After a year of changing consumer and business dynamics, 2022 is shaping up to be a unique year for marketers. In this article, we talk with CEOs, thought leaders, and industry experts about trends for marketing and business that they think will shape out 2022. Read through the list as you shape out your 2022 strategies!

2022 Digital Marketing Trends

2021 became a year of dynamic shifts within the business and marketing world. Thanks to the pandemic, e-commerce and online growth jumped five years into the future in a matter of months. And marketers have spent the last year adjusting to these changes and building new plans to capture changing consumer behavior. If the last two years have taught us anything, it’s to be ready for everything. Business can change and shift in the matter of a few weeks. We need to be agile and dynamic in our plans and our marketing efforts. So, are you ready for the new year?

This report covers topics you should also consider implementing into your digital plans for 2022.

  1. AI, Chatbots, & Virtual Assistants
  2. SEO & Local Search Continue in Importance
  3. Leverage the Power of Video Marketing
  4. Consumers Want More Privacy
  5. Agile Social Media Marketing
  6. Customer Communications and PR
  7. More Marketing Personalization

You can also view our Search Sessions overview of the report here.

Kristine Pratt Director of Content Image Kristine Pratt – Boostability, Director of Content

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1. AI, Chatbots, & Virtual Assistants

Gatis ViskersGatis Viskers, Director of Ambition Digital

One of the main digital marketing trends that I see as an “unstoppable” force in 2022 and beyond is conversational marketing – particularly the use of chatbots.

According to the research published in the CMS article I linked above, chatbot use is expected to grow at 24% a year for the next 4-5 years and I could hardly agree with that any more. I see marketing automation being at the forefront of every major business’s marketing strategy because it helps to drastically reduce costs and makes many of the day to day marketing processes much more efficient. In fact, our own research shows that it’s estimated that chatbots will help to cut business costs in the region of $8 billion by 2022.

Businesses need to think about how their competitors scale their lead generation and customer support using chatbots. With a chatbot, instead of needing a customer support agent available on call, you’re able to assist your website visitors from around the world 24/7 at a fraction of the cost. Most customer questions are very standard (FAQ’s) and we have found that a well configured chatbot can answer 80% of them.

Another advantage of using a chatbot comes in cases where even if it can’t answer the customer query, the chatbot at least collects their email address in order to provide follow-up human support within 24 hours. You can then enter that email address into your future marketing funnels and lead generation. 

Edward MellettEdward Mellett, Founder of WikiJob UK

For quite some time now, artificial intelligence has stretched the boundaries of possibility in the realm of digital marketing. But this aspect that previously seemed futuristic will see exponential growth in the next several years thanks to technological advancements. Chatbots will become a customer service standard and will increasingly replace live operators as machine learning algorithms become more advanced and capable of emulating human behavior with near-supernatural accuracy. As marketing becomes more conversational and individualized, chatbots help you to capitalize on this trend without increasing your manpower or resource requirements. 

We’ll also see advertising enhancements thanks to Artificial intelligence. While Google has not yet attained human-level creativity, it is already using AI to optimize campaigns by recognizing the most effective ad styles and copy and automatically modifying them based on user engagement. 

Hassan UsmaniHassan Usmani, Tech Expert at YEELight

Companies in industries such as retail, finance, and healthcare are already incorporating artificial intelligence into their marketing strategies. While AI is most commonly used in marketing automation to automate basic tasks such as reporting on website traffic and recommending keywords that can improve a company’s organic search results, marketers are also investigating AI applications that can predict what customers will likely buy in the future based on their previous purchases and browsing history. Investigate ways to apply AI in conjunction with SEO and other digital marketing strategies in 2022. You’ll be shocked at what AI is capable of!

Matt WeidleMatt Weidle, Business Development Manager, Buyers Guide

Along with AI, the virtual assistant is becoming increasingly popular. For example, voice search shopping market value is expected to reach $40 billion by 2022, with voice assistants accounting for 18% of consumer expenditure. Most likely, your company already employs a virtual assistant to automate customer care demands via apps such as efficiently managing client enquiries on social media channels, email marketing, and other online platforms.

