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For businesses these days, reaching more customers and staying ahead of the competition really comes down to one thing: building a strong brand online.
To do that, it’s important not just to have an effective, robust digital marketing strategy amplifying your voice and reach on the web, but also to understand that the digital world is in constant flux.
Anything from new technologies to shifting consumer habits and sudden algorithm updates can pop up and upend the marketing game in a flash. And if your outreach efforts aren’t informed by or keeping up with those changes or even the latest digital marketing trends, your strategy and online reputation are likely to fall behind, leaving your digital marketing dollar and your brand in the lurch.
While it’s true that marketing trends come and go, capitalizing on those trends when they’re at their peak is key to maximizing brand visibility and your digital marketing ROI.
To help with that and keep you in the know, I’ve outlined eight of the top digital marketing trends sweeping the web in 2022–and how your own digital marketers can take advantage of that momentum in the year ahead.
The Latest Digital Marketing Trends Shaking Up Your Marketing Strategy
1. Voice Search: It’s Here to Stay
Like it or not, voice search isn’t just a fly-by-night digital marketing trend that’ll one day vanish into the ether.
In fact, it’s quickly becoming an intrinsic part of the consumer research process, already used by millions as the go-to for searching local businesses, services, products, and brands on the web.
Why? Because voice search provides a level of convenience other methods just can’t match. And as the technology rapidly improves and customers get more and more comfortable using devices like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant to find answers, the more it moves beyond just emerging digital marketing trend and cements itself as a critical, if not essential, consumer outreach tool.
Billions of unique voice searches take place every day, while nearly a quarter of all Google queries are done through those increasingly affordable voice-based devices.
Breaking your brand into that mix and onto your customer’s minds means at least thinking about voice search when building out your digital marketing strategies–and finding ways to answer the questions your customers are asking at that pivotal point in the decision-making process.
As voice search technology becomes more nuanced and intuitive, so should the digital marketing techniques you use to connect with local customers.
That means targeting keywords and building more content around questions people actually ask Google or Alexa. It also means considering the experience customers are having with voice search, and coming up with ways to make it better.
2. Video Marketing Drives Engagement More than Ever
Video marketing really started taking off in the last few years of the previous decade, hitting its stride as one of the top digital marketing trends sweeping across the business community.
Today, video remains firmly positioned as one of the most effective content marketing tools out there, providing a powerful way to engage prospects and grow your target audience in 2022.
Consider the following:
- Consumers spend nearly seven hours every week consuming online video content
- Over half of consumers expect more video content from the businesses they trust
- Video is now the favorite type of content among consumers on social media
- More than 85% of digital marketers use video as part of their digital strategy
- Over 60% of marketers list video as “extremely important” to their digital marketing approach
- Nearly 90% of social media marketing pros are consistently pleased with their video marketing ROI
- On average, video generates two-thirds more quality leads each year, while increasing brand awareness by more than 54%.
As one of the more popular forms of interactive content, compelling videos are proven to boost engagement, share product info, build consumer trust and convert digital users into buyers.
And as one of the key digital marketing trends of the past five years, video marketing shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, at least over the next decade.
3. Geofencing: A Local Marketing Juggernaut
Location based marketing is nothing new. But the recent emergence of geofencing is taking that ongoing digital marketing trend to a new level, allowing digital marketers to reach customers and market services at a critical moment in the buyer’s journey.
Expected to grow rapidly over the next few years, geofencing connects your brand with local customers in real-time, often when they’re just minutes away from your business.
Geofencing puts your brand and services in front of your customers at a moment when your storefront is most accessible – a powerful reminder that you’re nearby, convenient, and ready to meet their needs.
So, how does it work? Once enabled, geofencing technology sets a virtual boundary around your business, creating a digital radius that often extends no more than a mile or two away.
When an active user crosses that boundary, they’re notified (likely via text) with a brand-centered ad or cohesive brand message reminding them you’re open for business.
Geofencing is a useful marketing tool for any brick-and-mortar small business or digital marketer needing a quick and effective workaround for reaching local customers.
Whether you run a local gas station, manage a restaurant, or sell vintage clothes, geofencing offers a helpful tool for immediately raising brand awareness and converting would-be passersby into store patrons in real-time.
4. Conversational Marketing Is Keeping the Brand Discussion Going
Any honest discussion of the latest digital marketing trends dominating 2022 has to include conversational marketing, an increasingly popular marketing strategy utilizing one-on-one communication to build relationships and trust with customers.
So, why is conversational marketing one of the hottest new digital marketing trends? Simply put, today’s savvy online consumers demand it. In fact, more than 80% of shoppers with a question or concern want the business owner or rep to respond immediately.
And with multiple channels and methods now available to facilitate that conversation, many businesses are now seizing on those opportunities not just to speak with prospects, but also to hammer home those marketing messages essential to the branding process.
Here are a few of the conversational marketing techniques digital marketers are now leveraging to boost engagement and conversion rates:
Automated chatbot technology allows businesses to bolster their marketing efforts and communicate with customers directly and in real-time. Many companies now use intent-based chatbots powered by artificial intelligence to generate conversations and deliver relevant responses to onsite visitors, improving the customer experience and brand-consumer relationships in the process.
