Digital marketing has evolved considerably over the past decade. With new technologies surfacing every year and new mobile devices growing in use, the landscape keeps shifting. AR and VR, and AI and Machine learning are all relevant now more than ever. Marketing specialists will now no longer be allowed to have only a slight understanding of data.
Marketing specialists and strategists will need to be data scientists through and through. More than that, new marketing trends, driven by data will have to be used to effectively market anything and everything that any organization has to offer.
So, here are 10 trends that will define digital marketing in 2022and beyond.
1. Optimization Through AI
In 2020, Gartner predicted that AI tech would be a huge part of software throughout the tech industry. Learning and improving through knowledge of the consumer has become part and parcel of any industry. Whether it’s tech related or not, knowing what the consumer thinks and likes is now essential.
Of course, nowhere is this more relevant than in digital marketing.
Companies need to adopt AI and through it, optimization of their products and services if they’re to compete. Often, AI will allow companies to realize what their next product or service should be. Often, they’ll know even before the customer starts asking for it. More importantly, it helps when the competitor hasn’t offered it yet.
In a culture where being first is so, so important, it’s paramount to introduce something, rather than follow in its footsteps.
This is why AI driven marketing and optimization through AI will be relevant in 2022 and beyond.
2. More Capable Chatbots
Chatbots are some of the most basic applications of AI that exist today. They’re a deceptively simple invention that can answer basic questions and adapt to customer behavior. However, their use is incredibly essential today. In a world where social media presence at all times is essential, it’s impossible for a single person to deal with millions. That’s where chatbots come in.
They allow an organization to always be there for their customer. Whether that’s to answer a question about a sale or an offer, or to simply remove any hesitance they have. Office hours and customer representative timings are irrelevant now. If customers can’t get in touch with you when they need it, you’ve already lost them.
Chatbots, through some basic code, can fill in for a majority of questions and requests. In fact, they were predicted to power nearly 85% of all customer service.
Nearly every competently made website you visit will have some form of a chatbot to greet you. That’s because companies have realized that being there for the customer right when they need it is the key. According to Oracle, 80% of businesses have said they want chatbots. That’s not just out of a need for technological advancement, it’s about surviving today’s tech dominated landscape.
3. Conversational Marketing
It’s become clear through the popularity of chatbots that conversation is how you sell something. People want to be able to talk to someone about a product before they buy something. 82% of consumers want an immediate response when they ask a chatbot about something.
They’re already waiting to buy something or subscribe to a service. However, removing that splinter of doubt or slight hesitancy from their mind is easier said than done. A single bad review can change their opinion and you may lose them forever.
Hence, it’s better that they hear everything they need to from you. Today, social media has given every company the tools to reach out to their customers. Using chatbots for conversational marketing is only a direct follow up to that. That’s why it’s one of the top 10 digital marketing trends for 2022.
4. Influencer Marketing
YouTubers doing $10,000 giveaways and Instagram influencers flaunting their lifestyle is the norm now. These are the celebrities of the modern era. Their word may not mean as much as an endorsement from an athlete or an actress, but it means something.
They have highly niche audiences of millions watching them every day. Not only that, but these audiences also interact with them by posting comments and liking their posts, etc. That’s the kind of niche segment you want to market to. The best part is, their audiences think they’re authentic.
Influencer marketing, whether it’s on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok, is essential to tap into. Even for small businesses which want to reach out to new market segments, this is a great opportunity. You can find influencers which have audiences in the thousands, and partner with them. This is the advantage of influencers marketing. It means that even small businesses have the means to create a digital marketing strategy that pays off.
5. Image Search/Visual Search
You may have used Google’s image search a handful of times. However, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Image search is becoming more important by the day. Whether it’s Google Lens, Pinterest Lens, or another AI enabled search tool, image search has become essential. It’s basically the use of your phone’s camera as a search bar.
Using this tool to market your products and services will be a big step in 2022 and beyond. Companies need to jump on this trend before it gets away from them. People are taking photos and videos all the time. If companies can find a way to embed their brands into images, they’ll gain a lot more customers.
It’s the way of the world. Videos and images, much more than text, can interest people. Hence, concentrating on how to improve brand presence through visual search is the logical next step.