Tim AbsalikovTim Absalikov, Co-founder and CEO of Lasting Trend

Research shows that 55% of teens use voice search every day. Voice search provides simplicity and accuracy, making it a desirable feature in the digital world. It is also expected that by 2022, more than half of online purchases will be made using the voice search function. Chatbots have the advantage of instant and error-free communication based on customer requests and requirements. They also retain all previous necessary information, helping you to improve your marketing campaigns to best target your customer needs.

 

2. SEO & Local Search Increase in Importance

Norm RohrNorm Rohr, SVP Marketing & Communications, Uberall

For retail, hospitality and service businesses, an overall dire economic situation with higher inflation and slower growth, along with reduced government aids will add a lot of pressure, particularly for businesses that compete on price.

The good news is that 2022 is about getting back to the physical world (events, shopping, traveling, eating out, etc), but of course with the benefits of the digital world we have become used to in the past two years of lockdown >> forming the need for a true hybrid customer experience. According to our consumer survey data, customers buying locally prefer a hybrid experience. In fact, 74% of consumers have a preference that combines a mix of online and in-person channels, according to our 2021 New Face of Local study

Key to success in the coming year will be continued optimization of the local customer experience with a focus on creating seamless online to offline experiences to attract and retain customer dollars. 

Colton Miller profile pictureColton Miller, Director of SEO, Boostability

There are 2 overarching SEO trends I believe will become even more important in 2022. 

The first is the diminishing importance of links. In the last 5-6 years, many case studies and ranking analyses have shown that while links still have their importance, they don’t carry as much weight as they once did. Having outside links will always be a crucial part of achieving organic rankings. But many SEOs believe only a small percentage of links are actually helpful with the rest being ignored or negative. Given our current search landscape of volatility and rampant disinformation, we see more link posting options with less value assigned to them. I believe it is only natural that links will continue to drop in terms of importance over the next few years.

The second trend is the growing need for positive social signals, and more specifically aggregated usage data. This trend runs concurrently with the loss of link value I already mentioned. With more and more users leveraging various SERP features and Google properties like Chrome, it seems only logical that social signals will continue to expand its influence. I see this expansion as more than just algorithmic importance. Instead I believe we will see more tracking of social signals. This includes things like mouse hovering, user history, local user behavior, daily routines, etc. I predict these types of signals will likely become part of Google’s search algorithm in 2022, if they aren’t already.

+Bonus Prediction

Ever since the pandemic began I have been seeing more and more instances of location spoofing in Google My Business (GMB). In other words, creating a listing using a common address like a satellite office or an unauthorized address (whether fake or just picked at random). This is likely due to lower GMB staff at Google, small business growth, and general lower priority in terms of search resources. This is something I think will definitely continue to grow since it can give instant access to anyone willing to create the improper listing. 

Given that context my prediction here is that this avenue will become a larger target for spammers. Which in turn will force Google to either release a stringent verification of existing profiles. Or even more likely a local-specific algorithm looking for low-quality signals like no office pictures, low or no reviews, recent creation, no prior address use, odd/automated verification, etc. This information could then be used to selectively deactivate these profiles.

 

3. Leverage the Power of Video Marketing

Nick LiebmanNick Liebman, Head of Content for Powtoon

Emerging trends in video marketing are being driven by changes in culture, technology, and social platforms. The impact of nearly two years of remote and hybrid working has changed our expectations around the production quality of video marketing content. As we work and communicate in less formal settings, so too does video marketing become more personal. That doesn’t mean your backdrop can be a mess, but it does mean you can skip the professional studio. Remember: authentic is the new professional.

Especially for brands trying to get traction on social platforms, a strategy for paid campaigns must accompany your organic content push. This is simply a fact, imposed by the way social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn operate. That means in 2022 more than ever, video marketing requires performing quick tests and video optimizations for PPC ads and boosted video content. 

Finally, watch out for important existing trends to continue in 2022, like the proliferation of video at every step of the customer journey. Platforms like Powtoon exist today to empower marketers to create engaging, professional-looking videos, in-house and at scale. That means that every customer touch point, no matter how trivial, can be accompanied by short videos without the agency price tag.

