds more to the overall user experience of a website. Marketing is switching to more stylized info graphics that grab the eye—they are more visually appealing and compact information quickly.

Video content is also still going strong. With the popularity of TikTok, other social media platforms are working to allow similar content to be posted, such as Instagram implementing reels. Many businesses are utilizing TikTok for a new form of advertising or reaching clients.


So while some digital trends will be leaving us, their absence is only making room for improving technology and platforms for the trends sticking around and gaining traction.

We can appreciate these dead trends on Halloween, but let’s hope we can send them on their way with a treat, so they don’t continue playing tricks the rest of the year.

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