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Top 13 Digital Marketing Trends -- Predictions for 2022 and Beyond

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I specialize in developing digital content for B2B, IT, and law firms that enables them in generating more leads and driving revenue forward


Hey Marketers! Remember Jan2020. When the world was still fine then. You were holding shiny silvery glasses in your hands to welcome the New Year. However, the happiness was short-lived. The pandemic slithering in the backyard caught many industries off-guard. It shoved many enterprises in the digital landscape. Digital was no longer a necessity; it soon became a quintessential business need. Nearly 2 years after, the digital marketing continuum is not where it is. The changes which we saw two years back are going to stay and take new forms in 2022. Here are some #topdigitalmarketingtrends that will dominate 2022 and break the hegemony of previous ones:

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Machine Learning & Expert Systems: The biggest trend that will take shape in the upcoming years is the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). However, the one who will dominate industries and society, might not be the one who has artificial intelligence, but one who understands how to use it best.

AI will be used to read prospects' preferences regarding the products services and tailor marketing messages, which will show up on your prospects' screens, at a personalized level. A study by Gartner, the information technology research firm has shown that "By 2024 'advanced AI' will be used in most of Digital Marketing initiatives.

2. Virtual and Mixed Reality: Virtual Reality (VR) & Mixed Reality (MR) are changing and innovating the way we interact in both digital and physical worlds. An MR device can "mix" both real and virtual environments into immersive experiences that enable users to perform tasks across a spectrum, from completely automated through fully manual control. Virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality will be mainly used in marketing for promotional purposes (there are already many existing examples of VR experiences for marketing) and, in the future, it will also be used to generate new leads.

They will be leveraged to create an immersive experience that helps companies stand out from their competitors and providing a unique efficacy-enhancing service. According to futurists, this will enable companies to make the most of many new possibilities to provide their customers with a more interactive experience which will lead them towards brand loyalty.

Virtual & Mixed Reality will change the way we consume content, but also the way brands are trying to communicate their message across. It will offer endless opportunities for marketers.

3. Blockchain - Transparency & Security: The idea of using a blockchain for digital marketing is contemporary and innovative, but the question is: Will this type of technology be able to solve existing challenges or will it simply add new ones?

In 2016, IBM released a report that stated most marketing professionals believe that in 2025 they will be spending more on "marketing technology" than traditional media. This means that marketers are looking ahead and trying to find solutions - not just any solution - but innovative ways to deal with the ever-increasing number of channels and types of media available. In addition, they must determine how their advertisement budget can achieve maximum results according to set targets.

Another important point from the above-mentioned report is that effective marketing will use artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain technology.

Blockchain technology can be used in digital marketing for transactions that are related to content, advertisements, information, promotions, tokens/coins, rewards, loyalty programs, etc. Blockchain makes it possible to remove intermediaries from the aforementioned transactions by providing an irrefutable record of all data exchanges between different parties regarding a particular transaction or customer behavior. This technology is transparent and secure because transactions are not stored in any one central location but are distributed over thousands of computers where each transaction is linked using cryptography. The main advantages of this system are security, transparency, speed, saving, improved reliability among other things.

4. Exponential Increase of Content & Media: According to Gartner, "By 22, the business demand for digital business outcomes (such as new revenues) created by content marketing will outweigh the supply of talent and resources." This means that businesses will be looking more towards content marketing in order to get higher profits. This shows how important having a material online presence is. Since this is such an important part of building an online brand, it's no surprise that 82% of marketers found that creating compelling content increased their number of leads over time.

5. Location-Based Marketing: Location-Based marketing (LBM) is the use of consumer location data for targeting and measurement within traditional and mobile advertising. The widespread adoption of smartphones and proliferation of LBS APIs, combined with the ability to connect consumers' physical locations to their online activity represents an enormous opportunity for marketers. LBM allows advertisers to reach their customers based on where they are, when they're there, what device they're using and what content might be relevant at that moment.

