Staying ahead of the trends in digital marketing in 2022 has many moving parts. From SEO to video to interactive content, the digital landscape is changing as new technologies, techniques, and algorithms emerge. Throw in the coming end of cookies by Google and our “new pandemic normal,” and it’s the perfect time to shift your digital marketing strategy in the new year.
More than ever, consumers research, shop, share and plan their lives in digital spaces. As the digital world continues to evolve and take a new shape, we have learned that online consumers want to trust brands and authentic experiences they believe in.
In our 2022 Digital Marketing Trends webinar, Milestone President Benu Aggarwal laid out the Foundations, Why MUM Is Important, Why Local Search Is Even More Relevant, the Need for Speed, How to Use First-Party Data, Mobile Interactions, and Full-Funnel Views, all of which you can see just below.
In addition to those trends, we detail 13 more relevant trends to help you map your way through 2022 below those.
Build on the foundations that matter
It is easy to get enthralled by shiny new things. As marketers, we love new trends and to be on the edge of emerging technologies and platforms. But innovation in digital marketing needs a solid foundation. That means:
- Creating high-quality, intent-driven and conversational content
- Storytelling across organic marketing channels – websites, social platforms, email, and local
- Having a mobile-first website built with Core Web Vitals and speed
- Answering questions with FAQs and conversational content and earning trust by matching search intents
- Optimizing for zero position on the SERPs
Once the fundamentals are set, create a strategic roadmap incorporating new digital trends, like video, entity and image optimization, interactive content, and automation. Whether you’re promoting hotels, homes, cars or cupcakes, a solid digital marketing strategy ensures you get found, stand out, and grow your business in 2022.
Consumer is spending time in discovery before shortlisting the items they wish to buy making top of the funnel activity very important, browsing, searching and top of funnel behavior is critical to the consumer. Our founder Benu Aggarwal has identified key trends impacting
Why is the MUM algorithm is important?
Google’s latest algo MUM tries to understand the deeper meaning and context of the queries; for example, shopping is going to happen through your images. People might not even come to your domain. They will just look at snap it and the transaction will happen. And it’s happening across all the time types of searches. What it means is when we are thinking about images, let’s make sure your images are a relevant, high quality has all the schema attributes.
Why local search is even more relevant for most businesses?
Local search is in fact becoming more relevant, it used to be about consistency of information, which we used to call NAP (Name, address, and phone number). From NAP it is now moving to EAT; expertise, authority, and trust focusing more towards enhancing experiences. Your business can leverage engagement and connectivity. How are you engaging with your consumer, especially today when all of us are working in a hybrid environment juggling between online to offline. There are tools and features that search engines have launched to enhance engagement from messaging, FAQs to Google posts, there are a lot of opportunities to for a business to be present where the customers are interacting with your brand.
How fast does your website need to be? The need for speed
Google is going to double down on page speed and page experience, it plans to keep releasing updates to improve speed algorithm both for mobile and desktop users. So key is to make sure anything you do any digital asset you create, you are thinking about it loaded for the user on a device of choice, even when doing a CRO conversion experiment, thinking through these various elements of page experience will be critical, because today’s consumer today is sensitive and may abandon your website to go to a competitor’s site if your site is not well optimized
Loading: How fast and smoothly your page loads
Interactivity: How smoothly your page behaves when you interact with it
Visual stability: Is your page visually stable during loading
Why should you be collecting and using first-party data?
There is so much more you can do because you have already gained permission from that customer. And that’s what our recommendation is. If you’re creating any asset, think about that asset holistically, think about everything, which you need those assets to tick mark before those assets are created. And every single channel that that asset is going to be delivered on. And we are going to be showing you how you can scale this across multiple, multiple channels across multiple or touch point
Mobile interactions are key to user experience
Desktop is important, but mobile is more important. We used to do long menu, long scroll-down menus on mobile, but now we have started reducing the long menu and start making sure that these menus are easily clicked and you can convert, and you can have much better interaction. And then moving from user experience to layout and content, what kind of content consumer is looking for is it, you know, optimized for what customer is looking for and gives the best result for their search. How your site is structured, how your conversion features are structured, how your overall features are functioning are incredibly important
What is a full-funnel view of your marketing?
