If 2022 proves to be anything like that past two years, we are in for a ride!
Due to the COVID pandemic and other factors, marketing has drastically changed in the last year. Marketing is an ever-evolving profession, but the previous year has seen monumental changes like never before.
Consumers are changing how they purchase goods, with online shopping being at the forefront of this change. This means that marketers and sales professionals need to adapt to this changing environment as well.
Digital marketing is now more critical than ever before. Marketers seek the newest and best ways to allocate their growing budgets with the economic recovery in sight.
How marketing performs in this changing environment will directly impact the overall results. So for those who want to stay ahead of the curve, here are the most important digital marketing trends to watch.
Marketing Has to Account for Hybrid Lifestyles
Perhaps one of the most significant shifts due to the pandemic is one toward a hybrid lifestyle. When the pandemic lockdowns closed in-person events, people had to find new ways to work, shop, live and recreate.
Virtual events, online shopping, working from the home office became the norm. However, as pandemic restrictions ease, people are beginning to go back to in-person shopping, learning, working, and finding entertainment.
However, not everybody has returned to the old ways, and many still prefer performing these tasks from home. Therefore, this hybridization of life is a leading factor in emerging marketing trends.
Marketers should be aware that while many will go back to in-person events, many prefer to conduct business from home. So, marketing efforts also need to be hybridized to target both fronts of this new lifestyle. For instance, in-person events feature growing digital components to simultaneously target those at home.
Quality Content is Taking Over
Search engine optimization has been a driving element of digital marketing. While SEO is still as important as ever, how it is performed is rapidly evolving. “Content is king” is true – but more quality over quantity.
Previously, many believed that the quantity of content was the most crucial factor in SEO. This is the “old more is better mentality.” However, as both marketing and consumerism change, so has this mentality.
The focus has dramatically shifted from the quantity of content to the quality produced. To achieve high SEO rankings, the quality of the content is now more critical. Search engines such as Google emphasize longer, educational, well-written, and well-researched content.
No longer is it enough for a blog to cover various topics, as long as they cover them all. To really engage with their target audiences, websites must now provide greater value to their readers. Audiences want actionable information that provides some kind of value for their everyday lives.
Therefore, today, it’s more beneficial to provide quality content less frequently instead of flooding consumers with a lot of low-quality content. In the ever-changing marketing world, the quality of the content produced is outpacing the importance of quantity.
Video Content Will Remain a Top Marketing Format
Video marketing is said to be the number one strategy in a recent HubSpot marketing report. It appears above content/blogging and even email marketing.
Their survey found 59% use video as part of their marketing strategy, and even 76% say it is their most effective strategy. Further, 27% have said video provides the biggest ROI.
“Video creates a deeper connection with your potential customer base and it is easy for brands to repurpose video content into podcasts and text-based content,” Neil Patel CMO and Co-Founder of NP Digital, says.
Video creation has become much easier – something that even teams without a production team can accomplish effectively.
The Advent of Artificial Intelligence in Influencer Marketing
A growing marketing trend in 2022 will be the incorporation of AI into influencer marketing. Influencer marketing is currently valued at roughly $10 billion but may reach $15 billion by 2022. Many marketers report that as much as 20% of their budgets are used for influencer marketing.
While influencer marketing is still growing, it is changing. AI or artificial intelligence is set to play a much more significant role. Technology can be used in virtually every aspect of influencer marketing.
For instance, AI can be used to assess influencer videos in terms of their results. Artificial intelligence will likely be the driving factor behind performance influencer marketing in the coming years. Moreover, by incorporating predictive-based AI, marketers can be assured that their budgets are optimized.
Utilizing AI to ensure that influencer conversions and sales are paid for will become integral to marketing budgets. AI, in part, can also help influencers target specific audiences with greater accuracy and efficacy.
The better influencers can target specific market segments, the higher the ROI will be. However, human intelligence cannot be discounted, but there is no avoiding that AI is set to play a much more significant role in influencer marketing in the years to come.
Cookies Are on Their Last Legs
A major change spurred by Google is that in early 2022, it will stop tracking cookies. Unfortunately, for any business with an online component, this can spell disaster.
Many businesses rely on this method of tracking users to create and adjust marketing plans and goals. Therefore, knowing who visitors are and what they purchase is a significant determining factor in marketing strategies.
The issue is privacy. The public has growing concerns about personal privacy. They do not like being tracked due to a fear of having their personal and financial information compromised.
While allowing consumers to opt-out of being tracked by cookies has helped, most still have concerns. For this reason, a growing trend is that of implementing zero-party of first-party consumer data collection models.
Both these systems allow businesses to collect relevant consumer information while also providing privacy. In addition, this type of data collection will enable consumers to provide their data directly to a business.
This could take the form of simple interactions between consumers and businesses, gamification, surveys, and more.
Increasingly, businesses need to find new ways to collect consumer data without making consumers feel like they are being spied on. Using various CRM tools to collect such data once cookies are finally gone will become more critical than ever before.
The Mission Matters – Engaging With Nonprofit Organizations
One clear thing is that consumers are looking to buy from businesses that have charitable goals. Many consumers are fed up with companies whose only goals are to make profits without regarding consequences.
While capitalism is still strong, consumers are looking for more ways to give back, and a way for them to do this is to purchase goods and services from a business that gives back to the community. People want to see that their purchases are benefiting the world.
This can be from supporting a charitable organization, selling eco-friendly goods, and more. Consumerism now includes charitable sentiment and altruism.
This means that marketing, now more than ever, needs to change to account for this. A business viewed as philanthropic is much more likely to meet its marketing and sales goals. Donating portions of sales, altruistic product placement, and charitable sponsorships can help meet these changing needs.
As the world changes in employment, education, and consumer habits, marketing must adapt to survive. Now, more than ever, people are looking for value and quality.
Moreover, many are now doing so from home and not wanting to put their privacy at risk. Finally, of course, one cannot discount the growing trend of technology such as artificial intelligence. If marketers can accommodate the new norms and trends, they can stay ahead of the competition.