A new year means new marketing goals, opportunities and perhaps most notably, trends. It seems like every year brings about an onslaught of the latest and greatest trends the digital marketing world has to offer – but with so many to choose from, how do you know which ones are worth your while? Your marketing strategy at the start of the new year sets the tone and pace for your successes in the 12 months to come. To help you start your year off strong, we compiled our picks for the top 50 digital marketing trends from A to Z.
1) A/B Testing
Also known as split testing, A/B testing is a research methodology that compares two or more versions of a piece of content to determine which variation performs better. The purpose of A/B testing is to improve your user experience by analyzing which small changes in variables – such as language, color or font – resonate better with your audience. Some common examples of A/B testing seen in digital marketing campaigns include:
- Sending the same email with different subject lines to see which generates a higher open rate
- Changing the background color of a Facebook ad to see which performs better
- Altering the call-to-action message on a button to see which yields a higher click-through rate
In a lot of ways, A/B testing is a lot like preparing for a competition. Let’s say you were going to enter your world-famous chocolate chip cookies into a baking contest, but you’re not sure if you should use dark chocolate or milk chocolate. You might choose to separate your friends into two randomized groups, giving one group the dark chocolate cookies and the other the white chocolate cookies. The feedback you get from each of these two groups will provide you with the data you need to determine if the dark chocolate or white chocolate cookies will be your winning entry.
Notice one very important word in that last paragraph? No, not cookie – those are important for another reason. Randomized! It’s critical that your A/B testing is done using randomized populations. After all, this is an experiment, and experiments can provide muddled results when there are too many variables at play.
Accessibility isn’t a “trend” per se, but it is something that businesses across industries should be increasingly mindful of in the year ahead. For some businesses, having an accessible website design might already be mandatory. In January 2021, all public sector organizations and private or nonprofit organizations with more than 50 employees were required to comply with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA or face fines.
Not so fast, small business owners – just because you don’t technically need to have a WCAG compliant website doesn’t mean this is a trend you should ignore. The purpose of accessible website design is to make it easier for consumers with disabilities to interact, understand and navigate your website in order to have the same browsing experience as all users. A poor user experience is one of the leading factors that drive website visitors into the arms of your competitors. Some commonly seen examples of accessible website design include dark mode, color blindness toggles, closed captions on videos, images with meta descriptions, and so on.
Simply put, accessible design is universal design. Creating a website that is able to be utilized by all users regardless of visual, auditory or physical impairments demonstrates not only a sharp design prowess, but also your commitment to providing all of your customers with a stellar experience.
3) Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Artificial intelligence can be defined as the ability of a machine to imitate “cognitive” functions that humans associate with other human minds, such as learning and problem-solving. In brief, AI refers to machines performing tasks that are characteristic of human intelligence. The field is relatively newer than many traditional fields of computing such as software engineering, data management etc. It encompasses building systems that enable computers to do things normally requiring human intelligence such as visual perception or language understanding among other activities like planning and decision making.
Just how intelligent is artificial intelligence, you ask? The entire paragraph above was written using AI!
With so much buzz surrounding artificial intelligence over the last few months, it’s no surprise that it makes our list of the top 50 digital marketing trends for 2022. AI can be used in just about any sector of your digital marketing strategy, including blogging, email automation, video and even customer service (but more on that later). The technology coming out of the AI sector recently has been smarter, quicker and more humanlike than ever before, making it a must-have for your marketing artillery as we head into the new year.
4) Audience Segmentation
If you aren’t segmenting your email audiences already, the beginning of 2022 is the perfect time to get started! We’re already big fans of audience segmentation at CCM HQ, and we even wrote a whole blog explaining why and how it’s so impactful at engaging and converting your subscribers. No hard feelings if you haven’t had time to give it a full read-through just yet – here’s a quick summary to get you up to speed:
Audience segmentation is the process of dividing your email list into smaller groups, also known as segments. The main purpose of segmentation is to make it easier for you to customize an email newsletter or promotional email in order to increase conversion rate and help you get more ROI through better targeting. Some common ways to segment your email audiences include:
- Sales Funnel Position
- Open Rate
- Purchase Frequency
- Purchase History
- Subscription Length
Audience segmentation provides your business with a great deal of customization in terms of the best strategy for breaking down your subscribers. You may even benefit from cross-segmenting your audiences for particularly niche campaigns, such as by industry and location for an in-person event, or open rate and purchase history for a re-engagement campaign. Email marketing shows no sign of stagnating in 2022, and audience segmentation is a great way to improve your conversions and your ROI.
5) Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays computer-generated images on top of real-world objects. These computer-generated images overlay the physical world with virtual data such as graphics, sound and video. It adds information to a user’s environment in an attempt to enhance their experience of the world around them.
One commonly seen example of AR in action is the graphics you see on a football field when you’re watching the big game on your television. Those lines, circles and arrows aren’t actually there – they were just added in using AR to help viewers keep track of who has possession of the ball, which direction they will be heading down the field and where the next play will start.
You might be asking yourself “What on earth does this have to do with my business?”
Businesses can use augmented reality to provide a more interactive, immersive and engaging experience for their customer base. Many companies have already created AR experiences that have been used to market their products by allowing potential consumers to see an item from different angles or colors. Some of these apps use a marker or code designating where something is located on the screen to help the app orient its location. For example, beauty giant Sephora utilizes AI to help customers see what makeup products would look like on their faces before making a purchase.
AR is one of the newer forms of technology to break into mainstream marketing, but it’s quickly becoming more accessible to small and medium-sized businesses. Once you have the technology at your disposal, the other half of the equation is having the creativity to utilize it in a way that enhances your user experience.
You know what they say – work smarter, not harder.
Automation is a growing trend that will be an increasingly crucial component of a company’s business processes as we head into 2022. Automating your business processes reduces time and cost, thereby improving both the quantity and quality of your output.
