The entire world utilizes the internet and digital technologies, which is the case now more than ever. The prevalence of these technologies, such as computers and mobile phones, has changed how people access information and make purchases completely. Thus, it should be no surprise that marketing followed suit, delving into the digital world.
Marketing has always been a fast-paced and ever-changing industry, and it has only become even more so after moving into the digital world. Because of that, keeping up with changing trends is vital to a company’s ability to reach a wide audience and get their product or service out there.
Digital marketing trends change rapidly, and with a new year already here, it is the perfect time to make adjustments and prepare for what is to come. If you want to learn more about upcoming trends and how you can prepare for them, you should read more below.
Interactive Content Above All Else
It should come as no surprise that interactive content is a huge part of standing out in today’s marketplace. Audio and visual content are growing quickly and have been seeing increased importance year after year. Moreover, in the realm of marketing, you must always consider social media.
Social media is the primary way that brands can reach consumers in an engaging way, changing the meaning of having a relationship with a brand. After all, consumers want to be a part of something and interact with brands, but they are also looking for more than a block of text. They want excitement, which is achieved with interactive marketing.
There are many ways to push out interactive marketing that is both successful and engaging. Some examples are questionnaires, quizzes, and polls. These help you gather information while grabbing consumer attention.
Additionally, things like virtual reality videos and augmented reality have opened up even more possibilities, allowing brands to get creative with the ways they attempt to grab consumer attention.
Email Is a Rising Priority
Although it might not sound as appealing as other channels, email is one of the most important tools in digital marketing. It is even considered a critical avenue of success to most people that is worth additional investment moving forward in 2022. There are a few reasons for its popularity, which include:
Email allows much of the process to be automated, which is great for companies and ensures consistent communication between brand and consumer without much effort. Despite that, it is still easy to personalize both the content and frequency of email communication. Plus, by its nature, email is private and highly visible.
The one thing to remember about email is that it still requires the same thought and care as any other marketing tool. It should be well-crafted, and it should be interactive and engaging. Email is important, and what is delivered should have the same high standards as any other marketing tool.
Influencers Are Only Growing More Important
Influencers have been relevant for some time, but their ability to help market products is only increasing, especially in the digital world. This trend can be seen in many places, but live stream shopping is one great example, especially since it has a proven track record in China and other countries.
Live streaming is not limited to shopping. Twitch houses a massive number of steamers, with overall site traffic of more than 30 million users per day. The numbers are huge, and while it is partially due to the emergence of COVID-19, the platform has boasted a large community for some time.
Twitch is not alone in this realm, though, with platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok having popular influencers who have a tight-knit relationship with their viewers. Their relationship with their followers makes for a great marketing tool, and it is an avenue that is only expected to grow.
Social Media Stories Are Spreading
What began as a trend on a single platform has evolved into something seen on every big social media service around. The key to their popularity and success in digital marketing is their limited lifespan. A story only lasts for 24 hours, which accomplishes a few things:
- Companies and brands can share more genuine posts
- Content can target people who actually want to see it
- The posts connect with audiences on a deeper level
- People feel the need to keep in touch with a brand they like
There are many ways to use stories. They can be a live video that feels rawer, or they can serve as a call to action. Digital marketers can even use them as a great way to gather information through polls and quizzes. Moreover, using location and geofilters, stories can reach specific audiences.
Podcasts Continue to Skyrocket
There are two ways to approach podcasts from a digital marketing perspective. The first is to treat them like influencers, advertising through the podcaster to their audience. However, you can also create a podcast of your own, especially since people enjoy podcasts from both individuals and companies.
Podcasts do come with their own challenges, though, such as requiring optimization through keywords, blog posts, and other SEO tactics. There is also a different skill set to master if you want to do it right and have it be an effective strategy. But with podcasting growing by the day, there is a lot to be gained.
Quantum Computing Is Making Waves
Quantum computer? For marketing? Absolutely. While it might sound like a complex tool at first glance, the way it works is easy to understand. Quantum computing allows for data to be gathered more efficiently by tackling many tasks at the same time instead of going through tasks one by one. This helps:
- Improve machine learning and improves AI functionality
- Boost mobile data coverage
- Deliver more accurate ads
- Make ads cheaper to produce
Quantum computing in digital marketing is on the rise. Not only does it have many benefits, but it also increases the value of a dedicated marketing agency for businesses that might not have the resources to dedicate to quantum computing.
