The last year of 2021 unloaded a lot of pressure on brands and their marketing teams. Bigger competition, a clutter of content, numerous social media platforms to look after, the list goes on, so do the requirements for successful marketing. Already in 2022, we can clearly witness the rising trends in action and make predictions on how things will escalate. So let’s jump straight into the digital marketing trends of 2022 and see how we can keep up with the ever-growing competition.
If we can pinpoint a concept that wraps its hands around every trend, this is personalization. The deeper more personal connection between your brand and your audience makes the difference and will help you cut through the clutter.
Digital Marketing Trends 2022: Overview
1. Digital Marketing in 2022: Trends to Approach Your Audience
In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the trends surrounding email marketing, social media channels, the importance of influencers, and the rise of social commerce.
- Over 3.8 Billion active users on social media
- An average user has accounts on 9 different social media platforms
- More than 90% of social media users access the platforms on mobile devices
- Poor customer service is the number one reason why consumers will unfollow a brand on social media (56%). The second reason is posting irrelevant content (51%).
1.1. Email Marketing
What will never change is the basic principle behind email marketing to send the right message to the right person at the right time. In order to do this the right way, however, the blueprints undergo constant changes. Email marketing is effective and its value is constantly growing, but so are the stakes.
Undoubtedly, the most important email marketing trend is still a must for personalization. The culture is shifting as the pandemic has changed the way we all consume emails. Audiences want a more personal connection with brands, on a more human level. It’s all about a real, authentic interest in your customers. To do that, think of more dynamic content and utilize AI- approaches that have proven successful by bigger companies. When you address your audience by their name and give relevant content, it feels like an email sent by a friend. This way more subscribers will engage and feel listened to and valued.
Although this one seems very challenging for some, there are various email personalization tools to make it much easier.
Customer appreciation emails, such as birthday, anniversary, milestone or thank you emails, enjoy high rates and a deeper connection between a company and its customers. Through showing much-needed during the pandemic empathy and emotional connection, you build relationships, trust, and inspire engagement and loyalty.
Sending boring emails is unthinkable these days. Every subscriber is looking for entertainment, so designers and marketers have to get creative when designing emails. A good fun design can create a friendly atmosphere for newcomers and cement relationships with the audience you already have. Especially popular are animated gifs, dynamic effects, cartoons, and overall creative designs.
On the other hand, don’t overdo it with elements as another strong trend is rising. Minimalism has been pretty popular in the past year and is most likely coming to take over email campaigns as well. However, this is hardly your only option. You can get creative and trendy and craft amazing brutalist, neon, and even cartoony emails that your viewers will instantly fall in love with. You could check the Graphic Design Trends 2022 or Web Design Trends 2022 for more inspiration and ideas on how to captivate your audience in style.
Keep in mind, that emails aren’t landing pages and you should always follow the best practices and make sure you’re aware of how every element renders on different platforms and email clients.
In addition, it’s an absolute must to have a responsive design that renders perfectly on mobile devices as nearly 90% of all users will open your email from their smartphones.
In short, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing that relies on social proof. The brands benefit from influencers (celebrities, bloggers, and other influential individuals) to mention their products and services, thus relying on the trust these individuals have already built up with their audiences.
Influencer marketing is relatively new and untraditional but this new manner of targeting seems to be resulting in excellent numbers. So what are the most important rising trends?
1.2.1 Mature Market
Influencer marketing is no longer limited to only teen and young adult audiences. This gives a new opportunity for brands to grow awareness in social media and gain relevance.
1.2.2 Micro Influences
Influencers with less than 10K followers are on the rise. They have limited reach in comparison to bigger influencers, however, they are more affordable to work with and have the advantage of niche audiences and high engagement. For this reason, many smaller businesses and local brands find them extremely efficient.
1.2.3 More Niche
Most bigger influencers tend to promote a variation of products and services, which often dilutes the expected results for all brands involved. To prevent this, brands have already started looking specifically for influencers who can cater to their niche. This results in many influencers creating multiple accounts each dedicated to a different niche, or simply ditching some of the niches.