Think the entire funnel and let’s make sure every single touch point is consistent is all stitched together to probe wide holistic experience, whether it’s FAQ, which when you are connecting with your customer, you know, across all the channel, or it is you know, PWA and you are, you are sending them SMS or push notification, or you are chatting with your customer or sending them messaging across all your social channels, or, you know, Google face, Google messaging, Facebook messaging, what’s that messaging
As we dive into 2022, here are the top digital trends to look out for.
- Develop Hybrid Experiences for Prospects, Customers, and Employees
To make people feel more connected in life at work, businesses are developing hybrid experiences. Hybrid experiences are more accessible and inclusive and expand your reach to employees and customers. This could mean chatbots with FAQs and videos or hybrid events for your hospitality business in addition to the human support and service you provide.
- Buy online, pick up in store
- Shop in store and access online reviews
- Delivery and pickup are a hybrid experience
- Online reservations and in-restaurant dining are hybrid
- Include online reviews and favorites in PoP
- Events and conferences should be live and video
- Weddings should be both live and video
- Help should be human and FAQ and HowTo sections
- Hybrid in-office and work-from-home days
- Zoom, of course
- Online and in-person training
- Company meetings, some in-person, some remote
- Influencer Marketing Continues to Grow in New Ways
Influencer marketing was a $10.24 billion industry in 2021, according to Research and Markets. And its going to get bigger in 2022. In fact, it’s expected to reach $84.9 billion in 2028.
With the social media landscape always changing quickly, businesses and brands are searching for new ways to engage with potential customers, expand their audience, and generate new leads.
As popularity and marketing spend increase for influencer marketing, here are a few of the top influencer marketing trends for 2022:
- Emphasis on following influencers across platforms
- Video and audio content will increase
- Live shopping
- Greater diversity and representation
- New social media platforms will pop up
- Authenticity will be the word
- Growing popularity of micro and nano influencers
- Brands looking for ongoing partnerships,
- Conversational Marketing
In 2022, digital storytelling will play a prominent role in engaging the audience. Brands and businesses need to deliver their message in a way that tells a story about their products and services. Consumers want trustworthy dialogue-focused content that solves a problem–that takes people on a journey to see how your product is experienced in real-life.
One manifestation of this is shoppable content and storytelling, which means enabling purchase from everywhere along the customer journey. Be ready when they are to transact.
Understanding your audience and answering questions is another effective strategy in conversational marketing. People are asking questions on mobile devices (mobile is now 60% of search volume) and you want to answer them across your channels.
FAQs let you provide relevant information in a conversational way across your website and other platforms. They can also help you saturate the SERPs and secure position zero, the rich snippet, if your answer is best.
This data from the Milestone research department shows steady growth in the FAQ rich media visibility in the SERPs.
- Voice Search and FAQs
Voice-activated digital assistants, like Siri and Alexa, continue to trend with no sign of slowing down. The popularity of voice search at home and on our phones has led to one of the most significant shifts in digital content.
To increase your visibility on voice searches, your digital content should be informative and incorporate the questions people ask about your business, services, and location. Creating FAQs on your website is a simple and scalable way to increase your visibility in voice search.
- Video Is the Marketing Star
Rocketing in the last 2 years, short-form video delivers engaging content on your website and on social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Video had the second highest ROI for B2C marketers in 2021 behind influencer marketing. Additionally, 91% of marketers feel the pandemic has made video more important for brands
Invest in this digital marketing trend in 2022 to engage your audience with authentic experiences and keep up with your competition. Audio content, including podcasts, is gaining in popularity to help elevate brand personality and awareness. And Google is putting huge emphasis on video in 2023-2024.