AI Being Used to Improve Optimization
It should come as no shock that artificial intelligence is becoming more prevalent in marketing. After all, it has infiltrated everywhere else in the digital world and is constantly becoming bigger and more complex. It is behind many services nowadays, including chatbots and search engines.
AI is capable of doing all kinds of things, such as analyzing consumer data, which can help brands figure out a variety of important information about how customers find their products and where they can strengthen their efforts. It goes beyond all of that, though, helping provide benefits such as:
- Improved customer experience
- Better decision making
- Cost savings
- More efficiency and productivity
Google is a big believer in AI technology as well, utilizing it in their search engine for better results. And with their new MUM update, the search engine can accept more complex searches and return smarter results. It even factors in intention and uses that when pulling results, making search intent vital to content.
Therefore, many companies are stepping into the world of AI to help figure out how consumers are finding their products and what they can do to attract more organic traffic through things like content optimization. If you want to compete with the big players, including AI in your marketing strategy is necessary.
Conversational Marketing Drives Engagement
The relationship between a brand and consumer has always been valuable, especially regarding brand loyalty. However, that relationship is becoming more personal nowadays, with many companies taking a conversational approach to communication. The same is true of marketing.
Consumers want to reach and communicate with a business immediately and at all times. They want their questions to be answered, and if that does not happen, it can mean they go elsewhere. Likely, they will go with a business that ensures they get what they want then and there.
Conversational marketing uses the desired dialogue-focused communication style to reach its goal. Ordinarily, it is used to improve engagement and convert leads. And what is really great about it is that it works with almost any channel. In fact, it has to work on multiple channels since consumers want to reach you anytime and anywhere.
Chatbots Lead to Positive Customer Experiences
Chatbots are a combination of conversational marketing and AI technology. They are capable of providing real-time automated messages that have a human-like quality. Of course, they rely heavily on AI technology, but they are a great implementation of conversational marketing that is on the rise. They can:
- Instantly respond to inquiries
- Provide 24-hour service
- Answer simple questions
- Guide users to valuable resources
Moreover, chatbots are well-received by most people, providing a positive customer experience. Because of that, and partially because AI technology is growing increasingly sophisticated, chatbots are expected to become more important. Chatbots also free up resources that might be needed elsewhere.
Geofencing Is Upgrading Locational Marketing
Using a location to make digital marketing better is not a new practice. But geofencing provides some exciting innovation to liven things up, and it is expected to grow rapidly in the coming year. Part of this is due to mobile technology’s equally rapid advancement, but real-time location-based marketing is plenty exciting enough on its own.
The main purpose of geofencing is to provide information about nearby points of interest. It can be a restaurant, a gas station, or a gym. The point is that when you enter the location of that point of interest, you receive an alert. It might even provide a call to action or incentive to pull in business.
One great example is finding a place to eat or a gas station on a long trip without having to actively keep an eye out. You can simply receive a notification when you are within range and head on over. And the method is quite effective, bringing a whole new tool to digital marketers.
Search Intent Is Now Vital
AI technology helps improve your grasp of consumer behavior and search patterns, but it also looks for search intent when returning results to users. Google is big on this, trying to figure out why a search was done to return a category of information that matches user needs. It looks to answer questions like:
- Are they looking to learn how to do something?
- Are they trying to make a purchase?
- Do they want to find a specific site?
Guide posts are a great example of how this works. If a user types in “how to” as part of their search, Google prioritizes videos and websites that act as guides, ranking them higher. It is the same for other types of intent, meaning that to properly market something, you need to make sure the intent is on point.
The same AI pulls out more local results as well, putting things like the website for Amazon above the Amazon rainforest if it is not given a reason to otherwise. Local service providers get the same treatment, appearing above service providers in other areas unless more context is given.
There is no way to avoid it if you want your content to be ranked and noticed. However, it goes beyond this in regards to marketing. It also increases brand awareness and retention when you align content to search intent. So it is important for getting a high ranking and providing consumers with a relevant experience they will remember.
Loyalty Is Out, Membership Is In
Another trend that is necessary to keep in mind for 2022 is that loyalty programs are no longer as effective as they once were. Instead, membership programs are taking their place, seeming the natural evolution of the previous system.
One of the reasons for this is consumers’ desire to be part of an exclusive community. They want to be a part of something, finding it far more appealing than loyalty rewards, even if they are offered the same savings and benefits with that program.