In 2022, LBM will be evolving through three stages of growth: Awareness/investment; understanding/innovation; and ubiquity/ubiquity.

Typically, location-based services (LBS) tend toward awareness due to network effects — it takes just one use-case to see the 'light bulb' moment when LBS becomes indispensable. For example, Foursquare was the first to truly bring LBS into the mainstream and has achieved significant network effects, resulting in a growing user base and a wide range of venue categories using their platform. The challenge for marketers today is understanding where location data will be going in the next five years, while simultaneously taking advantage of what we already have at our disposal by personalizing marketing efforts with mobile apps and hyperlocal targeting.

In 2022, location-based marketing will become ubiquitous as consumers understand its value within other channels such as mobile apps and social media platforms. In this future world of LBM ubiquity, marketers can expect that:

1) mobile apps will be the main channel for location data generation;

2) mobile apps will have deep LBS integration, offering consumers multiple local features/functionalities within the app;

3) social media platforms will incorporate location-based information into their marketing mix.

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6. Personalization - Get Closer to Your Audience: Customers like to feel acknowledged and appreciated. They want to be given special attention and care by brands they love. It will be important to keep customers in mind while understanding their needs and requirements before moving forward with any sort of e-commerce marketing strategy.

This trend has been around for quite some time now and we can expect this trend to continue. However, personalization will not only focus on the customer as we may think it to be now. It will also involve focusing on segments and targeting customers based on past behavior, demographics, etc. Brands like American Apparel have been doing this for over a decade now and they continue to do so successfully.

7. Bots - Automated Advertising (AI): Bots will not be killing our social media conversations but driving them – as they increasingly do today. Instead of being the villains that take over our feeds with links or political rants from fake accounts, chatbots have become useful content curators that generate much of what we see online through a process called "augmented advertising."

This reads like a description of today's Facebook news feed, which is filled with way too many clickbait articles and videos linked by bots posing as real people. Why is this a problem? Check out the articles below for a refresher.

The bots-led trend of augmented advertising – which also includes human moderators – has the potential to change the face of how we consume news and entertainment, as well as influence our moods and political leanings online. In fact, it already is. And if bots are "leveraging influence" through social media messaging, so could fake news.

The pace of innovation in the bot sphere is incredible, meaning that these tools will become more sophisticated and persuasive over time.

What makes chatbots so powerful? For one thing, they're writing for us already. Bots can generate text-based posts that look like they were written by a human, but only sparingly use words that people tend to overuse (think: very, really). And because chatbots frequently interact with people on platforms like Facebook Messenger, where users frequently engage in quick back-and-forth conversations (as opposed to publishing blog posts), bots get better at speaking like us every day

Bots also learn how to (seemingly) engage with us by analyzing our behavior patterns on social media, like the links we click, how long we spend reading an article, and which emojis we respond to. This is particularly concerning when you consider the fact that most people tend to be very bad at spotting fake news (and what differentiates it from real news).

While Facebook seems most intent on leveraging chatbots for augmented advertising, platforms like Kik are introducing their own branded bot stores, letting users interact with customized versions of the branded apps they use every day.

Social news site Reddit is also a competitor in the chatbot market – its first bot, called Narwhal , was rolled out this summer to help Redditors find conversations on topics that interest them. Another platform, Telegram , recently announced a Bot Platform that will let brands create their own mini-applications for the messaging app's 200 million active monthly users as well as monetization opportunities for developers.

In 2022 bots are expected to have 51% of online advertising revenues. So it's time put away any assumptions we have about these little helpers being harmless – and start thinking about how we can control them.

