It’s no secret that the digital marketing industry is hard to keep up with. It seems to be that just as you get the hang of Facebook Ads or optimising your website for Google’s search engine, updates are rolled out and trends change. Usually they’re for the better – for example, we were glad to see the black hat SEO trend go out of style.
Going into 2022, some of the digital marketing industry’s trailblazers have revealed upcoming trends, predictions and best-practice. Small businesses looking to smash their new year goals should reflect on this data and consider how certain practices can be incorporated into their digital strategy to keep up with the industry.
In this article, we’ve compiled the top five digital marketing trends and predictions for 2022 which are relevant for small businesses. From content format to SEO and social media marketing, these insights are bound to inform your digital strategy this year and set you up for success.
Let’s dive in.
1. Intentionally Communicating Your Value & Purpose Will Help Build Customer Relationships
According to Google, brands should be more intentional about communicating their value and authentic purpose to stand out in 2022.
Consumers make decisions during the ‘messy middle’ of the purchase journey – the complex space between trigger and purchase where customers are won or lost. Therefore, it’s crucial to generate a memorable brand presence to keep your brand top of mind over competitors. This is achieved by communicating a clear value proposition and brand purpose that resonates with your target audience.
Relevance is as important as research. Create messages, content and experiences that are authentic to your brand and reflect the needs of your audience. Stay relevant to the platform you are marketing on, and the audience you are marketing to. Be consistent in your brand personality and messaging to create meaningful customer relationships. Don’t follow the crowd – you’ll naturally stand out when you offer individuality.
Brands such as Bunnings, Apple and Country Road have this down pat. Customers know what their brands stand for, what to expect from their products, why their products are unique, what experience comes with in-store or online purchase, and where to engage with them. They are consequently industry trailblazers.
If you aren’t clear on your brand’s value or purpose, consider these six questions:
- Why did you start your business in the first place?
- What do you want your customers to know you for?
- Why is your brand different to, or better than, competitors?
- Who does your product or service aim to serve?
- Why does it provide value?
- What are your brand values?
2. Shoppable Online Content Will Drive Sales
Google France’s Head of Youtube Ads and Creative Works, Pauline Butor, says marketers should use story-driven, shoppable content to lift sales in 2022. Shoppable content is any form of online content which allows people to directly purchase a product or visit its webpage, generally using product tags.
COVID-19 has changed the way we shop. In 2021, global ecommerce sales increased by nearly 30% because new ways to shop online through content emerged. Now your followers can shop directly through your Instagram posts, Facebook shop, buyable Pinterest pins, and more. YouTube is also currently piloting a feature that allows creators to tag products featured in their videos.
Visit these resources to learn how to set up your shop and use product tags on Instagram and Facebook.
So, why is shoppable content so effective?
It’s efficient and effortless compared to the traditional shopping method, which involves leaving your house (shock horror!), going to a store, browsing, comparing products and prices across multiple stores… the list goes on. Shoppable content helps customers easily discover new products and quickly add things to their cart without greatly disturbing their viewing experience (or daily routine). For businesses, it supports product discovery and upselling, shortens the customer journey, makes conversion tracking easier, and guides future digital strategy.
It’s one thing to have consumers at your fingertips, but how do you encourage them to cross the finish line and actually purchase?
Google’s ABCD concept for video content is a great guide for all content:
Attract: Hook and sustain people with immersive storytelling.
Brand: Brand early, often and richly.
Connect: Help people think and feel something.
Direct: Ask them to take action.
On Instagram, for example, this may look like a product tag on a piece of user-generated content with a call to action in the caption. Clicking on a product tag will take the user to your Instagram Shop.
This post by Zahar inspires followers to stack jewellery like the model and asks them to take action.
3. Video Will Continue To Be The Most Effective Form Of Social Content
In both Hubspot’s Not Another State Of Marketing Report 2021 and The Marketing Trends Of 2022, video content ranks as the most effective form of digital content. 59% of marketers already use video in their marketing strategy, one in four of which say it yields the highest return on investment (ROI).