According to a HubSpot survey:
- 59% of participants use video in their content marketing strategy
- 76% of marketers that use video call it their most effective content format
- One in four marketers who use video (27%) say it’s the content type that yields the biggest ROI
- Visual Optimization
A hot trend in digital marketing is visual optimization. You can leverage image searches by adding quality images and video tagged with descriptive content. When a user searches for a product, your images will yield results and help you achieve more visibility.
Images and video also help with entity search, giving search engines a layer of context, as well as emotional storytelling.
Milestone research Image Research.pptx
Images matter to the multi-touch digital user experience, especially in many consumer-oriented industries. Invest in fresh, original, quality images and optimize for mobile performance to maximize visibility and engagement. John Mueller of Google provided the following tips for image optimization.
- Provide context: Make sure the images are relevant to the page and that the titles, headings, and content are relevant to the image as well.
- Optimize image placement: You should place images near relevant text and provide captions near the image. Also place your most important images at the top.
- Don’t embed text in the image, place that text on the page.
- Use alt-attributes on your images.
- Use original and high-quality images and graphics.
- Make high quality sites that load images fast.
- Create mobile and desktop friendly sites that load images rapidly.
- Use a good descriptive urls; Google uses both the URL path and image file name for understanding the image. Avoid changing the URL. and if you do change it, 301 the old URL to the new one.
- Provide relevant structured data, advanced schemas, to your page.
- Add image licensing markup
- Use large image previews using max-image-preview-large
- Speed up your pages by optimizing image size and lazy loading techniques
- Search Visibility and Impression Value
Search impressions matter, for example, in searches for stores, restaurants, addresses, phone numbers, and reviews. By being the best answer to a question in Google, content can be featured at the top of organic search results. These “best” answers are displayed as a paragraph or list with an image and all the information consumers need so you don’t need to click to the article, yet they get exposed to your content, URL, and brand.
Based on Milestone Research, the aggregate CTR is 58% for combined brand and non-brand queries for all layout types. The click curve is down from the 95% CTR reported in 2011 due to the following factors: no-click searches, paid ads, and voice searches. However, 58% means the majority of traffic still goes to organic and could generate visits to your site.
Additionally, no-click searches for local businesses on mobile still have value as they provide an address, phone number, open hours, and review ratings. And the majority of those searches lead to transactions within 24 hours.
Think about how you can update your content with structures data or schemas, numbered lists, bulleted lists, and FAQs with clear, succinct information as well as well-structured blog articles. Make sure to update your meta titles to indicate what searchers will get when visiting your site.
Being the subject of a zero-click search means people are interested in what you have to say and you’re halfway there. The next step is to inspire them to click to your site with engaging content they want more of.
- Interactive Content
Your customers want to interact with you in personal, emotional, and experiential ways. Technology lets us tap into those feelings by creating virtual and augmented reality experiences. AR and VR can take users through an interactive journey by experiencing a product or brand. They can tour hotel rooms, or a house for sale or an apartment for rent, see how products are made, and interact with products they are shopping for.
Although Google has delayed the phasing out of third-party cookies until the end of 2023, the road ahead is paved with uncertainty. Marketers need to embrace the change and devise new ways to be better prepared when the complete shift happens.
Surviving in a totally different marketing ecosystem will require prudent planning and a trusted advisor. Milestone has outlined strategies that can help you to mitigate the risk.
The best way to prevail in a cookie-less world is by tapping into first-party data, which is the information businesses collect directly from customers through:
- Website interactions – form submissions, product views, etc.
- Data from social media profiles
- CRM data
- Data from surveys and feedbacks
- Purchase history
- Data collected from loyalty programs
First-party data is one of the most valuable assets for marketers today. It is cost-effective, privacy-centric, ensures compliance with data protection regulations – GDPR & CCPA – and helps build trust and long-lasting relationships with customers. As this data is derived from actual customers, this is more accurate and provides better intelligence into real customer behavior. This makes personalization easier and targeted, resulting in enhanced user experience, trust, and customer loyalty. This data can also be used to build buyer personas and segments more effectively.