As a marketing automation tool, chatbots not only offer a great way to answer questions and deliver crucial brand info. They also provide a fantastic opportunity to grow your bottom line, with 79% of companies now crediting live chats with higher rates of customer loyalty and conversions.
Earlier, I broke down just how valuable videos can be to your larger digital marketing and content marketing strategies, and for sparking interaction and growing your audience.
Personalization takes that benefit a step further, transforming interactive YouTube and TikTok video content into a compelling conversational marketing tool that cultivates connections and trust with your brand on an individual level.
Tailoring how-to and product info videos toward individual customers provides value on a highly personal level. It not only utilizes specialized, highly interactive content to address their unique concerns, but also shows you put a premium on their business, enhancing the brand-consumer connection.
Personalized emails have been in the marketing trends mix for a while now, but they’re still as important as ever for carrying customer conversations and sharing vital products info.
One-on-one email exchanges offer a direct and effective approach for heading off problems, keeping customers engaged, and tailoring marketing messages that compel future engagement. They’re also now a baked-in element of many email marketing campaigns, replacing many of the generalized, impersonal email blasts relied on in the past.
5. Social Messaging Apps Have Skin In the Game
While they certainly are part of the broader conversational marketing trend, social messaging apps deserve their own mention as one of the top digital marketing trends sweeping the industry.
That’s not only due to the expansive reach progressive web apps provide businesses (with over 4.5 billion users on the top three apps alone), but also because of their growing role in consumer-to-brand interaction. In fact, more than 55% of native mobile app users now use messaging apps to contact brands directly at some point in the buying process, a number expected to get much higher down the road.
Whether it’s Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat, or Telegram, social messaging apps make it easier than ever for consumers to reach out.
Digital marketers failing to get on board or share interactive content on any social media platform or messaging app are missing out on a golden opportunity to return the favor, and build the rapport at the heart of stronger brand connections.
web apps are such important modern digital marketing strategy tools because they:
- Allow you to establish and cultivate contact with a wide array of potential buyers
- Provide a fast and easy way to share timely info, updates, and events with a large audience
- Supply an easy-to-use portal for addressing issues and supporting customers exactly when they need it
- Allow you to build customer-brand relationships that improve customer loyalty and sales
6. Social Media Stories Are Shifting the Brand Narrative
Many digital marketing trends come and go, but the social media stories phenomenon looks like it’s here to stay, at least well beyond 2022.
First introduced by Snapchat years ago, the social media stories format became so popular, that it has since been adopted by social giants YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn.
And with presence across most social media platforms, the content-sharing tool offers digital marketers an incredible range of options for audience outreach and engagement.
Visibile for just 24 hours, social media stories allow the enterprising digital marketer to boost brand authenticity and sharpen their digital skills by sharing:
- Live video streams showing teams, products, and services at work
- Livestream videos smartphone users missed the first time around
- User-generated content created by social media influences and featuring your brand in a positive light
- Quizzes, polls, and Q&As that generate interaction and compel engagement with your brand
- Share exclusive offers and promotional info with followers
Social media stories provide a powerful marketing channel for sharing genuine content and spotlighting what makes your business unique. They’re also highly customizable, and on some platforms they even allow you to target a hyper-localized audience (such as through Snapchat geofilters).
7. Influencer Marketing Still Pays Off
Even though it’s pretty commonplace by now, influencer marketing still deserves mention as one of the hottest and latest digital marketing trends.
That’s because, despite their ubiquity in the digital marketing world, influencer marketing and social media influencers continue to make waves and spark new marketing trends across the social media marketing community.
Many might also argue that influencer marketing is not only trending upward, but experiencing a major boom with no end in sight.
And through constant re-invention and originality, independent content creators are providing marketers even more exciting opportunities to keep their brands fresh and make lasting personal connections with customers.
Truth is, partnering with social media influencers still provides an excellent opportunity to build trust and authority on social.
Cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with independent creators provides an instant level of credibility hard to achieve otherwise. It also puts your brand in front of new audiences, opening the door to connect with new leads and cultivate loyal customers.
Like voice search and video, influencer marketing is one of those digital marketing trends that promises to stick around and deliver results for quite a while.
Working a thoughtful influencer marketing approach into your digital marketing strategy continues to have significant engagement and conversion potential you can’t afford to overlook.
8. Programmatic Ad Buying: Changing How We Think About Digital Ads
Programmatic advertising is turning the traditional digital advertising process in its head–and firming up its position as a top digital marketing trend in the process.
Powered by artificial intelligence, programmatic advertising takes human marketers out of the ad buying process, removing the guesswork and tedious tasks involved in traditional digital campaigns with machine learning software designed to optimize Google ads spend. Once some basic campaign details are plugged in, the marketing automation tech does the rest, using AI to determine which ads will appear on which site.
Programmatic ad buying uses data and algorithms to drive user impressions at scale, a marketing automation innovation that ultimately leads to better visibility and higher ROI.
And due to its proven effectiveness and ability to save most business owners money, digital marketing teams worldwide spent an incredible $129 billion on programmatic digital advertising in 2021–a number expected to grow in the years ahead.