Our Insights: Our 2022 Digital Marketing Predictions

It’s been a rollercoaster of a year for the marketing industry and planning what is going to happen next in this fast-paced sector is almost impossible, so marketing experts (like us!) have had to think strategically and monitor the industry like a hawk. With disruption from the pandemic, the rise in AI, an abundance of new technology and the fallout of regulatory changes, 2021 has been quite the year for the digital marketing industry, but what’s in store for 2022?

In this blog post, the team at Flaunt Digital share their digital marketing predictions for 2022. 

More is More With Informative Long-Form Content  

There’s no secret that content marketing is an ever-changing field and plays a huge role in connecting with both new and existing customers – so there’s no doubt 2022 will bring something new to the content table. We have already seen a major shift to remote and hybrid working, which is likely to stay for 2022 and beyond, influencing the entire marketing sector and allowing content to be created on-the-go, anywhere in the world. 

Then there’s voice search technology, which is skyrocketing. More and more consumers are introducing  it to their everyday lives, and in 2022 we expect to see a huge rise in numbers for casual voice searches. This means brands will have to optimise content, not only for SERPS but for voice requests too. Expect simpler, more conversation-like language within content marketing to enable your content to rise the ranks. 

Senior Content Lead, Sophie Cartwright, shares her predictions for the future of content: ‘I think from a content perspective brands are going to need to start getting to the point quicker, without scrimping on the amount of information actually available. We’re all busy, we’re all used to information being available at our fingertips. I think we’ll start to see long-form content taking centre stage… but key summaries and headline CTAs will be one of the most important elements. Brands will need to give customers all the information they need in a quick snippet, whilst also giving them the chance to explore and educate themselves further. From an agency’s viewpoint, it will be more important than ever to use data to advise how to craft content in a way that appeals to readers and search engines.’

Finally, these longer insightful pieces will be massively data driven. Competition is tougher than ever, getting noticed is harder and therefore content marketers will have to strive for original content that focuses its attention on data analysis. In 2022, with the help of consistent and thorough data, content marketers can generate perfectly informed pieces that provide valuable information to readers.

Brand Collaborations for Unstoppable Campaigns 

Our Brand Communications Lead, Polly Chapman, shares her branding predictions for 2022: ‘Brands that tell a story are more important now than they have ever been. With most of our interaction taking place digitally, brands have to work harder to ensure there’s an emotional, human connection to their marketing. I think 2022 will see the expansion of brands in the metaverse. We’ve already seen Balenciaga Fornite skins, but there’s more to come. Think Sims style brand experiences, with companies creating entire virtual worlds.’ 

With this in mind, the team at Flaunt have already been looking at how these mega campaigns could look. What about Marks and Spencers collabing with Brewdog or even fashion icon Dr. Martens with the renowned Christian Louboutin? 

Are you ready for ‘Percy Juice’ to be on a shelf near you…?

Can You Keep Up With The Technical SEO Pace? 

Is it too early to predict the SEO trends of 2022? The simple answer is no. There’s no better time to get ahead of the game within this fast-paced, always changing field. It’s surprising how many brands neglect technical SEO and in 2022 it needs to be made a priority. 

Our Senior Technical Lead, Daniel Dudley, shares his 2022 marketing predictions from a technical SEO perspective.

‘We’re going to see things changing a lot faster in 2022. In 2009, there were 350-400 changes to Google’s algorithm every year; but as recently as 2018 this had increased dramatically to 3,200+. In 2020 and 2021, we’ve felt the impact of this increase in update frequency more than ever – with unexplained algorithm tremors almost every other weekend, and even launching a core algorithm update in peak season (Dec 2020) which is unheard of in the history of Google. This volatility of Google’s search landscape will have more of an impact on organic rankings than ever, with tech SEO professionals having to constantly monitor and react to algorithm changes. Websites and forums such as SERoundtable or BlackHatWorld – as well as algorithm “weather” reports such as MozCast – can be crucial to make sure you stay ahead of your competitors on any updates.’ 

It’s Looking Like a Cookie-less Future 

The cookies are crumbling and it looks like it’s time for businesses to stay customer-focused without third party cookies. Privacy for customers is increasingly important and data protection regulations are stricter, therefore brands must work more effectively with data. 