8. Native Advertising - Content Marketing Solutions: Native Advertising is not a new phenomenon; it has been around for some time now. The key to success with native advertising will be to understand how this technique can help brands build strong relationships with their target audience. Native advertising has the potential to totally change the way of online marketing. By 2022, 80% of US digital ad spending will be on Native Ads. Here are some quick facts:

  • Marketers are increasingly showing more interest at native advertising because it provides direct access to their customers.
  • 98% marketers claim they have implemented or plan on integrating native ads into their campaigns in 2020.
  • If we continue following this current path, by 2022 around 80 percent of all digital media spend will be going toward native advertisements instead of banners and traditional promotional techniques. This is a massive shift from just two years ago when only about half of marketers were utilizing native ads.
  • Marketers are increasingly showing more interest in native advertising because it provides direct access to their customers compared to the customer journey on other platforms. They also see direct value from influencers engaging with their brand, knowing they have an influence on purchasing decisions for potential consumers. -

98 percent of marketers claim they have implemented or plan on integrating native ads into their campaigns in 2021, up from 69 percent in 2020, showing how much this trend is growing.

9. Mobile Marketing - Not Going Anywhere: In 2022, mobile devices are going to stay at the center of our digital lives. Mobile marketing strategies will be the key to success for brands who want to win over consumers. Industry experts and professionals alike are all revved up for the upcoming state of mobile marketing. Many believe that it is going to be a reality-bending field in no time. And why not? Mobile devices have become so accessible and many companies now rely on apps and games as part of their marketing strategies, which is why we can't help but expect more interesting things from this growing industry. So, what should we expect five years from now?

Mobile will continue its reign as an essential device. Since people can do just about anything on their phones, such as watch videos, play games, read digital comics and magazines, surf the Web and use social networking sites – there's no reason they won't still find them useful enough even after five years.

Actually, mobile technology is expected to develop even further in terms of speed and efficiency. Being able to access the Internet faster will mean that users would be able to click on links quicker than ever before, which gives marketers another reason to feel excited about the next five years.

There are already so many apps out there, but it's expected that more people will download them in 2022. The types of apps available may change as well, especially since many think virtual reality (VR) could finally take off in this industry five years from now. Since these devices can also learn based on the behaviors of their users, they might become more intuitive and perhaps they can answer questions or make suggestions that can really help a person out.

Mobile commerce will grow further in parallel. More and more people are going online to shop, so it's no surprise that mobile commerce is expected to gain even bigger momentum in 2022.

Mobile marketing will also be more engaging and personalized. With the developments in mobile technology, we can expect that marketers will try to offer better experiences for their customers while they're on the go. Their sites and apps should be designed with mobile-friendliness in mind and they'll work to make sure their ads strike a chord with their intended market. Since there are so many ways to reach out through various channels, it makes sense that marketers would want to consider everything when using mobile marketing strategies. One way or another, there's no doubt that it will play an important role in how companies connect with their existing customers as well as draw the interest of new ones in 2022.

10. Programmatic Advertising: By 2022, programmatic advertising spend is expected to account for 82% of all display ad purchases, which underlines its importance for advertisers at a global level.

Programmatic advertising is similar to an auction, where publishers can list their ad inventory and advertisers bid on it in real-time. The advertiser's ads are then displayed when a user visits the publisher's website or mobile application. Because programmatic ads compete against one another, it generally leads to better prices for the advertisers and more revenue for publishers. In fact, according to a recent study by eMarketer, Programmatic will account for 73% of all digital display ad spending by 2022. It's now a formidable force in the world of marketing today and its influence is still growing.

However, as it matures from an infant to a full-grown teenager over the next several years, people are going to see that there's much more to programmatic advertising than meets the eye. In fact, there are some things about this new form of media buying that we don't even know yet! Here we'll take a quick look at 5 predictions on how programmatic advertising may change between now and 2022:

