With a new year comes fresh opportunities for digital marketing. But not every trend is here to stay – which ones are legitimate and which ones are just passing fads? Being able to make that distinction is crucial to your planning in 2022 and beyond.
From new social channels and search engine optimization tricks to an evolving set of regulations, the digital marketing space is always getting more complicated. Add in the changing virtual and hybrid business landscape brought on by the ongoing pandemic, and things become even more muddled.
For the sake of clarity (and brevity), we’re interested in the top digital marketing trends with long-term implications. We’ve done our homework and pinpointed some of the most exciting developments in the digital world that will impact the way businesses communicate with their audiences.
What follows are the nine biggest marketing trends you should monitor in 2022 and consider incorporating into your marketing strategy. Keep in mind, some of these trends are still in the nascent stages and as so, may not yet be feasible for your company.
In this article, we’ll discuss:
- Changes to your digital marketing strategy: Data collection
- What are the digital marketing trends for 2022?
- Importance of conversational marketing
- Bigger role for artificial intelligence
- Video in high demand
- That personal touch
- Digital storytelling is key
- A push for accessibility
- Combating fatigue with simple content
- Growth of AR & VR experiences
- NFTs & cryptocurrency in social media marketing
- What is the future of digital marketing?
Changes to your digital marketing strategy: Data collection
Before we dive in too deep, we need to point out that the rules of the digital marketing world will soon be changing. Specifically, Google announced last year that it’s curtailing third-party cookies by 2023.
What are third-party cookies? These are small text files set by a website other than the one you are visiting, typically used to track users between websites.
This is important because it alters the way businesses can approach data collection. Consumers are constantly being bombarded by content these days and are growing suspicious that their privacy is at risk. Google’s looming restrictions over third-party cookies aim to restore the balance, curtailing the way a digital marketer can track user behaviour across the web.
In one way or another, this restriction informs all of the trends below as well as how businesses will structure their overall marketing strategy going forward. Prudent companies will spend 2022 formulating a consistent method for internal tracking, so that they aren’t caught with their pants down in 2023.
At the Mike Agency, we recommend being completely transparent with your customers – voluntarily ask them for their data, let them know what you are collecting and for what reasons. Give them the option to opt-out, whenever they feel like it. It may not seem like much, but in an increasingly digital world, we need to respect everyone’s need for privacy.
Without further ado, here are the biggest trends to watch out for in 2022.
1) Importance of conversational marketing
Propelled by technological advancements (namely instant and direct messaging) and kicked into hyperdrive by the pandemic, there’s been a shift in consumer behaviour. Audiences now expect immediate engagement, on their timeline, instead of on company time.
This will continue into 2022, so businesses need set the table for quality interactions. If they haven’t already, smart companies are investing in automations like chatbots to deal with conversations en masse, faster and more seamlessly. This will leave them with large volumes of data on audience’s needs and expectations, which they can then analyze and use to improve future conversations.
Your goal is to create a positive experience for the customer, which will paint your business as relatable and ultimately drive more sales.
2) Bigger role for artificial intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) continues to become a bigger part of digital marketing campaigns. To date, it’s been capable of providing intuitive reporting and automating general marketing tasks (i.e., monitoring site traffic, answering general queries).
This will continue in 2022. As the technology matures, the next step is to move from pure automation towards predicting what customers may want. Using large sets of data, AI will analyze purchase history and previous consumer behaviour to offer new items or a personalized advertisement.
With this predictive marketing, customers get what they need, exactly when they need it. The end result is more conversions and less of a feeling amongst audiences that they’re being hit with irrelevant digital advertising.
3) Video in high demand
The stats paint a very clear picture: 79% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy or download a piece of software or app after watching a video.
This year, more and more companies will turn to video marketing to engage their customers and drive revenue.
However, not just any sort of video content will do. Ideally, your company should home in on short, DIY videos, such as those found in YouTube shorts or Instagram’s Reels feature. Getting to the point with short-form videos is how you’ll effectively deliver messages to your audience and get you seen on search engines. Given our fast-paced consumption, people prefer small, easily digestible pieces of content.
That being said, your content does not always have to be super-polished; giving an authentic look behind-the-scenes of your business, offering DIY tips and sharing real stories all work.
4) That personal touch
Personalization will be key for businesses in 2022. There will be a push to properly divvy up audiences and create advertising that actually caters to them.