Our Client Development Manager, Dan Wall, shares his predictions on a cookie-less industry in 2022: ‘I think we’re going  to see more and more success in supplier partnerships/collabs for cookie-less campaigns. Dr. Martens have already started shouting about the success they’ve seen with a recent cookie-less campaign they ran (which outperformed a cookie-based counterpart on CTR and CPC) in partnership with a data provider and niche audience network. Clearly, with the cookie (eventually) coming to an end, first party data is crucial. However, I think we’re bound to see more and more partnerships as short term solutions with a mix of first, second and third-party data as brands’ first-party data takes time to build up.’

Brands can still enjoy sustainable, efficient and effective reach whilst still respecting consumer privacy, but they must work more effectively with data in 2022.  

What does 2022 look like for the development of AI? 

Artificial intelligence (AI) has come a long way – you probably use it every day. From asking Siri to take you to the nearest shop, or browsing Netflix until you finally give in to one of its recommendations, AI has pretty much taken over every aspect of our lives, but is it here to stay in 2022? Front End Web Developer, Clark Fennell, discusses where he sees digital marketing heading: ‘As a Developer, we see that the way information is being displayed and used is changing to engage with consumers. Over the last couple of years, personalised emails, products, content and more are being made by even the smallest companies to use as a form of advertising. These link up well with social media applications and websites.

We’re also seeing AI-powered optimisation with the likes of new home-brew apps from companies (like our Goose app, or our new PR Tool Beak which is coming soon). These AI apps help see consumer and client behaviours and then analyse data, such as classification and entity analysis, which, for example, can help blog writers find the correct tone for their piece and make sure it is engaging for the consumer. Visual search tools are a new practice allowing consumers to upload an image and find similar products that will go with what is in the image. You can see examples of these with Google Lens, and although in early development I think this will become a staple in the future of search. There are more and more of these AI-powered tools being created constantly, as the world of AI grows.

Our CTO, Jamie Shields, further mentions,‘On the AI front I think Google will really double down on this more so than they already do. With the release of the new Pixel phones they will want to really lean on their “smartest smartphone” edge they have over Apple in order to shift these devices, building in more software features leveraging Google AI tech which can provide a meaningful quality of life improvement to smartphone users (eg. call screening).’

Go Greener With Design in 2022

The importance of design should never be overlooked. It adds importance and extends beyond the appearance of a brand. Providing education, information and even influencing your audience, it’s important to realise that things are rapidly changing in the world of graphic design – sometimes so quickly we don’t even notice it has changed! 

Our Senior Digital Design Lead, Hannah Thompson, shares exciting 2022 predictions for design within the marketing industry: ‘I think 2022 is going to be a super exciting year for design following the uncertain times of 2020/21 where brands and companies had to change the way they communicated and operated. I think in this coming year we will see an increase in the importance of motion design. People are on the move again, our pace has picked up and the way we digest information will follow. Climate change is the hot topic as 2021 draws to a close and I think we will see brands focusing on it – it won’t just be a case of looking eco-conscious by using the colour green. We as designers will need to be making those decisions about the footprint of projects and the types of materials we choose to use. I think design will look bolder, more vibrant – overall braver, pushing boundaries and challenging the design “norm”’. 

PPC Takes on TikTok, Pinterest and More in 2022

The Pay-Per-Click (PPC) realm is one that can significantly boost your business results and any business that wishes to build a successful online platform needs to invest time in keeping on top of PPC trends and staying one step ahead! 

Our Senior PPC Executive, Joe Hryszko, shares his trend predictions for 2022, so you can prepare in advance:‘TikTok advertising is quickly becoming the biggest social media platform out there, and gives advertisers a great platform to put full screen, interactive ads in front of users. Their new partnership with Shopify can only mean that advertisers are going to start pushing products at an even higher rate. Whilst [the ads platform] it’s in its infancy, and it’s still quite buggy, we’ve run a few trials across TikTok and have seen some really positive brand awareness figures. There’s not so much an emphasis on conversions though, but plenty of potential. 

Paid Media Executive, Will Smith, adds, ‘Advertisers will continue and some may start testing on other social platforms such as TikTok and Pinterest due to fluctuations in CPM and CPA across Facebook/Instagram over the past year (due to the pandemic). There’s higher user engagement for videos on social platforms such as TikTok and Instagram Reels so advertisers may increase investment in engaging video ads. Brainlabs suggests as the supply is growing, bidding on video placements should be cheaper.’