1.3. Social Media Channels
Thanks to the statistics, it’s easier to make predictions on which platforms to prioritize.
- Facebook: 2.74 billion monthly active users
- YouTube: 2.29 billion monthly active users
- Instagram: 1.22 billion monthly active users
- TikTok: 689 million
- Reddit: 430 million
- Twitter: 353 million
- LinkedIn: 300 million
- Pinterest: 459 million
Other statistics to consider when preparing your strategy:
- Instagram has the highest user engagement compared to any other platform.
- Visual content achieves 40 times more shares than content that is only text-based.
1.4. Blogging and Vlogging
One thing will never change and that is the need to create exciting content for your audience outside of promoting your services. This includes helpful tutorials, tips, or even memes.
In addition, the more blogging and vlogging become popular as a tool in digital marketing, the more important it is to improve the experience of your content. There is nothing more frustrating to an audience than an article plagued with ads and pop-ups or numerous featured products and services between the paragraphs. This results in a lot of scrolling and disrupts the experience. Focus on the content.
1.4.1 Highly Visual Content
Blog articles are much more engaging with videos and infographics. Users should be able to understand your content just by scanning through the page.
Videos should also be on point and feature engaging visuals such as animations and animated infographics, or any visual example rather than just a person talking on a camera the entire video.
1.4.2 Relevant Content
Thanks to analytics, nowadays it is much easier to gain comprehensive knowledge about what your audience likes and engages the most with. The more you post, the more data you will get and the better data-driven decisions you will be able to make.
1.4.3. Voice Search
With the rise of smart speakers, more and more users search through voice commands. It is important to optimize your blogs for voice search so your target audience could easily find your content.
1.5. Social Commerce
A trend in itself, social commerce is convenient and slowly but steadily becomes a preferred option amongst users. The shopping happens directly on the social media platform or leads to a product page with an immediate option for purchasing.
Instagram launched Instagram Checkout in 2019 to allow purchases directly on its platform.
Facebook launched facebook shops in 2020 in order to help smaller businesses bring their storefronts.
As is a relatively new experience with rising numbers, the prognosis point to social commerce representing 4.3% of all eCommerce sales. According to Insider Intelligence, US retail social commerce sales reached almost 35% to $36 billion in 2021.
2. Digital Marketing in 2022: User Experience Trends
The stakes become higher as everyone, including your customers, had a difficult time in 2020. Everyone expects better support, better experience, better everything. A brand is expected to be empathetic, open to a more personal connection with its audience, and more open to showing how it’s getting things done.
2.1. AI personalization
Consumers are looking online for the same quality of service they would get in a traditional retail environment. They need brands to provide them with what they need, which requires the same brand to have the means to predict that. The answer is hyper-personalization through AI.
AI personalization tools make it possible for brands to leverage gathered data and translate it into a personalized experience for their audience. Based on country, age, searches, and purchases, every consumer will easily find exactly what they need.
This brings us to the next point:
2.2. Data-Privacy Restrictions
With all the scandals surrounding social media platforms for tracking, collecting, and leaking user data, it’s natural for customers to be wary of how their data is handled. We can all expect increasing browser privacy restrictions to follow after Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention Update.
Data privacy restrictions give users control over their data, so brands need to transition to an opt-in approach in order to earn trust. Always be aware of the newest data privacy regulations to be able to adapt and balance your strategy.
This is now more of a norm than a trend. When we go on an eCommerce website and decide on a product, the first thing we look for is actual customers’ reviews, ideally with attached photos or videos of the product. The possibility for customers to give their own unbias comments about a brand will give a better reputation and competitive advantages to the brand. Especially if there are reviews from trusted sources.
When it comes to benefits. the brand can also share these reviews on their social media platforms to show how real people feel about their services and spread even more awareness.
The most relevant and trusted reviews are the ones through Google’s business.
