6 Digital Marketing Trends to Keep on Your Radar in 2022
The digital marketing world is in a constant state of evolution.
New platforms and features are constantly launching in the market. Consumer behaviours change, then change again. Companies switch up the game and, with it, shift the entire landscape of marketing. There’s always a different strategy to take, a local SEO algorithm update to adapt to, new web design trends to adopt, and new channels to explore.
If your business doesn’t keep up, you risk getting left behind — and losing out to your competition. That’s why you NEED to pay attention to digital marketing trends if you want to stay relevant with customers and grow your business in the long run.
As another year rolls past, it’s time to put the pandemic behind us and start planning for the new calendar year. But with so many updates, how do you know which ones to use in your digital marketing campaigns?
That’s exactly what we’re going to help you figure out in this post. From social media marketing to natural language processing, we’ve rounded up 6 top digital marketing trends that need to be on your radar in 2022, as well as practical tips to implement them into your game plan.
Digital marketing trend #1: The rise of AI and its impacts on digital marketing
AI has been coming up on digital marketing trends lists for some time. Now, we’re finally seeing the technology reach maturity. More companies are embracing artificial intelligence and machine learning to first collect and analyse data, then apply these insights and learnings to improve their digital marketing strategies.
Take, for example, one of the most progressive web apps: Amazon.
Amazon uses AI to only show products that it KNOWS a shopper is interested in. Using historical data, such as previous searches, purchases, and items viewed, Amazon creates a hyper-targeted experience for its customers, which in turn improves the likelihood of them making a purchase on their website.
But make no mistake: AI isn’t just for companies like Amazon. Even if you’re not proactively implementing this technology, chances are you’re still using it as part of your digital marketing strategy.
Platforms have been including more and more machine learning options as part of their offering, from Smart Bidding on Google Ads to Facebook IQ for Facebook advertisers and chatbots for CRM. These are all practical opportunities to use AI to reach audiences more effectively and convert them into customers.
3 ways to use AI digital marketing trends to improve personalisation
With AI, you can get granular with your marketing — really granular. You’ll be able to figure out how your potential and current customers respond to your content and ads, then use that business intelligence to improve your marketing on a number of different channels.
For the majority of digital marketers, the most common avenue is going to be paid search engine marketing. Google has been using AI for a while now, and in 2021 they released the new Smart Bidding feature in Google Ads. This automated bidding process offers a ton of benefits, including:
- Increasing the number of qualified visitors to your website
- Boosting the visibility of your ad campaigns
- Maximising conversions with a target CPA
- Meeting a target ROAS when you value each conversion differently
While there are some drawbacks — such as less visibility over your marketing campaigns and reduced marketing budget control — Smart Bidding is definitely worth trying out in 2022.
This is another place where most business owners and business leaders can tap into the power of AI. Predictive analytics is being used in a growing number of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms and allow businesses to automate:
- The best email marketing send times based on an individual’s browsing and purchasing behaviour
- The best timings and offers to send out based on a database’s response to previous email marketing campaigns
- The best product and category combinations for different email marketing audiences
By combining lifecycle segmentation with automation and data-driven marketing, you’ll be able to deliver more relevant email marketing communications to your audience at every single stage of their customer journey — from acquisition to customer loyalty and customer retention.
Image source: Smart Insights
AI is a great way to understand what your customers are interested in, then use this to craft content that’s engaging and relevant to their needs. Based on data gathered from AI on different platforms, you might discover that your audiences are responding better to video marketing or that influencer marketing posts drive the most traffic. Once you know this, you can tailor your strategy and work with a freelance content writer to incorporate these insights into your calendar.
Digital marketing trend #2: Increased use of chatbots and voice assistants
Voice technology is another one of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2022. Chatbots and voice assistants are becoming more popular amongst Australian consumers and businesses:
42% of Australians currently use a smart speaker equipped with Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant, and nearly one in two has used these voice assistants to interact with a brand, product or service.
