The pandemic changed the way digital marketers approach their target audience. Along with that, new business models and applications have also played a part. A target audience that may have engaged with certain marketing strategy in the past, may not do so today. This has led to keeping up with additional innovation tools that have been and will be introduced; whilst finding solutions to engaging with a post-pandemic audience.
The end of 2021 has not only provided some answers to the future of digital and marketing in particular; but there are also some questions that marketers will be looking for answers to in 2022, as they prepare for a successful year.
We look at the must-know digital marketing trends to make an impression in 2022!
The continuous rise of AI
As we witness the continuous rise of AI across the digital sector, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is predicted to detect life-threatening diseases in the nascent stage and become a digital collaborator to the human race; by 2030!
As far as 2022 is concerned, it is very likely we’ll continue to see sectors such as banking, finance and healthcare begin to use AI in their marketing strategies. Although some of AI’s well-known capabilities include reporting website traffic and keywords that can optimise a businesses’ organic search results, business leaders are likely to explore AI applications that can predict what customers are likely to buy in the future, based on their purchase and browsing history.
Predictive Analytics is the use of data to predict the future outcome of your business. This can be used to answer questions such as the likelihood of customers buying products in the next month; or which offers will work best with audience segments. Other examples include:
Which consumer behaviour is most likely to result in a purchase?
Which blog topics or social media content will cause prospects to engage with your brand?
Which content or offers will work best at different stages of the customer journey?
In 2022, we’re like to see more marketers use AI-powered predictive analytics in a few key ways to increase revenue, reduces costs, and build competitive advantage.
Gartner predicts that, by 2025, 50% of knowledge workers will use a virtual assistant on a daily basis, up from 2% in 2019. By 2023, Gartner predicts that 25% of employee interactions will be voice-based communications.
AI is playing a key role in providing the customer with a “unique experience”; and virtual assistants look set to become even more popular in 2022. The use of virtual assistants and chatbots is by no means a new concept. We’re seeing businesses use virtual assistants to automate customer service needs through a variety of channels. These include: Email Marketing, Social media and direct app communication.
As well as virtual assistants, the use of Chatbots provide increasingly appealing benefits. These include:
Answering customer queries without the influence of the company
Providing a “personalised” and enjoyable experience for the customer
Powered by AI, which enables the Chatbot to pick up human characteristics, creating it’s own personality
In December 2020, it was found that web page views from mobile phones accounted for roughly 46.7 percent of web traffic in the United Kingdom. It was predicted to reach 580 Petabytes in 2021.
People spend a significant amount of their time on their mobile phones nowadays. Whether that be to communicate, shop online or spend time on their favourite app. With this considerable switch towards mobile, marketers are having to ensure that their websites are optimised for mobile. The way consumers shop has changed, allowing them to purchase what they want, went they want; and how they want.
Considering the amount of people using their mobile phones to conduct their shopping activity, marketers will be aiming to create mobile-friendly content that will rank higher in search engines in 2022.
With young people spending the most time on their mobile device, social media use has become a popular avenue to target consumers. TikTok is a good example of an engaging app for not just young people, but all ages. Mobile commerce is also a trend that is going nowhere, as social platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have introduced avenues for businesses to sell products and customers to actively shop on these social media platforms.
No wonder we’re glued to our phones.
The last year and a half have seen digital marketers make drastic changes to scheduled events, taking a more digital approach. As they look to continue engaging with customers and gaining leads, opting for a virtual approach has been a required but also convenient option.
Marketers are now faced with a choice of either continuing to find a physical space to host an event and network, or stick to virtual events, where attendees can join from the comfort of their own home?
Marketing experts have expressed their views over the future of hybrid events:
Taking the hybrid approach, many business will be looking to implement AR and VR solutions to create an immersive experience to consumers who wish to attend the event digitally. Events are evolving. They’re not just standard events anymore – they’re experiences. 2022 could very well be the start of event holograms taking centre stage.
An audience can be inspired by a pre-recorded message by the company SEO, a tutorial or perhaps a hologram representing statistics. This is something both in-person and virtual attendees can enjoy. The opportunities are endless.
AI Influencers: The future of Influencer Marketing?
AI influencers have been steadily growing in recent years, and we’re starting to see brands opt for virtual influencers to engage and grow their audience.
Although it may be strange at first to see a robot-like influencer interact with large audiences, they have been successful; and brands are catching onto this. These AI influencers possess accurate human-like features and characteristics.
The most famous AI influencer on social media is perhaps, Lil Miquela. She currently has 3 million followers on Instagram, and clearly states in her bio: “19-year-old Robot living in LA”, with the hashtag: #BlackLivesMatter. Just like most influencers, she posts herself wearing designer clothing and enjoying regular activities. The rapid growth of Lil Mequila speaks volumes of the marketing success of the AI influencer.
The rise of the AI influencer has begun to make marketers and brands wonder about how much control they could have over what the robot says, as opposed to a human influencer sharing their views. AI influencers could also be seen as a cost effective investment. They can perform tasks and operate at a fraction of the cost as their human counterparts.
We are likely to see brands create their own AI influencers in 2022.
Digital Tasks & Automation
As technology continues to evolve, we are seeing marketing automation tools become more popular.
Consistent messaging is key in marketing, especially if marketing through channels like social media. With the number of social media channels that can drive leads and potential sales, automation tools will save marketers time when conducting repetitive tasks across various platforms.
Some of the tasks which we expected to see automated include researching and compiling data; managing scheduled tweets or Facebook posts to be published in advance or pre written emails to consumers regarding offers, or reminders to those who have missed out on emails they have yet to open.
Senior marketers will likely be bringing their attention to other channels such as PPC and SEO actively; and with various automation tools becoming available, this makes it easier for marketers to focus on higher-level strategic tasks in 2022.
Reviews On Consumer Protection
It seems like a long time since GDPR was introduced to business in 2018; but as consumers demand greater privacy protections and control over their data, this is something marketers will need to review and take into account heading towards 2022.
Google recently announced its plan to phase out support for third-party cookies. What should today’s marketers do? To start, increase your efforts to gather and fully exploit first-party data. Google announced its plan to phase out support for third-party cookies. What should today’s marketers do? This is an indication for marketers to begin increasing their efforts to gather and exploit first-party data.
Tools such as Google's Privacy Sandbox will allow marketers to achieve personalisation and consumer targeting without breaching user privacy. Elements such as CRM, surveys and interactive content will be necessary in 2022.
It’s clear that from the trends we have explored, that AI is certainly going to play a fundamental role in the evolution of digital marketing in 2022 and beyond. AI invest will certainly be on the mind and strategies of senior marketers in 2022 if they are to not only stay up to date with developments, but also stay ahead of the competition.