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Updated October 2021
At one time, artificial intelligence, data-driven marketing and voice search engine optimization (VSEO) were ambitious concepts bordering on the ridiculous. Today, these are some of the top digital marketing trends.
And why wouldn’t they be? After all, if your business intends to remain competitive in this crowded online landscape, you must adapt to the latest innovations.
In this article, we’ll go over the 38 most important digital marketing trends you can't ignore this year because they will help your business not just survive, but thrive in this age of never-ending marketing changes.
- AI-Powered Optimization
- Programmatic Advertising
- Conversational Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Social Messaging Apps
- Visual Search
- Live Stream Shopping
- Voice Search
- Social Media Stories
- Push Notifications
- Social Commerce
- Interactive Content
- Omnichannel Marketing
- Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies
- Predictive & Augmented Analytics
- Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
- Newer Blockchain Applications
- Quantum Computing
- Big Data and Deep Learning
- SERP Position Zero
- Voice Commerce
- 5G Technology
- Green Marketing
- First-Party Cookies
- Website Security
- Mobile Commerce
- Creator Economy
- Live Streaming
- Amazon Ads
- Native Advertising
- IoT Advertising
- Inclusivity and Diversity
- Alternate Search Engines
38 Digital Marketing Trends You Can't Ignore in 2022
1) AI-Powered Optimization
Artificial intelligence is the technology behind many services, including content creation, chatbots and search engines, which has particularly ramped up since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a PwC survey from over 1,000 U.S.-based companies, 52% have accelerated their AI adoption plans. The main benefits include:
For content creation, Jarvis is an example of AI-powered software that is “trained to generate original, creative content.” Apparently, top SEO experts taught Jarvis to write blog posts and website copy.
AI can also analyze consumer behavior and search patterns, and use data from social media platforms like Instagram and blog posts to help businesses understand how customers find their products and services.
One such company that has made AI the center of its value proposition is Google. Over the last few years, their implementation of AI has allowed their search engine to understand with higher precision what people are looking for and what kind of content best serves their search intent.
Google understands what people are looking for and what kind of content best serves their intent. For example, if you search for ‘fish oil’, Google knows that the dominant search intent is to learn about the health benefits and side effects:
Therefore it’s highly unlikely you could rank #1 for this keyword with an e-commerce product page. If you get this step wrong, all the time and effort you spend on content production, promotion and link building will go to waste.
This means that it's become more crucial than ever to nail the search intent, and content optimization is an excellent way to do this. The easiest way to implement content optimization into your SEO and content workflows is by using a tool like ClickFlow.
ClickFlow‘s Content Editor feature pulls data from the top 20 current ranking pages, and helps your writing team put together a perfectly optimized piece of content.
Using Artificial Intelligence to serve up subtopics and related keywords will make any article ultra-comprehensive and give it the best possible chance to rank on page one. It gives you a recommended word count, feedback on readability, and an overall optimization grade based on keywords and subtopics covered:
This was one of the key strategies used in this case study, in which ElectricityRates.com was able to increase organic clicks by 327% in 30 days. Using the Content Editor helped them identify that their existing content was not nearly in-depth enough and the important keywords that were missing:
Businesses adopting AI now will be able to cut staffing costs and accelerate growth, getting an edge over their competitors.
2) Programmatic Advertising
Programmatic advertising is the process of using AI to automate ad buying. By removing humans from ad buying, companies receive a more reliable and cost-effective solution to their needs.
Here’s a quick look at how programmatic advertising works:
Global programmatic advertising spending has reached almost $130 billion, 61% of which comes from U.S. companies. According to eMarketer, U.S. programmatic display ad spending will grow 18.4% next year, a number that's close to average what was observed in recent years:
According to SmartyAds, the power of programmatic advertising lies in its optimization scale capacity, which exceeds that of a human:
“Most search-driven manual advertising campaigns (even those performed with professional tools) take into account three or four targets: the keyword, time of day, and location.
Such tools like programmatic demand-side platforms can use hundreds of targeting signals to individualize the advertisement and even target according to lifestyle or behavior habits when integrated with customer data platforms.”
If paid media buying is a crucial customer acquisition channel, you should start paying attention to programmatic advertising.
One popular application of programmatic ad buying you should consider adopting is real-time bidding (aka. RTB), which uses real-time auctions to buy guaranteed ad impressions in advance from specific publisher sites.
* 5 Trends that Will Define the New Vision of Marketing Automation
* How Artificial Intelligence Is Revolutionizing the Digital Marketing Sphere
* The Effects of Natural Language Processing (NLP) on Digital Marketing
3) Conversational Marketing
With all that talk about chatbots, the reality of modern marketing becomes clear: it’s more conversational than ever. People want it that way, and so brands are reacting accordingly. When consumers have a question, 82% want an “immediate” response.
Conversational marketing facilitates a personal, instant connection between marketers and customers:
Unlike traditional strategies, this form of marketing is now available across multiple channels, allowing brands to meet customers on their terms: on the devices, platforms and time schedules that suit the customer best.
David Cancel, founder and CEO of Drift, explains: “Today’s buyers expect to find what they’re looking for now, not later….[And in] the way people prefer to communicate.”
The primary goal of conversational marketing is to enhance the user experience through a feedback-driven model that fosters higher engagement, greater loyalty, and more sales.
In fact, Drift has found that 41.3% of consumers use conversational marketing tools for purchases.
