As a digital marketing agency, we get to see in real time the digital marketing trends that come and go. We get to see the top digital marketing trends as they happen, as well as anticipating the next big thing, and reflect down the line on if and how they deliver for business and consumers.
With our eyes peeled and ears continually to the ground in the digital marketing world, here are the key digital marketing trends we see coming for this year.
The rise of the micro-influencer continues, as digital marketing companies find customers placing more and more value on hyper-local content as well as local products and services. Influencer marketing may feel like a fad to some, but as more and more people are born into a digital world, the more normal it is to forge trusting relationships with the people we meet and engage with online.
Engagement is the key word here. Having influence is what qualifies a creator as an influencer – not follower numbers or likes. In 2019, a creator with 2 million Instagram followers sold only 26 t-shirts to this audience during a promotional campaign. An influencer with a small but highly engaged audience is potentially far more valuable than one for whom vanity metrics don’t translate to real-world buyer intent.
More and more brand collaborations will be the influencer trend in 2022. Businesses are recognising that they can effectively leverage each other’s audiences, giving both a boost and raising their profile. Conversational marketing can be highly effective in brand collabs, especially for small businesses, but increasingly bigger names are using this approach too.
We are increasingly using our voices to search rather than our fingers. All modern smartphones have sophisticated voice search capability built in, and many of us find it totally normal to ask our phones or our smart home devices to find or do things for us.
A study by PWC found 71% of Americans prefer to use voice search rather than type out their queries. Perficient reports that voice searches is second only to web browsing as the most used feature of smartphones. Statista predicts by 2023, approximately 8 billion devices will include voice assistants.
Facebook’s parent company rebranded as Meta towards the end of 2021, signalling the company’s move towards a world augmented by digital tools. The company believes this new world, or ‘Metaverse’ is “the next evolution of social connection”.
Spark AR is Meta’s new tool allowing users to create 3D spaces and experiences, and the tool seems to have a low barrier to entry, with “no coding experience” necessary.
21st century digital marketing, particularly social media marketing, thrives on interactions between brands and customers. The more immersive an experience, the more potential to connect on a deeper level with more and more of your audience. AR could be used to let customers try things on, access one to one customer service remotely, visualise products in their homes, take tours of places and properties… The possibilities seem endless.
Google ads are showing a trend towards reducing friction between search and shopping. For a product based business, digital marketing companies will be recommending that ad spend is directed towards Google Shopping adverts.
With consumers ever more discerning in the online world, it is also important to tell compelling stories about what you’re offering, particularly how it improves or changes the lives of ordinary people. In 2022, we are craving connection with each other, so authentic human stories are a powerful way to create loyal online communities and support consistent conversion rates.
As the public relies ever more on search engines – mainly Google search – to answer all of their questions and to do their shopping. More than ever, we are not only buying online, we are using the internet to learn about products and services in order to choose the right one.
This is why content marketing remains a key component of a well balanced marketing campaign. Google has spotted the uptick in people using Google search to answer questions and has responded by making answers even easier to find.
If you type any question into Google right now, you will most likely see a featured snippet. That is, Google is not just crawling the internet to find the best answer to your question, it is displaying that answer on the first page of results either at or close to the top of the page.
This is why it is even more important to create high quality content that answers questions and solves problems. This places you as the expert, builds trust and brand awareness with your target customers and could be the beginning of a buyer journey. Your expertise can now be even more visible online.
Email marketing remains a powerful way to utilise a content marketing approach. Delivering useful, valuable content direct to someone’s inbox rather than relying on the algorithms of search, remains rich with potential for engaging with customers on a deeper level.
Content marketing is here to stay. People are still reading articles and blog posts online, but an increasing number of people prefer to watch rather than read. And unsurprisingly, Google search is already accommodating that preference.
Not only will Google often give you a selection of videos to answer your question, they will often bring you to the exact point in a video where your specific question is answered.
So, don’t shy away from longform, in depth video content but make sure it is as succinct as can be and answers questions relevant to your business that your ideal customer will be asking.
Shortform video is not going anywhere, as YouTube continues to push YouTube shorts, Instagram doubles down on promoting Reels and video content in feed, and mobile app Tiktok maintains its popularity with a widening audience.
Data (safety) is king
Consumers are more aware than ever of the extent to which they can be tracked, watched, analysed, categorised and targeted using their online behaviour. In our ‘fake news’ world or increasing cyber crime, people are rightly becoming more protective of their data.
For a digital marketing company, 2022 is going to be all about accessing the data you need to find your customers online, but doing it in a way that feels life-enhancing for them – and not invasive. Apple was one of the pioneers of a customer-protective approach with its iOS14 update which upended how Facebook was able to track ad conversions.
Google Analytics is rising to the challenge with Google Analytics 4 which it describes as “the next generation of Google Analytics”. The upgraded data tool is designed with customer privacy in mind. It’s aimed at allowing advertisers to reach the right people in a data driven but data-safe way.
This digital marketing company predicts that machine learning will make the process of analysing and adjusting digital marketing campaigns much quicker and more responsive to real world activity.
So, there you have it, our predicted digital marketing trends in 2022. If you’re looking for a digital marketing agency to help you get started why not get in touch today.