Joe continues by saying, ‘PPC Automation has been around for a long time, but it’s becoming more and more important in the eyes of Google. There are plenty of ways to look at automating your activity with an emphasis on this from Google themselves. For example, there’s a huge push on Smart campaigns, with automated bidding strategies such as maximise conversions, or Target CPA. Whilst when testing these types of automation we’ve seen good results, there’s a huge element of having to trust Google’s decisions and giving up a level of control you have, which some advertisers will not want to do. 

Furthermore, 20% of all searches on mobile devices are voice based, so there’s a huge emphasis on mobile optimisation. Whilst this has been around for a little while, it’s widely expected that voice search is going to continue getting bigger and bigger, something to potentially be ahead of the curve on. Most search queries through voice will be around who, what or where, enabling advertisers to optimise around those queries more effectively.’

Our Graduate Paid Media Executive, Abby Hyland, further adds, ‘Consumers are shopping smart and will continue to do so – they are looking for a reward when looking to purchase. With search terms such as ‘best’ or ‘discount’ on the rise, it’s more important than ever for marketers to reinforce this sense of reward and value to the consumers by highlighting these types of USPs they have to offer.

Sustainability is also something that is becoming increasingly more important to everyone, with the reality that we are in fact heading towards a climate crisis. People want to feel as though they are a positive part of the change, search terms such as ‘sustainable’ ‘ ethical’ and ‘recycled’ on the rise. Marketers need to ensure they are including these types of features heavily in their advertising.’

Brand Purpose is the Hot Topic For PR Campaigns 

In 2021 we saw Marks and Spencers go head-to-head with Aldi and the biggest names in football unite against racism – some incredible, impactful campaigns that are only going to get bigger and better in 2022.

Head of PR, Lora Thornton, shares her 2022 predictions for PR:‘2020 and 2021 saw reactive PR and newsjacking take centre stage – largely thanks to the pandemic and the ever-changing news cycle, PRs had to constantly think on their feet and we were unable to plan and rely on larger-scale creative campaigns in case they became redundant or off-topic by the time of launch.

I think reactive PR and newsjacking will very much still play a large role in the industry next year, but I also predict that we will see a return towards larger-scale PR campaigns alongside reactive campaigns. I think we will see the return of more in-person events and experiential PR but also more online digital experiences and interactive online content. 

Finally, I think we will see more emphasis on brand purpose and transparency in PR campaigns, with campaigns that are backed by real action from brands. Sustainability is going to be an even hotter topic next year and PR activity needs to reflect genuine action and change to have a meaningful impact. A misjudged PR campaign or ill-thought-out press release can no longer be swept under the carpet, and I predict that 2022 will very much be the year that people call out brands and campaigns that miss the mark.’

Round-Up of Our 2022 Digital Marketing Predictions

Our CEO, Leo Fuller, rounds up Flaunt’s 2022 digital marketing predictions: ‘I think that the last 12-18 months have seen tech drive everything forward at an incredible pace, so much so that we are seeing things we have not seen before such as global chip shortages. Whilst the chip shortage is not directly related to digital marketing it does mean that devices which drive commerce, communication and productivity have been purchased at a rate never seen before. This global economic shift has driven companies that may have previously placed less emphasis on digital to sit up and take notice, driving significant growth in investment within digital marketing.

I don’t see this trend slowing down which means 2022 is going to be an even busier one for agencies! Some of the main things I believe will become more important and more frequently discussed are:

Continued focus on AI and Automation – I think there is still fear amongst marketers when it comes to AI and automation. However, I believe that to succeed we must embrace it. Having the experience and capability to use it and harness its power will become more and more important. Businesses that do not choose to embrace it may be left behind and see less profitable campaigns.

Speed – Internet speeds and accessibility are going to reach the fastest they have ever been in 2022 – if your web experience doesn’t match the speeds available to consumers you will lose customers.

Capturing and owning your audience – Albeit not as imminent as it was, cookieless tracking will come into force. This means that you need to prepare now and take ownership of as much user and customer data as you can. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a renewed importance placed on email newsletters, as being able to communicate directly with a customer that has opted in for you to speak to them will become more important.

Storytelling – If you are not doing so already you should be trying to tell compelling stories to your customers. Telling authentic stories of your brand can create a band of loyalists that will buy into you. The capability to distribute content and speak to people has never been so widespread and with internet speeds increasing and so many platforms to choose from you should be taking advantage.’

Give us a call or check out the Flaunt Digital blog for more digital marketing advice.