Membership programs attract more people, compelling them to take action and join on their own initiative. Moreover, they pay to join, making it seem more exclusive and as if they are wasting their money if they do not utilize the benefits. Loyalty programs do not have the same urgency, so they will be pushed out in 2022.
Brands that embrace this can then do many things to add value to the membership, including access to certain products, free shipping, and other exclusive events. It is even a great way to utilize the all-important email avenue of communication, reaching out to members to inform them of upcoming events.
Environmentally Responsible Is Good for the Bottom Line
People want sustainable products and responsible brands to align themselves with. The trend is so impactful for younger consumers that they are even willing to spend extra to purchase an environmentally responsible product. That makes it a great place to focus marketing in 2022. It might even be a chance to stand out among competitors.
There are many ways to put an environmentally responsible approach to work in a marketing campaign. It can be featured in videos or through influencers. Green ideas can also be included in the business and culture. A lot can be done, and it goes hand in hand with many other marketing tactics.
Video Marketing Is Always Trending
There are no signs that the video marketing trend is going anywhere in the near future. In 2022, it is just as important as ever, even more so, to have a video presence to help you market products and services.
Videos are watched by people worldwide, with more than 80% of internet users in the US viewing videos every month. Those numbers hold up even on a daily basis, with more than 50% of consumers watching videos every day. And the truth is, they want more.
Video content is popular because it is easy to consume, and it is good for marketers because it increases retention and engages users more than text does. That is why more than 80% of businesses use videos as one of their marketing tools.
And while you might instantly think of sites like YouTube when you consider video marketing, it goes much further than that. YouTube is an effective platform, but you can also make video posts or include them as part of a page. Plus, once you have a video, you can use it in various ways, such as:
- Transcribe it and publish it as an article
- Use the audio as a podcast episode
- Attach it to attract more attention
Video marketing can be used alongside other trends to create engaging and highly effective marketing strategies. Moreover, live streams can be equally effective. People like to watch content, so give them what they want.
Voice and Visual Searching Are Seeing More Use
The way people search has changed. Or, at least, there are more options than ever before. While traditional searching is still alive and well, the use of voice and visual searching is more common than ever. In fact, these things are becoming a major part of how people find things. People use voice and visual searches to find:
- Related Items
And those are just a few examples. With tools like Alexa and Google Lens, people are becoming comfortable with alternative ways of searching. In fact, it is becoming convenient, especially in the case of visual searching, where you might not know the brand you are looking at or what to search to find it.
New marketing trends have emerged because of these increasingly popular types of searches. Now, photographs and other images are more important than ever. Moreover, with voice-activated ads quickly becoming a reality, it is something companies need to be prepared to respond to.
People Want Hybrid Events
The COVID pandemic changed many things, especially when it comes to the digital space and people’s willingness to engage with the world through the internet. Of course, since then, normal life has started up again. However, many people have become fans of virtual gatherings and events.
Because of the new preference for virtual happenings, there are two audiences to engage: in-person and virtual audiences. Fortunately, catering to those audiences is much easier using hybrid events and gatherings, which provide the best of both worlds. In fact, it brings in more people than before since it makes events more easily available.
Another factor at play with hybrid events is virtual reality and augmented reality. Immersive technology has emerged and led to an entirely new way of doing things.
Immersive Technology Is the Future
Like it or not, immersive technology is here to stay. Many people are calling it the next stage of the internet, and even if it never reaches that point, the possibilities are endless. That is why many companies are beginning to explore the virtual world, especially with the metaverse, virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR).
Many people find virtual reality exciting, especially when it comes to video games and sci-fi ideas. However, augmented reality is what is most on the rise for digital marketing. Not only is it expected for AR revenue to rise, but there are already useful applications. For instance, apps that let you see what wallpaper or furniture looks like in your home.
Digital Storytelling Elevates a Brand
If you have a good product, it might speak for itself, but consumers do not want to hear about how good it is or how much better it is than the competition. What consumers want is a story, one that is directed at how a brand’s product or service benefits them.
There are a lot of companies that struggle with this concept, despite the fact that it has become one of the many focal points over the past few years. The key is to deliver a story that tells consumers how they will benefit and succeed if they utilize the advertised product or service.
While it might sound simple, it can be very complex to tell a convincing, engaging story that stands out for the right reasons. Weaving in stories and testimonials is a good way to go about digital storytelling. If done properly, it will elevate the relatability of your content, which in turn increases its value.