By automating simple and/or repetitive tasks like collecting data, scheduling posts or updating software, you’ll free your team up to handle more complex tasks that require a human touch. Speed and accuracy are everything in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, especially in high competition markets that require lightning-fast turnaround times. Automation allows you to focus your attention on these more specialized tasks while ensuring these smaller tasks do not slip through the cracks.
7) Blog Diversity
Business blogs were once a novelty, but heading into 2022, they’re a necessity. 37% of digital marketing experts say blogging is the most valuable form of content marketing. On top of that, companies that maintain a blog have 97% more inbound links than those that do not.
Still, simply having a blog provides little benefit if it isn’t holding the attention of your target audience. Blog diversity is an often overlooked aspect of a successful blog, and too many businesses can come across as a “one-trick pony” by only posting one type of content. Without varying your content types, you run the risk of boring your readers who perceive your blog posts as extended sales pitches. Of course, one of the main goals of blogging is to drive conversions, but it will be tough to do so if you’re struggling to hold your readers’ interest.
We know blog diversity is important, but how exactly do you diversify your blog? Here are some types of content to add to your blogging rotation:
- How-to guides
- Press releases
- Industry news
- Case studies
- Company updates
8) Big Data
In the simplest terms, big data means large sets of information. Big data is a term used to describe the massive volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis. It’s not the amount of data that’s important – it’s what organizations do with the data that matters. Big data can be analyzed for insights that lead to better marketing decisions, which can give a business a competitive advantage.
There’s a lot of talk about big data lately, so it makes sense that it would be one of the most anticipated digital marketing trends for 2022. Advertising agencies are always looking for ways to become more efficient with their budgets, startups are trying to get off the ground by mining data that they can use to validate their business models, and established businesses are looking to discover new revenue streams.
Big data can be found in all areas of a company, including website clickstreams, social media, financial reports, customer emails and so on. It can be analyzed using search, text analytics and predictive algorithms to reveal trends, customer preferences and more.
Big data makes it possible for companies to personalize, optimize and streamline their customer experience based on user needs and interests. For example, big data allows companies to see what people are searching for on their website, track where their target audience goes on the web, and observe patterns of social media usage. Having this information on hand allows business owners to make more informed decisions about their current marketing strategy, while providing them with the industry trend insights needed to plan for the future.
9) Bite-Sized Content
When it comes to content creation, bigger isn’t necessarily better. We know that sounds hypocritical in an article as long as this one, but hear us out.
Bite-sized content is any form of content that is small enough to be quickly consumed, whether that be a blog, a video, an infographic and so on. Long-form content is more important than ever (and we’ll explain why later on in the article), but short-form content is just as important in your efforts to capture your audience’s interest. Research suggests the average person’s attention span is just 8 seconds. That’s not to say your content should only be 8 seconds long, but it does suggest that you are more likely to hold their attention from start to finish if you are able to pack in a large amount of information in a short amount of time.
Bite-sized content can be used for anything from storytelling to educating, but the most important factor in achieving good results is to ensure it’s highly shareable. Think about what made video-sharing social media platform TikTok so popular – it was the ability to capture and share moments in a quick video that would typically clock in around a minute. The same principle applies to bite-sized content – it’s ideal for individuals who don’t want to invest time in reading long-form content, but also helps to keep consumers engaged with your brand if they can pick up useful snippets of information. The idea is that it shouldn’t take too much time to read and shouldn’t contain any more information than needed. This allows you to create a dedicated follower base that returns to your page for regular updates.
10) Bot Writing
Blogging is a big part of marketing, but there are many reasons why it is difficult to blog frequently. Time constraints, lack of ideas and skills all contribute to lower blogging frequency than desired.
Artificial intelligence (AI) or bots can help solve this problem by automating the task of writing out content for the blog post. All you have to do is give the AI the main point(s) you want in your blog post and select a topic. In a few minutes, you will receive a draft of your blog post for review and revisions before publishing it.
The key to making this process work smoothly is giving the bot all the necessary information so it can generate quality content with little human involvement.
First, you need to identify the topics that are relevant for your business. Then, you have to choose which blog posts will be created by the AI software and which ones should still be written by humans. From there, all you have to do is come up with the ideas and provide enough information so that the bot can generate quality content for your blog. This will keep the blog active without having you create all of the posts yourself by hand.
We did it again – all of the above was written by a bot. It really is that good!
More and more marketing agencies have begun intertwining bot writing with human writing, so 2022 is the perfect time to considering adding it to your content creation artillery if you haven’t already.
11) Buyer Personas
Digital marketing has seen some major changes in the last five years. One of the biggest of these trends is the shift towards businesses having to identify and connect with their buyers, rather than simply pushing out advertising to sell products or services. It’s not enough for a company in any industry to make guesses about their client base anymore – they have to go deeper, and that’s where buyer personas come in.
Simply put, a buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It helps you to understand your buyers on a more personal level, including their demographics, behaviors, motivations and goals. By creating detailed personas for each of your key buyer segments, you can develop targeted marketing campaigns that resonate with them on a deeper level.
There are a few key advantages to creating and using buyer personas:
- They help you to focus your marketing efforts.
- They make it easier to create content that is relevant to your buyers.
- They improve your chances of converting leads into sales.
- They make it easier to identify customer pain points.
- They help to improve customer retention rates.
12) Conversational Writing
Conversational writing uses everyday language that’s easy for your readers to understand and comprehend. It imitates spoken conversation in terms of sentence structure, phrasing and style. This allows you to connect with your reader on an interpersonal level that builds trust because it feels human rather than formal.
You may be asking yourself “Well why would I want to simplify my language if I want to demonstrate my expertise in my industry?” The key to doing this is ensuring that you don’t water down your brand voice while still keeping your language accessible. It’s not about dumbing things down – it’s about adding detail and clarity to the vernacular so it is easy for readers of all backgrounds to understand.
Because conversational writing is easier to read, you’ll find it gets more shares, more traffic and attracts a larger audience who are interested in your topic. This means you can expect higher engagement rates, rather than only generating engagement with a niche audience of people who are also fluent in industry jargon.
