There’s no denying it: digital marketing has become the backbone of businesses worldwide, helping them to maintain a connection to their consumers amid a pandemic that has impacted virtually every industry. Each year brings innovations, features, and updates by tech giants which change the way consumers buy and interact with a brand.
As we slide into 2022, we’re looking back on the top five trends that dominated the digital marketing landscape in 2021 and casting our predictions for what we anticipate will gain even more traction this year!
1. YouTube Shorts
In July 2021, YouTube Shorts took the internet world by storm. The feature – a short-form video experience - was rolled out in over 100 countries, allowing creators and influencers to shoot 15-second short and catchy videos using their mobile phones. Like many new features or technology, YouTube Shorts was initially met with skepticism.
Yet, it found tremendous success with brands and influencers creating vertical format videos and going viral overnight. But we already have TikTok and Instagram Reels – what makes YouTube Shorts so special?
According to an article by Search Engine Journal, YouTube Shorts makes video content creation extremely convenient with many features, such as speed control, countdown & timer. It also offers a massive library of songs to record with music and a multi-segment camera to help you string multiple clips together.
In August 2021, YouTube announced that creators could now earn $10,000 a month using Shorts. In other words – YouTube Shorts was monetized. Needless to say, if you haven’t yet leveraged Shorts in your digital marketing strategy, it’s time that you do!
2. Voice Search
You are probably already familiar with the popularity of voice search technology, but what makes voice search so popular, and why should you incorporate it in your digital marketing strategy?
The simple answer is – convenience. People love dolling out commands to voice assistants such as Siri and OK Google instead of typing their search queries. Moreover, voice search is no longer just limited to smartphones.
The technology has already been incorporated within appliances, smart TVs, wearables, and cars, and that’s just the beginning. Most people use it to find local businesses using commands like “find me a restaurant nearby.” The queries are primarily hyper-local long-tail keywords.
Therefore, there’s great value in incorporating voice search within your SEO strategy, especially local SEO. Consider how your users talk about your product or service to provide the best results that justify their intent.
3. Inclusive Branding
In a nutshell, inclusive branding aims to speak to a broader audience of buyers, including people of various ethnicities, religions, sexuality, age, abilities, income, or gender, within their messaging. The concept isn’t necessarily new; Coca-Cola won the hearts of viewers worldwide with their groundbreaking hilltop marketing campaign back in 1971. But the need to unite and seek commonalities between a broader scope of buyers has never been more emphasized than it is now.
The White Collection Bridal Boutique is an excellent example of inclusive branding in Portishead, United Kingdom. Back in 2019, they showcased one of their bridal dresses on a wheelchair-bound mannequin as part of their window display. Soon enough, it caught the attention of the global media. Traditionally, when organizations think about inclusivity and diversity initiatives, the focus falls upon gender or race. But inclusive branding isn’t limited to either of those aspects, and The White Collection called this out rather beautifully while simultaneously earning a new wave of brand evangelists.
Voicing social injustices can be a powerful tool for brands. But take your inclusive marketing one step further by actually supporting the communities that you’re standing up for.
Most of us are familiar with the concept of influencer marketing. But in 2021, the trend of collaborating with micro-influencers swelled to new levels. As per this study, nearly 82% of people are highly likely to purchase a product or service recommended by a micro-influencer.
Who are micro-influencers anyway?
These people have a substantial following on social media (but not as big as macro-influencers or celebrities) and have a tight-knit connection with their audience. They also experience higher conversion rates and engagement.
According to a LinkedIn article by Rafael Schwarz, influencers can be grouped into three categories based on their number of followers:
- Micro-influencers: greater than 1000 followers
- Macro-influencers: greater than 100,000 followers
- Celebrities: greater than 1,000,000 followers
Partnering with micro-influencers is not only beneficial to your brand but also highly cost-effective as their rates for promotion are substantially less when compared to celebrities and macro-influencers. So, if you’re ready to take your digital marketing game to new heights this year, consider thinking micro.
5. Shoppable Social Media Content
What is shoppable social media content?
It’s a digital asset in the form of a social media post, ad, video, or image that allows people to click through to buy a product or service. Shoppable social media content is immensely popular on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.
Statistics show that 49% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z have purchased directly from clickable social media posts, ads, and videos. You wouldn’t want to let go of such a lucrative opportunity by not leveraging it in your digital marketing strategy, would you?
Some of these trends are likely to carry forward and intensify in 2022, so being an early adopter will help give you an edge over businesses that aren’t yet capitalizing on these opportunities.
For more insight into what’s hot in the digital marketing world, reach out to our team today.