Did you know digital ad campaigns can increase brand awareness by 80%? Not only that, but when someone searches after seeing a related ad, the likelihood of them converting increases to 59%.
Staying on top of digital marketing trends is more important than ever, especially since we live and work in a world that is in a constant state of digital evolution. And there’s some exciting stuff going on there, from augmented reality and AI, to NFTs and live shopping.
But we also understand that it can be seriously overwhelming. So how do you know what to do, where to look, or how to start when there is so much going on? Especially because things seem to change overnight.
The good news is, nothing truly ever changes; it just develops and evolves. And your existing marketing plan doesn’t have to do a total 180 to stay relevant. So let’s dive into some of the top trends of 2022 and what exactly they could do for your business.
Why Are Digital Marketing Trends Important?
The viability of the digital age has long been established, and marketing strategies have constantly been evolving to accommodate this alternative approach to business. Working in a digital market means staying on top of what people want to engage with, and though it seems like trends are constantly shifting and moving, working with a marketing campaign that evolves with these changes is vital.
The benefits of staying on top of things far outweigh the extra work you need to put in here and there. Using the right trends means you can:
- Get ahead of the competition
- Connect with your customers
- Keep in touch with clients
- Improve budget spend
- Engage with digital media
- Boost revenue
- Track efforts exactly
- Build content that connects people
The modern era calls for modern solutions. And yes, those solutions seem to change all the time, but they’re simply evolving. You don’t need to change your entire marketing plan; just make sure it has room to grow.
1. AI for Marketing
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is something we all take for granted, whether we’re using it on our phones or Alexa. Yet, there’s so much potential in AI that you could tap into. A great example is website chatbots. People are becoming more comfortable communicating with a bot, who can help guide them to the right place or connect them with a human being on the other side.
Chatbots don’t need to take breaks, and they can be beneficial to both users and businesses. One major player in the AI world is Google, which has honed its AI to understand what people are looking for with greater precision. AI can also help a business:
- Operate more efficiently
- Save money
- Innovate their products
- Improve decision making
- Create better consumer experiences
AI writers are also becoming more sophisticated each day. Having an AI running in the background, collating information, and checking the success rates of your campaigns can save you time, money, and energy.
2. Conversational Marketing
While we’re on the topic of chatbots, let’s note something crucial. The reality of modern marketing hinges on what people want, and people want conversation more than ever. 82% of consumers want an immediate response to their query, and with real people on the other side, that’s not always possible.
Conversational marketing creates a personal and instant connection between the business and its customers. And, the primary goal of conversational marketing is to improve the user experience through a series of feedback-driven engagements; This improves retention, loyalty, and sales.
Conversational marketing also doesn’t have to just be chatbots. You could look at using:
- Personalized videos
- Personalized emails
- Virtual sales assistants
- Live chat
- Voice applications
- Text messages
- Educational videos
Combining instant gratification with a personal touch doesn’t have to be difficult, and incorporating something more conversational into your digital marketing plan is the way to go.
3. Video is King
Video content has dominated mainstream media and marketing for some time now, but we’ve moved into a stage where your content needs to be high quality and geared to stand out in your audience’s feed. Without well-shot, high-quality content, your videos will likely get buried under the surplus of other media out there.
Did you know that 74% of marketers say video has a better ROI than static imagery? This is because it’s a high converting mode of working that sucks your clients in. They’re far more likely to remember a video than they are an image, and that’s because videos trigger not only sight, but sound, and use the human imagination in a far more ingenious way.
Video is a great way to build trust with potential customers, with 52% of marketers saying that it’s a great way to grow a relationship from “just browsing” to “I want to buy.”
4. Localization of SEO
While SEO has always been a great tool for driving customers to your business who reside in your area, COVID saw a national shift in individuals leaving big urban areas and moving to smaller cities. This has made the use of local SEO even more important.
What do we mean by local SEO? We mean saying something like “company marketing near me.” Google uses your customer’s locations and keys them into your business since they are geographically aligned. Two-thirds of your consumers shop in neighborhood stores, and that figure will only grow as people settle.
Ensuring you stand out on Google and show up on a local map will be critical for your success.
There used to be a time when you could appeal to a mass audience, but in the modern technological age, personalization is vital. This means personalizing your content, emails, products, etc. People like personalization and often react more to it when it seems like things are customized to their interests.
Personalization doesn’t have to be anything complicated, but look at how successful platforms like Netflix and Amazon are. They recommend things based on what you’ve already watched or bought. People like to feel valued, and even though they know it’s a programmed personalization, the brain registers it as something more nuanced and individual.
6. Paid Social Advertising
There’s something to be said about getting your brand in front of your target audience before your competitors do. As these trends only continue to develop, social networks respond in kind. But unfortunately, there’s a misconception that using paid social media marketing is only really effective for e-commerce of business-to-consumer (B2C) brands, when realistically, there’s ample opportunity for business-to-business (B2B) advertising.