  • Brands will take back control of their data -- Gone are the days when brands were at the mercy of publishers and ad networks, only seeing the data about their programmatic campaigns after it's too late to take action. By 2022 brands will be in full control of this flow of information, using DMPs (Data Management Platforms) that will track every interaction between a user and an ad.
  • Programmatic exchanges will become more transparent -- One of the biggest complaints against programmatic advertising is that publishers simply don't know where ads are being shown. Sometimes these ads show up on websites or within apps that have little to no affiliation with what they are trying to promote. By 2022 there will be greater transparency across all parties involved, allowing advertisers buy media in real-time while knowing exactly how their ads are performing along the supply side - something unheard of in today's market.
  • Contextual advertising will dominate -- Gone are the days of just using targeting based on demographics and psychographics, which really only tell us about a person's interests or opinions. In 2022 programmatic technology will infer meaning from context to allow advertisers to buy ad inventory more effectively. For example, if someone is browsing a shoe website they may receive an ad for a coupon on their favorite type of shoe. This kind of contextual marketing is already prevalent in native advertising but by 2022 it will be a part of all programmatic media buying strategies.
  • Programmatic video advertising will take off -- By 2022 video ads will account for over 40% of all programmatically bought digital display ads, up from less than 10% today. This is because of the sheer amount of time users spend watching video and its ability to engage audiences with visuals (which makes up 65% of how we retain information). The numbers will also grow as smart TVs become more prevalent and ads can be targeted to specific regions based on IP address, leading to greater ad relevancy for all parties involved.
  • Programmatic TV advertising will still not exist -- While digital programmatic advertising has been around for about 7 years now, it's still not possible to buy a TV ad through this kind of automated technology. By 2022 we predict that media buyers and advertisers will start demanding better real-time buying capabilities on linear television, which may lead to the first major disruption in TV since DVRs.
  • With this kind of growth, it's no wonder that the Interactive Advertising Bureau recently estimated that programmatic media buying would represent over 65% of all digital ad spending by 2019. We are already seeing this start to take shape in today's marketplace and as artificial intelligence advances through 2022, expect even greater changes over the next 7 years.

11. Video Marketing - Still a Popular Content Format: In 2022, video advertising will keep its momentum and continue to attract a growing share of digital ad budgets. The emergence and evolution of video marketing is a process filling marketers with dread and delight. On one hand, we know that our customers love videos, but on the other hand it's hard to keep up with what you should be doing to boost your business.

Some people think that video marketing will be dead in 2022 – I hope not! The truth is there are so many options out there for marketers, we need to make the most of every opportunity we can get. With this in mind, let's take a look at some interesting statistics:

YouTube is the second largest search engine (second only to Google). 450 million people use YouTube each and every month. If you're not making videos for your business, you should be using this site. Videovertising has overtaken TV advertising in many countries. It's estimated that by 2020 around 80% of consumer Internet traffic will be from video content – so if you're still putting up text only web pages, think again! Online video brings in higher engagement time than mobile or PC devices. Facebook users watch 8 billion videos per day!! In 2017 Instagram had 1 billion active monthly who watched 60 million hours of video. 13% of Twitter users watch video on that site, too. A minute on Facebook is worth $3.6 million!! That's just for one minute… Just imagine if you're getting more than that!

Last year more than 1.8 billion people watched more than 1.2 Trillion minutes of online videos! That's a lot of time spent watching videos, so let's get smart about what we do with it! How can you use video marketing to boost your business?

12. Influencer Marketing - Unique Branding Opportunities: As the customers and their needs and buying behavior change, marketers and brands need to evolve with the trends. We have seen significant changes in marketing from 2020-2021 itself. With increasing competition, brands have started adapting various innovative techniques for customer acquisition. In past 10 years, influencer marketing has evolved from word-of-mouth marketing to a major factor in forming brand reputation among consumers today.

What is Influencer Marketing?

Influencers are people who have a good amount of social media following or meet certain criteria set by a brand for a campaign or product promotion. They can be celebrities, bloggers, Youtubers, etc.

With a large social media following, influencers can greatly impact people's perceptions about brands and products. Some of the effects of their endorsement include credibility, trustworthiness and attitude changes.

According to an article published in Harvard Business Review , Influencer marketing is the future of marketing, "Sixty percent of marketers say that content from influential people on social media helps them make purchase decisions". So we could easily understand why Influencer Marketing has become so important today!

