Every year digital marketing trends change, and 2022 is no different. It’s important to understand these changes so that you can build a digital marketing strategy that still remains current and effective throughout the year ahead. Is your company embracing digital marketing? Do you know how to use social media? Are you aware of emerging digital marketing technologies that are gaining traction? This article will help digital marketers plan for the year ahead with these core digital trends.
With new technological developments in 2022, innovative companies will not have the competitive edge that they previously enjoyed. In order to maintain a successful company, marketers will need to know how to adapt to the evolving technologies and how to integrate and get the maximum benefit from the technologies that are chosen.
The future of marketing and business will be far more inclusive and diverse and will need to better match client requests. The technology and platforms are continually changing and evolving and these modern advancements will make interacting between customers and brands a little more automated. Accordingly, some consumers are pushing back against this trend. While technologies such as artificial intelligence and data-driven marketing continue to grow, the overall emphasis is going to be on people, not technology. It all comes down to how you use the technology going forwards to provide that personal touch and not become robotic.
Some of the key digital marketing trends that will dominate the next 12 months will be:
- Improving customer digital experiences and customer journey.
- Increasing your employee engagement within the business.
- Gaining greater support for content marketing and targeted content creation.
- Building your online community.
- Embracing video marketing technologies and approaches.
Here’s what we cover in this article:
Digital Marketing Trends in Social Media and VR
There has been a lot going on with social media platforms regarding digital marketing. It is likely that we will see some interesting changes to the environment by the end of the year. The social media platforms of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook are still considered the best ways to reach as many people as possible, but there are new emerging forces including Discord, a simple community hangout space that was initially developed for gamers but gained traction during the Covid-19 pandemic. There exist many different types of ads on these social media sites, some of which include: videos, Stories, and automatic ads. A few companies have been using these digital marketing tactics on their own pages as well as those for clients or influencers who share a similar audience.
Facebook Social Media Platform As We Know It Might Have Peaked
Whilst the Facebook social media platform isn’t going away any time soon, the social media platform in its current form might have peaked. According to Forbes, Facebook is no longer something in the social media world of general interest. In addition, a significant proportion of its users are above the age of 65. While it is by no means collapsing, it is clear that Facebook is losing age with the younger demographics, who gravitate toward the more visual and interactive experiences provided by Instagram and Snapchat. A number of Facebook users are growing annoyed and resentful by the platform’s proliferation of misleading news, political propaganda, and cyberbullying.
Whilst some forget this, WhatsApp remains part of the Facebook family (now Meta). WhatsApp marketing is seen as a vital tool for companies in 2022. WhatsApp has completely revolutionized how companies contact their customers. You can now send very personal instant messages on an app that is used by all age groups and always checked constantly. And you will enjoy this feature whenever you want, day or night. The same can be said for Facebook Messenger, but the mere fact Facebook Messenger still uses the Facebook name has left many jumping to WhatsApp even though it’s owned by the same company.
Facebook’s recent company rebranding to Meta, might paper over some of the cracks and the Oculus range may bring younger users in high numbers back into their ecosystems via virtual reality, but it remains to be seen whether Facebook can rebuild the trust it so desperately seeks.
The Metaverse, Will it Rise or Fall?
Whilst Facebook might have had its day in the sun for the moment, their new ecosystem coined ‘the Metaverse’ may just be the new internet experience this year which will likely continue to grow year on year. It’s not something you can completely ignore, and I don’t think it’s just a gimmick either. Businesses need to begin thinking about this virtual space moving forwards, especially as the platform and technology evolve. More companies will be providing the hardware to access ‘the metaverse’, and given that the Oculus headset was one of the most popular Christmas presents of 2021, there are already a lot of people in this new universe experiencing virtual realities in whole new ways.
Companies need to understand what it is so that they can assess what can be achieved within the Metaverse and tailor the customer experiences accordingly. You’ll be pleased to know that your website and video channels can be accessed already in their current form, just bigger and much more immersive than in the real world (unless you have a huge home cinema screen). Given that people might work, play and socialise in this new universe, it’s something that shouldn’t be overlooked long-term. It can be fun and engage new customers and market segments for your business. For example, perhaps you want a client to experience their new house design in 360 degrees versus the 2D experience we get currently. Perhaps, you would want a client to take a glimpse into the future, just like UberAir has done.
