The latest reports speak of an increasingly digitalized world, which is moving at great speed towards more immersive experiences, new formats and new technologies. From recommerce and NFTs to cryptocurrencies, here are 7 digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2022.
Anyone who approaches marketing for the first time is told that the first thing to do is to know your audience. In fact, there is no marketing strategy that can be defined as such that does not take into consideration the needs, expectations and behaviours of its audience.
Therefore, it goes without saying that knowing how people use the internet and social media, what content they enjoy, what they prefer when it comes to the digital world and what are the latest trends in the sector is essential for planning a truly effective communication strategy.
Just a few days ago, We Are Social and Hootsuite published the Digital 2022 Global Overview Report, which every year brings us over 200 pages of data and statistics on the digital world and which is invaluable for us to understand in which direction the digital is heading.
In this article we will summarize the main digital marketing trends and how brands can exploit them in their 2022 marketing strategy.
Table of contents
1. More and more people are using the Internet, translation tools and voice assistants
The latest figures tell us that 62.5% of the world population uses the Internet. This means that the gap between those who have access to the internet and those who do not have it is getting smaller and smaller.
The user base is therefore expanding and is destined to increase to include a large part of the world population: to date, only about 3 billion people remain without internet, a sign that digitization is almost everywhere.
But how do people use the Internet? 61% of users use the internet to find information; 55.3% to stay in touch with friends and family and 53.1% to stay updated on news and events.
Therefore, intercepting our target’s queries and providing an answer through interesting content and insights must remain our priority.
Other data that is worth dwelling on concern the use of automatic translation tools and voice assistants.
Every week, 31.9% of users worldwide use tools to automatically translate online content into other languages. A percentage that is destined to rise when we look at the data country by country, i.e., Colombia (57%), Brazil (53.7%) or Poland (46.5%), to name a European country.
This is linked to topic very important for SEO and often underestimated by marketers: not all users are looking for content in English, quite the contrary. Many people not only look for content in their own language but they also translate it with special tools when they land on pages in other languages.
This means that, if our target is international, we must consider translating our content into multiple languages.
Another interesting fact, which we find again this year, concerns the use of voice assistants. Every week, 24.1% of users worldwide use voice assistants like Alexa or Siri to search for information online.
Therefore, our content must also be optimized for voice search, through the use of conversational and proximity keywords.
2. Social networks are a strategic touchpoint but organic engagement is decreasing
Compared to 2021, the social media user base registered a +10.1%, reaching 4.62 billion users, a truly surprising figure.
The average time spent on social media is 2 hours and 27 minutes, with YouTube leading the ranking of the platforms on which people spend the highest number of hours each month on average: 23.7. However, if the YouTube figure is stable compared to that of 2021, TikTok, which has an average of 19.6 hours per month, recorded a +48% compared to last year.
So, although the Meta apps continue to hold the podium of the most used platforms in the world in terms of active global users, TikTok is rapidly advancing in the ranking, attracting the attention of an ever-increasing number of users and for more and more time.
Having said that, there’s a trend which we found last year and that is still valid: the overlap of social accounts. On average, a user uses 7.5 social platforms every month. Certainly not at the same time nor with the same frequency; however, the fact remains that an overlap of audience from one platform to another is highly probable.
It is also interesting to note that 43.5% of users use social networks to search for information on brands, meaning that they remain an important touchpoint for every business. Social media are also important to follow brands from which we have already bought something, brands from which we are considering buying something and companies that are relevant to our work.
In terms of advertising, global social media advertising spend exceeded $ 150 billion in 2021, with social media ads accounting for around a third (33.1%) of the total digital spend.
This triggered a number of consequences.
First, while advertisers spent 14% more on social media ads in Q4 2021 compared to Q4 2020, it also caused a 21.7% increase in CPM (an average of $ 9.13 per 1,000 impressions).
As a result, due to the higher average cost per impression, advertisers generated fewer total impressions in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, despite the higher ad spend.
But this has not led to a decline in the effectiveness of social media advertising. Indeed, the latest GWI data tells us that more than 1 in 4 Internet users (corresponding to 27.6%) discovers new brands, products and services through social media ads, a figure only slightly lower than that of TV ads (31,1%).
In terms of organic engagement, just under 1 in 4 users (23.2%) likes or actively follows a brand on social media every month, while almost 1 in 8 (12.2%) says they share the social media posts of brands at least once a month. Locowise data also indicates that Facebook pages can expect an average engagement rate of 0.07%, a very low figure: only 7 fans out of 10,000 react, comment or share any post. Paradoxically, this percentage is destined to drop further, the greater the number of fans: for 100,000 fans, the average engagement rate is 0.05%.
