Marketing Trends 2022
Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate how we do business. Because we’ve been unable to meet clients in person, many of us have embraced the online environment to digitise our products and services. This has had the effect of accelerating the adoption of digital technologies by 3-7 years, with the greatest leap into this arena by the professional services.
Marketing trends come and go and keeping up with them isn’t always easy. As a small business, time is at a premium, so the secret is to choose a couple of manageable trends, and select the ones that suit you, your business and your customers and incorporate them into your marketing plan.
I’ve researched my favourite marketing authorities on what they consider to be the Top Marketing Trends of 2022. And what follows are their predictions.
Trend #1 Authentic Marketing
If there’s a marketing buzzword for 2022, that word is authenticity.
As we continue to be bombarded with media stimuli, the 2022 consumer is more marketing savvy than ever and quickly developing an acute radar for social responsibility and spotting BS.
dumped piles of manure outside NewCorp
in Sydney & Brisbane on 4 Sept 2020)
Fed up with the struggle and hype of the past two years, today’s consumer is on a search for realness and transparency. This movement is being driven by the millennial generation looking for genuine, human experiences that enrich their lives and align with their values. Therefore, to survive the future, businesses need to offer a customer service that makes real connections with their customers based on empathy, honesty and trust.
What Authentic Marketing Looks Like
Your audience wants the achievable without the hype and false promises.
Authentic marketing is about delivering on this while being genuine and real. It starts with how you express your brand values and your purpose while remaining consistently true to who you are as a brand.
One of the main drivers of authentic marketing is to come from a service mindset—one that places your customers at the centre of everything you do. This means providing premium expertise and advice on topics that interest your audience and add value to their lives while being open and human.
Here are some suggestions:
- tell personal stories that relate to your business. Speak from your heart
- share interesting articles
- post photos showing the real, human side of your business, those everyday moments
- introduce your team. Show your faces
- tackle issues head-on and be open about successes and failures
- stop focusing on being perfect —less than perfect content is humanising
If part of your marketing strategy for 2022 is to build a community, then authentic marketing should lead your way.
Trend #2 Content Marketing Trends 2022
Content Marketing Rises In Popularity
The Covid pandemic has brought Content Marketing back into the spotlight. Here are some incredible stats:
- Research conducted by the Content Marketing Institute found that more than two-thirds of marketers are increasing their content marketing budgets in 2022. With 1 in 5 increasing by double digits.
- UK Market Research Company Technavio, predicts a US$417.85 Bn growth in content marketing during the next 4 years.
- The top three positions being recruited by large businesses in 2022 are in the areas of content marketing. With content creator leading the pack.
Content marketing continues to drive the demand to appear at the top of search rankings. Achieving the coveted position requires an alignment with Google Guidelines, the main one being that quality content is the number-one ranking factor. So, if you’re spending your marketing $ in favour of ads and haven’t invested in content marketing, then 2022 is your time to start.
- The top 4 content marketing strategies businesses are investing in for 2022 are Video, Blogging, Case Studies and Infographics.
- Blogging is one of most effective and widely popular inbound marketing strategies. This is because it attracts prospects as well as search engines. As one of the best content formats for SEO optimisation, 2021 saw business blogging increase in popularity, and it will continue to be popular in 2022 and beyond.
According to research from DataBox, 68% of marketers find blogging more effective than they did two years ago.
How to Incorporate 2022 Trends into your Business Blog
- Integrate your written content with video and imagery to build engagement.
- Experiment with adding interactive elements such as quiz’s, assessments, surveys and polls to encourage customers to interact with your content rather than passively consume it.
- Maintain your focus on keeping your ideal client in mind and what it takes to win their business while displaying empathy and building trust in everything you create.
You don’t want to lag behind your competition in search results!
Here’s a hot tip:
Pablo Gomez, head of media at data insights company Kantar, predicts that in the field of content marketing, “Sole subscription offerings will become scarce, and premium content bundles will be key to luring viewers in a crowded marketplace.”
Marketing Trend #3 Story Telling
January 2022 kicks off with National Story Telling Week, so it’s safe to say that stories will continue to be as popular as ever. With the official day recognised as March 20, stories in all their shapes and formats will continue to be told around the world.
Storytelling ties in with authentic marketing because it’s part of the human experience. A good story reflects who we are and where we came from. They allow us to believe, dream, share and inspire others. There are many stories to tell in 2022, for example how you started your business, how your products are made and stories of how your product or service can potentially impact lives.