Even if you are writing for a niche audience, using conversational language helps you identify with your customer base. It humanizes your business’ voice and helps you build rapport by speaking to them as if they were face-to-face. This makes it more likely that people will trust your brand, which is the first step toward converting leads.
13) Creating Experiences
As technology progresses, outstanding content alone will not suffice anymore – businesses must now go one step further and create experiences for their customers. In fact, this is one of the most popular digital marketing trends we’re expecting to see in 2022!
Part of the reason we’re expecting digital experiences to be big in the new year is because of our increasingly online global shift as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many businesses were unable to provide a stellar customer experience with their brick and mortar locations closed, so recreating that same magic in a digital format was a necessity to survive and stand out.
What does this mean for businesses in 2022? Well, it means that you’ll need to start thinking about how you can create an experience for your customers that is unique and memorable. This could be anything from a fun interactive website to a customer loyalty program that rewards them for their longstanding patronage.
One of the best ways to make an experience feel personal is to make sure that it is tailored to the individual customer. This could mean greeting them by name in an email, providing tailored product recommendations or making special offers that are not available to the general public. No matter the route you take, the point of your experience building is to make sure you’re creating a personalized and unique connection with your customers while they are engaging with your company online.
Chatbots make our list of the top digital marketing trends for 2022 because they’re increasingly popular and increasingly intelligent. How intelligent, you ask? Approximately 69% of chatbot interactions are able to be handled by automation alone from start to finish! Just imagine how much time you’d free up if you only had to handle 31 of every 100 customer service calls your company received.
While the chatbots of yesteryears could only handle simple queries, the chatbots of today and beyond are able to act as an extension of your customer service department. This includes everything from answering questions and scheduling appointments to carrying out full transactions without the need for human interference.
Best of all? Your customers actually like them! Around 87% of consumers have reported having neutral to positive experiences with chatbots in the last year. While this is great news for businesses, it’s important to remember that it cannot replace human-led customer service entirely. The last thing you want to do is isolate that 13% of consumers who feel negatively towards chatbots should they have a question or need help from your team.
15) Dark Mode
Dark mode is a feature used by many applications and websites to make the background – you guessed it – dark. It converts bright white into deep black, reducing eyestrain when viewing for extended periods of time.
Many popular apps have already adopted this feature, including Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Google is also developing a native dark mode for their desktop operating system, ChromeOS. This will make it easier to switch between light and dark modes on desktops, laptops, and tablets – something that is currently only possible by either installing a browser extension or visiting the ‘flags’ section of settings.
One of the most attractive aspects of dark mode for website designers is that it doesn’t actually require a new design. The technology simply takes your current design and darkens any white elements. This makes it a relatively easy way for you to make your website more modernized and accessible without having to take the design itself back to the drawing board.
16) Deeper Analytics
When you look at your website analytics, which metrics are you typically looking for? If you’re like most business owners, you’re probably most interested in learning more about your traffic, page speed, and bounce rate, to name a few. While this is a great start to understanding the health of your website, business owners in 2022 and beyond should be thinking deeper than that.
Business intelligence (BI) is the process of gathering, analyzing, and presenting data in business environments. Deeper analytics, also known as advanced analytics or intelligent analytics, takes this one step further by examining historical data to make predictions about future behavior. These insights are often used when making business decisions that can impact current operations in small and large ways.
Deeper analytics are used to help companies that want to analyze evidence of past behavior in order to predict future trends, behaviors, or events. But with so many analytics at your fingertips, which ones should you really be focusing on? This can only be answered on a case-by-case basis depending on the goals and challenges of your business. 2022 might be a great time to reach out to a digital marketing agency with the tools and intel needed to know what to look for.
17) Faster Page Load Times
Did you know the average user expects a website to load in three seconds? If you’re an ecommerce business owner, you’ll have to get that load time down to two seconds!
Making sure your website loads quickly is important because it satisfies your user’s expectations of a quick, sleek website while allowing you to rank higher on Google. That’s because Google now factors in site speed as a ranking signal. In other words, the faster your website loads, the more likely you are to land at the top of Google’s search results.
How can you make your website faster? You need to optimize your images, compress your code, and combine scripts to name a few measures. The reality is that there are so many factors influencing site speed, it’s almost impossible to catch them all without an untrained eye and the technology needed to identify them for you.
Open up your website in a new tab and count how many seconds it takes to load completely. If you’re in the 2-3 second range, you’re already off to a good start. If it’s anything more than that, optimizing your page speed should be at the top of your 2022 to-do list.
18) Featured Snippets
Have you ever noticed this? Sometimes when you conduct a Google search, the top results will include an “answer” to your query written out in full sentences that include the exact information you wanted to know about. These kinds of fully formed answers are known as featured snippets.
Featured snippets are supercharged search results. They first appeared in Google’s search results back in 2012, but have become more popular as the company has refined them over time. The company’s ultimate aim is to give searchers the answer to what they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
People tend to trust the information that appears at the top of their search result, which is where featured snippets appear. When Google displays your content as a featured snippet, you get a share of this trust and credibility called a trust flow. The higher your content’s trust flow score, the more likely Google will be to display it as a featured snippet.
Google may also display your content as a featured snippet if it believes that users will find your content more useful than the highest-ranked regular search results. That’s not to say that you want Google to show your site in featured snippets instead of rankings, but rather that you should aim to create highly valuable content—content so good that Google will deem your company to be the most qualified to satisfy a particular query.
We can’t talk about putting these digital marketing trends for 2022 in motion without mentioning GIFs! You’ve probably seen a GIF before if you’ve spent any time scrolling through any social media platform, but do you really know what a GIF is, and more importantly, how you can use them to your business’ advantage?
GIF stands for Graphics Interchange Format, which is a pretty fancy way of saying “a short, moving image that isn’t a video”. They provide businesses with a playful and lighthearted way to inject some fun and personality into their marketing materials, such as in emails and on social media. They can also be used to educate, such as demonstrating a concept visually in a blog.