Adam FardAdam Fard, Owner/Founder of Adam Fard UX Agency

Video is now more popular than all other digital channels. With live streaming video in particular experiencing a meteoric spike in popularity over the last year or two. Video marketing can be extremely effective at increasing engagement levels, and consumer desire for video shows no signs of abating. YouTube has already surpassed Facebook as the second most viewed website (Google is number one, naturally). If you haven’t fully embraced video in your brand’s marketing efforts, you’re already behind. However, it’s not too late to catch up. Exciting things are becoming possible with the combination of live video and augmented reality, and original and innovative videos are certain to be the main content channel winner heading into 2022.

 

4. Consumers Want More Privacy

Sarah Jameson Sarah Jameson, Marketing Director at Green Building Elements

Consumers want more privacy safeguards and control over their data. Simultaneously, Google just revealed its intention to phase away support for third-party cookies. So what are today’s marketers supposed to do? To begin, improve your efforts to collect and fully utilize first-party data. For example, to enable personalization and consumer targeting without invading user privacy, tools such as Google’s Privacy Sandbox or FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) might be used. On the other hand, CRM tools, polls, and interactive content will become increasingly important for marketing success.

Shiv GuptaShiv Gupta, CEO of Incrementors Inbound Marketing

Google recently stated that it will discontinue support for third-party cookies by the end of 2023, which was originally scheduled to end in early 2022. Many advertisers and organizations rely on cookie tracking to keep track of their customers. The abolition of third-party cookies is likely to have an impact on everyone in the advertising industry. Traditional digital advertising and monetization tactics will become less successful and may cease to exist. Despite the news of a delay until 2023, Google’s cookie ban indicates another marketing trend. The use of zero-party data is becoming more prevalent by the day. In a nutshell, it is data directly transmitted from a customer to a corporation. Consider enhancing your CRM solutions because this data will be required if cookie tracking is no longer used.

 

5. Agile Social Media Marketing

Charbel CooreyCharbel Coorey, Digital Marketing Specialist at Cricblog.net

We are starting to see the beginning of the social shopping phenomenon, which is set to explode in 2022. As social media use continues to see a higher engagement rate because of the pandemic, there is a shift towards social shopping. The numbers suggest there is a huge opportunity for businesses to implement “buy” and “shop” integrations as part of their social and digital strategy.

According to eMarketer, the number of social commerce buyers in the US increased by 25.2% between 2019 and 2020 in the US to 80.1 million. And is expected to increase to nearly 100 million by 2022. Brands will miss a huge opportunity if they don’t include this as part of their 2022 plans.

Angela HawkinsAngela Hawkins, VP of Marketing at Voices

In 2022, we’ll continue to see the shift toward audio-focused social platforms and offerings (Clubhouse, podcasts, etc.). One of the most beautiful aspects of audio-based social media is the lack of focus on appearance. Influencer marketing relies heavily on the way someone or something looks, often using conventional beauty or trends to advertise and sell a product or service. Audio social media allows for appearances to be checked at the door. This levels the playing field, creating opportunities for anyone with interest in or expertise about a topic to participate without concerning themselves with the appearance of the product or service.

With audio social media becoming a major player in the game—especially when considering that, unlike visually-based social media, audiences can tune in and participate while doing other tasks like making dinner, going for a drive, etc.—clear sonic branding and audio-focused advertising will become a necessary focus of any social media marketing efforts.

Ashley Reagan-ScherfAshley Reagan-Scherf, Content Marketing Executive at RGC Advertising

Did you know that Pinterest is one of the fastest growing shopping platforms in the world? The GlobalWebIndex (GWI) 2021 Social Media Trends Report statistics show that around 4 out of 10 Pinterest users use the site for purchase inspiration and product discovery, particularly since the Covid outbreak. As a result, product discovery is becoming faster because of Pinterest, making this platform ideal for businesses looking to launch PPC advertisements and increase their online sales.

E-commerce-driven companies in these previously mentioned industries will profit in the long run from investing in Pinterest marketing, especially as the platform continues to add more features that will make in-app purchasing and selling easier. 

For example, launched last May, Shopify merchants can now input whole product catalogues as shoppable pins. As a result, according to Sprout Social, the number of Pinterest users shopping on the app increased by 50%, as many individuals turned to online shopping during the lengthy lockdowns and pandemic measures.

