2022 has been a more tumultuous year than most for digital marketing trends. The combination of the COVID-19 pandemic, the continuing rollout of 5G, rapidly evolving data regulations, and the threat of recession is drastically altering the digital landscape and creating new challenges for marketers.
What have marketers been doing right so far in 2022, and how can your business emulate their strategy? Below are the top 5 digital marketing trends to follow for the remainder of this year.
1. Improve Data Independence
The first trend is the most important—and the least apparent. Marketers must continue taking control of their data collection as Google will eliminate 3rd-party cookies in early 2023. Without these cookies, marketers will lose access to loads of valuable data. Also, targeted ads will all but vanish (in their current form, at least).
Businesses are preparing for this massive change by building data-collection structures into their campaigns. Email, CRM tools, surveys, and social media interactions are some ways to collect data directly and begin the journey to data independence.
2. Shoppable Live Streaming
The dominance of video marketing is not a new digital marketing trend, but 5G is changing the landscape of video accessibility. Livestreams will now buffer instantly and in HD, giving more viewers access to live content and allowing marketers to react to their customers’ needs in real-time.
This is ideal for marketers, given that viewers spend 3x more time watching live content than pre-recorded content.
Sephora’s shoppable livestreams are a prime example of how brands can connect with customers on a personal level while offering practical value. When that happens, products barely need pitching.
Livestream selling begins with a solid plan. Develop your tone and incorporate your brand identity creatively and invest in resources to make your videos dynamic and eye-catching, such as green screen backgrounds and free sound effects.
3. VR/AR Mobile Experiences in 5G
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) have been around for a while, but they’ve gained the most attention in the gaming industry (is anyone still playing Pokémon GO?). With the advent of 5G, that’s all changing.
Now, vast numbers of mobile users will have the bandwidth necessary for seamless VR/AR experiences.
With online shopping at all-time highs, AR is being used for virtual clothes fittings, product demos, and furniture trials. Popular clothing marketplace Etsy already has an AR feature on its app, and major brands like Adidas and Tommy Hilfiger are following suit.
VR is also changing the nature of interactions with consumers. Brands are able to transport their customers to immersive spaces (like, courtside at an NBA game), or put their products into the hands of potential buyers. Lowe’s has opted for the latter with its virtual “How To” feature, which teaches users how to do DIY home improvement projects in VR.
4. Visual Storytelling
The standard blog post or homepage isn’t going to cut it anymore. Customers prefer when videos, images, and text are used to create immersive experiences.
This isn’t just because of a collective low attention span—it’s part of our brains’ learning mechanisms. Most people are visual learners, and as a result, visuals are easier for them to recall and engage with. In fact, engagement from visual content is 180% greater than text alone.
Brands can take advantage of 5G to turn articles or an entire website into a story vehicle. Adding background video to homepages, video-based product descriptions to product pages, and animations to blog posts are a few ways to boost visual appeal. You don’t need a production team to create these experiences either. A freelance graphic designer and some stock footage can add loads of depth to your content.
Check out Gucci’s website for examples—it’s doing some of the best visual storytelling at the moment.
5. Value-based Marketing
Social media has turned brands into people, in a way. It’s given them voices and personalities that consumers can interact with (take Wendy’s famous Twitter strategy as an example). As a result, consumers expect brands to have values like real people.
So, brands must offer more than just a solution to a problem. They need to be “good people” for consumers to feel comfortable opening their wallets.
Sustainability and diversity are at the top of consumers’ lists of important values, and consumers are more than willing to abandon brands that don’t reflect these values.
Brands can’t just release an inclusive ad or make a donation to convince consumers. Their core values must permeate every facet of a company—from marketing to customer support to office culture.
The recent exodus of businesses from Russia due to the invasion of Ukraine is an example of how far brands will go to demonstrate their core values in 2022.
Redefining Your Digital Marketing Strategy
2022 is a transitional year for digital marketers. The world is transitioning out of the pandemic, into 5G, and away from 3rd-party cookies. As a result, many top digital trends this year are preparatory, such as building data collection structures and preparing new campaigns that incorporate 5G tech.
New territory ahead means more risk for marketers. While we don’t yet know what will work and what won’t, we know that successful brands will embrace this transitional period and be better prepared for the challenges of 2023 and beyond.
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