Privacy Will Play a Bigger Role Than Ever
Digital marketing relies heavily on advertisements and data, but people have become highly suspicious of those resources. Ad blockers are used by more than 40% of internet users around the world, and third-party cookies have been or are being shut out by browsers.
Additionally, users choose not to use certain products because they have security concerns, partially due to being more aware of what is going on behind the scenes. Products and services, such as DuckDuckGo and ProtonMail, are even built with increased security in mind.
The overall trend is that people want and will get more privacy moving forward. This trend can be seen with Apple’s new iOS, which requires voluntary opt-in by consumers to track their data. All of this means that in 2022, digital marketers will need to adjust their strategies to deal with this rising trend.
However, this is not entirely negative for marketers. Users are all about transparency, and if you give them a reason to trust you by being honest and upfront, you can build a stronger sense of community with consumers. It can be a way to improve relationships, especially if you get ahead of other brands and prepare for what is to come openly.
The death of the third-party cookie. It had a long run, but the time is night, and third-party cookies are facing their inevitable demise. As stated, people are more concerned about privacy than ever, and that means an end to third-party cookies. And it is a big blow to marketing, especially where data is concerned.
However, first-party cookies are on the rise. Marketers are becoming more reliant on their own data, which changes how things need to be done. But the same rules apply with first-party cookies as they do with privacy as a whole: be transparent and give consumers control over what data they share. And be creative.
Security Is a Priority
People value their privacy, and they also value security. Consumers need to trust the brands that they do business with, and they want to feel like the brand is taking care of their information. Moreover, whether a consumer trusts a website is decided almost immediately when they navigate to a page.
One major reason for the quick division is the HTTPS protocol. If there is a problem with something so expected and basic, people will turn and leave. The same is true of websites with obvious errors and slow load times. These things reduce a site’s trustworthiness and cause consumers to navigate away quickly, which hurts rankings.
Personalization Is Expected
The technology and means available have made personalized content more accessible, and it draws in consumers far better than broad marketing. Therefore, it is expected for personalized marketing to play a bigger role moving forward, and it can be used in many ways:
You can apply personalization to many of the other trends discussed. Send emails that target a specific customer, even if it is just their preferred type of content being delivered. In fact, more than 70% of shoppers only act when marketing messages take their interests into account.
Personalized content can be approached in many ways as well, from product recommendations to personalized video campaigns and apps that display user data in fun, interactive ways. Plus, the more time you spend understanding your audience, the more value you can get out of your efforts.
Progressive Web Apps Provide Accessibility
So much of what people do and how they search for things now involves a mobile device. And while apps are a big part of that, they can also be restrictive based on the type of phone or operating system. Progressive web apps (PWAs) combine apps with websites to circumvent the need for an app, offering the best of both worlds.
PWAs are not simply websites. They can be used while offline and offer things like push notifications. They load quickly as well, making them incredibly convenient and accessible applications. Moreover, since mobile marketing is becoming more important by the day, it can be a major factor in success.
Omnichannel Marketing Cannot Be Ignored
There are countless trends, and the market changes quickly, giving you no time to grow comfortable or relax. However, one trend that deserves to be stressed above most others is omnichannel marketing. Omnichannel marketing aims to give consumers access to your goods across all channels. You want them connected, too.
The idea of omnichannel marketing is not new, but its relevance has only increased, and it is continuing to be a dominant trend in the market. You can see it everywhere, with marketing campaigns for a single product or brand spanning across multiple platforms, including social media, apps, emails, and more.
There are many benefits to this approach compared to single-channel marketing, and it goes beyond reaching a wider audience by covering all of your bases. By branching out and utilizing omnichannel marketing, you can expect:
- More consumer engagement
- A greater number of purchases
- Higher retention rates
Marketing strategies that utilize omnichannel marketing are simply more successful. And part of that is giving consumers a variety of ways to reach out as well, including phone, email, and chat options, among others, to follow up. There should never be a case where a consumer cannot see your marketing or act on it.
When you are looking at digital marketing trends, remember that they can change quickly. These might be the trends now, but a single change can have a big impact, such as with privacy and AI technology. However, as long as you are paying attention and ready for change, you can get ahead of the game and make an impact.
Additionally, think of ways to combine these trends for a greater effect. A few examples are adding videos and interactive content to email marketing. There are many ways to make these trends work for you, and if done right, you will have a solid edge that consumers will appreciate and talk about.