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10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022

When’s the last time you checked in with your digital marketing strategy? Brush up on the top trends for 2022…

As digital marketing becomes ever more vital to business success, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve. In this post, we forecast 10 of the top digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022. Which could you implement into your marketing strategy for the year ahead?

Table of contents

  1. What is digital marketing?
  2. 10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022
    1. The rise of voice, ML and AI
    2. Growth in virtual & augmented reality
    3. Continued dominance of video content
    4. Growth in audio marketing
    5. Continued evolution of social media marketing
    6. A move to respectful, personalised & contextualised content
    7. Increase in tools for digital storytelling
    8. Putting your money where your mouth is with engagement
    9. Increase in demonstrating core values
    10. Continued importance of SEO

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing lets you market your product or service via online and digital media to gain exposure. For example, digital marketing can include creating a website and promoting your presence using well-written content, blog posts, social media content and videos or images. Content marketing, search engine optimisation (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) are all inbound marketing activities that come under the umbrella of digital marketing.

10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022

As digital marketing has become the norm for generating cost-effective exposure, digital trends are constantly emerging and evolving. Whether you’re looking to begin a new business or boost your visibility, a new year is a great time to take another look at your marketing strategy and consider how to adapt it for the current digital landscape.

So what digital marketing trends should you be watching out for in 2022?

1. The rise of voice, ML and AI

A face made up of data points - AI - 10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022 - Copify blog

Machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistants such as Siri, Cortana and Alexa continue to make their way into our homes and our palms. All of which means digital marketing needs to adapt, as voice-activated search and algorithms are becoming more integrated into our daily habits than ever before.

Machine learning can drive personalisation by making inferences about people’s interests or needs based on their activity on websites or social media profiles. Virtual assistants are also using natural language processing to process requests made by consumers using everyday language, rather than tapping keywords into search bars.

With these factors resulting in an increase of personalised digital experiences for prospects and existing customers, digital marketers need to get on board in order to stay ahead of the competition.

It goes without saying that content strategies need to be adjusted to help get found by those using voice search functions, but all digital marketers need to understand that algorithms interact with the buyer’s journey by making a range of nuanced suggestions.

Customer journeys may no longer follow a linear path set out by a content marketing strategy alone. Even if you implement AI within your own website, as is increasingly recommended, customers to third-party sites may be diverted by other conflicting suggestions. So, your business needs to be ready to react by covering a range of bases and possible user journeys in your strategy.

2. Growth in virtual & augmented reality

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) are going to play a big role in digital marketing as we move ever closer to life in the metaverse. The pandemic has only accelerated our transition into an online world, with a rise in ecommerce and virtual meeting spaces being just one example. Now, digital marketers need to actively look for new ways to engage prospects or existing customers with new virtual technology which can enhance and engage like never before.

VR allows digital marketers to give a ‘true-to-life’ viewing experience by using 3D visual effects while AR superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world. For example, when people use their phone to view fashion product listings from an online retailer that have been tagged with AR data, they can see the clothes on a virtual mannequin in their own home without the hassle of trying them on in a changing room.

This is increasingly in-demand technology, so businesses selling online who want to set themselves apart and reap the rewards would do well to think about investing in it.

3. Continued dominance of video content

Video continues to be a digital marketing winner, whether it’s being used for customer testimonials or product tutorials. 2022 is set to be no different, except that rather than being a perk, more and more users are now expecting companies to utilise video marketing.

As such, digital marketers will need to ensure that their campaigns include video across the most suitable platforms, as it is bound to continue growing in importance with digital content being consumed on-the-go.

However, since video is set to become so commonplace, HubSpot thinks we’re likely to see a shift to shorter videos, but more of them. And don’t forget captions for greater accessibility.

4. Growth in audio marketing

Two women recording a podcast in a living room - 10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022 - Copify blog

Following on from video marketing, audio content is also paving the way to ever-greater accessibility in content marketing. Podcasts ballooned in the pandemic and have been a lifeline for those with visual impairments.

It’s not just celebrities getting in on the action either. There’s a growing army of influencer podcasts, and brands are also using this medium as a way to share insight with their existing audience base, gain new followers and align themselves with certain causes or subject matters.

Where commercial radio advertising may no longer be as wide-reaching as it once was, advertising across certain podcasts or audio streaming channels could be more targeted and effective. According to Forbes:

“As podcast listening grows, ad dollars are following. IAB PricewaterhouseCoopers’ estimated podcast ad spend was $800 million in 2020, and will more than double to $1.7 billion by 2024, an annual growth of nearly 20%.”

Further afield, audio overlays on websites and text-to-speech functionalities look set to grow in 2022 and beyond.