You can also make a connection to the consumer by creating immersive, creative marketing materials like:
- 360-degree virtual reality videos
- Augmented reality materials
- Interactive calculators
- Creative questionnaires for segmentation
With Google ending 3rd party cookie tracking next year, and consumers already able to opt out of the cookies and tracking, interactive content is a good answer to customer relationship marketing.
Digital marketers and advertisers can employ surveys, gamification, and creative interactions for direct data collection and email captures for a more personalized marketing strategy.
- Expand on Reviews
In a world where people crave truthful connections, online reviews continue to be an essential marketing strategy in 2022. Building credibility and showcasing your services or products by word of mouth is one of the best ways to differentiate your business from the competition.
Reviews provide real, unbiased feedback about your business and build trust in your brand. You should showcase reviews from credible sources on both your website and Google Business listings.
“Positive reviews remain a key way for companies to sell their product, with customers willing to spend 31% more on a business with excellent reviews. But there are other benefits too:
- Increased consumer trust - As you’ll know, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose following a bad experience. 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to purchase after reading a trusted review.”
- Adopt Automation
For the past few years, data-driven marketing campaigns have been utilized across industries including hospitality, banking, automotive, and retail. Marketing automation helps mechanize workflows and ongoing tasks, such as email marketing, social media posting, and ad campaigns. It also helps to create more personalized experiences and connects customers to the next step of their journey.
Automation can also be achieved through data and social feeds to keep your content updated and relevant. Content management systems, products like FAQ managers, and central information clouds let you seamlessly migrate content across digital channels.
But keep in mind that people value human support and so evaluate the benefits of automation vs manual and use them where they make good business sense.
- Mobile-First Websites
We all know that the prevalence of smartphones continues to grow in the universe of search. Now, nearly 60% of all searches are carried out on a mobile device. This means that your website must be designed with a mobile-first approach and mapped out to deliver the best user experience on the small screen. Period.
This consists of streamlined and touch-friendly navigation, collapsible menus, and easy-to-consume content spaces. Mobile-friendly sites are easy to navigate, have stable content presentation, fast page loading, mobile integrative features, like voice detection and camera use, and overall improved user experience and clickability.
- Authentic Connections
The best way to stand out in the crowded buyer journey is to focus on your authentic purpose. Businesses must be more intentional about communicating their value through messages and experiences that are true to their essence and relevant to the target audience.
Make sure your business message is authentic and consistent across all digital spaces to connect meaningfully with your audience. Creative marketing messages, real-life videos, reviews, images, and user-generated content make you relevant and human.
- User Experience Is the New SEO
Search engine optimization is one of the foundations of digital marketing. As search algorithms keep changing – and have become smarter and more contextual – marketers need to focus more on providing outstanding and meaningful user experiences. Marketers should focus less on SEO tactics and more on amazing experiences from relevant content to immersive video and storytelling.
By employing content entities on your site, including content snippets, FAQs, images, video, and calls to action, you inspire clickability and engagement as you move people along on their customer journey.
5 B2C Digital Marketing Trends of 2022
In 2022, 51% of B2C marketers plan to increase their digital marketing budget. From video to influencer marketing, your digital marketing roadmap should include:
- Short-form video marketing on websites and social media
- Influencer marketing as a key lead and revenue driver
- Audio content and podcasts will resonate
- Social responsibility is a trust factor in the purchasing decision
- Inbound marketing strategies across the user journey – content marketing, SEO, automation, and social media
B2B Digital Marketing Trends
Gone are the days of topic-driven content for B2B marketing. We need to make room for neuromarketing strategies. To focus on the audience’s needs and interests with searcher intent. To connect with your customers, personalize your content to give solutions to pain points and answer the questions they are seeking.
Looking ahead, invest more in personalized and interactive content on your site, in your app, through social media, video marketing, and start to utilize artificial intelligence. AI will change the way we generate content, broaden the reach, and capture traffic in the future.
Here’s to a successful 2022.