Whether virtual reality really catches on remains to be seen, but it does look like a new dawn of computing experience is going to gain popularity through 2022. It’s more than likely that we will see a halfway house with more augmented reality taking shape. It does seem that as more of the world opens up from the COVID-19 pandemic, we might be attending more than one virtual event this year if the technology really takes hold. Does anyone fancy some courtside seats on Centre Court at Wimbledon? Just enter the Meta…
Instagram and TikTok Attracts the Younger Generation
Instagram’s tremendous growth has already seen it surpass a billion users, a great achievement. This puts it at the top of one of the fastest-rising social media channels and certainly means a much more likely chance of getting the younger demographic. Its popularity is partly on account of its short and concise nature, which makes it ideal for sharing quick snaps and videos. This increases audience engagement and gets them ‘hooked’. The release of Instagram Stories has helped propel the platform and compete directly with TikTok. It’s an easy tool to utilize, especially if your business is heavily reliant on photographs and video.
TikTok also continues to grow. Despite the speed bump caused by the Trump Administration in the US, the platform has regained traction with over 1 billion users. Some reasons to focus more on TikTok in 2022 include the fact that it’s not oversaturated, you’ll have a greater chance of going viral and have direct access to potential influencer marketing benefits too.
Assessing a social media platforms active users will impact which channels you choose to focus on. As of December 2021, the social media platforms with the most active users are:
It’s interesting when you look at the monthly active users which social media platforms perform better each month. Whether Facebook is still the number one spot next year remains to be seen but the demographics of those who use the social media platform has greatly changed in the last 24 months. Marketers will do well to embrace other social media platforms this year.
Video Marketing and Story-Driven Content Will Grow
Video content is a huge component of any online marketing plan, especially if you’re attempting to build your empire on the internet. If your business isn’t currently using video marketing, get moving on it this year. Text-based content can’t compete with the advantages of video when it comes to promoting products and services. People are now watching more videos than ever, utilizing smart devices to watch and share videos about absolutely anything, learning a lot more about businesses, and what they offer. Take these stats for instance from OptinMonster:
- 89% of video marketers state that video gives them a good return on investment.
- Video creators report that many of their clients’ website traffic has increased significantly due to video.
Video marketing is very engaging, especially if it’s live video. Live streaming is a powerful method of digital marketing when combined with influencer marketing. Whether it’s the new generation of social media influencers or traditional sources, such as celebrities, athletes, and musicians, having a live stream is the most effective strategy for engaging with your audience.
A Cisco study reveals that in 2022, video will account for 50% of all web traffic. They believe that videos are 53 times more likely to get the first-page ranking than other SEO methods do. Today, nearly 40% of all consumers have been convinced to purchase a product after watching a video. This means that video is a must for your business in 2022. Whist video will have a major role to play, high-quality content in the form of text is the main driver, as this is what people still use the internet for, finding out information.
Video content doesn’t just have to be product videos either, you could start using video voice messages for that personal touch too. We are all so used to getting emails, that getting a video email is a very personal way to keep in touch with people. It’s like a video voicemail and it helps add greater context to your communication, with tone and facial expression.
It’s much easier to recall a graphic or text that’s been integrated with visuals, images, infographics, video clips, and other such visuals than in a textual form. Clearly displaying your data in the form of visuals can allow it to be much more memorable. If this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have road signs for example. Visual clues can convey meaning, emotion and action all in a fleeting moment.
Although plain text can be powerful, visual content continues to grow in popularity. Just look at the success of image-centric social media platforms Instagram and Pinterest to see proof of this. Google, Pinterest, and Facebook as well as other companies are also experimenting with vision-based technology. Images are found in up to 10% of Google’s online searches, and up to two-thirds of millennials find that image-based inquiry technology is more compelling than any other new tech.
Many businesses are still designing their content based on promoting their own business, as opposed to how customers can accomplish success using the company’s products and services. Businesses that can add a compelling narrative will have a digital experience that will increase customer trust (especially if it is relatable) and brand loyalty. Videos shouldn’t just simply be made for fun anymore in 2022.