5. Continued evolution of social media marketing

Social media is playing an increasingly key role in digital marketing as digital marketers look for ways to engage their audience. For example, digital marketers will want to try experimenting with new content formats like 360° videos and virtual reality (VR) or augmented reality (AR).

As above, social media platforms are becoming more and more integrated into aspects of our offline lives, so expect more VR experiences such as forays into online shopping and virtual try-ons.

HubSpot also suggests brands may begin to invest in more permanent social media content over ephemeral posts, though the latter won’t be going away anytime soon.

6. A move to respectful, personalised & contextualised content

Content marketing continues to be the bedrock of digital marketing, but as attitudes change, it needs to be done with greater integrity. As such, digital marketers need to be moving towards contextualised content marketing. This means looking at new ways to engage prospects with tailored, personalised content that is contextualised for segments of audience groups depending on the platform they’re accessing it, the time of day, location and more.

According to Marketing Insider Group:

“Contextualized content marketing is a more in-depth look at the importance of relevance.”

Targeting your content effectively is important based on demographics and previous buyer habits, but you can also do little things like use images and video that more closely reflects the audience you’re addressing, such as female-led images for emails sent to female customers, and vice versa.

Don’t forget as well that there’s a greater trend towards well-being and mindfulness pervading western society, so you want to show that you respect your customers by not bombarding them with content all the time.

Similarly, offer them ways to receive your content in a way that is sensitive to their needs. Over the last two years, we’ve seen an increase in brands giving users the option to opt out of campaigns that could be potentially triggering, such as mother’s day and father’s day marketing.

Data use by marketers is a topic in itself that is only going to become more fiercely discussed, so be prepared to review and tweak your current practices.

7. Increase in tools for digital storytelling

Storytelling has always been a core facet of advertising, and over the last decade more and more marketers have been incorporating it into their strategy.

With a growth in the democratisation of storytelling tools, such as video platforms like TikTok, more and more customer bases are increasingly switching to this means of relaying their values and achievements, and it won’t be long before businesses follow suit.

Again digital trends such as virtual reality will play an increased role in digital storytelling, empowering digital marketers to create immersive experiences for their customers and clients.

8. Putting your money where your mouth is with engagement

A video call screen with lots of participants - 10 digital marketing trends to watch for in 2022 - Copify blog

It’s no longer enough to add your customers’ names to your email subject lines. Personalisation and engagement now mean seeking out ways to build stronger relationships with your customers. Your customers want to be seen as individuals, not just another name on a database.

Adapt your tone to be more friendly and approachable, speak their language and above all reach out to them. Send them content you genuinely think they’ll enjoy and benefit from, even if it doesn’t send traffic directly to your site but another’s.

Then, look at ways to build the points of connection you have with your customers. Perhaps you send out quarterly questionnaires asking for feedback in exchange for a discount; what about holding regional focus groups and inviting your most loyal customers; or even a loyalty club that has regular online get-togethers to build a sense of community?

Some great examples are Hotel Chocolat’s Inventing Room subscription and QVC’s Qurio community.

When you invest in your customers, they’ll thank you for it.

9. Increase in demonstrating core values

Have you noticed a trend so far? There’s a greater emphasis on the individual and causes that are bigger than business.

The pandemic has brought a huge change in the way we think about our impact on the world and each other. It’s no longer enough to push the hard sell and only think about your profit margins. Digital marketing needs to reflect changing perspectives, whether it’s about taking active steps to end hunger or fight climate change.

Initiatives such as planting a tree for every newsletter sign up or making a donation on every new purchase could help set you apart and help you create a stronger brand.

Read More: Branding Awareness Essentials series

10. Continued importance of SEO

The digital landscape is always changing, but SEO will continue to be at the forefront of digital marketing trends for years to come. Search engines still pick up the bulk of our initial enquiries, which is why SEO will continue to be so important. But with more businesses than ever forced online into the global marketplace following the pandemic, SEO will become even more competitive.

A good digital strategy provides a solid foundation that underpins all other inbound marketing. But SEO marketing does need to evolve in line with the trends and changing user habits.

It’s no longer enough to just publish content online and share it on social media platforms. Digital marketers need to work hard to know what users are searching for and create targeted, purpose-driven content that builds digital authority and ensures all avenues lead back to their brand.

✏️Not sure where to start? Get in touch with us at Copify today.

Header image: Photo by Carl Heyerdahl

Embedded images: h heyerlein, Kate Oseen, Chris Montgomery

Wendy Woodhead

Wendy is the Account Director at Copify and a qualified copywriter and proofreader. She has spent six years copy editing and copywriting for B2B and B2C clients and has experience in freelance and in-house arts marketing and digital content creation. Wendy likes to write about language and literature, digital marketing, history, current affairs, and arts and culture. In her spare time she enjoys yoga, reading and writing fiction.

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