The beginning of the 2020s brought about massive changes and advancement in digital marketing. As industry that changes every minute, it is right to assume each year there will be new trends emerging. And it is only those, who adopt them early, that rise to success.
2022 digital marketing trends are, in a way, continuation and development of trends we saw appearing in 2020 and 2021. However, there are also many new tendencies you, as a business, must follow to stay on top.
When we say continuing trends, it doesn't mean you just keep doing the things as you used to. All those practices and movements began several years ago, but they developed significantly with time, and in 2022 you will have to look at them from a new dimension.
1. Organic SEO
SEO has always been an important component of digital marketing for the majority of businesses. However, future trends suggest that organic search optimisation and local SEO will beat in significance paid search advertisement. There are several reasons for that.
People often distrust paid search ads and event if they click on the link, most of the time they don't go through with the purchase. Also, search engine ads are expensive. They can bring good ROI rates, but it is after continuous analysis, optimisation and retargeting. So, if you are just starting with paid SEO, prepare a large budget.
The abolition of Cookies does not help either. Paid ads need third-party data to optimise your audience. We know that new technologies and cookie replacement options are already being developed, but until they become the new normal, there will be a dip in the effectiveness of paid advertisement.
Organic SEO, on the other side, focuses on several factors, and all of them have to do with quality user experience. You need fresh and well-presented content, fast website, designed with the user in mind, and multichannel connections, i.e. social proof.
Local SEO is crucial for businesses that operate in a particular area or have brick-a-mortar commercial premises. When people search for a physical shop or service, they tend to choose the closest available and the one with best customer reviews. So, a registration at Google My Business and encouraging clients to leave reviews on your Google page are essential.
2. Voice-based Shopping
You already know that voice search has been making a steady gain in the last couple of years. This is now accelerated by the growing trend of voice-based shopping. Those two terms have a lot in common, because before you buy an item you need to search for it. But the ability to complete a purchase only using voice commands is what the customer is really looking for in 2022.
3. AI for Analysis and Strategy Building
Artificial intelligence has been significant in a lot of business operations since 2018. Marketing, of course, is not an exclusion. And while AI is still not advanced enough to completely replace human content creators and copywriters, it brings enormous advantages when it comes to reporting, data analysis and strategy building.
No type of content, no matter how well crafted, will bring you more sales if there isn't sound and data-backed strategy behind it.
4. Direct marketing - Relationship Building
In the Digital Marketing Trends 2021 blog article, I told you how important relationship building will be in the years to come. And that's still valid. As a business owner, regardless of the industry, you really need to put in the time, effort and resources to form strong bonds and meaningful connections with your audience and customers.
For a solopreneur that will be a solid and exhausting task, so gathering a team would probably be a good next step to take in 2022.
5. Personality Wins Trust - Strong Branding
Focus on developing a strong and consistent brand image this year. It will pay off, as people attach to individuals and organisations that bring a clear message and values, resonating with the client's beliefs and lifestyle.
Most importantly, infuse your personality in your business. There is nothing more inspiring and trust-winning than sharing your personal journey and real reasons why you started doing what you do. What is the change that you want to bring? What motivated you to want that? How it will benefit people if they choose to walk with you and your brand?
6. Hybrid Events
I know we are talking about digital marketing trends in 2022, but we must recognise the fact that the majority of us are experiencing different levels of digital fatigue, having spent more than 18 months in a mostly virtual world.
For that reason, organising hybrid events could be a really powerful marketing tool for your business in the future. The convenience and innovation of digital events will always have a place in your marketing mix. But let's not forget that people get excited when they are able to interact with each other or with a business and a product in person. Especially after they have been denied that option for almost two years.
The future of the events industry probably looks like a hybrid anyway. Combining the physical experience and communication with seamless digital coverage and equal opportunities for interaction.
Building on what we already have is simply not enough. With the internet being full of information and countless choices, innovation and thinking outside of the box are an absolute must. So, take the time to consider how you can adopt these new digital marketing trends.
1. Apps Overtake Websites
Mobile optimisation and shopping are obviously not an innovation as they have been around for several years. What moves into a new direction, however, is the importance of apps. In 2022, we expect apps to be more relevant for businesses than websites.
So, if you have a budget to develop and maintain only one, go for the app.
2. Multichannel Marketing
You simply cannot concentrate all of your marketing efforts in only one place. Social media is good for networking and forming a community, but the audience you have there is not yours. Develop several layers of interaction and community building.
Your website, app or a blog is part of your branding. Also, you are in control of it.
Maintain communication with the people who are interested in your offering through different social channels. Don't be present just on Facebook or Instagram. Diversify and repurpose your content to match different formats and channels.
Last but not least, create exclusive places for your customers, where they can truly feel a part of close-knit community. This could be your email list, a Whatsapp or Telegram chat, member area on your website or app.
3. Automation vs Human Touch
Automating basic business tasks, such as reporting, invoicing and customer reminders is becoming a necessity. These are administrative chores that take a lot of your time, but you don't always get paid for it. Focus on serving your customers and developing new products and services. Take full advantage of automation where possible.
Many business owners, however, still prefer to use the services of a Virtual Assistant, instead of a machine, as it brings that human touch and personal feeling to the communication with the client.
Either way, the key takeaway from this 2022 trend is to make sure you minimise the time you spend on admin tasks and commit more hours to your business development.
4. Leading Your Own Space with Grace - Digital Campfires
What exactly is a digital campfire? A place where your audience feels safe and can interact with others who have similar interests and beliefs. This trend is really a continuation of the multichannel marketing trend. It places a bigger focus on the creation of that small but truly invested community you've built.
To be successful in 2022 you will need to show your leadership skills. Building your space and leading it with grace are crucial parts of your business journey. Hard-sell is not a good look.
You could choose different platforms to get the audience you need and want. Here are a few suggestions:
Become a popular speaker on Clubhouse and run a regular room; monetise by running events and seminars in private rooms
Build your twitter following and send exclusive invites to paying customers or those you choose to join your Space events
Create a free Facebook group that accommodates people with similar interests, then branch out a membership group or an exclusive Telegram/Whatsapp chat.
The quality of people you bring together outweighs the quantity. A chat of 20 paying clients brings more value to your business than a group of 2,000 hardly-invested members.
5. Crypto Payment Options
Big brands have already started offering their customers options to make payments with cryptocurrencies. Since the crypto market is blossoming, it will be a smart idea to look into bringing these options to your business too.
It is good customer service as people like to have plenty of choice and it is also an investment for the future. Looking at the economic trends for the coming years, cryptocurrencies may completely overtake cash and online bank payments before we reach the middle of this century.
6. Funnels vs Flywheels
Up until last year everyone was screaming "build a funnel". Funnels are still a good tactic for obtaining and converting an audience, but when it comes to retaining, flywheels are the best.
Flywheels are content strategies, focused on keeping the customer happy and engaged. They look a lot like digital campfires with an exclusive factor and incentives for those who have already converted.
Again, here we concentrate on the quality of people and their level of commitment to the business, rather than the quantity.
Major Trend Takeaway
All these different tendencies in digital marketing have one thing in common. They all aim to save time for the consumer and the business. So, as long as you can provide a fast, user-friendly, comprehensive and quality experience to your audience you will win.
Anything that is time-efficient goes - voice search/commands, shoppable posts, saturated or easy-to-digest content (no long paragraphs!), automated reminders, short videos with tips (Reels, TikToks, Stories, YouTube Shorts), bite-sized educational facts and lots of options. That's your recipe for success in digital marketing in 2022.