Trend #4 Conversational Marketing
Due to the rise of chat boxes and messaging, users are seeking instant personal connections with brands 24/7. As these tools grow in popularity, they are becoming increasingly central for a positive customer experience. Giving prospects the ability to find an immediate answer to their query, these digital products talk to your clients, one-to-one, in real-time, doing the heavy lifting to qualify leads.
Chatboxes can be the ideal solution for businesses that receive a high volume of online enquiries and are most effective in service-heavy industries like retail, travel, telecom and banking.
Small businesses who don’t see a need for a chatbox can implement this trend by turning to free instant messaging tools on social media platforms: Messenger on Facebook, Instagram Direct, Twitter Direct Message and LinkedIn Messages, as well as tools such as What’s App that offer a direct line from the consumer to the business without the hassle of logging into and downloading emails.
Marketing Trend #5 Personalisation
The days of generic marketing are over. These days consumers like and expect personalisation.
Recent data shows that 2 out of 3 consumers remain loyal to a brand due to personalised communications.
Using personalisation means
- developing services, products and marketing messages that address the needs and interests of your customers
- interacting with your customers in a way that’s personal and human, making them feel special and unique rather than one of the masses
- writing empathetic openings in blog posts that your readers can relate to, inspiring them to think, to feel and be understood
- using first names on emails and communications
- offering services, tailor made for individual customers
Trend #6 Niche Communities Boom
Niche communities are a trend you can’t ignore, particularly on social media. The Covid pandemic saw group numbers grow as people looked to connect with like-minded others online. With a growing disillusionment for the standard social network offerings, these vertical social networks will continue to grow and perform well in 2022, due to them offering a more connected, supported experience.
Tap into this trend by starting a group on your favourite social platform and offering niche-specific content that fosters conversation and engagement among members. Or participate in this trend by joining a group that connects with your demographic, interests and passions and one where you can offer advice and support to those who ask for it.
Strong online business groups on Facebook include Brisbane Small Business Marketing, Like Minded Bitches Drinking Wine, Business Chicks, and for writers, The Content Marketing Lounge.
Trend #7 Influencer Marketing Trends for 2022
The idea around influencer marketing is to hire a well-known person in your niche to endorse your product so that you can leverage their audience. It’s been around for a while but has, in the past, been a tad contentious and inauthentic. With certain celebrities being outed as being paid huge $ to endorse products they obviously don’t use and piggybacking on causes for altruistic reasons. Case in point, the furore after the Jenner sisters, exploited dead musicians Notorious B.I.G and Tupac Shakur to launch a line of T-shirts, superimposing images of themselves over the musicians. (The t-shirts were pulled from the marketplace after legal threats).
On social media, where it’s relatively easy for users with a large follower count to achieve fame and become an influencer, the platforms have become saturated with influencers. As a result, this influx has caused users to become jaded and immune to their influence, with statistics showing a slight drop in celebrity influencer marketing effectiveness.
In the spirit of more authentic marketing, businesses can overcome this issue by working with influencers who have smaller but highly engaged audiences and work in a niche area compatible with the business.
Influencer marketing will continue to be an important fixture; with the publication of the 2022 collabstr influencer marketing report predicting that influencer marketing will go from being something reserved for big brands with big budgets to a marketing channel used by brands of all sizes. The report states that revenue in this space will grow to US$15 billion by the end of 2022.
Collabstr states that such growth is due to the rise of short-form video, particularly on TikTok, which has since spread to other major social platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and Snap Chat. And the significant impact on social media advertising due to Apple’s iOS 14 changes as more businesses create video to promote their products using native advertising. (See Trend #8)
Social Media Marketing:
Social Media Content Trends for 2022
Trend #8 Short-form video
There looks to be a move away from ephemeral content (content lasting less than 24 hours before disappearing, such as reels and stories) towards more permanent content. This is despite the claim from Adam Mosseri (Head of Instagram) that Instagram Reels and stories provide the entertaining content users are asking for.
In a recent Hubspot survey of global marketers, 25% of respondents called ephemeral content the least effective trend they invested in.
We’re constantly being told by the people behind the platforms that the average attention span is dropping. However, this is more than likely due to the quality of content. (I have no hesitation watching a long-form video or reading a long post if it interests me).
Success in the ephemeral space needs something special to make it stand out from others in your industry. So, to get this type of content working for you, take this advice from Mosseri, ‘get to the point upfront and ensure that your videos are creative, innovative and entertaining.’
