Last Updated: Feb 12, 2022

or ecommerce stores, SaaS companies, or any web-based business, it’s safe to say that things are always changing. The last few years have been no exception.

Take for instance, the explosion of social media and the rise of consumer empowerment. While it’s been good for advertising and getting the word out about products and services, there’s a lot more risk now as well. Reviews and press, both good and the bad, travel at the speed of light. Brands with unintentional marketing slip-ups have to deal with angry web-based mobs, or are even cancelled altogether. 

Or consider how user data privacy awareness (by the tech companies, if no one else) has lead to the death of third-party cookies and with them, a number of targetted ad options. Not to mention, you now get those really annoying popups whenever you visit a website.

So what’s going to happen in 2022 –and beyond? What’s happening, what’s just a lot of hype, and what changes can we expect to see as the year unfolds? 

In this article, I’ll uncover some of the top digital marketing trends for 2022 including augmented reality, the metaverse, the demise of third-party cookies, and more. For any web-based business today, navigating these changes can feel overwhelming, but there are actionable ways to shift your marketing strategies if you prepare for the new trends as they come along.

Ready to see what’s happening in marketing for 2022? Let’s dive in now!

11 Digital Marketing Strategies for 2022

For the first time, digital advertising is set to exceed 60% of global ad spend this year. Here’s a look at what’s going to change in the year ahead:

Video Marketing, Short Clips, and Live Streams

More companies will be using video in their content marketing strategy in 2022. More than 80% of marketers say video content brings them good ROI, boosts lead generation, and directly helps increase sales. 

Video delivers lots of information along with exciting visuals in a short span of time, making it an engaging way to share brand stories. However, you’ll want to make sure you’re creating video content that resonates with your audience.

PWC Advertising’s recent consumer survey found that customers are getting impatient with irrelevant and “inefficient ads,” most especially for video. Video content that communicates convenience and friendly service resonate best with consumers.

Short-form video formats will continue to lead to engagement and conversions. They’re bite-sized and easy to consume, and if you find a formula that works, you can leverage it to grow brand awareness on social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube shorts. This is one job that you’ll want to consider outsourcing it to an influencer.

Live streams and virtual events will continue to be popular, and they’re a great way to connect to your audience in an authentic manner. It enhances accessibility to your brand and gives them a chance to interact directly with you. Live selling, Q&As, interviews, and behind-the-scenes videos of your process are all good ways to start incorporating live content into your strategy. Not sure where to start? Just pick one to start with and branch out from there.

(Source: Chipotle TikTok account

Influencer Marketing

In a time when people’s trust in traditional advertising is declining, businesses have to find ways to convey their messages in an authentic manner. Social proof marketing works because people trust other people like themselves. People don’t like feeling like we’re being sold to, which is often how they feel with marketing messages directly from brands. Influencer marketing, user-generated content (UGC), and customer testimonials are bridging this gap. 

The influencer marketing industry continues to grow at an astronomical rate, and is projected to grow from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $15 billion by 2022. Influencers have their own niches and significant online following and are seen as experts in their fields.

For 2022, the trend is shifting towards nano influencers (1k to 10k followers) and micro influencers (10k to 100k followers). In 2021, 91% of all sponsored post engagements were from content created by micro influencers. 

Danielle Wiley, CEO of Sway Group, tells Forbes, “Despite what you may think, bigger isn’t always better when it comes to sparking engagement on social media. While the most popular accounts seem to offer the largest potential audience reach, smaller accounts like micro or nano influencers often have more sway than their big-name peers.” 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Data for Hyper-Personalized Experiences

AI, anyone? Sure, it’s a bit of a buzzword these days, but there’s a reason for that: algorithms are adding a new dimension to the online shopping experience.

With all the competition, businesses can’t afford to make rough guesses when it comes to spending money and time. In 2022, Entrepreneur says that ensuring ROI will be increasingly important to businesses when it comes to justifying budgets and spending.

Diving into data analytics and metrics will help companies achieve this efficiency when it comes to marketing budgets. Data helps you understand what sells, what motivates your customers to buy, what works, and what doesn’t work in your strategy. 

AI and predictive analytics will continue to play a big role in creating a hyper-personalized customer experience, allowing you to keep track of customer shopping habits, saved products, searches, previous purchases, and more. Other ways that you can use AI in ecommerce include creating customer-centric search options, retargeting potential customers, creating a more efficient sales process, and offering extreme personalization. Learn more here.

Rise of First-Party Data

Google’s plan to kill off third-party cookies has been delayed from 2022 to 2023, but that shouldn’t stop you from acting now. First-party data, collected firsthand from your customers, is tremendously valuable, and it’s a good idea to start collecting it now, if you haven’t started already.

First-party data inherently has more value than third-party data because it reflects the unique relationship you have with your customers based on your previous interactions with them. Businesses should learn how to leverage it to create personalized experiences and offers. To start collecting first-party data use CRM tools, encourage user account registration on your website, and invest in email marketing.

The Metaverse

The Metaverse, an immersive world where you’re in the internet instead of just on it, has been generating a lot of buzz recently. Thanks to Mark Zuckerberg’s announcement that Facebook’s now gone “Meta,” and his chat about how he’d like to build the next phase of the internet.

Zuckerberg’s ideal metaverse (where we’re all playing virtual ping-pong while he sits back and collects our data) doesn’t exist yet, but many of its elements are already in use and are leveraged by digital marketers and ecommerce sites.

This includes virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and 3D renders in websites, providing a more “real” feel of a product than what photos offer. So a lot of buzzwords, for sure, but there are some benefits for ecommerce that could prove to be valuable nonetheless.