Industry experts believe that these conversational marketing technologies will only become more embedded in consumer behaviour in the future, with voice-based shopping projected to be a $40 billion channel by 2022. On top of those digital marketing stats, the share of consumers shopping via voice assistants is also expected to reach 18% next year, and voice-based ad revenues are expected to reach $19 billion.
How to leverage voice assistant technology in your digital marketing
Incorporate chatbots into your online platforms
Alongside this uptick in consumer spending, we’ll be seeing more marketing leaders using chatbots in 2022.
Chatbots have a ton of benefits:
- They invite more customer interactions at different stages of the journey, from acquisition to conversion and retention.
- They’re capable of addressing basic customer enquiries and service needs without the need for additional resources on deck
- Chatbots can scale to meet demand
- Chatbots are available to help customers 24/7.
Best of all, this technology is already widely available to businesses through multiple channels, such as Facebook Messenger. There are also a ton of user-friendly chatbot platforms and messaging apps for businesses, from Botsify to Chatfuel. If you haven’t implemented one for your business yet, make this a priority in 2022.
In a sea of chatbots, conversational marketing will also be key for brands looking to stand out. As AI becomes more sophisticated, it’s easier for brands to deliver a personalised experience with a unique chatbot persona — bringing a nice touch to the customer experience.
A final word of advice: don’t neglect tone of voice as you’re building chatbot dialogue. These little elements will ensure that you deliver a cohesive brand message to customers and help your business stand out.
Start preparing your voice search strategy now
Voice assistant technology is also improving by the minute. ‘Wake words’ like “Hey Siri” or “OK Google” will soon become a thing of the past — which, in turn, will make conversations more streamlined and make it easier for consumers to use voice search. That’s why no-click search is one of the latest SEO trends for 2022.
Shoppers communicate differently in voice search compared to regular search. For example, a user might type “brown shoes near me” as one of their search queries in search engines. However, if they’re conducting a voice search, they might say something like “Which stores near me stock brown shoes?” This opens up countless voice search keyword opportunities — and the sooner you factor in related keywords for voice search into your SEO plan, the better.
Image source: Oberlo
Digital marketing trend #3: From mobile to mobile-first
Ten years ago, mobile was an afterthought that many companies would tack on after developing websites, campaigns, and content for desktop devices. Today, the script has been flipped — and mobile-first digital marketing needs to be at the top of every company’s game plan.
The latest digital marketing trends from Pew Research Center found that almost three in ten U.S. adults say they’re “almost constantly” online.
Add this to the fact that mobile devices account for 45.2% of all internet traffic in Australia, and it’s pretty clear that mobile marketing is quickly becoming the normal way we browse the web.
In 2022, no brand can afford to let mobile slip to the wayside. Mobile-friendly website design and fast site speeds are non-negotiable for any and every business, from plumbing to consulting and eCommerce.
On top of having the basics ticked off, there are two other considerations that should be part of your website and mobile app strategy in the New Year.
Implement a mobile-first digital marketing strategy
Rank higher in search results with mobile-friendly content
Remember that figure we mentioned earlier? 45.2% of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. These mobile digital marketing trends are important because they signal a shift in the way brands need to create content in the future.
As more people access information on smaller screens, it’s time to adapt your content and mobile SEO strategy to these marketing trends. This means:
- Ensuring font sizes are large enough to be read on mobile devices
- Chunk content for easy reading and skimming
- Use short, snappy sentences over long-winded paraphrase
- Use headings and subheadings to break up text
- Incorporate images to engage readers
- Keep loading times as short as possible
- Use bullet points
- Make content faster to load on mobile with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
The payoff? Mobile-friendly content will help you rank higher in search engines for user search queries and keep potential customers engaged once they do land on your page — which hopefully leads to a conversion. What’s more, you’ll be in a better position to tackle any mobile-related algorithm updates from Google (like the ‘Mobilegeddon’ of 2015-2017).