2.4. Better Product Visualization
It’s no news there are eCommerce websites that sell low-quality replicas of products but use the images of the original product to trick users into buying. This is why authenticity is another important thing you need to guarantee. Your audience will be looking for better visualization: preview images, product videos, 3D models, and everything that will convince a consumer that this is exact;y what they will get.
2.5. Freebies / Tests
It’s no secret that freebies can generate a lot of sales over time and this has never been more relevant. More brands use freebies in order to introduce their services to audiences who are unfamiliar with them. Offering helpful and wanted products and services for free inspires loyalty and expands your customer’s knowledge about what you offer. It also encourages them to make a purchase.
Examples of what you can offer include a free eBook, social media content calendar, how-to guides, podcast, a sample of a product (ex. if you offer a premium 300 slides of PowerPoint presentation, you can offer 15 free slides as a sample). You can offer a 30-day free trial for your users to test your software.
When it comes to effective marketing, however, the most popular strategy is to offer free valuable digital products in exchange for the user’s email address. This way you will be able to drop by their box and let them know more about your services through relevant compelling emails. In short, freebies will help you generate a bigger audience.
3. Digital Marketing in 2022: Campaign Trends
Digital marketing campaigns aren’t constant and depend specifically on the current circumstances your business is in and what you wish to achieve. Despite that, we can pinpoint that brand awareness, social media followers (bigger audience) and SEO score are always worth considering. So what are the trends?
3.1. Video Ads are the Future
According to eMarketer’s key stat, by 2023 the world’s population will be near 8 billion for the first time, over 39% of earthlings will be digital video viewers. In comparison, this number was 35% in 2019. But what about the video digital marketing trends?
3.1.1. Vertical Videos
As it’s already become evident, most internet users access the internet through mobile devices, which dictates vertical video ads for users’ convenience. Social media platforms are already embracing the trend and this will continue in the next few years.
3.1.2 Shorter Videos
Another important trend is that video ads become even shorter than before. The shorter the video, the more willing the audiences are to watch it. In order to grab the consumer’s attention, a video should be reduced to 5-15 seconds.
This is the addition of elements such as CTA, forms, polls, and a narrative of the video that depends on the user’s actions.
3.2. Cross-Platform Campaigns
Multi-channel digital marketing creates intersection points between your brand and your audiences. Since these audiences engage with multiple social media networks, however, you can’t just end it by copying the same message on all your platforms. On one hand, this will damage your credibility, on the other, not all platforms are suitable for the same type of content.
It begins with developing buyer personas and adapting a specific campaign for each segment. The results? Increased chances for your brand to be preferred by the audiences, improved customer experience, and increased engagement.
3.3. A/B Testing
The best way to understand your target market and pain points is through A/B testing. The trends here pinpoint personalization testing to deliver the most relevant experience to your audience.
3.3.1. Personalization Testing
Means include combining on- and offline data to create omnichannel personalization, segmenting by behavior, demographics, and geography; and using machine learning to draw data on the preferences of your audience through their browsing history.
3.3.2. Cross-Organization Testing
Its sole purpose is to deliver the best service experience and win loyalty amongst the customers and long-run success. It happens on a couple of levels, usually like this:
- Pre-launch testing
- Feature testing
- Experience testing
- Price testing
- Marketing testing
- Channel testing
Giveaways, especially on Instagram are quite popular and a significant number of brands have jumped on the opportunity to get participants. This makes it difficult to compete and cut through the clutter for smaller businesses. So what can a small business do?
3.4.1. Utilizing Stories
Instagram Stories is the best format to promote your giveaway. Their native fonts, stickers, gifts, and effects can make your story interactive, relatable, while hashtags and geotags, are searchable by the desired audience.
Same as with promoting services, giveaways also require good visual material. And what is better than a short video demonstration of the giveaway product in action? Or how about the item being packed and ready to be sent away?
3.5. Client Segmentation
Every business has different types of clients. Let’s look at GraphicMama for example – in general, we are making cartoons and illustrations. We can group our audience into a few groups such as teachers, designers, businesses, marketers, and many more.