GIFs make our list of the top digital marketing trends for 2022 because they’re easy to make and oozing with shareability factor. They’re only a few seconds long in length, and can be animated in a matter of minutes. They can also be shared across platforms much easier than videos, which might be too large or compress oddly depending on the social media platform it’s posted to or device it’s viewed from.
Digital marketing isn’t a game – well in this case, maybe it is. Gamification is a method of using game theory and mechanics to increase enjoyment and engagement in an effort to influence behaviors. In other words, the idea is that simple game elements can be used to encourage people to do things that benefit your business, like spending more time on your website or buying more products.
Gamification has been around since the 1950s believe it or not, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years as the digital marketing sphere evolved and expanded. If you’ve ever spun a digital wheel to win a discount or entered a giveaway on social media, you’re already familiar with the appeal of gamified marketing tactics.
Gamification makes navigating your website or learning about a concept entertaining and engaging. Utilizing game-based mechanisms in your marketing materials will hold your audience’s attention for longer, which in turn will keep them on your website for longer. This is great news from both a user experience and SEO perspective.
Some examples of gamification to incorporate into your marketing strategy in 2022 include:
- Point systems for returning customers
- Rewards programs
- Progress meters
Have you ever walked past a sneaker store in the mall, only to find an ad for that store in your newsfeed as you’re scrolling through social media later that night? If so, you’ve already experienced geofencing firsthand.
Geofencing is a marketing tactic that tracks users within a geographic location, allowing businesses to send targeted messages to consumers in their area. Geotargeted messaging is an inexpensive way for companies to interact with customers in a given radius, thus driving sales and increasing name recognition in their local market.
Notice how we said “inexpensive”? This is because geofencing ensures you are spending your advertising budget wisely by only showing these messages to relevant customers in a given area. Rather than casting the widest net possible and seeing what swims in, geotargeted marketing casts a net only over fish that are already in your pond.
Geotargeting is particularly effective with hyperlocal coupons, as the broadcasts are only sent to those customers in your area who have a high likelihood of visiting your business soon. If you’re looking for a way to tap into your local market, geofencing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to do so.
22) Going Beyond Google
When we think about SEO, we often think in terms of Google. Which website has the top spot on a Google search? How will the latest Google update impact our marketing strategy? It’s wise to prioritize Google in your SEO efforts – after all, there are more than 2 trillion Google searches made per year. However, Google isn’t the only search engine to be mindful of in the new year. Consumers are expanding their search efforts beyond Google now more than ever, and marketers in 2022 will need to follow suit.
So how do consumers search today, if not on Google? Of course there are other search engines like Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, but none of those are the next most popular places consumers are searching online. In fact, the top 3 behind Google are actually YouTube, Amazon and Facebook!
As you might imagine, Google SEO is quite different from social media SEO and ecommerce SEO. The strategies and best practices that work for one may not translate on another, so it’s important that you’re optimizing your marketing materials strategically for each platform.
23) Google Ads Smart Bidding
If you’ve made it this far into our list of digital marketing trends of 2022, you’re probably deep enough in the marketing world to be familiar with Google Ads. Still, you may not have heard of Smart Bidding.
Google Ads Smart Bidding is a system designed to help online businesses save money on their Google Ads campaigns. It does this by allowing users to automate the bidding process to maximize performance while minimizing costs. Smart Bidding uses a number of factors, including your daily budget and your profit margin, to identify when it should trigger a bid adjustment in order to get you the best results possible.
You may be wondering which factors Smart Bidding uses to determine when it should trigger a bid. Great question! – and unfortunately a question without a definite answer. Google Ads doesn’t give too many specifics on that, but they’ve said it is designed around your business goals and the average cost-per-conversion for your industry. The system also uses machine learning to constantly improve itself, meaning that it is constantly running tests on multiple factors to find the best combination of adjustments.
24) Google EAT
Hungry for more Google-centric marketing trends to keep an eye on in the year ahead? Then this next one is sure to satisfy your appetite!
Google EAT is a principle that outlines the three factors Google uses to rank and evaluate the quality of a website: Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness. Seems simple enough in concept, but what do these terms mean in the eyes of Google’s ranking algorithm?
Expertise: Consistently creating content that engages users and meets their search needs.
Authoritativeness: Developing a reputation as an authority in your field by receiving high-quality backlinks from reputable websites.
Trustworthiness: Generating a large collection of positive online reviews from customers.
It’s important to note that there is no numerical “EAT Score” Google uses to determine your ranking. The Google EAT principle simply acts as a pillar from which your business can build out the framework for your SEO strategy in a way that satisfies what Google deems important.
25) Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile – formerly Google My Business – isn’t a digital marketing trend, it’s a digital marketing must-have. Did you know approximately 90% of consumers use search engines to find local businesses? Google Business Profile helps bridge this gap and allows customers to find you easier than before.
Google Business Profile is Google’s way of helping users find local businesses easily on Google Search and Google Maps. Once you set up a profile, you’re given the option to add information about yourself including your business description, opening hours, photos of your work, and more. After that, potential customers will be able to see your website listed when searching for local businesses. This enables users to find what they are looking for, when they are looking for it.
Google Business Profile helps potential customers find you sooner rather than later, meaning they will be more likely to visit your site. Users are finding what they’re looking for faster than ever before, so the first few seconds of their time are crucial for conversion. Due to the number of Google searches that occur each day, it’s essential that you claim your Google Business Profile listing and take control of what information is displayed. By ensuring your profiles are complete, accurate, up-to-date, and optimized for search engines, you’ll be setting your business up for success in 2022 and beyond.
26) Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is an effective way to share your product or service with an eager audience outside of your typical network. Brands are using influencers on Instagram, Youtube, TikTok and other social media platforms to promote their products or services by integrating them into content the influencers create. The idea is that if a user is following someone with a large platform whose recommendations they trust, then seeing an ad from them would be more effective than any other type of paid advertising.
