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How Will Digital Marketing Change in 2022?

The world is changing quite rapidly, especially on the heels of the global pandemic of 2020 (and continuing). It’s only natural that the digital marketing landscape would be following that same course. The digital marketing scene for small business and large companies continues to adapt to the way the world is changing.


Digital marketing is evolving in many ways, but let us take a moment to look at a few of the factors we can expect to play a big role in 2022. As of the writing of this blog, that is only a few months away.

Happy young diverse colleagues working together to create a digital marketing strategy in the office

More Platforms

Sure, Facebook is the biggest social media powerhouse there is, but in 2022, brands can expect continued growth in the intrusion of newer and niche social media platforms.


In 2020, the voice platform Clubhouse became a big player in the social media world as it was the first major audio-only platform. The new audio innovator saw great success and continued disruption to the industry hitting 2.2 million users by January 2021. Others such as Twitter and Facebook followed suit with similar products like Twitter’s Spaces and Facebook Audio Rooms.


We’ve also seen an increase in use of more industry or goal-specific social apps like Meetup (niche club and events app), Nextdoor (an app for locals to chat, learn, and make connections within their proximate community), Dribbble (a social space specifically for designers and creatives) or Houzz (an interior design app that helps people (re)design their spaces).


Takeaway: Pay attention to big name social platforms but consider tapping into smaller, more industry-specific platforms as well. Another consideration is to try a platform like Circle, which allows you to grow private communities in a settling similar to Facebook.

Online Events

The pandemic inspired us all to be more innovative in the way we stay connected despite quarantines, stay-at-home orders and the inability to travel. Several online and hybrid events emerged that allowed people to connect, learn, socialize and explore from the safety and comfort of their homes. It looks like that desire is here to stay as we move closer to 2022.


What was once built out of a need has enlightened many businesses to encourage virtual work schedules for their employees in different capacities – according to company standards. We predict that online events and remote gatherings will continue to boom as a way to balance work and home life, as well as a continued effort to broaden our external networks.


Takeaway: Hone your craft at creating unforgettable online experiences – webinars, social events, conferences, summits and more. Consumers continue to expect the option of virtual attendance. Work to include this in your marketing strategy and make sure to make the virtual side as engaging and seamless as possible. For reference, the AfroTech Conference and HubSpot’s Inbound Conference pulled this off very well.

Storytelling

The adage we’ve been hearing for years is “content is king,” but it turns out that’s starting to shift. While content is very much still important, there’s been a shift in the how when it comes to storytelling. Studies are showing that consumers are more likely to interact with an ad or piece of content if it tells a story – a transparent one.


People are responding well when social media and blog posts tell stories they can relate to – where they can see the human qualities of the person or business expressing the content. They no longer want super-stylized, professional posts, instead they want to feel that they’re engaging with real people with human emotions, thoughts and mistakes.


Arguably this was the case as social media began to take shape. Yet, now storytelling is demanded in a way that progresses connection – video. More and more platforms are emphasizing visual media and audio to give a real feeling of connection and authenticity. Marketing strategy will do well with maintaining these elements wherever possible.


Takeaway: Reconsider your content strategy. Instead of a broad approach to your product or service marketing, leverage your customer’s feedback and relay those sentiments through human qualities and human connections. Tell a personal story. Talk about how your product or service can solve a problem in a natural way. Keep it simple. Keep it honest. It’ll increase the engagement and attention of your audience.


Voice Search

What was considered a “novelty feature” back in 2011 when Google first announced it, is now a huge part of the digital marketing landscape. In 2020, statistics show that 41% of adults used voice search at least once a day. According to this Google study, 62% of those who regularly use a voice-activated speaker say they are likely to buy something through their voice-activated speaker.


Voice search continues to grow at exponential rates as many Americans are inundated with smart or WiFi-tapped devices like from smart home devices to more on-the-go ones like Apple Watches or mobile phones.


Takeaway: Voice is expected to be a $40 billioin channel by 2022. Prepare your marketing strategy for the future making your product and content search-ready. According to seoClarity, “how,” “what,” and “best” are the top three words that consumers are searching for when trying to find information to meet their inquiries.

Delayed Payments

During the early quarters of the pandemic, consumers took to doing just about everything online, including their shopping. In 2020, the shopping scene became a bit different. Reminiscent of the in-store lay-away options of the past, we saw a rise of point-of-sale loans to help consumer stock up on whatever their hearts desired without having to pay for it immediately. Businesses like Klarna, Afterpay, Affirm, Quadpay – and later Paypal’s version, Pay-in-4, enhanced consumer shopping experiences to allow them to pay for almost anything in installments instead of outright.


Nearly 44% of people said that they use this now-popular “Buy now, pay later” feature – and it looks like it’s here to stay. Similarly, 48% said that this feature allows them to spend 10 - 20% more than they would if they were checking out with a credit card.


Takeaway: For consumers, this could be bad especially as many have admitted to the worry of overspending. For marketers, however, this could be a goldmine. People are spending more with the instant gratification of point-of-sale loans. Leverage this and include it into your marketing strategy: highlight the option. Increased revenue is inevitable as you transform audiences into customers.

Ad Targeting

Have you ever searched for a product then somehow seemed to get ads for that product over and over throughout the next couple of days or weeks on social media and web pages? Yes? We thought you may have as this is very common today. Cookies make it possible – usually, third-party cookies that have become ingratiated in the lives of so many passive consumers in tech-oriented countries.


As a refresher, companies use third-party cookies as markers to track you as you move throughout your regular internet experience. A profile of your interests and behaviors are cyber-built so your online experience is tailored to what you may algorithmically wish to see. Yes, that includes the advertisements that come your way.


In recent years, consumers have been making demands against the intrusiveness of third-party cookies, and companies were forced to listen.


Google has recently announced that they will remove the third-party cookies and ads in 2022, as shared in this Vox article, while other regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act are going above and beyond to help consumers aware of their privacy rights online. Other browsers such as Firefox and Safari were ahead of this initiative since 2013, but Google holds a 46% share in the global web market.


Takeaway: Going forward, marketers will have to find a new way to learn about consumers, without the passive intrusiveness of following them around the web.

Brand Purpose and Responsibility

Now, more than ever, consumers care about the purpose, positioning and integrity of brands. In the digital landscape, audiences are looking at brands with more scrutiny than ever before. They want to know what the brand believes, what it stands for, what is supports - and if all those things fail to align with their own values the likeliness of them doing business with a brand drops significantly.


Consumers want to understand that what the brands are saying are aligned to what they are doing, and often notice when brands are not saying anything socially responsible at all or anything relevant to the target consumer base.


Takeaway: In 2022, invest in making sure your brand guidelines are solid. Everyone who works for or creates for your company should have a clear understanding and adherence to the guidelines so that your website, social, e-mail and other digital platforms clearly tell your audience who you are as a company and what your overall mission strives to accomplish.

With these things in mind, your small business is sure to be successful in developing a digital marketing strategy for 2022. Unsure of how to use or apply these tips? Consider tapping into our digital strategy consulting here at Digalyne.

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