Plan for social commerce
This is another one of those digital marketing trends that are BOOMING. In the past year alone, social commerce buyers in the U.S. increased by 25.2% to reach 80 million, and sales are expected to surpass the 100 million mark by 2023.
The pandemic only added fuel to the fire. Facebook accounted for a third of all social media purchases in the U.S. during 2020 — making it the leading social media platform for shopping online that year.
40% of merchants are already using social media to generate revenue. If you’re not one of them, you’re missing out on a huge chunk of sales that are there for the taking. Thankfully, platforms like Facebook and Instagram have rolled out a bunch of features to make it easier for marketing leaders to bring social media into an omnichannel product marketing strategy:
- Integrate your eCommerce products directly into Facebook Shopping and Instagram Checkout so buyers can shop directly on the Instagram or Facebook news feed.
- Add links to your products in relevant posts and social media stories, so users can click through and shop on your website.
- Use influencer marketing to maximise your reach and promote your products to your target audience.
- Leverage more visual search and video-based content to engage shoppers.
- Deliver an optimized customer experience with instant messaging chatbots.
Image source: Finances Online
Digital marketing trend #4: More alternatives to third-party cookies
All around the world, people are calling for greater privacy features. Consumers want more control over who has their data and how it’s being used — and the tech giants are listening.
Earlier this year, Apple’s iOS 14 update completely changed app tracking by giving users the ability to opt out of in-app targeting or tracking. Google has also followed suit with plans to phase out support for third-party cookies across Google Chrome by 2023.
Here’s where the challenge comes in. Third-party cookies are essential to a ton of targeting-based digital marketing strategies, from personalised ads on search engines to retargeting. This means that businesses need to find alternative solutions in response to these digital marketing trends if they want to gather and use data to reach customers in the future.
How to target audiences in a third-party cookie-less world
Capture and use more first-party data on your web pages
Third-party cookies may be getting phased out of digital marketing, but first-party cookies aren’t going anywhere. One way to ensure continue serving up targeted and relevant content to your audiences is to capture more first-hand data from your website visitors and customers.
In 2022, it’s time to get to know your audience better using CRM tools, surveys and interactive content. You’ll then be able to use this information to personalise your marketing efforts and ensure you’re reaching the right people, even without the help of third-party data.
Use other tools to achieve personalisation and target consumers
To help marketers and content publishers adapt to the latest cookie-less digital marketing trends, Google is rolling out the Privacy Sandbox — an initiative that enables brands to continue to target audiences with personalised content AND protect user privacy.
According to Google:
“The Privacy Sandbox initiative aims to create web technologies that both protect people’s privacy online and give companies and developers the tools to build thriving digital businesses to keep the web open and accessible to everyone, now, and for the future. To make this happen, we believe the web community needs to come together to develop a set of open standards to fundamentally enhance privacy on the web, giving people more transparency and greater control over how their data is used.”
Privacy Sandbox is supported by Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), a new type of web tracking technology that clusters browsers into ‘cohorts’ based on browsing history while preserving anonymity.
These two progressive web apps will define digital marketing trends for businesses from 2023 onwards, so it’s worth keeping your eye on these developments over the next year. According to Google’s timeline, Stage 1 of the Privacy Sandbox should be rolling out from late 2022.
Digital marketing trends #5: Short-form video content dominates
Short-form video content has truly taken off with the rise of multiple platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram Reels. According to the latest industry news, TikTok now has over one billion active global users who spend an average of almost 1 hour (52 minutes) every day browsing through videos.
They’re not just window shopping either. 84% of shoppers purchased a product or service based on the brand’s video. These digital marketing trends are only going to grow in 2022 as social commerce continues to grow in popularity.
Short-form content is an extremely effective way for digital marketers to reach more people online, get them to engage with content, and convince them to buy products or services. And 2022 is, without a doubt, the year to start creating more short-form content as part of your overall digital marketing and video SEO strategy.