Some methods companies use to execute a conversational marketing strategy include:
- Personalized videos
- Personalized emails
- Virtual selling assistants
One example of a company that benefited from conversational marketing is ThoughtSpot, which, after its implementation, saw 10X more sales conversations, 70% more marketing qualified leads, and 64% more meetings booked:
One implementation of conversational marketing is chatbots. Chatbots leverage AI technology to provide automated human-like messages to web visitors in real-time:
Surveys show that:
- The greatest benefits of chatbots for companies are 24-hour service (64%), instant responses to inquiries (55%), and answers to simple questions (55%).
- Uberall has found that 80% of consumers have positive experiences with chatbots.
- Juniper Research predicts that eCommerce transactions via chatbots will reach $112 billion by 2023.
- By 2024, Insider Intelligence predicts that consumer retail spends via chatbots worldwide will reach $142 billion — up from just $2.8 billion in 2019.
Many customers prefer interacting with chatbots because they are responsive 24/7, give answers promptly, and accurately recall their entire buying history. These virtual assistants offer outstanding customer service by meeting customers’ expectations and automating repetitive tasks, freeing your resources for more important work.
As more consumers become accustomed to chatbots, they will become increasingly crucial for a positive customer experience.
* 13 Messages Your Chatbot Should Be Saying to Prospects
* Why Chatbots Are a Must-Have for Businesses (and How to Build One!)
* Facebook Messenger Chatbots: The Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Massive Results
If you want to stand out in 2022, you need to personalize your marketing, which means personalizing content, products, emails, etc. It turns out that consumers like personalization:
- SmarterHQ found that 72% of shoppers act on marketing messages only when they are customized to their interests.
- A Salesforce survey found that marketers see the highest benefits of personalization on their customer experience (64%), a conversion rate increase (63%), and visitor engagement (55%):
Similarly, Kevin George from EmailMonks asserts that “personalized, triggered emails based on behavior are 3X better than batch-and-blast emails.”
When you want to study examples of the power of personalization, it’s hard to overlook Netflix and Amazon, with their incredibly successful tailored recommended products or movie titles. Here are a few other companies that are successfully using personalization today:
- EasyJet launched a data-driven email campaign that uses customers’ travel history with the airline to build personalized stories, suggesting where they might like to travel next. About 12.5 million unique emails have been sent, which had a 25% higher click-through rate than non-personalized emails.
- Cadbury’s created a personalized video campaign that matches a Dairy Milk flavor with users based on data from their Facebook profile, including age, interest and location. The campaign generated a 65% click-through rate and a 33.6% conversion rate, proving that the personal touch works.
- Starbucks uses a gamified mobile app that draws on data like purchase history and location to get as personal as possible, allows customers to customize their drinks, and encourages further use with its rewards system—which skyrocketed their revenue to $2.56 billion:
6) Video Marketing
Video marketing is one of the most important marketing trends today and likely for the next 5-10 years. A Biteable survey found that:
- 60% of businesses use video as a marketing tool
- 61% of marketers see video as a “very important or extremely important” part of their marketing strategy
- 74% say video has a better return on investment than static imagery
- 52% say that video helps them build trust with potential customers
When we talk about video marketing, don’t just think of YouTube. There are plenty of ways to drive higher engagement with your video marketing. For instance, you can make a video post or start a live broadcast on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram. One way to schedule instagram posts for maximum engagement is by using RecurPost's automation tool.
Video is a useful channel where you can repurpose and republish your existing content or vice-versa. On the one hand, that means taking a content piece like a blog post and turning it into a video.
For example, we have implemented this tactic with this Amazon advertising 101 article, which Eric repurposed into a video:
On the other hand, you can take a video, publish it on your website and YouTube channel, and then:
- Get it transcribed and publish it as an article (with an embedded YouTube video for better rankings)
- Upload the raw video with the transcription as subtitles to Facebook (native Facebook videos get a much higher impression share and engagement than shared YouTube videos)
- Rip the audio alone and use it as a podcast episode
- Use video thumbnails in your email marketing campaigns and the word “video” in subject lines, as that has shown to increase open rates by 19%
7) Social Messaging Apps
If you think social messaging apps are just for sending emojis to your friends, take a look at these numbers:
- The top three social messaging apps — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat — have 4.5 billion users combined, more than Facebook or YouTube.
- Over 56% of global messaging app users say they have messaged brands to get more information in all stages of the buyer’s journey.
Social messaging apps are another execution of a conversational marketing strategy. People expect businesses to have a presence on messaging apps because it’s a direct and easy way to interact with them.
Some reasons why your company should use messaging apps include:
- Cultivate contact
- Deliver timely information
- Involve people in events
- Regain potential customers
- Provide support and assistance
- Boost sales
8) Visual Search
Visual search is a new practice where people can upload an image into search. Although it’s relatively new, there are two companies that are leveraging visual search:
Pinterest jumped on the visual search bandwagon with the launch of Lens, a visual search tool that allows users to take a photo of an item to find out where to buy it online, search for similar products, or view pinboards of related items:
Pinterest’s Lens recognizes 2.5 billion home and fashion objects and has inspired over 600 million searches on Pinterest’s mobile apps and browser extensions. Since its launch, they have seen a 140% growth in Lens usage.
Pinterest has continued to update its functionality with the launch of the following features:
- Pincodes, which use QR codes to find inspiration while their users are out shopping or flipping through their favorite magazines.
