A new year, a new set of predictions on the trends we’re likely to see in digital marketing. Is email dead? Will video take over? Is loyalty done for? Well, we’ll try not to be quite as reactionary as all that, but there are some pretty interesting trends we think will take hold.
Privacy will continue to lock down data
Next year Google will block third-party cookies. Safari and Firefox already do. 2021’s iOS 15 update gave Apple users a voluntary opt-in to their IDFA (Identification for Advertisers) approach that would stop companies from tracking people across apps and websites without explicit permission. So what does this mean? It means that internet users are getting more and more control over their privacy when browsing the web, and in turn, marketers are getting fewer and fewer data points to use to acquire, develop or retain customers.
Digital advertising is not going to go away (unless Google suddenly pivots to making most of their money somewhere else, which seems a bit unlikely…), but marketers will have to adapt to having fewer data points available and applying the data they do have in different ways. The best approach, we believe, is to diversify your marketing channels. Don’t restrict yourself to one or two that could collapse if another big change to the data available comes around.
Invest in an omnichannel approach to your marketing and you should continue to reap the benefits as other less prepared companies begin to struggle.
And if we don’t have the data, email is finally dead, right?
I don’t like to let an article go by without trying to shoehorn talking about emails in there somewhere and this article is no exception.
Apple's iOS updates rendered the open rate unreliable at best as a metric for gauging the performance of your email campaigns. Yet despite this, Litmus’ recent State of Email report showed that email has become marketing’s most important channel, with 91% of respondents saying that email was critical to the success of their business, up an impressive 20% since 2019.
To capitalise on this channel, think about how you gauge success. Email marketing has always been one of the most cost effective ways to market, but the more time and attention you can spare to getting your journeys, timings and messages right, the more benefit you will receive. The same rings true for things like AMP for email, dynamic and interactive content. Make use of new personalisation strategies to wow your audience and build trust in your brand.
Talking of trust, how about loyalty?
Loyalty programmes have been around for a long time now, but they increasingly seem to falter in providing benefit to customers. A lot of brands falter in offering reward points as a form of digital currency, rather than providing rewards that match the motivations of their customers.
Membership programmes may be the saviour here, encouraging consumers to sign up to a scheme and receive exclusive benefits such as free shipping, access to events, early access to new products or options to support external causes.
Consider transitioning your loyalty scheme into a membership scheme and adapt to the changing interests of your consumers.
The world isn’t exactly in the best of shape currently, and we’re all increasingly aware of it. With 55% of people in the UK saying it has become more important for companies to behave more sustainably according to this research from Google. With people individually having to consider a lot of sustainability factors when making purchases, they don’t want to have to do the same when dealing with your business.
Instead you can make this effortless for your customers by building sustainability into how your company operates and making sure this is clearly spelled out to your consumers. Building this messaging into your digital marketing efforts in 2022 helps establish trust and reinforce your position as an ethical and worthwhile brand.
Relevance and reach
Of course, conveying your value and purpose to your customers isn’t purely about sustainability. You also need to create experiences and stories that are true to your brand and relevant to your audience. This relevancy is arguably more important than your reach as the more relevant you are to your audience, the greater their faith in you and the more likely they are to buy from you and to spread the word.
Consumers are savvy to brands that exist just to hawk their products and are increasingly wary of shopping with them. But we expect to see a growth in relevance of content this year as more brands establish their value proposition and their relevance to their audience.
Make sure your messaging is authentic and consistent and communicates well with your target audience. Have a clear value proposition and deliver on that.
Listen to the storyteller
There’s been a growing focus on storytelling as a method of communicating with your audience, but we see many brands making those stories about themselves rather than how their clients can succeed with the brand’s help.
In 2022 we’re looking forward to seeing more companies leaning into storytelling in their digital marketing, creating content that is relatable and offers value rather than just churning out content for something to do.
Video killed the blog article star..?
Among the channels used for storytelling we’re expecting to see a huge rise in the amount of video being created by brands. With internet access faster and more available on the move than ever before, and a clear increase in the amount of video content being consumed, it would be sensible to consider video as a digital marketing channel for 2022.
Social media platforms will likely start introducing new advertising products that prioritise or emphasise video, and we’d expect to see an increase in using video in retail environments as well, as the hardware and running costs of displays are driven down by continued advances in technology.
We’re not suggesting that you ditch other content delivery methods, such as blog articles (otherwise this would be a video), written messages on social media, etc. But consider where video might work for your brand, and importantly, for your audience.
According to conversational AI company, Voxly Digital, 63% of consumers reported using voice-keyboard features on their mobiles in 2020. But within a year that figure grew to 78%. Search and sending voice-notes are the most popular use-cases.
Voice search isn’t a stranger to these types of trends and predictions lists, we’ve seen it cropping up since at least 2019, but it has taken a little while for it to come to pass. But the important thing for your business now is to act on it this year. Take advantage of the increase in use of voice search and make sure you’re optimising for voice.
What all of these trends ultimately boil down to is the most important one (in our opinion) for you to tackle in 2022: offering your audience a frictionless experience as they do business with you.
By decreasing friction across your site and marketing efforts you can boost engagement from your audience and increase conversions. Simple, measurable results. Whether that’s in signing up for a newsletter, purchasing a product or contacting you directly, the simpler you make it for your audience to interact with your brand the greater the results.
If you need help creating a frictionless experience for your audience, or getting on top of any of the other trends we’ve outlined for 2022, get in touch with our team today.