You’re probably already familiar with the idea of influencer marketing, but influencer marketing in 2022 may look a little different from what you’re envisioning. Influencer marketing of yesteryears was reserved for larger brands with a big enough budget to secure a deal with celebrities, reality stars or any other prominent figure with hundreds of thousands of followers. These days, however, it’s much more accessible.
Microinfluencers are influencers who have fewer followers but are often considered more authentic by their audiences – think tens of thousands of followers instead of hundreds of thousands. These influencers are able to work with brands for much smaller fees while still reaching a relevant audience that will be interested in the product or service being promoted. Similarly, niche influencers are influencers with an even smaller audience, but the followers are typically hyper-focused on a particular niche and more likely to trust their recommendations.
The best way to establish which influencer is a good fit for your business goals is to determine what they can provide your business. What type of audience do you want to reach? What will that influencer post about? How often will it be posted, and where will the influencer post? These are all factors to consider when determining which influencers to work with and how to spend your advertising budget.
27) Image Optimization
A beautiful image won’t serve your business much benefit in the long run if it slows down your load times and isn’t driving traffic. Just like you should be optimizing your copy to meet Google’s expectations, you should also be planning to optimize your images in the year ahead.
Image optimization is the process of presenting images on your website in the smallest size possible while also maintaining the highest quality possible. This is an important – though often overlooked – step from both a user experience and SEO standpoint. Website visitors expect your page to load in 5 seconds or less. Any longer, and you run the risk of them abandoning your page. Uploading images that are a larger file size than they need to be is a sure fire way to slow down your load times and mess with your formatting, especially on mobile devices.
One way to make things easier for Google’s crawlbot to index your images is to add alt tags. This tells Google what your image is and if it’s relevant to the content on the page. The alt tags need to be an accurate description of whatever you’re showing visually in the image, while also being concise enough that it doesn’t add unnecessary bulk to your images’ file sizes. Google now uses your alt tags in images as an indication of the intent behind your page, so you want to be sure that they are relevant and well maintained. Alt tags can also provide visually impaired website visitors with a description of what’s happening in an image to improve your website’s accessibility.
28) Interactive Content
Marketing your small business in 2022 is more than just making consumers cognizant of your brand, it’s about building relationships. Businesses need to engage with their customers, equip them with the information they need to make informed decisions and build trust. One way that businesses can do this is through interactive content.
Interactive content is essentially content that has multiple engagement points, allowing consumers to learn more about your product/service by clicking on certain elements. Interactive tools allow companies to build brand awareness without bombarding their audience with irrelevant information or hard-to-digest data. In addition, interactive content is more likely to be shared with others because it’s considered fun and has the ability to generate social media buzz. Interactive content also encourages users to stay on your site longer so that they can engage in a variety of ways.
Some of the most commonly seen types of interactive content for small businesses include:
29) Internet of Things (IOT)
Have you ever seen or used a watch that lets you browse the internet or answer texts directly from your wrist? How about a home monitoring system with the power to lock doors or turn off lights through an app? If so, you’re already well-versed in the Internet of Things (IOT).
The Internet of Things contains any product that connects to the internet and is thus accessible via the web. IOT can be used in many ways: everything from chilling your refrigerator to the perfect temperature and helping you find the nearest gas station, to making your house more energy-efficient and monitoring your health. This all sounds great from a personal perspective, but how can IOT be beneficial as you build out your digital marketing strategy for the new year.
From a marketing standpoint, IOT devices help companies connect with consumers through the use of IOT apps. The data collected from these apps provides companies with user data such as usage and preferences that can offer insights into how to better focus your marketing efforts to meet their needs. While not the most accessible on our list of digital marketing trends for 2022, IOT is certainly one to keep an eye on as this technology continues to develop.
30) Live Video
In today’s digital age, it can be tough to stand out from the crowd – but one emerging marketing tactic has made a big splash in a short period of time: live video.
Live video has taken off in a huge way recently, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when face-to-face interactions were limited. In fact, users spend over two-and-a-half times more time on live video platforms than they do on social media platforms without. What makes live video such an appealing marketing tactic is that it enables businesses to engage with people like never before – giving potential customers a peek behind the curtain, helping them feel connected to brands and fostering real human connections.
But how exactly can businesses use live video? That depends on what you’re hoping to achieve. If you’re looking for brand awareness there are a number of tactics that work well – from product demonstrations to interviews with your CEO. For more direct conversions, though, you’ll want to focus on strategies that generate leads, like exclusive giveaways, contests, and educational webinars. With some planning and a little bit of creativity, there’s no telling what kind of success you might be able to achieve by going live.
31) Local SEO
It’s no secret that we’re big proponents of local SEO. In fact, you could say it’s one of our specialties! As we look towards the digital marketing trends for 2022, it’s clear that even more business owners will be prioritizing local SEO in the year ahead – and for two very important reasons:
First and foremost, Google and other search engines are prioritizing local results more than ever before. This means businesses who take the time to understand and utilize it will be ahead of the game in terms of traffic and conversions.
Additionally, the competition is growing. As local SEO becomes more popular, the number of businesses who prioritize it will too. And when you’re in a competitive market, the only way to stand out is by getting found on search engines – which simply can’t be done without local SEO.
Both of these reasons are great on their own, but when you combine them? The future is looking bright for small businesses that prioritize local SEO in their 2022 marketing strategy.
32) Location Pages
When it comes to digital marketing trends for 2022, location is everything – especially on the web. In fact, a massive 46% of Google searches have local intent! No matter if your business has one location, multiple locations or no physical location, it’s important that your business has a strong local SEO strategy in place at the top of the new year. That’s where location pages come into play.
A location page is a landing page on your website that hosts all vital information pertaining to your business’ location and the services you provide at that location. This enables your business to be found by two crucial audiences: potential customers and search engines. Having this information readily available and optimized makes it more likely that your business will be displayed in a “near me” Google search, which will then drive more local customers to your location. Not sure where to get started? We put together a comprehensive location page checklist with everything you’ll need to succeed.
