There was a time – and not even that long ago – when we talked about things like social media, mobile-first, and local SEO as ‘the next big thing’ in online marketing.
Time came and went, and indeed, most companies that were savvy enough to jump into those bandwagons promptly saw significant growth and returns. Now, those same things have become par for the course when it comes to digital marketing, and we barely remember how things used to be.
All of that is to say that online, “marketing” is an ever-evolving playground, with new tech, strategies, and approaches constantly redefining the field and presenting plenty of opportunities to get ahead.
As long as you keep an ear to the ground and are willing to innovate, that is 😉. And that’s what this article is all about!
In this piece, we go over 15 of the biggest trends in online marketing that are poised to impact or redefine the game going into 2022 and beyond— giving you an introductory look into possible avenues to improve and sustain your business in the years to come.
Let’s jump right in, shall we?
To make things easier and help you focus on the type of strategies you’d be most interested in, we’ve divided this list of the biggest trends in online marketing into three sections:
Still Fresh includes trends that, while not necessarily new, are still leading the pack right now in terms of innovation and results. You might know some of these, but you should probably be familiar with them all.
Cutting Edge includes marketing trends that are starting to gather more buzz and momentum behind them. Promising and potentially huge, you should at least know what each is about, as any of these might turn out to be the next big thing, and now is the perfect time to get on the ground floor.
On the Horizon groups trends that might still be at the early stages of development. It might be too soon to jump into those with both feet, but being aware of them might give you a glimpse of what’s to come and help you be prepared to ride the wave when they arrive.
What better place to start this list than talking about video? For starters, it is hands down the most popular type of content online right now. It is infinitely versatile, audiences love it, and marketers get to leverage its power and appeal in innovative and constantly evolving ways each year.
Whether you want to introduce new potential customers to your brand, present a new product line to build buzz or establish your brand as an authority in your niche, there is a video style perfectly suited for the occasion.
Best of all? Video marketing strategies continue to provide the highest conversion rates of any other form of marketing, so it’s only natural for video to be one of the biggest trends in online marketing going into 2022.
If only one thing has become blatantly apparent in the era of e-commerce, it is that trying to appeal to everyone as a whole is a terrible waste of time and resources. And ultimately, way less effective than just figuring out the sort of content you should be serving to specific subgroups of your audience and giving it to them. Thus, customer segmentation!
Long story short, we now know that having several smaller-yet-highly-targeted campaigns geared toward specific segments of your audience tends to yield better results than investing in a couple of broad-spectrum pushes.
So, most businesses are now grouping their audiences by traits, preferences, and behaviors and developing varied content specifically tailored to get each group’s attention in different ways.
As marketing tasks continue to become increasingly complex, the need (and thus value) of marketing automation platforms rises accordingly. After all, you can’t personally follow up on every abandoned cart, reach out to every new subscriber, keep up your daily social media updates, and still try to live a life!
Marketing automation can make things easier all around, but it has become particularly useful to streamline lead generation funnels, personalized content delivery, social media management, and cart abandonment re-engagement. So, if your company is struggling with any of these, this is certainly a trend you’ll want to look further into.
In a world where customer-facing interactions are moving to the digital arena, and your online reputation can be the deciding factor to generate conversions, having an engaged, dedicated, and motivated workforce can be a powerful asset to nurture your digital footprint.
The principle behind this trend is fairly simple: if your employees love what they do and what your company stands for, they’ll be far more motivated to take those positive vibes online. Moreover, you can motivate this synergy by rewarding employees who do a good job representing your business online, creating a positive loop that serves to further your branding efforts.
While initially reserved for the more prominent brands around – like Wikipedia, Twitter, and The Financial Times – PWAs have consistently delivered excellent results. Doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling conversions after their implementation. Now, they are starting to become a viable alternative to smaller brands as well, which makes them one of the biggest trends in online marketing you should keep an eye on!
At their core, these are regular web applications or pages designed to seem and operate like mobile apps. The aim is to give users an adaptable, native “in-app” experience, which has proven to improve UX and thus leads to a broader reception and increased conversions.
