A Look Forward: Marketing Trends to Embrace in 2022
If there's one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has taught marketers, it's that having a strong online presence for your business is a must. The need for creating a website has gone from an option to a necessity. As we look towards 2022, your marketing strategy also needs to keep up with the digital evolution to remain relevant.
This article will examine the ten most prevalent marketing trends to consider in order to future-proof your business.
Top 2022 marketing trends
01. Video marketing
Short-form content is on the rise, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Instagram Reels, TikTok and YouTube Shorts are some of the top video-based content channels today. Thanks to their ability to capture attention and lead to stronger engagement than other content, it's predicted that video marketing will play an even more prominent role in marketing in 2022. It's also in your own favor to create more short video content as it's been found that the Instagram algorithm heavily favors Reels. In other words, more videos mean more exposure.
In 2022, we’ll also see more videos used in diverse marketing efforts. In addition, email marketing campaigns, websites and advertising formats will incorporate more video content. Data analytics used to track video performance will become more sophisticated. As a result of improved tracking technology, we’ll see more companies investing in video advertising.
For example, remarketing is a prime form of advertising that will integrate video marketing in ways that it hasn't before. Using personalized video content, you'll be able to optimize which type of videos you're retargeting with to deliver the most likely to convert ads.
The videos being used this year will be created by influencers more than ever before. Likewise, user-generated content will dominate in video marketing. Not only will these mentioned sources save time, but they’ll also help with performance. People are becoming more blind to traditional advertising. By leveraging influencers and customer-created videos, you'll capture your audience's attention in a much more authentic and meaningful way.
How to prepare for the rise of video marketing:
Invest time in producing high-quality video content for your brand. You can use a video maker tool to assist you.
Get active on platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Collect user-generated content by encouraging customers to capture their purchases.
Allocate more of your budget to video production.
02. Voice search optimization
48% of consumers use voice assistants for general web search. To adapt to this rising number, more marketers will be optimizing their content for voice search. Unlike text SEO, voice search optimization involves a greater focus on long-tail keywords (more than three words) and question queries. Why? When people speak, they tend to ask questions in full sentences.
To leverage the increase in voice searches, create content that answers people's questions. Think of common queries asked around your business. For instance, if you're a veterinarian, you can expand your keywords to tailor a more specific intent. Instead of keywords like "veterinarian, cat veterinarian, dog veterinarian," try to answer common questions such as "What to feed a sick cat that won't eat?" Although it seems a bit random, this question is asked more than 1,000 times a month and can lead people to contact your business for further information or to plan a visit.
To stay up-to-date with this marketing trend, you can find the most asked questions around your industry on places such as Answer The Public or through keyword research tools like Ahrefs, Semrush and Google Keyword Planner. Lastly, since half of searches are done on a mobile device, make sure your website is mobile-friendly and has a fast loading speed to improve your SEO ranking.
03. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
One of the marketing trends that will not just be evident in 2022 but for years to come is Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR). We'll begin to see these technologies used to promote products and services, forever changing marketing.
First, what's the difference between VR and AR? VR creates a computer-generated reality that builds a fantasy-like world in three dimensions. Users are immersed in a new universe using VR glasses and can interact with objects using their hands. On the flip side, AR is based on the current real-world setting but layers parts of another world onto it. In AR, users connect via phone or tablet to interact with that layered on dimension.
VR and AR are often also referred to as 360-degree marketing. Businesses use this type of marketing to improve the buyer's awareness and increase purchasing decisions. Brands like TOMS Shoes, TopShop, Oreo, Sephora, and IKEA already successfully use these technologies for marketing purposes.
Let's take a closer look at IKEA. The home-furnishing company created the app IKEA Place, in which AR technology allows in-store shoppers to virtually place items into actual physical living spaces. The AR technology enables consumers to imagine how products look and feel before buying them. As you can imagine, this "hands-on" experience can drastically increase buying consideration and drive sales.