6. Voice Search/Smart Speaker Search
Apart from our cameras, the one thing that we all use more and more is the digital assistant. We use smart speakers and voice assistants on our phone to search for everything in the world. Hence, using voice search or voice enabled devices for marketing is a logical next step.
To account for this, it’s going to take far more than introducing longer keywords into a webpage. Companies will need to find out which type of searches their products and services are showing up in. They will need to concentrate on how people ask for their services and products. Again, conversational marketing will play a huge part here.
According to research, nearly 55% of all American homes will own a smart speaker by 2021. That means roughly more than 100 million people will have access to and use a voice enabled device. That means they’ll be searching for different products and services and things to buy through those devices.
This is a huge market and can’t be ignored. Companies which will jump on this opportunity will see that their marketing ROI will go up. In fact, it’s just a matter of time until voice search becomes as useful as normal text-based search.
7. Shoppable Posts
Social networks like Facebook and Instagram have made it easy for companies to market themselves on their platforms. This includes ways to even set up a shop on Facebook or Instagram so people don’t have to leave the platform.
This is why shoppable posts have become a thing. These posts take you right to the area on the platform where you can shop. It makes shopping for what you want easier and faster. It basically reduces a single step for the customer and lets them shop for their favorite things all in one place.
Also, these shoppable posts can act as their own targeted ads as well. The more likes, shares, and activity they pick up, the more likely they are to be bumped up.
It’s the next best thing to a physical store where you have the ads for the products right there alongside the shelves. Through a shoppable post, a customer can go to the store with a single click without leaving the platform. This reduces waiting times, and removes obstacles from the customer’s path. Thus, this makes it a greater possibility for a customer to buy something than not. That’s a powerful marketing tool, and that’s why it’s also one of the 10 digital marketing trends for 2022.
8. Interactive Content
One of the fastest growing digital trends in marketing today is interactive content. This is thanks to AR and VR partially, as well as the increasing use of mobile phones. There has been a definite shift from simply traditional text-based content towards dynamic and more engaging content.
This interactive content can appear in the form of AR ads as well as 360-degree video. It can also come in the form of embedded quizzes or calculators or even small games. This interactive content can give you a taste of what the company is offering.
For example, if a company is trying to sell you furniture, you can see how it will look in your living room. Through AR, you can create a piece of furniture in your home and see how it goes with the rest of the look. There are even ads which can do this with clothes, and take your measurements through AR enabled cameras.
This sort of marketing is the future, because it helps people experience things without leaving the home. Things like buying shoes or clothes which people are hesitant about online, will become a thing of the past. This is why interactive content is so important for traditional businesses. They can break the bounds of the digital age if they want to.
9. Predictive Analytics
As mentioned above, the top 10 trends that will define digital marketing in 2022 will be data driven. There’s nothing more data driven than predictive analytics. It’s the practice of using data and predictive modeling to identify patterns. This doesn’t just help companies find out what their customers are doing, but how to engage with them better.
Predictive analytics will help find out how customers will react to a product or a service. Currently, it is being used by several companies to improve customer loyalty and reduce customer churn. It’s a well-established science that takes into account several factors and then predicts a variable.
This can help companies define their entire marketing campaign strategy. This is an incredibly useful tool which can help companies both big and small direct their resources in a more systematic, data driven manner. It can help small companies find their niche and their audience and expend their efforts for a higher ROI.
10. Geo-fencing in Marketing
Geo-fencing is about marketing to people where they live. This could be restricted to a single region, a city, a country, or even a small town. This geo fencing technique is on the rise. The market for it is set to grow to about $2.4 billion in 2023. This is more due to the rise of mobile use than anything else. Everything from a smartphone to a car has a GPS tracker now.
With advanced tracking like this for every customer, they can be marketed to using their current location. Someone running near a park can be recommended a juice bar. Someone heading to work on a hot day can be recommended an ice cream parlor. Things like this will change the game for local businesses as well as larger franchises.
Through push notifications and location based alerts, a company can drastically improve their marketing ROI. This is why Geo fencing is one of the biggest digital marketing trends in 2022.
These digital marketing trends will go far beyond 2022. They are all data driven, and all specific and targeted methods. This signals that 2022 is just the beginning of data driven marketing. Not only does this stand to help smaller businesses compete with larger ones, but change the way marketing is done.
All in all, this means marketing is about to get a lot more specific and accurate, right down to the customer.