Customers nowadays have grown used to the accessibility and availability of e-commerce – they control when and how to make a purchase. However, they also often require effective customer service whenever they decide to do so, and providing them with it can be a big ask for most businesses. Chatbots aim at providing a suitable alternative to make both parties happy.
These platforms enable companies to engage their customers around the clock and provide solutions that nurture their experience, which is why they are becoming an increasingly popular online marketing trend.
Geofencing – a fancy term for location-based marketing – is a technological evolution of the tried-and-true principles of Local SEO. It’s all about using whatever data is available (like GPS or cellular data) to customize and determine the type of content that gets served to a member of your target audience.
We already have plenty of data illustrating the massive potential behind this digital marketing strategy, and these numbers are only projected to increase all through 2022 and beyond — opening a lot of opportunities to take your online marketing to the next level.
Virtual marketing events might have been borne out of necessity after the pandemic’s extended quarantine, but if their widespread appeal and apparent ROI have anything to say about it, they are here to stay.
These timed online gatherings proved they can be a powerful vehicle to broadening a brand’s scope to reach entirely new audiences, build buzz, and deepen audience investment. So, they remain an attractive proposition that’s only growing in popularity, even though restrictions have lessened across the board.
Micro-moments represent both a philosophy and a new perspective to approach digital marketing. Defined as “intent-rich” instances when a person acts on a need by accessing a device with the specific goal to understand, go, do, or buy something, it is a model that reflects more accurately today’s customer behavior.
More and more strategies are operating around these micro-moments, to great success, which is primarily why their use is becoming one of the biggest trends in online marketing.
SEO visibility has been a big part of digital marketing for a while now. Still, over the last couple of years, the big kid on the block (Google) has been making a lot of transformative updates and moving things around to provide in-page answers to its users — diminishing the need for them to click away from their platform.
That’s why positioning your content on said featured snippets and other no-click search elements are becoming so important, and it is a trend that will only ramp up in the coming years.
Along the same lines of search optimization for marketing purposes as No-click searches, we are also seeing an uptick of interest surrounding voice and visual searches, and for good reasons.
More and more, technology and availability are making it easier for the average user to find the products they’d be interested in.
While text searches are still in the lead, the systems that allow for product searches using voice-powered virtual assistants and image or photo searches are becoming more popular. It won’t be long before these become a legitimate (maybe even preferable) way to serve your content to people. Certainly, a development that’s worth keeping an eye on.
While social media platforms have been a big part of the marketing game for a while now, the way we use them is turning from mainly a discovery platform to a purchase one. Thanks, in no small way, to the inclusion and adoption of shoppable posts by most major players.
These are a form of social marketing content that, while designed to look like a regular in-app post (as opposed to an ad), connect users directly to checkout systems when clicked. They are proving to excel at streamlining the payment process and increasing conversions by having potential customers jump through fewer hoops to take action when a product catches their interest.
These two speak to technologies meant to make PPC advertising simpler, more manageable, and more accurate by eliminating the guest-work and trial-and-error process to set up and manage PPC campaigns thanks to AI (more on AI later).
So far, systems like real-time bidding are proving to be quick, efficient, and ultimately lead to less per ad spend while yielding higher returns. Allowing for more targetability and more efficient use of your PPC budget.
This is a blanket term to cover the integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies into the marketing landscape.
While still in their infancy, these technologies have already taken significant strides in growth and adoption in other niches – most notably in gaming – and are already proving to be transformative in many ways. As the tech that powers these initiatives will only become more affordable as time passes, both VR and AR are poised to become one of the biggest trends in online marketing sooner than most of us would expect.
This trend revolves around using machine learning, predictive modeling, and data mining to identify patterns to predict behavior. While still a ways to go to reach its full potential, we already see some practical implementations of the tech. The results only speak to the massive potential that such technologies can yield in the realm of digital marketing.
If these trends in online marketing prove anything, it is that the world of marketing is anything but stagnant, and 2022 is poised to be a fertile ground where most of these new strategies continue to grow.
Moving forward, it’s worth not only keeping an eye on but trying out the ones that you think can serve your company’s goal better, as getting on the ground floor of some of these at the right time might prove to be a game-changer in the years to come.
Best of luck 😉