By Krista Neher, Forbes Councils Member
Digital marketing is always changing and evolving, but 2022 will likely hold some dramatic changes. Businesses and brands must not only plan for the future of digital marketing but be prepared to take advantage of it. Here are the top 12 digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2022 and how you can use them to your advantage.
1. Meta is everywhere.
Facebook officially changed its name to Meta. While creating a name for the parent company is logical (remember Google became Alphabet?), the choice is what matters. Facebook is betting big on the Metaverse, which is a term for virtual and augmented experiences. This is a big bet on the future of the web.
Recommendation: Marketers should begin to look for opportunities for their business in these spaces.
2. Influencers continue to grow (even for B2B).
Influencer marketing is set to reach $13.8 billion in 2021 and continue to grow. Influencer campaigns inherently provide context and relevance since the influencer is endorsing the product. B2B brands also continue to embrace influencers — Adobe, SAP, GE and PWC all have harnessed this trend.
Recommendation: Marketers should look for opportunities to partner with influencers in their space.
3. Advertising is challenged by privacy.
Modern digital ads are heavily reliant on data to automatically optimize. New privacy regulations like the iOS update and the pending removal of cookies have been reducing the data used in artificial intelligence.
Recommendation: Marketers should assess the impact that this will have on their advertising and be proactive.
4. Marketers get more strategic.
As automation, artificial intelligence and machine learning take away a lot of the grunt work of digital marketing, marketers must become more strategic. The options in digital marketing continue to grow.
Recommendation: Marketers need to think strategically to focus on what really drives their business growth.
5. LinkedIn is growing, growing, growing.
LinkedIn continues to be a rising star in the digital space. Each quarter they show considerable gains in monthly active users and engagements on the platform. They are also continuously launching new features that drive better results for businesses and pages.
Recommendation: Marketers should go all-in on LinkedIn.
6. SEO is less game and more integrated.
Search engine optimization is one of the oldest and most valuable forms of digital marketing. As search algorithms have continuously become smarter and more contextual, marketers need to focus less on the “hacks” and “tricks” of SEO and more on providing an outstanding and meaningful experience to their users.
Recommendation: Marketers should focus less on SEO and more on excellent user experience.
7. Experiences are the new social currency.
Businesses still clamor to drive word-of-mouth and earn social attention. As the advertising landscape becomes noisier, earned media and word-of-mouth become more important to break through.
Recommendation: Marketers should focus on creating experiences at every stage of their interactions with customers to earn social media word-of-mouth.
8. Digital jobs continue to grow.
According to LinkedIn, digital skills are the most in-demand. Yet there is a big skill gap between the number of businesses searching for digital skills and the skills in the marketplace.
Recommendation: Marketers should upskill to stay relevant, and leaders should have digital upskill plans for their organization.
9. Facebook (Meta) doesn’t go anywhere.
There are so many headlines about people leaving Facebook, but the truth is that Facebook isn’t going anywhere. Facebook now has almost 3 billion users and the user numbers grow every month.
Recommendation: Marketers should assume Facebook will continue to dominate.
10. Websites get faster.
Website traffic is overwhelmingly mobile; however, most websites still don’t have fully mobile-optimized experiences. As Google launched Core Web Vitals site design, speed will become ever more important.
Recommendation: Marketers must make sure their website is optimized.
11. Everything is algorithm-driven.
Every part of digital marketing — social media newsfeeds, display ads, social ads, search engine optimization and even email — is becoming algorithm-driven. The algorithms all optimize for the same basic thing: user experience.
Recommendation: To stay relevant, marketers should provide a user experience that customers want or their content will be less visible.
12. Less is more.
The explosion of digital marketing options means that many businesses are spread too thin across too many channels. Smart businesses focus on dominating one channel.
Recommendation: Marketers should get more focused and aim to do fewer things better.
13. BONUS: The foundations still matter most.
It is easy to get distracted by shiny new digital objects. Marketers love new trends and to be on the leading edge of new technologies and platforms. Yet the truth is that the majority of business growth still comes from the foundational tools in digital marketing. Don’t forget to focus on your foundation. Often, optimizing your base digital execution will provide a better return on investment than experimenting (and getting distracted) with every new tool.
Article originally appeared on Forbes.
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