There are no tricks that will get brands and platforms through this moment
By now we’ve heard all the jokes about how 2021 was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad year. But while you’re likely eager to leave 2021 in the past, you’re also eyeing 2022 with some healthy skepticism.
After all, it was around this time last year when we all thought, “2021 can’t be any worse than 2020,” to which the universe responded, “Hold my beer.”
These past two years have brought about changes in how we interact online, and this, in turn, has had a dramatic impact on digital marketing. We predict these will be the six major digital marketing trends of 2022.
1. Continued Focus on User Intent
Let’s start with what has remained fairly constant: the focus on user intent. There was a time when SEO (and even some digital marketing) was about delivering what algorithms wanted, not actual human users. This was the era of churning out meaningless content to get keywords onto a page and a hyperfocus on generating traffic for websites, instead of thinking about a customer’s journey to making an actual purchase.
Now, it’s not about maximizing traffic to a site—it’s about getting the right traffic. And it’s not about producing lightweight content that serves no real purpose. Instead, we want to engage, entertain and educate readers. Focusing on these fundamentals to meet users’ needs ultimately does a better job meeting Google’s expectations, too.
2. SEO Evolves as Google Gets Smarter
Related to this last point, search algorithms are smarter than ever, and they’re matching user intent by getting better at understanding context. This is why instead of honing in on a single keyword, or several variations of that keyword, it’s become important to weave a web of related concepts so Google understands the difference between a page with a recipe for a Brass Monkey cocktail and a page about the Beastie Boys song of the same name.
Smarter search engines also mean that content needs to be more sophisticated. No more SEO hacks and tricks, and no more trying to game the system to leap to the top of SERPs. Website owners should instead focus on optimizing user experience.
3. The Rise of Short DIY Video Content
Love it or hate it, you have to admit TikTok has changed the game when it comes to video—and that’s a good thing for digital marketers and small businesses on a budget. You no longer need to hire a videographer and editor to create slickly produced videos for Instagram and YouTube. Today, people are looking for relatable content rather than aspirational.
Does this mean your business needs to set up shop on TikTok? No! TikTok is hugely popular, but it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that it still serves a pretty niche audience and is not a fit for every business. But Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have all rolled out short video formats, and you can put these to use for your business, borrowing from the simple DIY style and aesthetic popularized by TikTok influencers.
4. Better Optimization Makes Digital Ads More Effective
Google and Facebook dominate digital advertising, and it’s easy to see why—no two platforms make it easier to target specific groups, and they’re also unparalleled when it comes to reach. If looking at the ads as you scroll through your Facebook feed leaves you feeling a little creeped out, you can thank ad optimization—Facebook and Google sometimes know what you need before you even know you need it at this point.
What does this mean for you as an advertiser? Getting comfortable working with a variety of placement types (news feed, Stories, Reels, etc.) with different creatives, and analyzing performance in order to optimize your campaigns so you, too, can target your advertising with scary accuracy.
5. Influencer Marketing Becomes Smarter and More Targeted
When influencer marketing first became a thing, brands and marketers looked at follower counts first and foremost. This resulted in a lot of failed campaigns featuring influencers promoting products and brands that they clearly didn’t use and felt ambivalent about, at best.
Brands have gotten smarter, and this has brought about the rise of micro-influencers. Getting authentic endorsements from influencers who represent the target audience of a product or service results in a better ROI for brands. In 2022, expect influencer marketing to expand, with endorsement deals becoming less concentrated among those with the highest follower counts and more widely distributed instead.
6. Rise of Hyperlocal Marketing for Small Businesses
As more businesses experiment with geofencing, hyperlocal marketing will continue to be a trend to watch in 2022. Small businesses have gone from advertising to their cities and neighborhoods to advertising to people within a few blocks’ radius from their storefronts. When combined with smart targeting, hyperlocal marketing yields impressive results, proving that sometimes spear fishing is more productive than casting a wide net and waiting to see what swims in.
Copyright 2022 Adweek. All rights reserved. From https://www.adweek.com. By Phil Frost.