Ways to leverage short-form content digital marketing trends
Invest in more user-generated content (UGC)
Watching product videos makes shoppers trust you more. People want to shop from brands that have been vetted by their peers. And one of the best ways to do this is using UGC, or user-generated content.
Even if you believe that branded content is more authentic, the numbers don’t lie: users trust content generated by other users. Consumers are 2.4x more likely to say that UGC is more authentic than branded content, compared to marketers who are 2.1x more likely to say branded content is more authentic than UGC.
Invest in bringing in more UGC throughout your social media strategy in 2022. You can do this by:
- Inviting customers to share their experiences with your product or service using a specific hashtag.
- Investing in your influencer marketing strategy to source more content for your brand.
- Sharing influencer marketing reviews and user reviews as a GIF or video.
Go behind the brand in your videos
Authenticity and transparency matter A LOT. In fact, 70% of consumers say they feel more connected to brands whose CEO is active across social media. It’s not enough to promote your products and services anymore. The latest digital marketing trends show you need to dig into the who, why, and how of your brand.
Start out by incorporating more videos that showcase the people in your team and daily life in your offices or stores. These types of content convey that your business is genuine and down-to-earth — in turn making it easier to build a connection with your target audience.
Focus on explainer and educational content
How-to, DIY and explainer videos are booming digital marketing trends right now. What’s more, a Wyzowl report found that social media users want to see even more of this type of content in the future.
Educational and explainer videos are powerful forms of content marketing because they provide genuine value to your target market. When you do this, you’ll naturally build up trust with potential customers, improve lead generation, and strengthen loyalty amongst your existing customers.
In the New Year, explore opportunities to bring more educational content into your social media plan. These could be videos that address key blocking points at different stages of the buying journey or more general pieces of educational content that engage users and help them in their daily lives.
Digital marketing trends #6: Virtual and hybrid events are here to stay
COVID-19 forced companies to cancel in-person events and adapt with virtual alternatives. From Apple to Tomorrowland Around The World, brands had to get creative in how they connected with audiences in lockdown.
Even as countries open up and live gatherings return, consumers have gotten a taste of the convenience and immediacy of virtual events — and they’re happy to embrace this approach in the future. It’s no surprise that brands are following suit with 97% of event marketers saying they expect to see more hybrid events.
What do these digital marketing trends mean?
In a nutshell, the events of 2022 and beyond will largely be a hybrid affair. Marketers will need to cater both to people who want to gather and interact in person, as well as those who prefer to participate from the comfort of their own home. While it may seem like more work, hybrid events also present a HUGE benefit: they allow businesses to reach an even larger audience without limitations in venue capacity, manpower or ticket sales.
Creating the hybrid event of the future
Offer in-person events with live video
If you’re organising an in-person event in 2022, you can’t afford to ignore your audiences at home.
Bring the experience to them with social media channels or livestreaming platforms, so they can take part in the action — then make this content available afterwards to maximise its lifespan. At the same time, plan for monetisation by integrating your products or services with social media platforms. This makes it easy for viewers to learn more about your offering and shop with you, both during and after the event.
Use AR or VR to create immersive and interactive content
AR and VR open up opportunities to create an even more engaging brand experience for people who aren’t physically attending your event. Capture events in 360-degree video format so they’re VR-friendly, or take it one step further and use AR experiences to bring your products to life for customers in the comfort of their own homes.
Get your business ready for 2022
If you want to stay relevant in 2022, you have to be on top of the hottest digital marketing trends and embrace digital transformation. And, more importantly, you need to understand how to leverage these digital marketing trends to grow your business.
We’re here to help.
At OMG, we combine our industry knowledge with the latest digital marketing trends to generate sales for businesses. Best of all, it’s free to get started. Claim your FREE digital marketing audit and game plan today. We’ll show you exactly how to dominate digital, bring in more leads, and skyrocket sales in the New Year.