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11 key digital marketing trends to look out for in 2022 – Stuff

OPINION: If there’s one constant when it comes to digital marketing it’s that it is always changing. It’s part of what keeps me so interested as a marketer as I can justifiably live in the world of “shiny object syndrome”. It’s also one of the parts of that stress small businesses owners out the most.
The speed of change has definitely ramped up in the last few years. I set up for a webinar in the morning earlier this year, checking I’d keyed up a link to Facebook Business Suite and doing a run through, then jumped on live a few hours later and the whole platform had changed. I was certainly on a very public learning curve that day!
This last year has felt particularly hard to keep up with changes. While some might say it’s because I’m getting old, I’d say it’s more likely that we’ve had so much change and disruption in our lives since the pandemic changed everything, that it feels like a vindictive act to have our social media platforms change as well.
In 2021, the big changes started with the iOS14 update on iPhones that impacted digital advertising. Some of our clients have been hugely affected by this. Facebook ad funnels that worked perfectly in 2020 had to be completely reworked, and there was a great need for business owners to have more engaged social media posts. This in itself isn’t a bad thing, but did add extra tasks to a busy business owner’s list.
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Reels came into their own, and Tiktok became a cool thing for businesses to be on, much to the disappointment of business owner’s children everywhere. There’s been little changes within platforms, with Adam Mosseri from Instagram finally declaring they are no longer “just a photo sharing app”, and new features to find out about, test, and then see if they can be used in a business context.
As we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022, what changes should we be prepared for?
Oh APPLE! Why do you do this to us marketers? Like the impact to advertising, this change will allow the user to opt out of using their own email for purchases, and making it difficult to add someone to your email list.
This may impact between 30 to 50 per cent of your email list, so it’s significant.
You won’t be able to rely on open rates as a metric, and you’ll need to dig deep into segmented automations, and find ways to track all the engagement you can, such as clicks from your emails to the website.
For those who’ve used demographic data to personalise emails, that option is about to become more difficult.
What I like about this change is it’s going to make us all be better at creating emails people want. The iOS14 change helped business owners focus on building engagement on Facebook and Instagram. Perhaps a new way of email is coming.
To combat the loss in video, marketing automation is all about increased personalisation across any area where it’s possible.
Think more advertisements on streaming platforms knowing your name (or the name of your account at least) and behaviours, using technology with agencies such as Mountain, who’s creative director Ryan Reynolds is bringing humour and tight scriptwriting to the fore, to more ads and emails targeting specific behaviours, and using small segments of the audience to talk directly to you.
It’s both creepy and fascinating.
With businesses now accepting that Tiktok and Reels are here to stay, the move next year will be the worldwide roll-out of short form video for Facebook. (I’m hoping for Linkedin but so far no dice. )
All platforms are playing with the ability to interact more via video, with Instagram and Tiktok recently releasing the option to answer comments with a video reply. If 2021 wasn’t your video year, then 2022 needs to be. The longer you hold out, the hard it gets.
I know it’s feeling like a repetitive topic, but live video is set to grow further. Social media platforms are rewarding users who have regular lives, especially with others. These lives can be very interactive, and help people connect direct with their audience.
The use of streaming apps to stream across multiple social media platforms at the same time (avoiding Instagram and Tiktok), makes it simpler to build a strategy around it.
Scheduling, and promoting live video will become more widespread.
Expect a roll-out of this worldwide this next year. You’ll need to be confident with video (see above), and then you’ll be able to talk through products, and do demos, all with slick shopping buttons on your videos.
I also see a sweet little business opportunity for someone to go and help small business owners hook the technical parts up. It’s a constant learning curve out there.
Chatbots have been around for a while, but the growth of them on Instagram has not hit peak awesomeness yet.
Using Manychat, you can send links in reply to comments during lives, give away secret discount codes, add people to email lists, send them lead generation resources, and help them book a meeting and so much more. These will often have better uptake than using a link sticker in your stories or saying “click on the link in my bio”.
The huge amount of information being created means it’s getting more important to stand out from the crowd. The written word is NOT dead, but the ability to sell it more powerfully using imagery is key.
As I like to say – social media is like a kitten. It needs to be fed often, is easily distracted by bright things, and pounces on anything that moves. Images and video will amplify your content.
I may have one myself but who knew everyone was going to get their own podcast in 2021! Clubhouse (an audio only social media platform) whetted our appetite in early 2021, though the fad was short-lived with much smaller numbers sticking it out on there now.
Private podcasts (subscription only, or for internal comms), public podcasts, the use of audio only rooms coming to Facebook, and the move to have podcasts distributed by Facebook are all feeding the growing need to be entertained and learn via audio.
The use of video for SEO is growing. Tiktok and Instagram videos will be indexed by Google, making it possible for them to be found in search.
Video gives you an opportunity to drive traffic to your social media accounts, and to your website.
While Facebook is still a dominant player in social media, it continues to be used by an older demographic.
Gen Z and Millennials are using Instagram, and the changes to this platform is helping build community there. TikTok has seen the highest levels of growth in the last year, and is now the fifth-largest social media platform.
The changes in Facebook page layouts and the algorithm has meant it’s not always as user-friendly as it once was, and other social media platforms are showing themselves to be more flexible for a younger audience.
If you haven’t already, this is the year you need to ensure you have a privacy policy on your website. You should spend time considering how to measure what information you are collecting on others, and how to protect that information.
Of course, we don’t need to follow all the trends to successfully market our own business. Besides getting that privacy policy sorted, the goal for your marketing is to start with doing the basics very well. Make sure you have a clear message, know who you are talking to, and what you want them to know, and then tell it where they hang out.
Once you’ve got that sorted, you’re ready to ride the trend wave as much as you like! Here’s to 2022 being a year when marketing really works well for your business.
Rachel Klaver is a marketing strategist, specialising in lead generation and content marketing. She owns Identify Marketing, which works with businesses to create the strategy they need to tell their story better to the right people. Tune in to her weekly podcast MAP IT Marketing – created to help small business owners learn about marketing.
Identify Marketing is a content partner with Stuff for specialist small business information. Find Rachel’s events here.
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