8 Digital Marketing Trends for 2022 — And How to Implement Them Now

December 28, 2021

Guess what? Vertical videos, influencer marketing and TikTok aren’t going anywhere.

Good news — it appears 2022’s digital marketing trends aren’t all about reacting to the pandemic. The world has given marketers permission to think proactively and creatively again… and have a bit of fun in the process. Below, check out eight top digital marketing trends for 2022 and recommendations for taking advantage of them.

The Rise of the Metaverse

Facebook changed its name to Meta — but whatever it’s called, the company continues to pull the puppet strings of the digital marketing landscape. Beginning Jan. 19, Meta is eliminating the ability to target people based on interactions with content related to thousands of sensitive ad-targeting categories, such as race and political affiliation. The move effectively devalues interest-based audiences and will force advertisers to rely more heavily on custom audiences, which use sources like website or app traffic, Facebook engagement and customer lists to target people.

Recommendation: The change means it’s more important than ever for brands to have tracking pixels on their websites and keep records of previous purchasers and newsletter subscribers. Lookalike audiences will essentially replace interest-based.

Privacy Challenges Advertising Efforts

Last spring’s iOS14 update made it more difficult for advertisers to receive user information for customizing online campaigns. Now, advertisers are grappling with Google’s impending ban on third-party cookies. Though Google pushed the ban to 2023, brands which stick to a “business as usual” game plan will be in a world of hurt this time next year.

Recommendation: Start collecting first-party data now to be prepared once the ban on cookies hits.

With Influencer Marketing, Smaller is Better

Spending on influencer marketing in the U.S. is expected to rise 12.2% to $4.14 billion in 2022 — that’s on top of a projected 33.6% spike in 2021. Think your brand can’t afford to work with influencers? Think again. Nano- and micro-influencers — those with between 1,000 and 100,000 followers — charge less money, can tap into niche audiences, are seen as more authentic and are generally more available than big-name celebrities.

Recommendation: Spend time creating a list of potential nano- and micro-influencers with which to build relationships.

Knock Knock: It’s TikTok

In September 2021, TikTok celebrated reaching 1 billion (yes, BILLION) monthly users. Short-form, creative video has been what social users have craved for years, which helps explain the platform’s meteoric rise. As TikTok inevitably picks up even more steam in 2022, it will be important for organizations to consider the audiences they can reach on the platform and get a content strategy in place.

Recommendation: Absorb trending topics, sounds and transitions before ever hitting record. Because success on TikTok is dependent on being “in the know,” brands of all sizes have an equal opportunity to go viral. 

The TikTok-ification of Instagram

Speaking of TikTok — it’s still giving Instagram a run for its money. In July, Instagram Director Adam Mosseri announced Instagram was “no longer a photo sharing app” and would implement changes to give priority to video, or Reels, over photos. This means both brands and influencers are having to rethink their content creation strategies and acquire new skills to compete. Some influencers, like older millennial momfluencers, are finding the shift difficult.

Recommendation: Invest in professional development courses on social media video best practices or turn to an experienced agency to create attention-grabbing videos.

Horizontal Video is Dead

There are a multitude of reasons to hop on the vertical video trend. TikTok is taking over the world (see above), as much as 75% of online videos are watched on mobile devices and people hold their phones vertically 94% of the time. Facebook even found in a study that 79% of vertical video users agree the format is more engaging, and 65% of respondents say brands using vertical video are seen as “more innovative.” And while Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t explicitly favor vertical videos over horizontal ones, Candor heard it through the grapevine (cough, from our Facebook ad rep) that direct comparisons show vertical videos generally receive greater reach.

Recommendation: Prioritize creativity in the vertical space to connect with audiences where they’re consuming content — on mobile.

Content Marketing is Getting Tougher

Gaining fast traction through long-form written content like blogs has become next to impossible, especially since social media algorithms penalize brands which link away from the platform. Getting blog content in front of target audiences is a long play, leaning heavily on search engine optimization (SEO) to pique users’ interests. However, relying solely on SEO is a mistake; an excellent user experience is just, if not more, important.

Recommendation: Marketers need to take a step back and really consider how their audience receives their content. Multiple touchpoints are key.

Hey Siri — It’s Voice Search

Madonna, Siri, Alexa — these household names require no explanation. In 2022, it’s expected 55% of American households will own smart speakers and 70% of consumers will use voice to shop instead of going to brick-and-mortar stores. It’s important for marketers to understand voice searchers use search differently and strategize accordingly. Voice searchers employ longer, more conversational queries, which requires marketers to focus more on long-tail keywords (i.e., longer and more specific keyword phrases).

Recommendation: Mine Google’s “People Also Ask” feature to find frequent search queries for content.

Need help navigating the ever-shifting marketing landscape? Contact Candor to chat about a strategy for 2022.

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