Let’s say we want to send an email to our clients about new products. We can write one email and send it to everybody. The issue will that is, only one segment will find it valuable, while the others will ignore it or mark it as spam, or even unsubscribe. People don’t wish to read irrelevant content. This is why we would make a different email for each type based on what is relevant and valuable to them.
For example, the designers are looking for more design elements to help them create different products. This is exactly what we’ll feature in the campaign directed to designers. For the teachers, we will feature valuable materials for teaching, such as educational illustrations, relevant PowerPoint templates, and infographics to help their lectures in a friendly style.
4. Digital Marketing in 2022: Design Trends
This year is wild for the designers as well. The trends set full chaos of styles and bright colors, opposing concepts and it all seems like a big game with no rules. Both minimalism and maximalism are trending, as well as 3D, surrealism, natural, chaos typography, optical illusions, and more. When it comes to digital marketing, however, we’ll only highlight the essential.
4.1. 3D Illustrations and Animations
There’s a powerful drift towards hyper-realistic life-like visuals that blur the line between the digital and physical. Another rising hot trend is combining 3D design with flat illustrations and photography, as well as adding movement by animating certain elements of the composition.
4.2. Bright Colors
Saturated, illuminating, and energetic candy colors are dominating the design with life and dynamic. Color is always in trend, but you might ask which are the current best colors and color combinations?
Yellow is the top choice for attention-grabber, especially in a combination with grey or black.
Passionate red in combination with blue and black is another trendy choice for designers and marketers to convey “Hey! Look at me! Me and nothing else!”
Blue complemented by purple and pink brings an 80s neon “in your face” aesthetic and everyone loves it.
4.3. Simple Message
The core of marketing strategy is to create an absolutely brilliant marketing message. Especially when it comes to implementing it over a well-made design with eye-grabbing typography and powerful color combination. So what’s important to know here?
A simple message is always to the point, with familiar informal language and no need for further explanation. Everyone hates clickbait and most people won’t fall into the trick to click and view more. This is why your message must be clear with no need to decipher.
4.4. Catchy Title for the Preview Image
The best example of this would be video thumbnails: the first thing audiences see before deciding whether to click on the video or not. It’s the same with any campaign really.
To create a catchy title to go well with your preview image is very daunting as there’s a clear difference between clickbait and delivering exactly what you promise in the preview. Many marketers use contradictions or tease the viewers in order to provoke them to click, but in many cases, the final content fails to deliver to the expectations.
Here’s a simple example of a catchy title and image, done right:
Vsauce is a YouTuber who creates science-related content that aims to blow your mind. One of his more famous marketing tricks, from 2012, is a simple yellow thumbnail with the catchy title “This Is Not Yellow”. First, you clearly see a yellow thumbnail and you’re 100% convinced that is indeed yellow. But the title provokes you to either question your judgment and see the evidence of why this is not yellow, or to raise an eyebrow and watch the video anyway to further strengthen your conviction that the color has been yellow all along. So much provocation of thinking just from a single color and a contradicting title. The best thing about it? The video itself does not disappoint.
4.5. The Three Seconds Rule
We all have exactly 3 seconds to convince our audiences why they should care about what we have to offer.
Social media and the clutter of content in all shapes and sizes have naturally resulted in shrinking people’s attention spans. Movie trailers become shorter, videos become shorter, and ads become shorter. There is a proportional to a shorter attention span and need for instant gratification.
There are too many options available, so if a marketer fails to capture the attention of the viewer in the first 3 seconds, that viewer will always turn attention to something else. All of this results from one particular key strategy: social media with all its algorithms, was created with the sole purpose to keep the viewer distracted for as long as possible.
This is why, when planning a video or an ad, or any sort of content for that matter, make your point as soon as possible and instantly set the tone. The opening shot is the most important one, so make it count. Other advantages are triggering an emotional response and being unpredictable.
This was for the top digital marketing trends in 2022. Things are getting quite challenging for everyone but in the end, it all comes to a genuine human connection and authenticity. And a lot of bright colors.
Want to know more about this year’s trends?