- Idea Pins, a similar concept to Snapchat or Instagram Stories that use multi-page video formats for creators who want to publish high-quality, evergreen content directly to Pinterest. So far, it’s only available to users from the U.S., UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
- AR Try, an augmented reality feature for testing new eyeshadows from leading brands such as Lancome, YSL, Urban Decay, and NYX Cosmetics.
B) Google Lens
Google Lens is a visual search engine by Google, which recognizes objects and landmarks through a camera app. Here’s what you can do when you take a photo of the following items:
- Apparel and home goods: Find similar products and where to buy them.
- Barcodes: Use a barcode to find info about a product, like where to buy it.
- Business card: Save the phone number or address to a contact.
- Book: Get a summary and read reviews.
- Event flyer or billboard: Add the event to your calendar.
- Landmark or building: See historical facts, hours of operation, and more.
- Painting in a museum: Read about the artist and learn more.
- Plant or animal: Learn about species and breeds.
9) Live Stream Shopping
Live streaming is a relatively new concept in the Western world, but in China, it’s common and extremely popular. If you think that’s an exaggeration, check this out: In the first half of 2020, one third of China’s internet users — which is roughly 309 million people — tuned in to a live streaming shopping session.
What's more, in October of 2019, Viya, one of China's most popular live streamers, earned roughly $49.7 million in just one day of live streaming: 🤑🤯
According to McKinsey, the most popular product categories for live stream shopping are apparel and fashion, beauty products, food, consumer electronics, and furnishing and home decor:
Coresight Research forecasts that live stream shopping will generate $25 billion in sales in the U.S. by 2023.
Two early adopter brands in the U.S., Levi’s and Tommy Hilfiger, have plans to start running live stream shopping events. Amazon, Facebook, and Instagram are also in the works to make this a reality.
While live stream e-commerce is still new, McKinsey recommends starting with infrequent streams focused on 1-5 products and relying on TikTok, Instagram, Facebook or Amazon Live, and then moving on to a “dedicated in-house team or agency staff to plan and develop content for livestreams, including storylines, scripts, and hosts or influencers” and broadcast them across multiple channels.
10) Voice Search
The increasing use of voice search has pushed companies to rethink their digital marketing strategies. If you're still unsure about voice search, consider this:
- 20% of all internet searches are voice-based.
- 58% of consumers used voice search to find local business information.
- 40% of adults use voice search daily.
- 1 billion voice searches take place every month.
Voice search already plays a crucial role in providing relevant information for search engine users. Google Assistant has 1 million actions and Alexa has over 100,000 skills, which represent functions that allow their voice assistants to react very specifically to user commands and queries:
Keep in mind that not only will more companies produce audio content in the hopes of gaining brand awareness (so you should, too), but ads are on their way next. This means that Alexa will tell you the answer to your question along with a “word from her sponsor.”
The latest data (which is now a few years old, so we can assume that this number is higher) shows that 27% of all mobile searches are voice-activated, meaning that they come from a set of “trigger words” such as “how,” “what,” “best,” and “easy.”
Keep in mind that voice search isn’t just another channel to force messaging and sales. Instead, marketers must develop a unique approach to consumer interaction, and this channel should be part of a broader, more connected brand experience.
Dive Deeper: 5 Steps to Optimize Your Content For Voice Search
11) Social Media Stories
Snapchat was the first company to ignite the concept of “Stories.” Then Instagram and Facebook came along, and eventually, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter unveiled their own story formats — albeit with different names.
Stories are posts that disappear after 24 hours. Despite representing such a simple concept (or, perhaps, thanks to it?), stories allow marketers to share genuine content and connect on a personal level with their audiences:
Here are some ways you can use social media stories to engage with your audience:
- Use polls within Instagram Stories
- Add links to your social media Stories
- Take advantage of Snapchat geofilters
- Add location tags
- Add mentions for other brands and your fans
- Give live video a try when creating Stories
- Invite followers to explore more with clear call-to-actions
12) Push Notifications
The launch of GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) and stricter privacy laws have dented the potency of email marketing. Moreover, younger audiences favor other methods of communication and prefer to deal with fewer touchpoints when engaging brands.
As part of the bid to engage users on multiple channels, browser push notifications are something you will see more and more brands adopting in 2022 — and they are getting more sophisticated and personalized. In fact, using personalized push notifications increases conversions:
- 7% open rate for segmented push messaging compared to a 3% open rate for generic, broadcast messages (a 2x improvement)
- 54% of users convert from a segmented push notification, compared to only 15% for broadcast messages (a 3x improvement)
Notifications triggered by behavior are being used to re-engage people who have shown interest but failed to convert, and to recover revenue from abandoned shopping carts:
Notifications can even include images and CTAs to maximize conversion rates from such efforts:
13) Social Commerce
Social commerce has existed for a long time but never really caught up until recently. Two platforms that have brought a new meaning to social commerce are Instagram and TikTok.
- Live Shopping: This is an implementation of live streaming (more below, on trend #31).
- Shop Tab Ads: Perfect for e-commerce stores that want to promote their ads on users’ shop tabs.
- Reels Ads: Just like Stories ads, but for Reels.
- IGTV Ads: The same as before, but for IGTV.
- Instagram Checkout: A seamless and secure way to sell your products directly on Instagram.
What’s more, a Shopify integration will pull products from their Shopify product catalogs and show them on a creator’s TikTok profile — basically, the same as the Shop Tab on Instagram. Users will be able to purchase a product without leaving the app, an identical method to the recently launched Instagram Checkout.