33) Long-Form Content
We know what you’re thinking – we just said bite-sized content is one of the biggest marketing trends for 2022. However, that doesn’t mean long-form content is on the outs. In fact, we’re expecting it to be longer than ever in the new year.
Long-form content is just as it sounds – content that is long. In most cases, this means anything over 2,000 words. It’s long enough to be in-depth and detailed, but not so long that users don’t want to devote their time to reading it. It provides a great space for marketers to add more information than what they can on social media or in shorter blog posts – such as facts, figures, results from surveys, and branding.
From an SEO standpoint, long-form content is search engine gold. Google’s algorithm ranks sites higher in search results when they have comprehensive, high-quality content that is packed with relevant keywords that satisfies a user’s search intention. In fact, it typically takes 1,500 words to rank number one on the first page of Google – much more than the minimum blog length of 300 words.
Long-form content is about providing users with a more in-depth experience and, in turn, getting conversions. Whether you’re trying to sell a product or service, get more traffic to your site and increase SEO rankings, or simply build brand awareness, long-form content with the right keywords at the right frequency does the trick.
34) Micro Moments
“Micro moments” is a term coined by Google to describe a range of “on-the-go behaviors” made by consumers. As the name suggests, these moments are so small you may not even be aware you’re doing them. In short, micro moments are those small but meaningful opportunities to engage with customers – and ideally – influence them. The more of these micro moments a business can create and capture through marketing, the better chance they have of building brand loyalty.
Micro moments are everywhere, and we can expect to see even more of them in 2022. It’s an opportunity to engage with consumers outside of their homes – at work, in transit, during down time – and encourage them to take action. Since consumers can now engage with businesses no matter where they are, marketers need to know how to capitalize on these micro moments. This can be done through location-based marketing, time of day targeting, or any number of other tactics that are now possible with the rise of mobile data.
As marketers continue to experiment with micro moments, they will learn which types work best for their customers and their business model. Through this experimentation, your business will be able to find new ways to reach its audiences and establish lasting relationships.
35) Online Reviews
Online reviews are an important aspect of your business’ marketing strategy because they are a major factor in guiding consumers’ decisions when it comes to the products and services they buy. If you’ve ever made a purchasing decision based on positive or negative online reviews, you can bet your customers have, as well.
Just how important are online reviews to your new customer acquisition? Approximately 93% of consumers say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. The only thing more important than generating online reviews is generating positive online reviews – in fact, customers are willing to spend 31% more on average if a business has excellent online reviews.
So, how do you go about generating these excellent online reviews? The easiest place to start is by simply asking your customers to leave reviews. Remember, though, not all reviews are created equal – so be sure to ask in a non-pushy way that’s friendly and enthusiastic. You should also make sure that you’re working on delivering an excellent experience for your customers in the first place – if they enjoy their buying experiences with you, they won’t hesitate to share their thoughts online.
Finally, you can monitor your online review profiles like Yelp and Google My Profile for new reviews on a regular basis – these monitoring tools make it easy to respond quickly to any praise (or criticism) that comes your way.
Think about the most cluttered inbox you can imagine (it may even be your own – no judgment here). As you’re scrolling through tens of hundreds of unread messages, which subject lines are the ones that catch your eye? If you’re anything like 90% of US consumers, it’s the ones that are personalized.
Personalization will be a huge trend for 2022, not just for email marketing but across the digital marketing spectrum. Today’s consumers expect a personalized web browsing experience, whether that be addressing them by name in an email or making product recommendations based on their past shopping habits. In fact, 71% of consumers admit they feel frustrated when their web browsing experience is impersonal.
So how do you create that personalized experience your customers crave? You may not be able to go as in-depth as Spotify’s personalized playlists or Google’s recommended news articles, but that doesn’t mean your business can’t utilize personalization. Even something as simple as making product recommendations based on past browsing habits or providing your customers with the option to opt-in or out of certain types of email content will show them that you care about providing them with an experience that speaks directly to their needs and interests.
37) Predictive Analytics
Prediction has always been an integral part of human life. More recently, people have begun applying the concept of prediction more systematically and analytically to business. This is known as predictive analytics. Predictive analytics (PA) is the application of statistical and machine-learning techniques to data to discover patterns and predict future behaviors. At its core, predictive analytics seeks to answer the question: what will happen next?
Let’s dive right into another important question: how can your business integrate PA into your marketing strategy? When analyzing customers’ data, you can segment them into different sub-groups. These groups have different likelihoods to respond to a marketing campaign. For example, you might find that people who have signed up for your website’s newsletter are very likely to respond to a marketing campaign, but people who have ordered from you in the past are less likely to do so.
In this situation, PA can help select the ‘right’ individuals for a marketing campaign based upon their likelihood of responding. If you email only the customers who will most likely click on your link, you save money, resources and time.
38) Push Notifications
Consumers are spending more time on their mobile devices than ever, and this trend will continue into 2022. This also means consumers are being inundated with more marketing messages on their mobile devices than ever. If your nightly scroll through social media has ever been interrupted by a seemingly neverending chain of notifications popping up at the top of your screen, you know firsthand just how annoying this can be. Thankfully, push notifications provide consumers with the ability to control the kinds of messages and alerts they opt into – and more and more businesses are taking notice.
Push notifications are important because they allow businesses to reach their customers at the right time with relevant information. They help marketers cut through all of the noise on mobile devices by providing audiences with timely, personalized alerts about an event or special offer.
So, how do you make the most of push notifications? You let your customers know what’s in it for them. Hold giveaways for the first few commenters on an Instagram post to encourage them to opt into receiving a notification the instant you post. Host high-value livestreams that they’ll want to tune into from the beginning. If your audience is willing to opt into these alerts, it’s a sure-fire sign that your business is on their radar to work with or purchase from in the future.