If you’re not currently using paid social advertising for your business marketing, 2022 is the time to jump on board. You don’t need to spend your entire budget on it. Instead, find an approach that works for you and your business, and research where your target audience hangs out.
Meta is an excellent option for this, but have a look at “younger” audiences on TikTok and Instagram too.
7. Influencer Marketing
Consumers trust influencers, typically because they can see an actual human being using a product. Having an influencer advocate for something immediately gives it more credibility and authority. Plus, influencer marketing is more effective for some business models, so it’s worth investigating if a social influencer would benefit your brand.
Before you partner with an influencer, review your marketing goals and clearly identify who your target audience is. You’ll want to ask a few questions to establish this, namely:
- What audience do you want to reach?
- What niche do you operate in?
- Does this influencer have a niche community?
- Does that niche work with ours?
- Does the influencer have engaged followers?
The last point is big because if the influencer you’re looking at has a passive audience, you’ll unlikely see much traction from your efforts.
8. The Metaverse
So this isn’t entirely about Facebook (or Meta), but they are making enormous waves in the genre. Essentially, the Metaverse is a virtual world packed with augmented reality, video, 3D holograms, and virtual reality. They’re not meant to be one-off experiences but rather a persistent environment where people can interact.
All brands should at least be considering if they have something worth offering in the Metaverse. But regardless, it’s a great way to see how long people hold virtual objects, how much they notice them in a virtual world, and where people look when they come across ads.
Though it may seem like most consumers aren’t engaging with the Metaverse just yet, it’s still something that is coming and will be something that people rely on to explore the world around them.
NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, are unique digital assets like animation, a GIF, video or audio, a piece of graphic art, or even a meme. These all exist on the blockchain and can’t be exchanged for fungible things. But, for example, a $100 bill is fungible. So we can exchange it for smaller notes, and it has a set value.
Non-fungible tokens are unique and authentic, and big brands have been investing in offering NFT collectibles, so it is worth investigating. It can be a great way to generate interest in your brand and offer something of new value to your clients. You can give NFTs away or auction them off.
As a community-building tool, NFTs are worth the effort.
10. Predictive and Augmented Analytics
Let’s break down what this means first. Predictive analytics is related to data mining, machine learning, and predictive modeling, which aims to identify patterns in behavior and predict the most likely outcome. It has a lot of potential and, because of this, has swiftly become more sophisticated and widespread in several industries.
Predictive analytics has the potential to increase lead scoring, customer personalization, and customer segmentation. For example, Amazon Assistant is a Chrome extension that recommends products from Amazon based on their shopping habits. More than that, if someone is browsing elsewhere on the web, Amazon will send a push notification saying that their product is the same but cheaper.
On the other hand, Augmented analytics uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) and machine learning to automate how data is prepared and shared. The differences lie in how the technologies are used.
Predictive analytics use machine learning to predict what will happen, while augmented analytics uses the same tools to question “why.” This means we can work smarter and faster on even larger datasets. Here is what you could do with either of these systems:
- Lead segmentation
- Targeted content distribution
- Churn rate prediction
- Lifetime value prediction
- Upselling readiness
- Understanding product fit
- Optimization of campaigns
The right system takes metrics and analytics and uses them to its advantage to empower both the consumer and the retailer.
11. Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic Advertising is the process of using AI to automate the purchase of ads. When you remove humans from the equation, you can get a more reliable and cost-effective solution for your needs. However, the actual power of programmatic advertising lies in its ability to scale your optimization capacity.
Most manual search-driven ad campaigns take only a few factors into account, typically:
- The keyword
- The time of day
- The location
Tools like programmatic advertising can use hundreds of signals to target potential customers and even note their lifestyle and behavioral habits when integrating them with customer data platforms. So if paid media is your game, programmatic advertising should be on your radar.
12. Visual Search
Visual search is a relatively new practice where people can use a search engine based on an image. Two primary companies are using the visual search function. These are Pinterest and Google Lens. Getting your information and products into a database like that could be a game-changer.
Pinterest, for example, has updated its search functionality with pin codes, idea pins, and AR Try. Pin codes allow you to use QR codes to find inspiration while out and about or flipping through a magazine. Idea pins are a great way to bring high-quality, evergreen content online, and AR Try is a unique feature that lets people test things like new eyeshadows from major brands.
It’s well worth investigating how you can implement the power of visual search in your digital marketing strategy. Not only can you get your name out there without doing much legwork yourself, but you’re uploading your information to a vast database, which makes you easier to find.