So far, TikTok Shopping is only available to Shopify merchants with a TikTok for Business account from the U.S. and UK.
14) Interactive Content
Speaking of instant access, that brings us to one of the fastest-growing digital marketing trends in recent times: interactive content.
In 2022, we’re destined to see a shift from traditional text-based content toward dynamic, engaging content that offers users an immersive experience, such as:
- Quizzes and polls
- Embedded calculators
- Augmented reality ads
- 360-degree videos
Here’s an excellent example of a 360 VR video :
And here’s an example of our Marketing Impact Calculator to help you calculate how much more money you’ll make with marketing:
Interactive content is more engaging, more memorable and more likely to generate the results your business needs. People like it not just because it’s fresh and original, but because it makes them feel more connected to brands and more involved in the buying process. That's why:
91% of buyers are actively searching for more interactive content.
15) Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel marketing was one of the buzzwords of 2020. While the phrase may now seem a little worn out, the strategy is as ripe and relevant as ever.
Omnichannel marketing is the process of marketing across multiple platforms — such as social media, apps, email, and blog posts — to offer an enhanced customer experience and cohesive brand message that lead to higher conversions and loyalty.
Stats show that brands using three or more channels in an automation workflow can generate great results:
- Engagement rate: 18.96% on omnichannel vs. 5.4% on single-channel
- Purchase frequency: 250% higher on omnichannel vs. single-channel
- Average order value: 13% more per order on omnichannel vs. single-channel
- Customer retention rates: 90% higher for omnichannel vs. single-channel
With more and more SaaS companies providing the tools to manage multiple channels more efficiently, implementing an omnichannel strategy is easier than ever.
This is another area where AI and big data are playing a role by helping brands understand consumer behavior better and personalize at an individual level at scale.
16) Augmented Reality (AR) & Immersive Technologies
Although virtual reality (VR) gets everyone excited with grand sci-fi ideas, AR has been more realistic for marketers.
According to ARtillery’s forecast report, consumer and enterprise AR global head-worn revenue will grow from $1.6 billion to almost $18 billion:
Likewise, mobile AR global revenue for consumer and enterprise apps will rise from $6.8 billion to $26 billion in 2025— almost a 4x growth rate.
Facebook just unveiled its long-awaited smart glasses, and although the focus is more on taking photos than augmented reality, it’s the beginning of what could be a game-changing venture.
Other companies have launched their AR apps, like IKEA. Their IKEA Place app allows users to take a picture of a room in their homes with a smartphone camera (with just iOS 11.0.1 for now) to “test drive” IKEA’s furniture in it. Users can move the furniture around and check out how it looks from different angles:
With AR improving rapidly, we will see a huge uptake in brands finding useful applications for the technology in the future.
17) Predictive & Augmented Analytics
Predictive analytics is the practice of using data mining, predictive modeling and machine learning to identify patterns and attempt to predict the future. Due to its potential, it has become more sophisticated and widespread in many industries.
In terms of digital marketing trends, we can expect to see an even higher number of predictive analytics tools and applications, such as advanced lead scoring, customer segmentation, and personalization.
One such example is Amazon Assistant, a Chrome extension from the retail giant that allows users to permit product recommendations from Amazon to extend beyond the website to make personalized offers while they are browsing elsewhere on the web:
The differences between predictive analytics and AR lie in the technologies used:
“Where predictive analytics uses machine learning to predict what will happen, augmented analytics uses machine intelligence to boost human intelligence with the why, so we can work faster and smarter on ever-larger datasets.”
According to Gartner, 75% of enterprises will move to using AI for their operational needs by the end of 2024, driving a 5X increase in streaming data and analytics infrastructures.
While the idea of marketing to people based on their location is nothing new, we do expect an increase in the use of geo-fencing, a market that is expected to grow to $2.4 billion by 2023 — along with the rise of mobile use:
Geo-fencing allows real-time targeting based on a user’s location. A target area is defined as, say, within a mile of a restaurant, and when a user enters or leaves this area, they receive a push notification, text message or another form of marketing communication.
According to Reveal Mobile, more than 50% of marketers surveyed see restaurants and bars, health and beauty, entertainment, grocery, and pet stores as the top five retail locations for geofencing:
What’s more, they found that geotargeted audiences tend to perform better or the same, on average, than other targeting tactics:
The American gas company called 76 uses Waze to mark their gas stations on a map throughout California. As drivers approach, a logo pops up on their map showing them where to stop for gas and offering entry to a competition if they fill up. Their “Tank 5” campaign resulted in a 6.5% navigation rate to fuel stations:
For industries that need to convert digital users into brick-and-mortar customers, geo-fencing will become more and more important in their marketing strategy.
19) Progressive Web Apps (PWAs)
Progressive Web Apps are websites that work like mobile apps but whose functionality resembles a native mobile app. PWAs offer fast load times, allow push notifications, offline usage and much more without being limited to either Android or iOS. PWAs enable development teams to create web apps for any device that works just like a mobile app.
By 2026, the number of smartphone users is expected to reach 7.5 billion:
With total page views on mobile increasing year-over-year by 57% worldwide, mobile is more crucial than ever to your digital strategy.
As such, PWAs are going to become ever-more prevalent as the mobile revolution continues at pace.