Video will continue to be a major factor in content marketing in the coming years. Brands should definitely use dynamic video content to remain in front of consumers’ eyes. You can also then make use of social media video functions such as Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and seek to capture user-generated content in the form of video too.
If you’re stuck for ideas in terms of what videos to create, then this can include:
- Product demos,
- Video messaging,
- Video events,
- Live media events.
Building a Community Becomes a Key Driver
Community is a growing trend in 2022 for digital marketing. The nervousness around social media services such as Facebook has led to many businesses creating their own online communities. The reason is that it’s effective. There are effectively two types of online community you can build.
The first is via creating a shared social community using something like Facebook or Discord where you have no control over the platform. The second is to build your own community which you have complete control over. This can help make members feel more exclusive.
Here are some of the benefits of building your own online community in 2022:
- You control the platform not a third party like Facebook
- You build trust and transparency
- You can gauge opinions about your products and services
- You quickly build brand loyalty
- Customers remain engaged with your product or services
- You can enable greater customer success through an online community
- The content becomes user-generated and deals with the information that they wish to discuss most
- Your customers feel like they belong to something bigger than just the product
- You can support more customers faster by providing answers once
- You build an online knowledgebase of customer experiences and problem-solving
- Members are kept informed as much or as little as they wish to be
- Creating more loyal customers
Gamification is something that works well within your community too. The more involved or invested a user becomes, the greater reward they get back from the platform. It keeps a user engaged and part of something bigger.
If you’re a business owner, then building your own community will be one way to reap rewards from engaging directly with your customers frequently and in a fun way. It also gives you another option to the standard social platforms which will help you stand out from the crowd and make you be seen to go the extra mile. You will also be engaging directly with your target audience.
Voice Search Will Continue to Evolve
Voice search commands have been around since 2011 with the appearance of Siri. More recently, with the introduction of devices like Google Home and Alexa into our living spaces, users are becoming more accustomed to requesting information using voice search. According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai, 20% of search queries are done by voice.
This need means that businesses should enhance their content and include a voice search component in their digital marketing strategies. First, they should boost their content and opt for a writing style that is configured to mirror the way the customers generate queries. This means building queries into content and making sure their websites are fully mobile-friendly too.
Voice search optimized content gives businesses the chance to reach new audiences, since the results may be different from those obtained by typing in a regular text search. It’s far too early to state this should be the primary focus over long-form content for SEO, but it’s definitely something that will emerge further in 2022. Most of us will still jump to a search engine such as Google to find information quickly, though voice search is catching on fast.
Chatbots Will Get Better at Supporting Customer Service Teams
Chatbots can carry out literally everything, from giving weather forecasts to automating many of the customer service routines an employee could do. Bots empower organizations to offer personalized, concentrated interactions with the consumers, without eating too much into their human resource capacity. They are a very efficient way of answering most common questions such as FAQs.
If you’re not sure what a chatbot is, a chatbot is a software application that functions as a virtual “counsellor,” obtaining information about users’ aims and helping them to fulfil their goals. Chatbots converse normally with humans in an online forum, mainly through the use of text-based chat windows, however, they can also deliver a speech. As the technology develops, chatbots become increasingly programmed to provide more efficient customer support.
There are benefits to using chatbot over customer support staff too, which can help smaller businesses deliver a more responsive service:
- They provide a 24/7 service online.
- You can receive an instant response to a direct question.
- Chatbots don’t need breaks, holidays or extra pay.
Tidio research found that the majority of consumers prefer to use chatbots rather than forums or phone calls when communicating with a business. For this reason, chatbots are expected to be one of the most rapidly rising digital marketing trends. It seems to be a friendlier customer experience than filling in a form and awaiting a response.
As many as 60% of internet users have already interacted with an AI chatbot that solves queries across numerous apps and websites (iide.co). As AI improves and the chatbot experience becomes more human, this is an area where it might become difficult to know the difference between humans and AI. The balance will be to ensure that a business isn’t seen to be handing off customers away from the care and attention they deserve, so finding the balance with the technology will be the key driver for success.
