The marketing playbook is always being rewritten. Experiences, platforms and techniques change all the time. 2022 is no different so let’s get stuck into what we should prepare for in 2022.
Sadly, there are no magic tricks that can guarantee you success. You will have to take chances, learn from your mistakes and evaluate which digital marketing trends are right for your company. To help you prepare, here are the main digital marketing trends to be aware of when planning your digital marketing strategies.
2022 appears to be the year of the metaverse. Google searches for the phrase have risen exponentially in the last three months, following Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook was rebranding to Meta thereby signalling its belief that the future of the company – and technology in general – is in the metaverse.
So, what is Metaverse? The metaverse is a step closer to a 3D virtual experience and is going to alter the way we behave online as Web 3.0 starts to take hold. It will create a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Interactions will no longer be limited to a screen; they will expand into reality. Meta’s vision is to create a living, shared, everlasting virtual universe, achieved via a combination of augmented and virtual reality. More and more we will see VR – a tech that has been around for decades without achieving much – deliver some real benefits and this means shift in consumer behaviours and in areas like cryptocurrency too.
What to do? Businesses and marketers should dedicate some time to learning more about this experience that will challenge the way we live online. To get a head start, investigate platforms like Sandbox, Mirandus, and Decentraland on which people already interact in different ways. Be creative in your campaign planning if relevant to your sector. Monitor trends in this space closely.
2. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence is growing at rapid rates. AI is present in many places where people might not even realise. There will be a lot of bad AI tools (remember Google Titles 2021?) before we see a full AI takeover. AI is already used in a lot of processes in digital marketing for example ChatBots, targeted content and image recognition technology. Marketing Automation and AI, especially around targeting and personalisation, will remain key trends.
What is Artificial Intelligence? Artificial intelligence enables robots to think, respond and accomplish tasks in the same way that people do. Meaning customers can interact with your business 24/7 – even if your staff are not on hand.
What to do? Be ready to make AI a part of your processes and business, especially if it helps you with cost saving. But do not forget the importance of personalisation and human touch. AI cannot trump the power of human emotions (not yet at least).
3. Influencer Marketing Will Prevail
The worldwide influencer marketing industry has expanded from around $1.7 billion to over $14 billion in the last five years. When you consider that social media is still in its early stages, there’s reason to anticipate that the next five years’ development will be just as strong, if not stronger.
The possibility for influencers to generate money without much work while doing something they like is driving the overall increase in the number of influencers. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, influencers with 1,000 to 10,000 followers earn on average $1,420 per month. Their importance in the marketing food chain will continue to grow. This field is lucrative not only for influencers but also marketers, as collaborating with smaller influencers will lead to cost-effective marketing. A smaller, more niche audience can mean a more loyal fan base too.
What to do? Small businesses should investigate creating content and making an online community for themselves. Marketers should create a database of influencers relevant to their brands and be ready to invest in influencer marketing. Most platforms now have their own hubs of social influencers for you to dip into such as Instagram Collabs and TikTok Creator Marketplace.
4. LinkedIn is a Dark Horse
LinkedIn is no longer just a recruitment platform. New features are being added to compete with key social media players, so watch out for LinkedIn in 2022. Each quarter they show considerable gains in monthly active users and engagements on the platform. The scope of growth is exponential on LinkedIn because of less saturation. It is an excellent tool for business-to-business marketing, so make sure your social media strategy includes them.
What to do? Put your focus on engagement when you plan content for LinkedIn. Think of posts as conversation starters and encourage dialogue with others by asking questions. Join topical conversations with hashtags and get involved with others’ conversations. Look at Linkedin advertising tools and newsletters as opportunities to grow your business.
5. Digital Nomads
COVID 19 has altered human behaviour in multiple ways. As many have discovered working coffee shops to mountain tops, no longer are we restricted to the confines of a single office space. This means the world has opened up for job seekers as it doesn’t matter where they choose to reside. As a brand it is important to know how to reach this rising high value audience, whose shift in lifestyle will impact how you form marketing strategies and messages.
What to do? Creating strategic marketing plans that are inclusive and can be altered to varying consumers’ needs. Consider international cultural and technological trends. Don’t assume your consumers are where you are or are all in the same place. It could be summer where you are and winter for some of your clients.
If Humans don’t function like they used to then neither do businesses. The Internet has made it easy for anyone to start their own business while the pandemic has helped many online shopping experiences grow. Everyone has a brand or a persona that they are trying to market. With more D2C businesses, there is more competition. To survive, businesses need to stand out. There is no room for making mistakes. eCommerce brands need to provide a seamless experience.
What to do? Ensure you have your eCommerce shops set up on the social platforms and your stores have strong call to actions and swift conversion funnels. Track and segment your users to provide great solutions and don’t stop at the sale – upsell, cross sell and retain.
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7. Short-form Video Adoption Will Influence Video Metrics
Although perhaps people found short videos cringe-worthy initially, they are now a staple on social media. TikTok has marked the era of short-form video content with 732 million global active users and growing. After seeing short-form videos being successful for TikTok, every social media platform has tried to produce alternatives. Instagram calls it reels, YouTube calls it shorts and Facebook repurposes reels from Instagram.
What to do? All you need to make short-form videos is a smartphone. So, swallow your pride and give it a go! Videos do not need to be polished works of art – just keep it simple and relevant to your consumers. Authentic, human content is often far more engaging than polished, highly branded content.
SEO has always been a difficult and slow process. Adding to the challenge is Google’s formula E-A-T, which stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. The idea of E-A-T is causing headaches for SEO experts since it lacks a tangible indicator and cannot be analysed with any metrics. And while it certainly matters more in some types of content than others, average content just won’t perform in any vertical where exceptional content is present.
What to do? Integrate audio, video, text, AR/VR, gamification and other interactive components to create extraordinary content experiences. Create content with the best intention in mind. Do not simply repurpose, instead focus on creating an emotional bond with your audience. Do not look at them merely as a target but as friends and part of a community you want to grow together with. Build communities, become an authority in order to gain links and PR coverage and ensure your content in lengthy enough to be valuable.
9. Invasion of Privacy
Consumers are becoming increasingly sceptical of the material they are being targeted with because of the overuse of digital advertising. As a result, digital marketers should brace themselves for stronger privacy regulations, which will change the way they can track their consumers’ activity.
With Google planning to block third-party cookies in Chrome by 2023 and some browsers already blocking them plus iOS pulling back very heavily on tracking, it is high time that marketers consider re-evaluating their policies and make sure they are up to code.
What to do? Do not panic. This is not the end of data-driven targeted ads. View it as a new era of transparency with more open and trusting relationships between consumers and businesses. This in turn will make building digital communities easier as these need to be based on trust. Look to Google Privacy Sandbox and use contextual, look-a-like, interest and demographic targeting to reach the right people with relevant ads.
10. Strategic Marketing
It has never been more important to be strategic. Digital transformation is impacting several sectors of market behaviour. People’s decision-making processes are changing dramatically. With so much information available, purchasing decisions have become more self-directed and goal oriented. Businesses can no longer afford to have a casual approach toward their marketing strategy.
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