20) Newer Blockchain Applications
As defined by Blockgeeks, a blockchain is:
“A time-stamped series of immutable data records that is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity. Each of these blocks of data (i.e., block) is secured and bound to each other using cryptographic principles (i.e., chain).”
Here's a visual representation of how a blockchain works:
Despite being initially focused on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies and their applications are far more wide-reaching than just the financial world.
According to Leandra Monteiro from IBSintelligence, some key blockchain trends to follow in 2022 are:
- BaaS (Blockchain-as-a-Service), which represents the third-party creation and management of cloud-based networks for companies in the business of building blockchain applications
- Verifiable Credential & Self Sovereign Identity (Universal Identity), which will offer verifiable, globally resolvable, and privacy-preserving credentials to store and manage from the security of our own devices and can show it to anyone, anywhere
- DeFi (Decentralized Finance), which represents a shift from traditional centralized financial systems such as brokerages, exchanges or banks to smart contracts on blockchains
- NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), which are a special cryptographically generated token that uses blockchain technology to link with a unique digital asset that cannot be replicated
- CBDC (Central Bank Digital Currency), a digital form of central bank money based on Blockchain, which is a legal tender created and backed by a central bank
21) Quantum Computing
Quantum computing is a new technology based on a quantum physics theory, which asserts that subatomic particles exist in more than one state simultaneously. For clarity's sake, here's how ITSPmagazine compares it to traditional computing:
“Traditional computers store data in bits, which can exist in one of two states: one or zero. Quantum computers, however, use a new unit of measurement, a single atom known as a qubit (literally ‘quantum bit’), which greatly increases the computational power of a system.”
Another way to visualize quantum computing is to imagine a huge library:
“While a classic computer would read every book in a library in a linear fashion, a quantum computer would read all the books simultaneously. Quantum computers are able to theoretically work on millions of computations at once.”
So how can marketers use quantum computing? Here’s what we can expect:
- Improved mobile data coverage
- More human-like AI, such as Google AI, which is developing quantum algorithms to drastically improve machine learning
- Increased relevance of ads such as the use of quantum annealing to let advertisements reach a wider range of people at a better cost
22) Big Data and Deep Learning
The big data industry will continue to grow exponentially. According to Statista, the total amount of data being consumed globally is forecasted to increase to over 180 zettabytes (that’s one with 21 zeros!) by 2025.
They also forecasted that the big data market segment will grow up to $103 billion by 2027 with a share of 45% of the software industry:
As big data grows even more powerful, the demands for user data privacy become increasingly important (the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was a global revolution on data privacy, while the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) was more local).
As such, big data is a double-edged sword, but one that many digital marketers will find hard to resist very soon.
Some uses of big data for marketers include:
- The implementation of low-cost KYC (Know Your Customer) processes
- The deployment of business intelligence and web analytics tools
- The use of advanced personalization and targeting methods for improved customer experiences and acquisition
- The use of data-driven attribution models (such as the one Google recently announced) to counter the loss of third-party cookies (more on this in trend #27)
23) SERP Position Zero
For the past couple of years, we have seen the rise of the featured snippet, which describes a page’s content in the search result. A page that receives a featured snippet is said to have a “position zero” as it shows up before the first result:
As Google explains:
“We display featured snippets when our systems determine this format will help people more easily discover what they’re seeking, both from the description about the page and when they click on the link to read the page itself. They’re especially helpful for those on mobile or searching by voice.”
Featured snippets may offer a seamless user experience, but for search engine marketers, they represent an enormous challenge.
First, featured snippets can satisfy a user’s search without generating a click. Yes, that means you may work hard to rank for a page, get the position zero, and still get no traffic. 😔
Second, there’s no way to optimize a page for a featured snippet, as Google says:
“Google’s automated systems determine whether a page would make a good featured snippet to highlight for a specific search request. Your feedback helps us improve our search algorithms and the quality of your search results.”
The rise of position zero SERPs means that nowadays, search volume, intent and organic competition aren’t the only things that define a keyword’s worth. You must also analyze whether a keyword has a featured snippet or not.
As Google adds more AI into its ranking algorithm, we can expect an ever-higher part of their results as zero-rank-based.
24) Voice Commerce
The launch of voice assistants has disrupted more than the search engine world. As it turns out, consumers don’t just like to use them to execute their search queries — they also like to use them to purchase.
To understand the power of voice commerce, we need to think about one aspect of the consumer’s purchase process: convenience. A consumer may not purchase a 55” TV through a voice assistant, but they are most likely to buy a small, low-priced product that’s too annoying to search for online.
According to Walker Sands, “food and grocery” ranks highest on the list (at 21%) of what consumers have purchased via a voice-controlled device, followed by Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) at 16%.
- One company that took the lead in this new trend is Walmart, which partnered with Google to launch the Walmart Voice Order feature. People who own a Google Home can now say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart,” choose the product they want, and add it to their cart.
- Amazon also incorporated voice commerce with AmazonFresh, which allows customers to shop through any Alexa-enabled device.
Here’s how your e-commerce store can benefit from voice commerce:
- Treat your search strategy as a conversation. Design content with long-tail keywords as a searchable conversation with the customer.
- Focus on expected queries and suitable keywords. Make use of trigger words for voice searches (such as who, why, when, how, where, should, could, does, etc.).
- Do not limit yourself to exact words. Instead, consider the possible context of the customer’s queries and offer valuable content that answers the question.