Content Will Matter More Than Ever
Content marketing has continued to be a critical component of digital marketing and advertising, though there is a growing emphasis on the content of quality content. Exceptional content is still essential, but now the distribution of relevant content is more targeted and nuanced in accordance with the demographics and psychographics of the target market. Google’s artificial intelligence is developing capabilities to interpret content more precisely on websites in 2022, so it’s crucial for marketers to devise targeted strategies to improve their content. Google advises focusing on website speed, links, and related content rather than chasing the newest SEO trends which might change in the blink of an eye.
The key to being successful with your content marketing efforts lies in understanding what keywords you want to rank for, providing content for every stage of your sales funnel, and building engagement so your content becomes an ingrained part of your branding strategy. This is a popular form of content marketing, and it works well for online businesses.
Some of the key features that make this successful include:
- Targetting content at your market based on what they are searching for (most often via blog posts).
- Learning what customers want to know more about and then guiding them across available content in the medium they wish to learn (such as blogs, videos or webinars).
- The ability to repurpose your content so that it becomes an asset to the business long-term.
- Raising brand awareness.
- Providing helpful support in a personalised manner.
- Increasing your SEO ranking with keyword analysis and content strategies to increase your sales funnel leads.
- Providing carefully planned and targetted landing pages full of useful information relating to your business, product or services.
- Growing your user base with targeted market segments as you learn what your market wants to know more about.
In 2022, brands should make content that customers enjoy, or they’ll face diminishing relevance online. Companies that can deliver straightforward, uncomplicated and informative content will thrive. in 2022 and beyond. To help you, you should consider developing a content calendar.
Personalising Your Customer Experience Makes the Difference
Reviewing search insights into what your customers are searching for online, is one of the fastest ways to determine your content strategy direction. If you can become the trusted source for valuable high-quality information, then you will get greater throughput on all your digital marketing efforts. Consumers clearly and specifically explain their needs, preferences, and desires in search queries and in-store interactions. By responding with either direct answers to questions, providing clarity or clearer product information, you will help them on their journey with your business.
According to theedigital.com, over 90% of marketers from the US industry stated that personalization strategies were beneficial, and more than half acknowledged that the boost in profits was more than 10%.
What normally takes hold in the US has a habit of hitting the UK shored soon after.
Building Frictionless Digital Customer Experiences Will Be Key
Salesforce conducted its most recent State of Connected Consumer survey, revealing an 80% satisfaction rate on the part of customers regarding the experiences they availed as well as the products of the company. Whether they’re conversing with a client services bot, talking with a client on the phone, or serving customers face-to-face, customers expect the support agents to have full access to their information. They expect that one interaction will pick up where the other left off so that they won’t have to begin from scratch in each new encounter with the brand
The same study revealed 62% of consumers state that their experience with one company affects their expectation of others.
Interestingly, the main industries that have declined to act quickly were manufacturing construction and agriculture.
Email Marketing Will Continue to Grow
Email continues to be a highly effective method to stay in touch with everyone. This is why email marketing remains an essential facet of the digital landscape. If you’re running a business, you may have witnessed the power of email marketing in action. It can be used to market products, grow and enhance your business, and create customer loyalty. The one place most of us still visit every day is our inbox, which is what makes email marketing still so powerful.
However, email marketing is evolving, and generic marketing e-mails are not as impactful as they once were. Now it is a combination of automation and personalization that makes email marketing essential for 2022.
It should be one of your core digital marketing channels.
When you can trigger an email to your particular consumer when they’re browsing a specific product, and subsequently follow up with an exclusive offer or promotional video clip in a warm email, this can be very effective. Email often acts as a consideration, particularly in conjunction with social media for gaining traction. You can also create drip-feeds that run automatically to support customers from onboarding right through to sending a product reminder in the basket before checkout.
If you’re not convinced email marketing is for you, then in 2021, according to Statista, more than 306 billion emails are sent and received every day.
You could argue this means our inbox is cluttered with emails, junk and spam. Interestingly though, 4 out of 5 marketers stated they would rather give up social media than email marketing, as email marketing still provides the best return on investment per customer (at least in 2021).
Multi-Channel Marketing is a Must
The most successful brands in the world have mastered this art of digital transformation. They know that it’s not enough to simply build an app or create content; they must also make sure their customers can access those offerings from anywhere, anytime through multi-channel customer support.