The pros of integrating VR and AR into your marketing are that they provide a drastic competitive advantage. You'll be interacting with your target audience in a truly unique way. However, the technology is still relatively expensive and difficult to scale to many stores. An augmented reality development tool lets you join the VR, AR world even quicker. Currently, the top AR development tools on the market include Vuforia, Wikitude, ARKit and ARCore.
Want more ideas on how to add VR to your business? Experts suggest a good starting point for adding augmented reality functionality is to try it on your business cards. A business card can become interactive by highlighting contact information in creative ways by looking at it through AR technology. For a more immediate start, social media apps like Instagram let anyone create AR filters to share with their audience.
04. Influencer marketing
"2022 is the year of the creator," says Brian Mechem, Co-founder of top influencer marketplace, GRIN, in these influencer marketing predictions for 2022. Over the past year, the influencer economy has drastically grown and will continue to do so. By the end of the year, it's expected that influencer marketing will evolve into a $15 billion industry. This growth is in large part due to Tik Tok's rapid expansion. Influencers have proven that their fans will follow them across platforms, providing more reach for creators and brands alike.
Want to know what's really pushing this trend? Facebook is planning to pay $1 billion to creators through 2022. With more influencers available and incentivized to supply content, more businesses can find creators that are right for their niche. Almost half of marketers say they're going to be spending more than 20% of their budget on influencer content, as most see a positive ROI.
Ways to keep up with influencer marketing:
Invest more heavily in influencer marketing efforts.
Prioritize video content production with your creators.
Don't limit yourself to one social media or distribution channel.
Take advantage of influencer marketplaces to streamline your partnerships.
05. Conversational marketing
Conversational marketing is a way to talk to your audience one on one to improve customer experience and sales. These conversations can be made through live chat, chatbots, voice assistants and more.
In 2022, as digital marketing trends are on the rise, we'll see more conversational marketing due to its favorable business impact. Better communication with customers means your business can shorten the sales cycle and significantly improve the marketing funnel. Time and money are also significant reasons for this marketing shift. After all, 80% of routine queries can be answered instantly with chatbots instead of a customer service rep.
To use this marketing trend effectively, personalization will be a crucial factor. More automation using AI will lead to conversions based on users' previous experiences with a business. Another direction we'll see in conversational marketing is the usage of video chats. Unlike text-based chatting, it will be more common for customer support and sales reps to set up video calls. Localization should also not be forgotten.
06. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning
Web developers and engineers aren't the only ones using AI and machine learning anymore. Marketers, too, will increasingly utilize these technologies in their everyday marketing efforts.
Martech Advisor summarizes that AI marketing "uses online and offline customer data along with concepts such as machine learning, natural language processing, social intelligence, to gauge your audiences' future actions. It allows you to target audiences with the appropriate message at the right time through the relevant marketing medium to guide them through the marketing funnel."
More specific areas in which businesses can use AI and machine learning to solve marketing problems and improve processes include:
Customer segmentation and creating personalized user experiences
Predictive analytics such as buying patterns and sales forecasting
Chatbots and live chats
Paid ads such as programmatic ads, retargeting and Lookalike Audiences
Product recommendation engines
Viewers find streaming highly engaging. In fact, watch time for live content is up 250%. This format and rising marketing trend is an excellent way for brands to showcase their personality and values authentically.
Not only will livestreaming get users to relate better to brands and feel more comfortable making a purchase—it's also going to change online sales. More and more channels are releasing built-in shopping features that enable brands or influencers to recommend a product and share a direct clickable link during livestreams. Social Commerce is a term commonly used to describe this form of social shopping experience, and in 2022 we'll continue to see it gaining momentum
Features like Facebook Live, Instagram Live, Twitter Live and YouTube Live are most famous for this type of marketing. These features will become even more common and sophisticated across various industries as the year moves forward.