39) Responsible Consumerism
Responsible consumerism is all about being mindful of the environmental and social impact of your purchasing decisions. It means thinking about things like the origin of products, their environmental footprint, and the working conditions of the people who made them. It’s more than a trend – it’s a movement.
When it comes to responsible consumerism, businesses have a lot to gain by getting on board. Today’s consumers are motivated by more than just good prices in a convenient location. They want to work with brands that are making a conscientious effort to improve and protect our planet, and it’s up to you to showcase how your business is doing its part.
There are a few ways that you can market your business as being responsible and sustainable. You can start by making sure that all of your marketing materials are clear about your environmental and social policies. You can also highlight any charitable work or sustainability initiatives that your company is involved in. And finally, you can make it easy for customers to make responsible choices by providing information about the origins of your products and how they were made.
40) Shoppable Posts
Online shopping is incredibly streamlined these days, which is great news for both shops and shoppers. That is, shops that know how to optimize their shopping experience. Social media has become one of the biggest shopping hubs on the web with the recent advancement of shippable posts, and e-commerce companies in particular will need to follow suit if they want to keep up in the new year.
Shoppable posts are just what they sound like: posts that link to products on an external site and allow users to immediately buy whatever it is they’re seeing while scrolling through your social media account. That’s a win for both consumers and brands – readers can get their hands on the latest trends straight from their feeds, and businesses get more exposure and chances to convert.
The age of shoppable posts has allowed social media to have an even bigger impact on e-commerce, and it’s changed the face of customer engagement. Businesses that utilize them carefully may find themselves with a significant boost in their conversion rates – not to mention more traffic throughout their sites.
41) Site Security
Site security is less of a trend and more of a requirement as we head into 2022. In fact, none of the above trends will serve much benefit if the website they’re hosted on isn’t safe to browse. Today’s consumers aren’t the only ones who are turned off by websites that aren’t secure – search engines are too. Giants such as Google value security measures so highly they’ll even lower a website’s rankings if they aren’t in place!
As you get yourself into the holiday shopping mindset, one of the best gifts you can give your business (and your customers!) this year is an SSL certificate. An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of your website to browsers and encrypts all communication between a customer’s computer and your web server using SSL or TLS protocols. This helps protect visitors from hackers, cybercriminals, data thieves and other threats while they’re browsing your site.
And consumers prefer shopping on sites with SSL certificates too! In fact, approximately 85% of consumers said they avoid shopping on websites that are flagged as being “Not Secure”. There are plenty of great reasons to make site security a priority as we head into the new year – both for your customers and for your business.
42) Social Media Marketing
We couldn’t talk about digital marketing trends for 2022 without making a special mention of perhaps the biggest one of them all: social media marketing.
Social media marketing is the strategic process of promoting your business across various social platforms. Using social media as a marketing platform provides small business owners with the chance to promote their brand across hundreds of millions of people worldwide. It can provide a healthier ROI than traditional advertising methods like print or paid ads because it’s more affordable for small business owners while being just as effective in terms of reaching market saturation.
When we think about social media marketing for small businesses, most people generally think about the big four: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin. However, with the rise of popular alternative platforms like Pinterest and TikTok, social media marketers may consider setting their sights elsewhere in the new year.
To complicate things even further, social media marketing is constantly evolving and shifting. It’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends in order to market your business effectively. Rather than spreading yourself too thin by trying to be on every social media platform, think about which ones would be the most beneficial for your business goals. Once you have a good idea of where to spend your time and budget, start engaging with your audience, building relationships with potential customers and sharing interesting content.
You’ve heard of them. You’ve probably watched them. You might have even posted your own! Social media stories have been a popular digital marketing trend since their inception, and this will continue as we head into 2022.
Stories are photos or short-form videos that appear on your social media profile for a limited amount of time – typically only 24 hours. They differ from traditional posts as they can only be viewed by your friends or followers for that period of time, after which the story will disappear.
What benefit does a disappearing social media post serve to businesses, anyway? Despite their short-lived presence, social media stories can serve multiple functions for your business. According to Facebook’s social media for business guide, “Stories are a way to give more context on what you or others are doing and feeling.” Stories enable you to add a personal touch that is not possible with traditional posts. The extra dimension gives customers insight into your company culture and your employees’ personalities – information that may be otherwise difficult to showcase.
It is not just your current customers who are watching either. Social media stories are an opportunity to attract new customers, as well as encourage existing ones to spend more time with your business. As an added benefit for businesses, stories are more likely to result in customer engagement than regular posts. According to Facebook, users are 70% more likely to engage with stories than traditional posts.
44) Strong Branding
Your products or services may already be a cut above the competition, but they may not get noticed if your branding doesn’t resonate with potential customers. Today’s consumers are not only looking for a business that can meet their needs – they’re also looking for a business whose brand aligns with their values, interests and aesthetics. For this reason, business owners in 2022 will need to put strong, consistent and recognizable branding at the forefront of their marketing strategy.
Strong branding increases customer loyalty, making customers more likely to stick with your company. This is especially true in industries where products are commoditized and cost is the primary factor driving purchasing decisions. For example, while McDonald’s burgers are delicious, they’re not inherently better than Burger King or Wendy’s burgers. Instead of focusing on product superiority, McDonald’s has made its branding an integral part of its overall business model. By using the Golden Arches as a symbol for quick, affordable food served to millions globally, McDonald’s has constructed a brand that people are attracted to.
Not sure where to start when it comes to branding your company? Incorporate a memorable logo into your marketing efforts. As the McDonald’s example shows, a brand that is instantly recognizable is more likely to leave its mark on customers’ minds. Even if you’re not in the business of selling burgers, incorporating your logo into all of your brand materials can help solidify your image in potential customers’ minds. Keep your colors and voice consistent across platforms, and remain on message with your target audience.