According to Social Media Examiner, there is definitely a place on Facebook for videos that are short, highly informative, entertaining and easy to consume. For the past couple of years, Facebook has been predicting that video will surpass all other content on the platform, and it now accounts for almost half of all time spent on the platform, but the sudden growth of TikTok has unexpectedly risen to dominate this space.
I doubt this will harm Facebook because Tik Tok’s domination may not last. As of 9 June 2021, the United States have joined India, Pakistan and Bangladesh in banning the platform. Other countries are investigating the platform, including the UK and Australia. (Our PM, Scott Morrison, has issued a warning.)
Trend #9 Long-Form Video Trends
Longer videos, a feature of YouTube, will continue to dominate the long-form video market as users search the platform for answers to their problems and how to do something.
In content marketing, long-form blog posts and articles lead the way as marketers, burning out from creating an endless stream of content, put an emphasis on evergreen content – content that doesn’t date and may only need updating now and again. Evergreen content tends to be well over 2,000 words and take the form of content such as expert guides, tutorials, Ted Talks, YouTube videos, courses, interviews, case studies.
Even videos and reals are getting longer, although the change is subtle. A trend for 60 second Instagram reels, Facebook stories and short videos, rather than the traditional 30 second videos, were seen across the board.
Trend #10 Advertising Trends for 2022
As more and more consumers block ads on their desktops and mobiles, businesses are looking for ways to leverage advertising that works.
Marketing trends for 2022 will see advertising, particularly ads in the story format, become more popular than ever as Facebook’s organic reach plummets to almost zero.
We will also see a resurgence in Native advertising— it’s currently one of the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising. Native advertising is paid advertising that blends into the user experience of a digital platform. It matches the look, feel and function of the media format, unlike traditional advertising, which interrupts the user experience. It may take the form of a sponsored article, suggested post or ‘recommended for you’ content.
Trend #11 SEO & Search
We can’t discuss marketing without mentioning SEO and Search. Although these aren’t new trends, in 2022 they’re more important than ever.
Search Engine Journal recently published their 2022 trends blog which focussed on content marketing. Content marketing is important for SEO because SEO is married to content and search engines.
The E.A.T. mantra will continue to weigh heavily on the minds of SEO marketers through 2022, along with a focus on consumer intent.
E.A.T.– Google’s search quality evaluations for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness is based on
- the creator of the main content,
- the main content itself, and
- the website it’s housed on.
There are over 200 ranking factors that remain elusive to SEO experts. Search Engine Journal give it a good crack in this guide.
The rise in voice search is growing fast. December 21 statistics in the US show that 71% of people use voice to conduct search queries and predict that ¾ of all US households will own at least one smart speaker.
Similar statistics are likely to be seen in Australia, as we are known as early adopters of technology. So, voice search is definitely something to look into as part of your 2022 marketing strategy.
- When people search with voice (instead of typing) they tend to use complete sentences so, it’s important to use them in your content.
- Use question words – who, what, where, when, how, why as these are strongly associated with voice search queries.
- The use of Rich Answers in your content will aid your success. Rich Answers are snippets of content that answer a direct question, for example
Marketing Trend #12 Branded Audio Content Takes Off
There are over 2,000,0000 podcasts available in thousands of niches. That number will continue to grow in 2022 as more businesses follow this trend. Australia is one of the most popular audiences for podcasts, equal to the United States. So, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, 2022 could be the perfect time.
The popularity of voice has seen the introduction of live audio rooms such as Clubhouse. These rooms act as a kind of live podcast with an audience who can add to the conversation. Despite some misgivings from marketers at its inception 12 months ago, Clubhouse has grown to 4.6 million monthly users, however most of this initial growth was due to its uniqueness. The trend has caught on with Instagram Rooms, Facebook Messenger Rooms and Twitter Spaces following after the success of Clubhouse.
Media Platform Mashable suggest approaching these rooms with caution because the chat rooms are not high-level protected. This means that Facebook can track and access content and that some rooms are ripe for abuse. Such abuse happens when uninvited people crash a video chat and spam it with unsavoury content. This is known as zoombombing because it originally started on Zoom.
The Rise of Machine Learning
Trend # 13 AI to Write Content
The second most significant trend in content marketing is AI. A quick definition of this concept is software powered by artificial intelligence trained to generate original, creative content based around SEO.