How? Through content segmentation. Beyond allowing customers to opt-in or -out of marketing strategies, users should be able to entirely forgo receiving certain kinds of content. For example, if there is a segment of your audience that doesn’t celebrate Christmas, they should have the option to not receive festive marketing every December.
This personal touch goes a long way. Taking the time to understand your audience, their cultural backgrounds, how they engage with content online and so forth, will leave a deeper impression. The more that happens, the more likely they’ll open their wallets in the future for your products and/or services.
5) Digital storytelling is key
Most companies already know that telling a compelling story is one of the best ways to gain traction in the digital space. The problem is that not all of them know how to do it effectively. In previous years, most of the emphasis was on talking up the brand.
In 2022, your business should instead showcase how clients can find success with your products and services.
You can do this through personal stories, such as customer testimonials, where your offerings helped solve specific problems. Word of mouth is also effective – 74 per cent of purchasers identify word of mouth as the main point of influence for purchasing decisions. The reality is people trust other people more than brands. Encourage word of mouth for your business by asking people to share user generated content on social media. Where possible, opt for influencer marketing too.
All of this will go a long way to building credibility and trust, which you need in spades to convert your target audience into customers.
6) A push for accessibility
Did you know that there are nearly two billion disabled people worldwide, holding $1.9 trillion in disposable income? This untapped market presents a golden opportunity for any savvy business that’s willing to take it.
Making your content more accessible to those with impairments (i.e., blind, deaf) widens your potential audience and allows people who wouldn’t normally consider your products the chance to be exposed to them. The statistics show that customers are more likely to make a purchase when companies make it easy for them.
7) Combating fatigue with simple content
Let’s face it, there’s a surplus of content on the internet. Combine that with lockdowns, remote work and near constant online presence, many people are feeling fatigued or oversaturated. In this climate, if a business wants to be heard, it faces a lot of hurdles.
One way to stand out from the competition in 2022 is to provide relevant content that’s simple, clear and gets to the point. When it comes to content marketing, less is more. You want to deliver a positive, meaningful experience to your audience, which in turn will lead to more effective reach.
8) Growth of VR and AR experiences
It’s been percolating just under the surface for a few years now, but 2022 could finally be the year that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) enter the business mainstream. There’s been a slower adoption in the past due to the high cost of equipment, but the tech is becoming more readily accessible.
What is VR and AR? VR is viewing a computer-generated, lifelike scenario, while AR is viewing the real world augmented with visual, haptic, olfactory or visual additions. Used effectively, these are tools that can supplement and improve the customer experience.
One of the most important reasons why it warrants digital marketers’ attention is the potential for a new set of performance metrics. These can include how long virtual objects are held or where users are looking when experiencing an advertisement.
In 2021 alone, 35 per cent of marketers leveraged AR or VR in their marketing strategies. Not to mention, there’s been a lot of buzz around the metaverse – an entire virtual environment of AR, VR, 3D holographic avatars and video where people can work, play and socialize.
9) NFTs & cryptocurrency in social media marketing
NFTs and cryptocurrency are set up to be very important in 2022. A rising trend, NFTs are uniquely-created digital assets like an animation, GIF or meme, that exist on a blockchain – a digital ledger that records information and is nigh impossible to change, hack or cheat. NFTs cannot be exchanged for something of equal value because there are no direct equivalents.
The reason why these are so important in the digital marketing space is because it presents an opportunity to sell the brand itself, beyond just its products and services. With so many big brands issuing NFT collectibles already, it’s a good time to take the initiative and explore the possibilities for your business.
Cryptocurrency, on the other hand, is a continuing trend towards decentralized finance. While it’s been around for more than a decade, it’s still regarded as a niche item. However, your business could still attract customers by accepting it as a form of payment (depending on your specific demographic) and integrating it into your social media platforms. At the very least, it’s yet another opportunity to increase audience reach.
What is the future of digital marketing?
This is but a small taste of what is to come. Without a crystal ball, it is hard to fully predict all the digital marketing trends for 2022.
One thing is for sure is that digital marketing will continue to be in high demand. With more market and consumer awareness of what they want and don’t want, businesses will keep reacting and adjusting their approach. It helps that they have a bevy of tools at their disposal to gather more data and make detailed conclusions.
In the end, businesses should always aim to remain agile, flexible and be on the offensive, even when things are uncertain. This gives you the best chance at success.
It’s 2022 – are you ready to push your digital marketing efforts into top gear? As industry experts, we have answers to all your questions. Contact the Mike Agency today to speak to one our digital marketing representatives and schedule a free consultation.