13. Online events and Live Video
The opportunities for live events are staggering, only limited by your imagination. You could invest in many live events, like:
- Live Q and As
- Livestream shopping
- Product demonstrations
As we’ve said, video continues to be one of the most engaging forms of online content, and 80% of viewers will watch a stream over reading a blog, even if it’s from the same brand. The live streaming market is also set to grow to $223.98 billion by 2028. It’s a massive industry with a significant amount of potential.
Plus, starting off on platforms like YouTube is free. It doesn’t have to cost you anything, but it can bring in some serious clout. So whether you’re interested in setting your brand up as an authority or getting more eyes on your content, live streaming might be the way to go.
And really, it can be about anything. While around 54% of most live streaming content relates to gaming and Esports, at least 9% of the information out there centers on professional content.
14. A Push for Inclusivity
Some big-name brands like Old Navy and Pacific Sunwear have been pushing the envelope with inclusivity, particularly gender neutrality. The draw towards inclusivity is not only about prioritizing the individual (and not the marketed “average”) but about showing your customers that they are seen and validated.
Representation in the marketplace is so important because your customers will feel like they’re engaging with a brand that looks and lives like they do. In addition, as the population continues to diversify, and communities worldwide are becoming more interested in inclusivity, it has become vital for brands to show an authentic representation of those unique backgrounds and personalities.
As a result, marketing should focus on what the average consumer looks like, not any pre-conceived ideas of status, sex, gender, and race. There will be a big push away from marketing traditional gender roles in the next few years, and getting in on the ground floor means people will see you as an authentic innovator, not someone just hopping on the bandwagon.
On the same note, brands who push for accessibility, or hone their marketing to improve their accessibility strategies, are also likely to see more consumer uptake and interest. Again, it widens your audience and exposes your brand to people who wouldn’t normally consider them.
15. Push Notifications
Because the launch of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) has enforced stricter privacy laws worldwide, the potency of email marketing is waning. Besides, younger audiences tend to favor other methods of communication and want to deal with fewer touchpoints when they’re engaging with their brands.
Push notifications are a way to combat this. They’ve been around a while, but more brands are adopting them as we move through 2022. So essentially, what you’d be looking at is enabling a notification that is triggered by certain behaviors.
For example, someone has shown interest but has not yet made a move to convert; This could be an abandoned shopping cart or simply a consistent browse through a sales page. Your push notifications could include images, but the most important thing is a CTA. One platform that does this well is Etsy. You’ll get an email if you’ve left your cart, maximizing conversion rates.
If your focus is on physical products, push notifications could be your new best friend.
16. Interactive Content
At its core, interactive content needs active engagement from your viewers. It works as a two-way experience. First, it gets more interest in your product, and second, it converts your customers into active viewers rather than passive participants. It’s a dynamic process and should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Some examples are:
- Interactive infographics
- Surveys and polls
- Interactive calculators
- Interactive ebooks
Though it’s been around for a while, interactive content has only recently gained traction in the world of marketing. However, in a world where the focus has primarily been on static copy, interactive elements can feel a bit intimidating. That being said, if you can move past the nerves and invest the time, it could supercharge your campaigns.
These are a few of the ways interactive content could improve your business and marketing plan:
- Increase brand exposure and loyalty
- More website traffic and page views
- Social media sharing
- Competitive advantage
- Gives customers a unique and attractive task
Just because something seems fun doesn’t mean it can’t be educational, so it could be an excellent way to give your customers some extra information while keeping them engaged and in touch with your business.
17. Augmented Reality and Immersive Tech
While virtual reality definitely gets more people excited, augmented reality or AR is far more realistic for marketers since it comes with big futuristic ideas. AR is a technology that takes a computer-generated image and superimposes it on the user’s real-world view, creating a composite view.
Pokemon Go! was one of the first big companies to do this, and they achieved significant success through their platform. That being said, places like Ikea are now launching their own apps.
For example, IKEA Place lets users take a picture of a room in their homes (using a regular smartphone camera) and test IKEA’s furniture in their space. Then, you can move the furniture around and check it out from different angles; This would cause a serious uptick in sales since people are more likely to spend money on something they know will work for them. Plus, AR is getting better and better each day, so we’ll be seeing a massive jump in marketing opportunities soon. So what could you do with AR today?
Staying in Touch Means Staying Afloat
The importance of staying on top of current digital marketing trends cannot be overstated. When you stay in touch with what’s going on in the world of digital marketing and advertising, you’ll have a distinct advantage over your competitors. Of course, we’re not saying you need to adopt every single one of the above trends, but incorporating a few into your existing strategy could bring about massive business growth.
People like to stay connected, and we’re sure you’d like to connect with them. However, we also know that it’s a lot of work, which is why we focus on streamlining and automating a lot of the background stuff for you.
Contact us today to get your marketing as automated as possible. It’ll save you time and money and make sure you have the mental space to work on the important stuff, like getting a solid product into the world.