Influencer Marketing trends in 2022

As per Brand artisan survey taken early this year, 93% marketers using influencer marketing for pursuing growth and engagement with millennials and Gen Z.

In another survey by Variety Magazine among top 100 influencers, 35% said they are influenced by YouTube star PewDiePie, making him the biggest influencer on social media.

Another survey by Variety Magazine also revealed that top marketers think a celebrity endorsement will lift a brand's image and product purchase intent. Celebrities have the highest impact- 92% on younger consumers.

Influencer’s marketing is moving from B2C to B2B. At present most brands use influencers for their consumer campaigns but soon we can expect to see brands influencing business to business (B2B) influencers for their new product launches. Post launch, the product will be marketed towards consumer segment of respective businesses.

Marketers are spending more on influencer marketing campaigns than ever before. One report by eMarketer forecasts that brands will spend $4.6 billion on influencer marketing by 2022. So, we can definitely expect some great potential opportunities in coming years!

Top performing B2C Influencers are likely to start working with brands catering to Businesses while Top performing B2B Influencers would be working with Brands offering products and services for Consumers.

As per the survey, 60% respondents said they have plan to work with business to consumer influencers for their brand promotion.

Cross-platform Influencer marketing campaigns will continue to grow & dominate: Our survey suggested that marketers are planning to invest more on Facebook than ever before. Even though the figures of Instagram users are increasing exponentially, it is coming down drastically against Facebook due to recent changes made by Facebook in terms of follower count, algorithm and ad policies. These changes have resulted in reduced organic reach of brands' posts forcing brands towards sponsored advertisements or influencer marketing campaigns.

Marketers today need variety in their campaign because different kinds of audiences use different social media platforms. So, they require cross platform influencers who can serve them across all major social media platforms.

Top performing B2C Influencers are likely to start working with Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat as a minimum. Top performing B2B Influencers would be working with Businesses needing influencer marketing on LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube.

Relationship between experts & industry influencers will continue to grow: We can expect more collaboration among the two types of influencers. According to our survey, more than 50% marketers think business to consumer influencer is expert while top performing B2C influencers thinks business to consumer influencer is an industry expert. There are several production houses that help brands find suitable social media personalities or YouTubers

13. Database Marketing in 2022: By 2022, data is expected to become even more important for advertisers than it currently is. They will need to make sure they understand how to use their data effectively to make the right marketing decisions.

Since the first marketing database was constructed in 1972 by Dunn and Bradstreet, databases have been increasingly used for targeted campaigns. Driven by an exponential increase of online advertising spend and advancements in technology, we can expect to see a number of trends that will shape database marketing over the next few years.

As the number of marketing databases continues to explode, marketers will need a way to manage this data and make sense out of it. This means that companies which provide visualizations or insights from the individual components in a marketing stack will enjoy a huge competitive advantage over others who don't offer such capabilities. The third trend we expect is increased demand for self-service database solutions. As more companies adopt cloud-based solutions over the next few years, we expect them to start building their own tools internally using open-source technologies such as Hadoop or Spark. Tools like these allow development teams to build their own self-service analytics tool without involving IT and can help designers turn big data into actionable insights faster than ever before.

By 2022, it's expected that 90% of CMOs will make customer data available through an open API. This is fantastic news for marketers because now they'll have additional ways to extend their existing investments in marketing databases and increase the overall performance of their marketing stack.

However, there's also a lot to consider during this time of change. It will be up to marketers themselves to deal with the increasing fragmentation of data management tools and make sure they can easily connect all of their systems together without any hiccups. This means that it'll be important for companies who are active in the development community to continuously work on open standards which enable seamless integration across multiple databases. As always, it'll be interesting to see how these trends play out over the next few years.

As digital marketing continues to play a key role in brand success, the changes we have seen over recent years are going to continue into 2022 and beyond in more better forms. The sooner marketers can adopt these new trends for themselves, the better their chances of making a smooth transition into this new era. Early adapters will have the first mover advantage and they will get the ability to leave their competitors behind in dust.

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