AR and VR may also help solve the problem of product returns, as customers are able to better visualize how a product can fit into their lives. It helps boost sales, too. Shopify says that online shops using 3D and AR elements in their stores see an average conversion lift of 94% versus those that don’t.    


Privacy Matters

“People are taking more steps than before to protect their privacy online, with 73% saying they use online services which promise high data protection, such as encrypted emails and privacy-protecting search engines,” writes Matt Brittin, President of EMEA Business and Operations at Google. 

“At the same time, we know that data is needed to provide consumers with useful information and relevant ads. Data helps shape meaningful and memorable messaging that makes online experiences better, while enabling marketers to reach the right customers and exceed their expectations.”

Brittin mentions that in 2022, marketers need to mke sure they’re focusing on building a customer-first data protection strategy. This means helping people to feel in control of their data and able to manage the data they share. 

“It takes time to build trust,” he says. “And marketers can start today by being open and honest about how and when they collect personal information, using this to show ads that are valuable to customers, and by putting users in control of their data.”

Shoppable Content

In 2022, social media is more than just a marketing tool for e-retailers. In-app shopping functionalities now allow businesses to post shoppable content, allowing buyers to purchase products directly on a social media platform. This improves the customer experience by reducing steps in the buying journey. 

Taking it even further are brands like Net-a-Porter and Canterbury, who use e-zines or online catalogs with shoppable content like this:

(Source: Styla)

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Focus on User Experience

Google’s Core Web Vitals 2022 update will make user page experience part of their ranking systems for desktop sites. Criteria for this include site security, speed, and layout stability. Search engines are also becoming smarter at detecting quality content. 

Merely focusing on technical SEO and target keywords may not work anymore if your pages don’t read naturally, don’t have quality and depth, and don’t offer a great user experience. Site authority will become increasingly crucial for a better search ranking. Brands will have to make regular website checks and maintenance a key part of their strategy.  

Conversational Marketing

In 2022, a great way to improve the user experience and loyalty is to use conversational marketing. Customers appreciate it when brands have two-way conversations with them. Sinch Marketing president Matt Ramerman tells Forbes,

“By taking a more human-centric approach to marketing, brand managers can successfully drive higher engagement, deliver a more personalized, tailored experience and sell more products while driving higher consumer satisfaction.” Aside from lightening the tone of your marketing messages, look into using chatbots and mobile messaging to get started on conversational marketing.

 Valuable Content 

Competition is getting tougher with more content being pushed out. 2021 saw a 40% increase in marketing messages versus the previous year, and the trend will only continue to grow. 

Your content marketing strategy should focus on creating high-quality and relevant content to stand out in your customers’ minds and inboxes. Engaging content helps you build trust, improve customer sentiment, and loyalty. Great content also helps you build credibility and trust. Bad content (or no content) does the opposite; it pushes customers away, making your brand appear unprofessional, less credible, and only concerned with making sales.

For 2022, create a content marketing strategy that’s focused on providing education and value to your customers. You don’t have to spend all your time creating content. You can leverage one piece of content into other forms and distribute it across different platforms. 

Hubspot says that these five media formats will be the most popular this year:

Top media formats for marketing - the type of media used by digital marketers influence their campaign's effectivity. The most used media types are videos, blogs, images, infographics, and case studies.

(Source: Hubspot)

 Voice Search

Voice search is seeing a rise in the past years. One-third of the United States population use voice search features, with 51% using voice to research products, and 40% making purchases through voice commands. 

Currently, only Amazon enables customers to make direct purchases on the site from voice commands with Alexa. If you have an Amazon store, optimize for voice commerce by making sure your product pages, titles, and descriptions are filled with rich content and keywords to make it rank. Use natural language and keep in mind the type of words or phrases your customers will most likely use for voice searches. 

For non-Amazon ecommerce entrepreneurs, leverage voice search by creating concise, informative top-of-the-funnel content. People use voice to search for information or to solve a problem, so keep these in mind when planning your content strategy.

The Next Steps

Step One: Social Listening 

The first step in getting to know your audience better is to know their concerns and keep up with the current trends in your niche. Incorporate social listening into your marketing strategy by joining online groups where your target audience hangs out, dive into your comments, customer testimonials, messages, and check out your competitors’ social media accounts.     

Step Two: Add Videos or AR Views on your Listings

Video content and AR on listings are a great way to offer a better customer experience. If you’re on ecommerce marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy, you can upload videos along with photos. EBay allows sellers to embed a video link into the listing. Shopify sellers can take advantage of 3D models and AR views for products.

Step Three: Gather Social Proof

Incorporate reviews into your marketing strategy. Real stories resonate well with audiences, especially if it talks about a problem that your product or service has helped solve. Every sale equals a potential review. When shipping out products, include a note kindly asking for a review. You can also automate review collection with apps like Swell Review, Gather Up, or Birdeye.

So there you have it! Eleven new trends that are taking place in marketing for 2022. Which ones should you start with? How can you implement all of them? 

At the end of the day, don’t feel pressure to keep up with each and every change that’s rolled out. Instead, focus on the basics; continuing to provide your customers with what they’re looking for: your product, and continuing to help them to solve their problems. If you’re able to use any of the tools or trends to better reach your customers, then be sure to do so: but only if it’s something that you feel will make a difference to your customers in some way.  

Are you ready to scale your e-commerce business? Reach out today for your FREE 20-minute consultation call. Let’s find strategies that’ll help you grow your business.

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