- Blend multiple terminologies to create variable sets of keywords and phrases. They should naturally cover all the relevant data of questions.
- Come up with catchy product descriptions that sound great when read aloud. Write naturally to align with regular speech patterns.
25) 5G Technology
In a world gone mad for mobile, arguably one of the most significant digital marketing trends of 2022 is the dawn of 5G technology, or fifth generation of mobile technology. The update heralds a new era of digital communications, and its impact will be felt across virtually every industry.
According to George Slefo, a former tech reporter at AdAge:
“The arrival of 5G may also finally bring millions of rural consumers into the high-speed data lanes where marketers increasingly sell their products. It might even disrupt the digital duopoly of Google and Facebook by arming telecom companies with unprecedented data for ad services.”
T-Mobile points to the benefits 5G speed has for the burgeoning augmented reality industry, noting how it could be instrumental in developing a virtual heads-up display. As this picture below shows, 5G Internet speeds can help cyclists spot danger from all sides:
The European Union has an ambitious 5G action plan that includes uninterrupted 5G coverage for major roads and railways by 2025. What’s more, the technology is expected to power 100x more connected devices.
Undoubtedly, 5G technology will transform how we access online content, from digital marketers to the average user.
26) Green Marketing
Green marketing, also called “eco-marketing” or environmental marketing,” is the practice of developing and advertising products based on their real or perceived environmental sustainability.
Green marketing represents only one part of a broader movement toward sustainable manufacturing methods that include:
- The use of recycled and/or recyclable materials
- The use of renewable materials
- Limiting the use of packaging
- The development of repairable products to avoid being thrown away
Green marketing can give your business access to new, younger markets and provide a competitive advantage over other, similar businesses. It can also increase brand loyalty and boost your brand image.
According to a NielsenIQ report:
- Consumers have spent $128.5 billion on sustainable fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) products.
- 90% of Millennials indicated a willingness to pay more for products that contain sustainable or environmentally friendly ingredients.
- 48% of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.
Allied Market Research projects the global green technology and sustainability market size to reach $48.36 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 24.3% from 2020 to 2027.
Some tips to get you started:
- Get certified with certifications such as Green America, Green Business Certification Inc. or Green Seal
- Promote your green strategy in the different marketing channels you use, such as blog posts, social media, and so on
- Incorporate green practices into your company culture
- Support eco-friendly programs and initiatives
27) First-Party Cookies
The EU’s GDPR and California’s CCPA were passed into law to put limits on the way companies use their customer’s data. Since then, dozens of the largest companies in the world have been fined exorbitant sums of money due to user privacy violations, such as:
- Amazon — €746 million ($877 million)
- Google – €50 million ($56.6 million)
- H&M — €35 million ($41 million)
- TIM – €27.8 million ($31.5 million)
- British Airways – €22 million ($26 million)
The implications of the new privacy laws are far more reaching than economic. Marketers are now faced with a situation that has always been their biggest nightmare: the end of third-party cookies.
Cookies allow marketers to collect all sorts of data to measure, personalize, and develop their ad campaigns. With the slow but steady end of third-party cookies — such as the ones most marketing tools used to power their technologies — companies can only rely on their own collected data.
First-party cookies will force marketers to be mindful of the data they collect and how they use it. Although the future is still uncertain as to how much will this change affect marketers, in the meantime, here are some recommendations you should start to deploy before it’s too late:
- Use an omnichannel marketing strategy (see trend #15) to get data in every touchpoint while respecting the user’s consent.
- Use an invitation that’s highly visible, explicit, and personalized.
- Present the first-cookie data collection form/checkbox in a friendly manner, as if you were issuing an invitation to a loyalty program.
- Explain every data attribute you collect from your visitors, what it means, and how you use it for full transparency.
- Allow your visitors to modify their data collection and usage preferences through your preference center.
28) Website Security
In the same breath as privacy, website security is becoming more important than ever.
When a visitor lands on your site for the first time, they’ll make up their mind about your security within seconds. If they don’t feel safe, they won’t stick around, which leads to a lower dwell time, which is a relatively recent Google ranking factor.
That means you may see a decrease in rankings if people don’t feel safe on your website.
What’s more, with the Core Web Vitals update in 2022, websites must have secure sites. From now on, the bare minimum is to enable the HTTPS protocol for your site, which will show your visitors a little green padlock icon in the URL:
In addition, prominently displaying a security seal of trust or trust badge on your website will reassure your site visitors that you take their safety seriously:
* How Poor Website Security Negatively Impacts SEO Rankings
* How to Prepare Your Site for the New Page Experience Update
* CWV Update: Why Google Keeps Changing How It Measures Your Site’s UX (and What to Do About It)
29) Mobile Commerce
We’re living in an ever more mobile-centric world. Consequently, mobile devices will play a much larger role in the consumer’s purchasing cycle.
To make mobile commerce more user-friendly (and profitable), Amazon recently launched Amazon Pay, its own online payment processing service, which lowers checkout friction:
Merchants also get easy access to millions of Prime members with this service., which is why they have added Amazon Pay as a payment vehicle to increase sales.
Similarly, Google revamped its Google Pay app for Android and iOS users, which includes checking and savings accounts in partnership with Citi and Stanford Federal Credit Union.
Here are a few tips to help you ride the new mobile commerce wave successfully:
- Make your website responsive. This tip may be very 2008, but it's so crucial that you can't ignore it.
- Use mobile payments. Registration data gets stored on the mobile device itself, which helps to reduce wait times.
