According to Adelaide Tshabalala, Head of Digital Marketing at Hill+Knowlton Strategies South Africa, as the pandemic has proven, the internet has become an essential part of our everyday lives, capable of delivering connection, information, and more for those who can claim the privilege of shifting their lives online to survive a pandemic. This shift created greater access to critical resources for people in more remote areas, like telemedicine, grocery delivery, and local mutual aid and support programmes.
To say social media has become as important as breathing over the past few years would not be an understatement. We have seen a massive shift, largely due to the pandemic, from Boomers who went from only Facebooking to keep up with their friends and family to becoming influencers and joining their children in the latest TikTok Challenge. We first saw a huge growth in social media users in 2020 because it was one of the easiest ways to get in touch with loved ones as restrictions on personal interactions increased. Since then, social media has experienced an even bigger adoption rate, with it now being used as a business tool for entrepreneurs and influencers and being the go-to place for information, how-to videos and news updates.
Given the recent disruptive growth in the digital world, here are some digital marketing trends we’ll be seeing in 2022.
Privacy over everything
Even though there are more people than ever signing up for more social media and online platforms, privacy concerns are still a big barrier. Cookies began as a way for marketers and businesses to follow their customers’ online journey and use this data to create ads targeted directly at them. However, as our digital world expands, privacy and data collection concerns have grown along with it, and users want to know exactly who can access their data, and how they use it.
Several technology giants such as Google have taken a tough stance on data collection and made it impossible for their users’ data to be accessed without their permission. This has been great for consumers but not for advertisers, and has brought with it a huge shift in how marketers and businesses reach potential customers online. Companies are going to have to reimagine their methods of connecting with their audiences to find a solution that is guided by privacy laws.
SEO has been a vital part of every good digital marketing strategy for years, but now everyone is doing it and it’s becoming automated with all sorts of software that cuts the optimisation time significantly.
Therefore, in the future you might want to consider spending more of your time executing an amazing user experience that enables your target audience to interact and engage with your brand online by using diverse high-impact and interesting content, rather than spending hours researching keywords and building links.
Meta is the next frontier
Last year Facebook announced the emergence of their parent company and changed its name to Meta. This announcement created both excitement and scepticism in the digital marketing sphere and opened a whole new concept that will give customers a more immersive experience in the future. Meta is designed for users to experience virtual and augmented realities and provides new opportunities for businesses to bring their social media efforts into the world of VR and AR. It is important to keep an eye out for these developments and see whether your brand or products would be a good fit for this thrilling future.
Influencers ain’t going nowhere
Like it or not, influencers have become synonymous with the world of digital marketing. Whether they are plugging a company’s offerings or collaborating with a brand on a new product range, they are here to stay. Also, you need to bear in mind that while your audience is very much influenced by their peers’ experiences before they make a purchasing decision, the endorsement of a relevant influencer might be what finally pushes them to make the purchase. This trend has even reached the B2B landscape. No matter what your industry is, consider partnering up with an influencer that is relevant to your sector to support your marketing goals.
Omnichannel is the way to go
Omnichannel marketing is aimed at making sure that your brand is present across all channels so that your audience can engage with it on any platform or context. This strategy is great for promotional activity, customer support, as well as sales. By increasing your footprint by giving users more options to get in touch, and by being present on more than one social media channel, you are making it easier for them to engage with your business or brand.
Word of mouth is still powerful
Has a review or testimonial ever swayed you to buy a product? It’s happened to us all! In fact, word of mouth is still considered one of the most influential channels for customer acquisition.
Make sure that your campaigns include experiences that your customers can engage with and share. Get your clients to post videos of their purchase or even write product reviews.
As we step into 2022, it is worth noting that nothing is set in stone within the digital marketing landscape. It is still evolving at a ferocious rate and so are its users. Successful brands need to keep an eye on the latest trends and keep up with the emerging challenges posed by this environment and its consumers. And, most importantly, don’t be afraid to be innovative in your campaigns – those who dare, win!