These data confirm what we probably already knew: engagement rates on social networks (some more than others) are decreasing and vanity metrics are no longer sufficient or absolute proof of success.
Having said that, as the data cited at the beginning show, social networks remain an important touchpoint, so it is good to supervise them, especially if we have already created brand pages in the past. At the same time, in light of these data and taking into account the target overlaps between the various platforms, it is good to observe which social networks (or formats) give us the best results in terms of engagement and focus our marketing efforts on these.
When it comes to advertising, given the higher spend in the face of a lower number of impressions, the advice remains to focus our budget on those campaigns that we believe are more valuable for our brand.
3. The future of e-commerce is recommerce and live commerce
When it comes to e-commerce, it should come as no surprise that the growth that began during the Covid-19 pandemic shows no signs of slowing down and that even tourism-related e-commerce is recovering.
Data from GWI shows that nearly 6 in 10 internet users (58.4%) buy something online every week, a figure that experts say is set to rise.
On the other hand, a trend that is gaining momentum is that of “recommerce”, a popular choice for 1 in 7 users (14.4%) who buys a second-hand item every week.
Even Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shop report growing data, a sign perhaps that the barrier between the physical experience and virtual shopping is breaking down, convincing even the most cautious and doubtful buyers to make online purchases.
A trend that will further help to narrow the differences between the in-store experience and online shopping is live commerce, which allows participants to interact immediately with sellers. A format already popular in China and registering record sales.
4. Mobile apps have become an established business
Data from App Annie tells us that the typical mobile user spends an average of 4 hours and 48 minutes a day using their smartphone. Smartphone users around the world spent a total of $ 170 billion on apps and in-app purchases in 2021.
Therefore, the app business (and in-app purchases) presents an important opportunity for brands, which can take advantage of this format to offer their products and services. And, contrary to what one might think, users are willing to pay for access to an app they find useful.
However, as always in marketing, the key to success lies in the usefulness of what we offer. Otherwise, the risk is to invest in something that will give no added value to our audience and no return to our brand.
5. NFTs towards the creation of a lasting value
NFT stands for non-fungible tokens, i.e., unique digital assets such as an animation, graphic design, GIF, audio/video file, or meme, that exist on a blockchain. These tokens certify the authenticity, uniqueness and ownership of a digital object.
The success and novelty of NFTs have contributed to creating speculation, which in some cases is putting this technology in a bad light, even though it could actually prove to be very interesting and full of potential.
With the hope that, after the initial irrational phase, the conversation will focus more on creating effective and lasting value, in this context, brands can start thinking about how to draw on these digital resources, creating their own NFTs or building partnerships with creators that allow you to build a real community and provide added value for your customers.
6. Cryptocurrencies will be the future (but only for certain demographic groups)
Another asset that is attracting people’s attention like NFTs are cryptocurrencies, on which the debate is often polarized, perhaps because this time around as well, speculation has put the technology in a bad light, even if more and more people use it: the number of people owning cryptocurrencies increased by over a third (+ 37.8%) compared to last year.
GWI reports that more than 1 in 10 users now owns some form of cryptocurrency, a figure that rises to more than 2 in 10 in Thailand. Indeed, it is precisely in countries with developing economies – where conventional currencies are more subjected to exchange rates fluctuations – that cryptocurrencies are becoming more widespread.
Therefore, digital currencies offer a potential that has not yet been explored: if in a country like the United States they are used by a niche of users, in other countries they are more widespread. If our audience is in those countries, accepting cryptocurrencies could help attract new customers.
7. The transition to first-entry data is getting closer and closer
For two years now, we have been talking on the one hand about the growing concern about data privacy and on the other, about the end of third-party cookies.
In reality, the privacy discourse highlighted a problem that we already knew but to which we have probably never paid too much attention: what we call “our audience” has actually always been owned by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or any other platform. We, as a brand, have no direct control over that audience.
This is why experts identify 2022 as the year we should actually start owning our audience.
Translated into practice, this means that brands need to start integrating data collection methods that put consumer privacy first. How? By investing in campaigns aimed at collecting proprietary data through e-mails, newsletters, social media and CRM.
It may seem to some that we are regressing compared to where we are today. But it is not only the success of our marketing strategy that asks this from us but – obviously – our own audience as well.
Thanks to the spread of digitalization, the increase in connection speed, as well as the greater accessibility to increasingly powerful digital tools, the digital world is moving rapidly towards increasingly immersive experiences and new, more engaging formats, able to draw the best from social media and entertainment.
Brands that want to stand out in this scenario will have to be able to keep up with the times, quickly abandoning the initial distrust of new technologies and instead thinking about how to present the brand.
What do you think of these digital marketing trends 2022? Let us know in the comments and contact us to learn more about our marketing services.