Phone, email, and online self-service are the three most popular customer communication channels. The best way to get your message across is with a powerful website. It’s the first impression you make on potential clients, so it needs to be done right. You need an experienced web design company that can create a site for you. You also need someone who understands CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) to ensure you are capturing as many leads as possible but also converting them into sales. There is a lot more nowadays than just how a website looks. Built properly, your website is the anchor to all of your digital marketing activity.
Managing customer queries on multiple channels do not need to be difficult. There’s a wealth of help desk software with multi-channel ticketing systems on the market that make this method a straightforward process. Whichever channels your customers contact you through, it all goes into one ticketing system and agents can respond through the same channel. This will also help create a conversational marketing experience for potential customers. Conversational marketing offers a more relaxed, informal way of doing business in an environment that is comfortable for the customer, such as on their prefered communication channel such as WhatsApp.
Push Notifications Will Become Accepted
There are two things driving this new digital marketing trend. The first is that the email marketing landscape has become so saturated that it’s becoming more difficult to reach audiences through it and stand out (unless your content is top-notch!). Second, people are increasingly using their mobile phones for various kinds of online activities.
It’s logical that brands are turning to push notifications as a better way to grab customer attention. At present, over half of consumers enable push notifications on their devices, making it a suitable way for brands to speak with them. Browser push messaging is also providing popular, because as people browse the web and are not on your website, you can send a nice popup message to remind them of an offer or new content you may provide. It keeps them connected to you even though they might not be on your website.
There are some fine lines that users of this technology must avoid crossing throughout their marketing campaigns. Research has shown that in virtually every industry, push notification unsubscribe rates remain low when not many push notifications are sent. Start sending numerous push messages a day and the unsubscribe rate climbs rapidly! All this means is that when you have something important to say, use push messaging. When you don’t, use a different medium to communicate through. People don’t like to be distracted, and they are wary of random popups that have no relevance to them appearing on their computers or mobile devices. Push messaging is highly effective, however, when used right. It drives open rates and sales conversions more so than social media due to how direct the content can be. If you have a strong community that wants to stay in touch, then push messaging is a must for rapid response and conversion.
Some interesting statistics are starting to emerge regarding push messaging too. Here’s just a few:
- Almost 9% of push message users had increased their site traffic as a result of using web push.
- Sign up rates for internet push notifications are higher than newsletter signup rates.
- According to PushPushGo, there was a 3% increase in click-through rate due to rich push notifications.
We think this is mainly due to the simplicity of sign up and the fact you are not handing over any personalised information to the degree that you are with email marketing. WIth browser push messaging you just approve the opt-in for push messaging and you’re done. The marketer on the other end cannot see your personally identifiable information. OK, they might see an IP address and device, but they don’t see your name or email address. You can also unsubscribe easily via the browser at any time too which is a win-win in terms of the business-customer relationship.
Online Reviews Will Become an Essential Buying Criteria
Like them or loathe them, online reviews will continue to grow and form the basis of your customers social proof to other prospective leads. There are many ways in which a business can compare its products and services to others, but providing real, unbiased reviews can help your enterprise distinguish itself from competitors. The more customers or clients you have, the more likely it is that online reviews will be helpful to your operations.
Google listings can be useful if you want to get an opinion, and these are generally the very best trusted sources. They’re easy to find, and they’re the best way to make contact with people to check out the site. Facebook is another excellent source of online reviews, and you can use them to publish a testimonials section on your website, while Yelp is most beneficial for restaurants, hotels, and recreational facilities. You can of course embed any review into other marketing material and campaigns to increase your social proof relating to your business, product or service.
Hopefully, this article has given you some good ideas and food for thought for the year ahead. No one has a crystal ball, but based on the digital marketing trends for the backend of 2021, many will continue to gain pace and traction through 2022. The key focus will be on:
- Providing personalised content of high quality.
- Bringing together your communications with multi-channel marketing.
- Embracing video marketing technologies to increase your outreach.
- Encouraging the use of emerging technologies to expand your available channels.
- Taking a peek into the potential of VR.
- Growing your online communities to speak directly to your customers.
If you have any questions about anything in this article, then please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.