It’s available. In journalism, AI is used to write news stories and is referred to as automated journalism. As far back as May 2020, Microsoft replaced dozens of contract journalists on its MSN website to write straightforward, simple news stories. Like this example from Deadspin:
Tuesday was a great day for W. Roberts, as the junior pitcher threw a perfect game to carry Virginia to a 2-0 victory over George Washington at Davenport Field.
Twenty-seven Colonials came to the plate, and the Virginia pitcher vanquished them all, pitching a perfect game. He struck out 10 batters while recording his momentous feat. Roberts got Ryan Thomas to ground out for the final out of the game.
Can you tell a machine wrote it?
Some content marketers are warming to AI, but word on the street is that it’s not quite ‘there’ yet (but it’s getting there). The question is will it replace human writers? The word is out that AI is great for helping writers speed up the creation process but it won’t replace the originality, passion and empathy of humans.
However, AI helps with content creation in other ways:
- For example, it will help identify keyword intent, conduct topic research and allow audience-specific content creation, thereby improving your content’s online ranking.
- AI will help content creators offer personalised content to their audience. AI tracks user behaviour, preferences and interactions with content resulting in a boost in engagement and conversions.
- Finding interesting topics for your blog will be easier with AI as it will predict audience reactions and sentiment towards a specific topic.
- It will help with Grammar – the Grammarly App uses AI in its bag of tricks. It currently helps businesses create well-written content and use consistent branding, word usage, tone of voice and intent.
- AI is currently used in email marketing – Mail Chimp use AI to help with product recommendations for shoppers and forecasting tools that predict users most likely to buy)
Trend #14 Experiential Marketing
If there is to be a second buzzword for 2022, it’s Experiential Marketing. Traditionally the domain of retail brands, these social campaigns (known as engagement marketing) give consumers a participatory, hands-on experience to deeply engage with a brand.
With social distancing becoming less of an issue, consumers are looking forward to getting back to a normal, face-to-face retail experience. And in 2022 we’ll see this experience heightened. Many brands will focus on creating meaningful connections between the brand and its customer. We’ll see branded pop-up shops and customised mobile vehicles (vans, buses, mobile tours and trailers) offering samples, demos, retreats, events, challenges, AR and AI experiences.
Experiential marketing relies heavily on originality and creativity to capture attention and motivate people to experiment with products.
Some recent examples of experiential marketing include
McCormick’s Must Switch campaign
Restauranteur Tom Colicchio hosted a pop-up at his restaurant Craft NYC last March to debut his specially designed French’s-inspired sandwich. At the event, instead of payment, people were asked to swap their mayo jars or pledge to switch to healthier condiments, and in turn, they received a delicious sandwich. (Any unopened condiments will be donated to a local food bank.)
The Hershey’s Door
Halloween saw Hershey’s bring a door to select neighbourhoods in the US for trick or treating in October 2020. It delivered Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups via remote control and Bluetooth. In a post on Instagram, they asked fans to weigh in on the door’s next locations, receiving over 15,000 comments.
The pop-up store was housed in a customised Airstream made to look like a Sicilian cart, a nod to the Italian fashion brand’s design DNA. The pop-up ran for a month in summer 2021, ensuring consumers could visit it without encountering large crowds. Customers could also make appointments via email or text message, with the Airstream travelling to their homes.
2022 marketing trends are an integrated mix of the old— the fundamentals) and the new —technology and the latest (the rise of audio rooms), all of which are about creating an experience, that supports a business’s innate desire to connect with their customers on a deeper level than ever before — and vice versa.
This is nothing new, but it’s strong focus is being driven by the consumer’s demand for more authenticity and personalisation.
What does this mean for small businesses?
- Stick to the fundamentals.
- Authenticity will be the buzzword for 2022 as consumers continue to be educated and entertained by brands in ways that surpass the competition in their chase for the marketing dollar.
- Continue to create valuable content that’s focused on your customer’s needs and publish consistently. And, if you’re not already doing so, start incorporating video into your content, particularly on social media.
- Incorporate SEO fundamentals into your website content to keep the Google algorithm happy.
- Advertisers will need to find more creative and less intrusive ways to reach their target audience online, as more people use ad blockers in response to advertising fatigue.
- Revisit your customer personas to get laser-focused on their wants and desires, including what they expect from you and how they prefer to interact with your business.
Here’s to 2022. May it be prosperous year for your business!