- Make good use of the space. Feature important elements on the upper section of your home page and ensure that the search window is visible.
- Make the call-to-action big enough to attract the attention of online shoppers and easily tap on with your finger.
- Tailor the online experience to your target audience so they have a reason to keep coming back.
- Remove all distractions from the checkout process so that customers near the “finish line” can easily cross it.
- Provide access to different digital wallets while keeping everything on your website secure.
30) The Creator Economy
We’re no longer in the era of large-scale TV productions. Some even have said the “golden age of TV” has ended. We’re now in the era of creators, one where consumers can communicate directly with independent content creators, such as those you see on YouTube and niche Substacks.
According to SignalFire, there are 50 million creators, 2 million of which make a full-time living (4%), and some 47 million that make a part-time income:
The creator economy has been driven partially by the desire to make a living with a job that’s fulfilling and autonomous. On the other hand, consumers want to connect with people they can relate to.
With the rise of the creator economy, brands will have to engage with these independent content creators who command highly engaged audiences.
In this regard, three trends we expect to see are:
- Creators moving their top fans off of social networks and on to their own websites, apps and monetization tools (such as Substack)
- Creators becoming company founders, such as fitness YouTubers who start their own supplement brands
- Creators gaining power in the media industry as fans connect with individual content creators rather than TV companies
Keep Reading: What Is the Creator Economy (& Why Should You Care)?
31) Live Streaming
Video content may be the future of social media, but live streaming is the most preferred video marketing channel. In fact:
- The live-streaming industry is predicted to reach $184.3 billion by 2027
- 80% of consumers prefer watching a live video to reading a blog
- 63% of Millennials watch live streaming content regularly
- People spend 3X longer watching live videos compared to pre-recorded video
Consumers want authentic, unique content with the opportunity to interact or connect with the creator. Live streaming offers a viewing experience that puts them closer to the action. As a result, more and more companies use live video for business.
Instagram has recently ramped up its live streaming capabilities with the launch of Live Rooms, a feature that allows users to run a live stream with up to three people:
Moreover, Instagram has allowed viewers to support their favorite creators with Badges, Shopping, and Live Fundraisers.
Both companies want more creators to leverage their platforms to raise a following and grow their business there. Likewise, your business should consider using either of these social networks to create highly engaging live streaming video content.
Twitch, a live video streaming service subsidiary of Amazon, deserves a mention all on its own.
This platform boasts more than 30 million daily active users. Although Twitch has focused almost exclusively on the gaming community (specifically, watching gamers play) since it was founded in 2011, it has recently expanded to other activities such as painting, cooking, and music.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, Twitch has grown even faster than before, as the following metrics can attest:
Companies have been using Twitch as part of an influence marketing strategy. Similar to what can be seen in other platforms like YouTube and Instagram, Twitch influencers have a strong relationship with their followings.
As Game Skinny puts it:
“One of the great things about online gaming is the formation of the community that plays that game. Much like that, channels and streamers on Twitch foster their own community.
People who enjoy the game, enjoy the person streaming, and maybe even enjoy hanging out with like-minded people. Successful streamers embrace this and some even do in-game activities with supporters of the stream.”
However, unlike other platforms, Twitch has a stringent policy towards publicity, as it doesn’t allow sponsored links, a key part of a YouTube marketing strategy. Similarly, Twitch doesn’t offer content to its users; instead, users get notified when a creator uploads a new video or starts a live stream session.
Given the tight connection between creators and followers, brands will be adopting Twitch as another marketing channel to promote their content and engage with new target audiences.
Gaming may have been the main use for Twitch so far, but marketers are starting to see its use to promote events, classes, workshops, and interviews.
33) Amazon Ads
When you think about online ads, you probably think of Facebook and Google. What about Amazon?
Believe it or not, Amazon's “revenue contribution is now 2.4 times as large as Snap, Twitter, Roku and Pinterest combined, and it’s growing 1.7 times as quickly.”
Boasting over 200 million worldwide Prime customers, Amazon is an ideal place for e-commerce brands that want to expand their reach. Amazon doesn’t rely on third-party data to boost its targeting options; it owns the data, and it lets you use it for your own good.
What’s more, Amazon's ad platform can target consumers based on their purchase intent. For example, a Google search for “best 4K TV” is broad and generic; users may be looking for information, for product comparisons, or anything else. The same search query in Amazon is more likely to come from users who are actively looking to buy a 4K TV. Can you see the power of Amazon ads now? 😉
Amazon Advertising offers a wide variety of ad products, four of the most popular being:
- Sponsored Products: Self-service, CPC-based ads for individual product listings that appear in shopping results and on product detail pages
- Sponsored Brands: Self-service, CPC-based ads for brands that appear in shopping results and feature a custom headline, brand logo, and multiple products
- Sponsored Display: Display ads that use automatically-generated ad creatives from relevant Amazon shopping interests
- Stores: Free, multi-page brand destinations that feature a product portfolio and help brands tell a story
The enormous opportunity Amazon advertising platform offers is undeniable and likely to grow in the years to come. As such, you must take advantage of it before it’s too late.
People like listening to podcasts, whether they are from individuals or companies. One source indicates that 80% of people will listen to most of a podcast episode.
And with Google now displaying podcast episodes directly in its SERPs…
…you must put more emphasis on optimizing your podcast.