Therefore, businesses must not neglect the power of Pinterest marketing, as pins influence internet buying because Pinterest is a forum for sharing ideas and inspiration. Subsequently, companies should get in touch with a digital marketing agency for creating and managing ideal PPC content for their target audience on the Pinterest platform.

Laura-FuentesLaura Fuentes, Operator of Infinity Dish

2022 will most likely be a continuation of 2021 for social media engagement, but at an enhanced level. Platforms like TikTok blew up this year. In the new year, it will only become more business friendly as the platform creates its own influencers and sponsorship opportunities. As 2022 approaches, business owners should be aware of this fact and consider their marketing strategy as it relates to this platform. Not that we’ll see more of the same, but I don’t expect another social media giant as large as TikTok to take over the market anytime soon. 

 

6. Customer Communications and PR

Mike Schneider Mike Schneider, VP of Marketing at Muck Rack

Remote and hybrid work, a fast-changing media landscape and rising investment in earned media all present new opportunities in 2022:

  •  Continued remote and hybrid work mean it’s never been more important for PR teams to invest in systems that will help them collaborate efficiently and build strong relationships. Spreadsheets and sticky notes won’t cut it for managing media relationships and even if you may be able to once again shout to the next cubicle over if you happen to be back in an office, you know how essential it is to have a system of record that everyone on your team can access centrally from anywhere.
  • In 2022, we’ll also see an enhanced focus on new and emerging channels. Despite big audience numbers and a longtail of content, our research shows that 50% of PR pros are not yet pitching podcasts and 68% have not pitched newsletters, meaning PR pros have plenty of upside to start pitching on these channels.
  • Finally, brands will continue to focus their efforts on earned media over paid media. As the death of the third party cookie looms on the horizon and ad targeting becomes increasingly difficult, brands understand the value of gaining consumer trust through earned media. Best of all, more PR pros are adopting effective tools and technology that help them tell the story of how they’re driving business outcomes.

Chris CampbellChris Campbell, CEO of Review Trackers

Online reviews statistics show that reviews have gotten 65% shorter, with the average review now coming in at just over 200 characters, about the length of an expanded tweet. It shows customers digest information more quickly, and that company responses need to be fast and to the point.

Third-party industry research shows that review interaction — which entails actions like searching or filtering reviews, or clicking to expand and read the entire review — is up by 50% from pre-pandemic levels. 53% of customers expect businesses to respond to negative reviews within a week. 1 in 3 have a shorter time frame of 3 days or less. These time frames will shrink further going into 2022.

Brands need to be proactive about ensuring the accuracy of their information across top directories and review sites. This aids the customer experience and facilitates users’ paths to purchase.

 

7. More Marketing Personalization

Mellanie UllrickMellanie Ullrich, Owner and CoFounder of LashFridays.com

Prioritize personalization. Personalization will make or break E-commerce businesses in 2022. A whopping 80% of shoppers say they are more likely to engage with a brand if they send personalized offers and content. In other words, you could be missing out on a significant chunk of traffic and sales by not creating unique content for your segments. 

The key to creating a top-notch personalization strategy is to understand your target audience. If you don’t know much about the people visiting your website, you’re going to have a difficult time convincing them to engage with your business. Take a look at your customer personas and learn about the various interests and goals of your audience. This information can make it much easier to start to target your content to best reach your customers.

 

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Focusing on these digital trends will help further your specific business into the new year. We hope you also apply them to help your business grow and succeed within your industry. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, being up-to-date and prepared on digital marketing trends helps your business be a step ahead of your competitors, stay current, and grow through different funnels and channels. 

There are a variety of tools and resources you can use to help your business succeed to its fullest potential. One of the best ways to stay ahead of your competitors and know about these digital trends and  SEO updates in real time is partnering with a white label SEO company. Lucky for you, Boostability is here to help by being the #1 white label SEO company for SMBs in the world. Discover our white label SEO services and get started today!

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Kristine is the Director of Content with Boostability. She brings a decade's worth of communications strategy work to the company. Kristine has a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communications from Gonzaga University and graduated from BYU with her undergrad in Broadcast Journalism. She's worked in television news, public relations, communications strategy, and marketing for over 10 years. In addition to being a part of the marketing team, Kristine enjoys traveling, sports, and all things nerdy.