45) Structured Data SEO
Structured data SEO sounds complicated, but the concept itself is actually quite simple. All it means is that you use a set of tags on your website to provide search engines with information about the content. This will be particularly useful in 2022, when Google’s mobile-first indexing strategy kicks in and websites that have this data display as well as those that don’t.
Structured data SEO ensures that search engines can read and index your content. If Google cannot understand the main point of the article, then Google might not rank it very highly because its algorithm expects to show search results to users. This enables the search engine to match up relevant content for different results in their algorithm, which will in turn allow you to rank higher for more relevant keywords.
This is especially important if you are running small businesses because it’s what Google wants to see. It’s the proof of your content’s relevancy, and that is something that search engines care deeply about. Since Google’s algorithm is designed to favor relevant search results, this enables you to rank higher.
Not sure where to start? Structured data requires a fair amount of coding knowledge and a great deal of research to implement it successfully, so you may want to consider leaving this one to a digital marketing agency with the tools and knowledge needed to handle it for you.
46) User-Generated Content
User-generated content (UGC) is any type of content that is created by users, as opposed to businesses. This can include blog posts, social media posts, reviews, photos, and videos. UGC has become so popular because it’s trusted more than other types of content. In fact, a recent study revealed 65% of consumers are more likely to trust UGC over other types of marketing content.
What is it about UGC that makes it so beneficial to businesses? Trust building aside, UGC is incredibly valuable for businesses of all sizes because it can help them amplify their content, reach new audiences, build brand awareness, and even gain valuable insight into the needs of potential customers.
While UGC can be great for any business, it really excels with small businesses. Why? There are several reasons, but one big one is budget. Small business marketing budgets tend to be on the tighter end compared to larger corporations, so small companies need to get the most bang for their buck. UGC can help businesses do just that because it’s typically free and also has a high return on investment (ROI).
47) User Intent
User intent is a term used to describe what a user is trying to do when they visit your website, such as find information, make a purchase, or sign up for a service. It’s more than just a digital marketing trend for 2022 – it’s a necessity for businesses looking to drive conversions.
Understanding user intent can be an extremely valuable tool in any digital marketing strategy, but it is particularly important to keep in mind when you are working on conversion rate optimization (CRO). The main goal of CRO is to turn traffic into leads and customers by increasing conversions on your website. User intent helps you to identify the best places on your website to put calls-to-action, as well as helping you determine what information you should be putting in each section of your website.
On a broader scale, user intent can also help you generate new leads and find opportunities for growth by allowing you to better understand your target audience and their needs. By figuring out what people are trying to do when they visit your website, you can identify holes in your product offerings and create a plan to fill them.
Once you understand user intent, it is your job to present your company in a way that allows you users to take the next step. By thinking about what a customer wants and needs before they even get to the point where they are looking for what you have to offer, you can turn more browsers into buyers.
48) Video Marketing
It’s no secret that image-based digital marketing has exploded in recent years, with video content becoming the cornerstone of any successful campaign. In fact, video will still be the most important form of content for small businesses in 2022. Whether you’re looking to promote your products or simply raise awareness for your brand, it’s vital that you consider using video marketing in your 2022 digital marketing strategy if you want to make a lasting impact.
There are a number of reasons why video marketing is so important for small businesses as we head into the new year. For starters, videos are more engaging than any other form of content. They hold our attention for longer, and we’re more likely to share them with our friends and family. In fact, according to Content Marketing Institute, video is the most shared content on social media.
Additionally, video marketing is an incredibly effective way to build trust with potential customers. By seeing your product or service in action, they’re more likely to feel confident about doing business with you. In fact, studies show that including a video on your landing page can increase conversions by 80%. In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information, video marketing stands out from the crowd. Plus, it can help you to connect your brand with a whole new audience, who may not have been exposed to your product or service otherwise.
49) Voice Search Optimization
It wouldn’t truly be a list of the biggest digital marketing trends for 2022 without mentioning voice search optimization! If you’ve ever made a verbal search – whether through Google, Alexa or Siri – you’re already well aware of the power and convenience of this feature from a consumer standpoint. But how does it translate to your business?
Simply put, if you want your business to be visible and competitive in the years ahead, optimizing for voice search is a must. And fortunately, it may not be as difficult as you might think.
There are a few key things to keep in mind when making your business voice search-friendly. First and foremost, make sure that your website’s content is well written and keyword rich – in particular, long-tail keywords that reflect actual questions your audience might ask. This will help ensure that your site appears as one of the top results when someone conducts a voice search using keywords relevant to your business.
You’ll also want to consider developing a voice search strategy for your business. This could include creating specific content and marketing initiatives around voice search, as well as investing in voice search-friendly tools and technologies. And finally, keep in mind that the use of voice search is growing rapidly – so make sure you stay ahead of the curve!
50) Zoom Events
Okay, we cheated a little. Virtual events extend beyond just Zoom, but this is an A to Z list and we needed a Z!
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, video conferencing was a necessity to stay connected from a distance. As we head into 2022, however, it has become a welcomed convenience. Our world may be predominantly opened up again, but virtual events are one pandemic-era trend that’s showing no signs of going away. In fact, as we become more comfortable with the technology, virtual events are becoming more prevalent.
Many businesses have started to use virtual events in their marketing strategy as a way to reach new customers and keep current ones engaged without location-based limitations. There are many different types of virtual events, but all have the same goal: to bring people together in a virtual space. Whether your goal is to educate, entertain or connect with customers, virtual events can help you achieve it.
If you’ve never held a virtual event, here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Trade shows/expos
- Product launches
Digital Marketing Trends for 2022: What Now?
Now that we’ve covered our picks for the top digital marketing trends for 2022, it’s time to put all 50 of them into motion. Well, not exactly. While these trends might be the best for 2022, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all the best for your business. So how do you know which ones are? You ask the experts.
Creative Click Media’s team of savvy SEO, social media and web design experts will work with you to create a digital marketing strategy designed to set you up for triumph in the year ahead. Contact us to find out how you can turn these digital marketing trends into your business’ digital marketing success story.