Additionally, “people are set to interact with voice-enabled devices more often, so podcasters can increase brand awareness and audience engagement with voice SEO tactics,” including:
- Choose a keyword for each podcast episode
- Create a specific page for every episode
- Create a blog post of ~300 words for each episode
However, podcasts can be tricky for marketers as listeners may not be prompted to take action, such as signing up for an email newsletter. In the next few years, marketers will take a more user-friendly approach that will prioritize:
- Using one call to action per episode
- Summarizing the episode’s key points
- Making it easy to listen to a podcast — that means not requiring a sign-up, download, or any other issues just to listen to an episode
35) Native Advertising
Is it a surprise to say that people hate online ads? It shouldn't be, considering that 763.5 million people worldwide use ad blockers to avoid ads, which forces marketers to try new acquisition channels.
Among the many options available, some of which we mentioned here, marketers have found native advertising.
Native advertising is a type of non-disruptive digital advertising in which the ad seamlessly blends in with the design of the web page it is published on. Consumers usually can’t distinguish native ads from the content in which they show up — hence the name “native”:
An AppNexus study found that native ads see an average CTR of 0.80%, while display ads see 0.09% — that’s 8.80x higher than display ads:
ADYOULIKE has revealed that native advertising spend is expected to increase from $85.83 billion in 2020 to a total global value of $402 billion by 2025, which is a 372% increase:
As a consequence, native ads will continue to grow in popularity, making them a staple on a marketer’s overall advertising strategy.
36) IoT Advertising
The “Internet of the Things” (IoT) has been making a lot of noise over the last decade. To understand its marketing potential, let’s quickly define it:
The IoT represents a network of devices, from smart cars to household appliances to wearable tech, that are connected between each other and the Internet. In this network, the connected devices can gather, share and analyze information and create actions synchronously.
By 2025, there are expected to be more than 75 billion IoT devices worldwide, with an estimated global spending of $1.1 trillion.
Which means, of course, that brands and marketers want to use (or are already using) this data for their own business and advertising purposes. For example:
- Johnnie Walker has a Blue Label bottle with built-in electronic sensors that can tell if the bottle has been opened and where it is in the supply chain.
- Malibu, another drinks company, takes it a step further, using their “connected” bottles as digital touchpoint to promote exclusive content.
The opportunities for IoT advertising are just surfacing, which may disrupt the industry in ways we can’t imagine. The only challenge ahead is privacy. Given the detailed amount of data IoT devices gather, marketers will have to use it in ways that are relevant and respectful of the user’s privacy.
37) Inclusivity and Diversity
Inclusivity and diversity no longer belong to the HR world. In 2022 and beyond, it’s a marketer’s job to elevate diversity in all of its forms, represent the marginalized or underrepresented, and reduce long-standing cultural biases to strengthen connections with customers and foster a culture of positive social change.
Companies need to be careful that their messages, images, voices and values represent the full spectrum of potential customers and not leave anyone out due to their own unconscious bias.
In 2019, Adobe conducted a research report of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers and discovered that:
- 61% found diversity in advertising important
- 38% said they are more likely to trust brands that show more diversity in their ads
- 120 million Americans (out of a 332-million population) don’t see themselves portrayed in ads
A Nielsen report shows that:
“With 43% of the 75 million Millennials in the U.S. identifying as African American, Hispanic, or Asian, if a brand doesn’t have a multicultural strategy, it doesn’t have a growth strategy.”
Some ways that brands can make their marketing more inclusive include:
- Tone: Take a deep, careful look at how you represent a subject — say, an average member of your target audience. Analyze the words and expressions you use in your ads and content to represent them.
- Language: Pay special attention to the words, symbols and phrases you use to describe people and their problems.
- Representation: Before publishing a content piece or ad, ask yourself: Does this reflect society? Are we elevating diverse voices?
38) Alternate Search Engines
Research from StatCounter shows that about 92% of all traffic on search engines is through Google, dwarfing its “closest” rivals, Bing and Baidu:
Although small, it's worth noting the changes: Google's market share dropped almost one percent, while every other search engine grew. Here are the numbers from two years ago:
It’s hard to fathom a catastrophic collapse happening to the world’s most dominant search engine any time soon.
That being said, DuckDuckGo – a privacy-focused search engine founded in 2008 that has gained a niche popularity among privacy-minded users – has made some waves recently with its tagline “the search engine that doesn’t track you” because “search engines don’t need to track users to make money.”
According to DuckDuckGo’s general counsel and head of policy, Megan Gray, this model is profitable: “We make a ton of money. We are a privately held company, so I can’t tell you exactly how much we make. But we are subject to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which requires at least $25 million in annual revenue, and we are well above that.”
While Google has been embroiled in data scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica fiasco in 2018 and was officially charged with antitrust violations related to its search and advertising businesses last year, DuckDuckGo has meanwhile been quietly growing their privacy-first search engine, hitting 92 billion all-time searches with nearly 29 billion searches in 2022 alone:
Even Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey uses it:
Ultimately, marketers should consider their audience and think about where their brand’s content is likely to be viewed. With that in mind, optimize your content for more than just one search engine.
Final Word on Digital Marketing Trends
So, there you have it — our definitive guide to the 38 most important digital marketing trends you can’t ignore in 2022.
As John F. Kennedy once said: “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
For anyone in digital marketing, change is an integral part of the job. You must keep looking ahead and strive to embrace new technologies, tools, and strategies to gain an edge over your competitors.