Ideas for a livestream:
Host a Q&A to answer commonly asked questions
Announce a new product release
Create a live shopping event
08. Branded audio content
Screen fatigue, the pressure of being on camera and the flexibility of consuming audio content has propelled this marketing trend to the forefront this year. Podcasts, social media audio and editorial listening all fall under “audio content,” something we’ll all be seeing much more of in 2022.
Since podcasts can drastically build awareness and increase recognition, more businesses will follow this trend. At Wix, for example, we started a podcast called Now What. This series enables us to get in front of new audiences and shape our brand perception.
The quick rise of the social audio app Clubhouse is more proof that audio content is a growing marketing trend. Clubhouse is not the only trending place where live discussions are taking place. Instagram Rooms and Twitter Spaces also demonstrate the demand for audio content on the web.
Adding audio to your marketing mix will expand your content marketing strategy and even increase your website SEO. Google is now starting to rank podcasts on the search results page (SERP). Hence, having podcasts or videos embedded in your page can help increase your ranking potential. Also, consider transcribing your podcasts into blog posts to help voice searches pick up on the more natural speaking language.
09. Organic SEO
Driving traffic to your website through SEO is a solid marketing strategy that's not going anywhere. In 2022, SEO will still be a leading source of new business and traffic for most companies.
Exciting changes in SEO are that more keywords will allow for a featured snippet. Featured snippets are shown in the first result on search engines and display a small portion of your article. It's proven that they receive an increased number of clicks to your website and help your credibility.
Prepare for the increase of Featured Snippets by following best practices, including bullet points, numbers, and complete answers to organize your content to increase your chances of gaining a snippet.
Other SEO tips and trends:
Blogging: If you haven't yet, create a blog for your business so you can rank for more keywords related to your products, services and industry.
Keep artificial intelligence in mind: RankBrain's AI algorithm examines your click-through rate, the time users spend on your site, and how valuable and well-organized your information is, as crucial ranking factors. Be sure to write good meta descriptions and produce helpful content that people will want to spend a lot of time consuming.
Write long-form content: Search engines favor long-form content that's 2,500 - 3,000 words or more. Dedicate time to writing engaging content that covers a topic from start to finish.
Have a mobile-friendly website: Nearly 60% of all searches are now carried out on a mobile device. Confirm your site is mobile-optimized to avoid critically hurting your SEO.
Follow the EAT principle: EAT stands for expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Search engines take these into account for determining rankings. Work towards building strong EAT around your business as a whole and the authors who write your content
10. Inclusive marketing
An inclusive marketing plan isn't just about showing diverse images on your website or social media pages. Moreover, inclusive marketing is neither a gimmick nor a sales trick. As a marketer, you must see how our world has shifted and understand that being inclusive and respectful to all is the new norm.
Consumers look for brands that practice what they preach and are aligned on all values. If you're looking for customer loyalty and lasting respect from users, you need to be an authentic brand. Allow all individuals and groups to recognize themselves in your marketing efforts and know they can connect with your business.
Sonia Thompson, CEO of Thompson Media Group, explains:
"Truly inclusive brands walk the walk at every level. That means building an inclusive culture, building inclusive teams, developing deep degrees of customer intimacy with the diverse customers you serve, and having quality relationships within their communities as well."
A company that successfully launched an inclusive marketing campaign is Gillette. The shaving giant created a groundbreaking advertisement that shows a transgender man shaving in the mirror for the first time as his father guides him. This ad was shared on Gillette's Facebook page and received over 1.6 million views, championing gender inclusivity at scale. As a result of releasing an inclusive ad, viewers can better see that Gillette stands with and supports the trans community.
Inclusive marketing tips:
Enable diverse perspectives at all levels throughout your company, from your UX designer and marketers to upper management.
In each marketing campaign, try to hero a different group.
Tell real stories as much as you can. People need to know that the representation exists instead of a fictional user persona.
Aim to showcase people or stories that positively challenge common assumptions and stereotypes.
Adapt your marketing efforts to different cultural contexts to make your brand inclusive to varying groups around the world.
By Lena Sernoff
Senior Digital Marketing Expert & Writer