Why, you ask?
We are constantly stimulated by content and advertisements, so creating eye-catching and engaging content that stands out from the crowd is imperative for being remembered. Video is dynamic, offers room for creativity and is therefore more likely to stop people in their tracks when scrolling.
Video is also more likely to be repurposed in other marketing avenues, making the investment completely worth it. You can post snippets on social media, build out a YouTube channel, embed them on your website, and use them as Facebook or Google ads. The best part is, video is becoming increasingly accessible and affordable for businesses of all sizes. It should be in every small business’s toolkit.
All you need is a smartphone, editing software and a clear vision. As we touched on in trend #1, set out with a purpose. How will the video frame your brand and what action does it aim to drive? Is it built for YouTube, TikTok or Facebook? Can your audience watch it without audio? Does it encourage shareability? Is it targeting the top, middle or bottom of the marketing funnel?
Here’s how video content for each stage of the funnel should generally look:
If you use Mac products you can edit for free using iMovie, but there are also plenty of higher-quality, affordable options on the market, such as Adobe Premiere Pro (which you can try-before-you-buy!).
4. Social Marketing Will Be Most Effective When Organic & Paid Strategies Are Paired
According to Hootsuite’s Marketing Trends 2022 Report, 65% of marketers have integrated their paid and organic social media. This means attracting new customers while simultaneously deepening relationships with existing ones is the way to go in 2022.
Incorporating both organic and paid social into your marketing strategy this year is an excellent example of the Swiss Cheese model. While posting organically is great for keeping your brand top-of-mind, establishing brand personality and sharing information with people who already know your brand, it lacks the ability to effectively reach new audiences. On the other hand, paid advertisements help you reach new audiences who are likely to resonate with your brand, but they’re limited by budget and never fully controllable.
Organic and paid social media both have gaps in ability, which can lead to missed opportunities.
By using them in tandem, the gaps of one method are filled by the other, therefore creating one whole piece of cheese and a strong social media marketing strategy. Attracting new customers while simultaneously deepening relationships with existing ones prevents you from missing any opportunity for business growth. Moral of the story: up your organic social game and start using Facebook and Instagram ads.
Our Swiss Cheese theory can be taken a step further – social media marketing in conjunction with other strategies, such as SEO and Google Ads, promotes stronger brand awareness and recall. 55% of marketers say their social strategy is completely integrated with other marketing activities.
Social media is also a great informational tool. Because it allows for direct communication with followers and can easily track trends and behaviour, 48% of marketers are using it to learn more about what their customers want so they can deliver it.
5. Marketers Will Invest The Same Or More In Search Engine Optimisation
According to Hubspot, 84% of marketers will be investing the same amount or more into SEO in 2022. 49% consider it highly effective and 61% say improving it is their top inbound marketing priority.
We believe SEO is crucial for all small businesses. Although yes, it is an investment, and yes, it doesn’t generate immediate return, SEO is crucial for ensuring your website is effective and optimised to support your other marketing activities. For example, people clicking through to your website from social ads may feel less inclined to take action if your website has poor user experience.
Optimising a smaller website and continually optimising as it grows is far more effective than doing an overhaul on a large website. Set yourself up for future success.
Google’s search algorithms are constantly evolving. SEO is no longer about cramming as many keywords as possible into your website – it’s about expertly-written content and website design that pleases the user. Google is more likely to show your website for relevant search queries if it knows it will genuinely help the user and be enjoyable to use. This creates a great user experience and upholds Google’s own stellar reputation as a search engine.
Long story short, SEO is a must-have for your 2022 digital marketing strategy.
Here are 2022’s top SEO trends, according to Hubspot:
- 55% of marketers are optimising their content with search-driven keywords
- 49% consider image and video optimisation as their most effective SEO tactic
- 63% say link building is their most effective SEO tactic
- 41% plan to increase their investment in voice search tactics
Ready To Kick Your 2022 Goals?
We’re geared and ready for another year of achieving incredible results for our clients. Reach out to our team today to start the year strong.