If the last 18 months have taught us anything, it’s that change occurs whether we’re ready for it or not.
But, with careful planning, we can recognise trends to help prepare our business for the coming years.
If marketers want to be successful in 2022, consider the following suggestions.
Businesses are increasingly turning to artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation to improve performance.
According to IDC, worldwide AI spending may double in the next four years. This trend isn’t limited to large corporations either – we see it across all industries, from retail to healthcare.
With AI, digital marketers can easily target customers with tailored messages, track customer interests and preferences, and predict their next moves. AI will not only empower marketers to think smarter but act faster.
AI is becoming more innovative and capable than ever before. It’s also getting cheaper and easier to deploy at scale. Soon, AI will become an essential part of every business process—from customer support to sales to marketing to operations.
By 2022, it’s forecasted that 50% of UK households will own a smart speaker. Voice-based shopping will surpass £3.5 billion next year.
Users are becoming more accustomed to speaking their queries rather than typing them. Google has seen a 50% increase in voice searches since 2012.
Voice-activated smartphones already help users keep up with the news, send messages, check the weather, or play music.
It’s predicted mobile voice search will become more popular than text-based searches.
Paid Social Media Ads
With 3.6 billion members worldwide, people are now more likely than ever to interact with a brand via social media.
Because we live in a world where time is money and our attention spans shrink with every app notification or email we read, paid social media advertising is a must.
Social media has become more than just “friending” people: it’s about getting those friends to buy what we’re selling as well as sharing our content with others who might also want to buy.
If brands want to succeed in this new digital era, marketers need to start using paid social media ads to keep with these marketing opportunities.
There’s no question that social media advertising has a compelling hold on internet ad revenue. It reached $41.5 billion in 2020, making up nearly 30% of all internet ad income.
The sheer number of consumers using these platforms is what makes them so appealing to advertisers.
Engaging Generation Z – Influencers and Micro-influencers
Generation Z (born 1997-2012); known for being tech-savvy and social media obsessed. Brands need to engage them if they’re to succeed in the coming years.
Here are three key steps to take to connect with Generation Z:
- Make it mobile – heavy users of smartphones
- Create content that involves real-life experiences
- Provide free content for users to engage with
This generation is the first to be more comfortable with social media than face-to-face communication. They’re often called “digital natives” because they’ve never known a world without the internet. As such, digital marketing strategy needs to keep in step.
Live stream video offers an intimate, authentic experience that strengthens loyalty. It lets people from all over the world connect in real-time.
By 2022, video will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic.
While some brands prefer to show products, others use video to show their face and connect with consumers to create trust.
People no longer want just advertisements. Instead, they want substance, and they want it fast. Use live streaming to:
- Drive traffic back to websites
- Promote events
- Make announcements
With a large global audience, brands and influencers need to implement live streaming as a marketing tactic for their business.
Live streaming is an excellent tool for following a brand’s story, whereas traditional advertising falls short in this area.
Celebrities were considered the most influential people on Instagram. That changed when micro-influencer platforms emerged.
Micro-influencers often work independently and use marketing strategies such as sponsored posts, branded products, giveaways, and paid collaborations.
Micro-influencers can be as effective as major ones, giving brands great exposure for a fraction of the price.
Chatbots are revolutionising customer service. Customers can get support from companies any time of day or night.
By 2022, experts predict that chatbots will be capable of addressing around 75-90% of healthcare and financial issues, and the public will use them more often than apps. They’ll give instant answers to questions and provide information to customers at the click of a button.
Marketers can also use bots to provide timely reminders about upcoming events.
Personalisation and Customisation
Customers are becoming increasingly picky about product quality, forcing businesses to provide bespoke items. The Wall Street Journal reported that personalisation is the new technological battleground.
Personalised marketing is about delivering the right message at the right time. If you want loyal customers, you’ll need to create a personalised experience.
The more tailored and customised digital marketing is, the better. An example of personalisation would be an online restaurant that shows a different menu to each customer based on their previous orders or preferences.
The demand for personalisation and customisation is here to stay.
The Cookie Crumbles
Despite news of a delay until 2023, Google’s expulsion of the cookie demonstrates another marketing trend.
The popularity of zero-party data is increasing by the day. In a nutshell, it’s data that comes directly from the consumer to a business. For example, data might be collected through surveys, gamification, or simple online interaction with consumers.
Consider improving your CRM solutions since this data will become essential once cookie tracking is no longer used.
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
Brands can now offer an interactive experience with just a couple of clicks. Customers may try on clothes virtually, explore new house options, or transform their kitchen design before buying, thanks to 3D Virtual Reality technology. VR is an ideal way of providing customers with a deeper understanding of a product or service by bringing it straight to their homes.
The next step in VR lets businesses conduct conferences, seminars, trade shows, and other events virtually rather than expecting people to travel. VR may create a sense of shared space that isn’t easy to accomplish over the internet. Industries benefiting from Augmented Reality are the healthcare, automotive, and travel sectors. AR could be used in any industry which requires a person to see or experience something to understand it. Marketers should consider these technologies a low-cost, high-impact alternative to traditional advertising rather than a costly gimmick.
2022: It’s Coming
Whether you’re ready for it or not, change is on its way.
Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR), machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) are just a few of the trends changing how we interact with almost everything.
Customers want a simple option and a personalised experience, and industries are already modernising customer service solutions to give them both.
It’s never too early to start planning, so keep an eye out for new developments in customer service, marketing strategy, and technical innovation as we approach 2022.
Christian is a British-born entrepreneur and founder of Marwick. For over 19 years, Christian has successfully helped businesses excel in digital marketing. Founded in 2012, Marwick has grown from a start-up to the 11th Fastest Growing Company in Canada in 2020 and expanded into the UK in 2019.