#1 The rise of the Metaverse 

What was once a science fiction fantasy, think Stephen Spielberg's ‘Ready Player One’, is soon becoming a reality. The Metaverse is a virtual world where you can live life through augmented and virtual reality, avatars and video, it has a strong focus on social interactions and connections.

Following Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, Mark Zuckerberg, predicted the rising importance of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) taking over our current technology - the rebrand has sparked an increase in interest and conversations around the Metaverse, but, don’t be fooled, Metaverse is the internet 3.0, not FaceBook’s creation. 

Within the Metaverse, we’re seeing a rise in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) which are uniquely identifiable and one of a kind digital assets from photos, tweets and music. We have already seen a few big fashion brands jumping on this with luxury fashion brands Gucci, Louis Vuitton and RTFKT creating films and digital fashion products for users to try on and buy through auctions. There are also high street stores that are emerging in this market. Zara launched a fashion collection for avatars, A-Z Collection, in the Metaverse where users can purchase items through the virtual store.

What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

The Metaverse is by no means complete, this is something we will see rapidly emerge in 2022 and beyond, and be constantly learning from. Keep up to date with the latest news on all things Metaverse and consider how your business could be suited to an AR/VR world. Could AR/VR enhance the at-home/on the go shopping experience or change how you communicate and collaborate with your employees and clients day-to-day. 

Want an introduction to the Metaverse right now? Playing Roblox with your children is a great place to start. Roblox is seen as a Metaverse pioneer where you create an avatar and play more than 50m games within the Roblox world amongst their online community. 

#2 Green marketing

Sustainability and the focus on improving the world will rightly be an ongoing trend of great importance, especially to our Reflect Digital team. 

COP26 (26th United Nations climate change conference) happened in October and November 2021 where agreements were made on stopping deforestation, moving 40 countries away from using coal and cutting methane emissions by 2030. There is growing pressure on the advertising industry and how they can lead with this change without sending messages of fear and scaremongering. 

In 2009, research was released that two Google searches were the equivalent of boiling a kettle, whilst the web helps to connect and enrich users this is something to be aware of. At Reflect Digital we will be pushing our clients more to ensure they are targeting the right audience with the right message, not just because this is the best thing for their strategy, but also to try to decrease wasted clicks. 

What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022?

The sustainability conversation is prominent and people see it of ever-growing importance. It is no longer enough to be discussing environmental changes. Now is the time for action and transparency, showing your customers and audiences as a business you care about the right things. Many businesses are evolving to help you become more sustainable, for example, Ecologi has different arrangements with businesses such as planting a tree for every product sold. 

However, brands need to be cautious they’re not greenwashing; misleading consumers into thinking that purchasing your products will help the planet. Businesses need to be authentic and ensure they are pushing the right messages to consumers about their genuine care for the planet as people will see through false sentiments. 

#3 Advertisements to reflect your customers 

There is a rising need for inclusivity and diversity throughout marketing, businesses should show who their customers are through adverts, not simply hiring the next top models. Ads need to show real people in all shapes, colours, and walks of life, moving forward customers will favour brands who are honest and reflect the real world. 

What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

Ensure all your advertisements are representative and reflective of your audience, with inclusive communication to all genders, ages, races and sexualities. 

Consider incorporating user-generated content (UGC) within your strategies. This can encourage engagement with your ads from reposts, mentions and sharing to incentivise UGC which also helps to promote the inclusivity and diversity of the brand by leveraging authenticity from your audience. 

#4 Social commerce is booming

Social commerce boomed during the pandemic and shows no signs of slowing down. With more people active on social and online shopping than ever before, social media platforms are responding with an in-app shopping experience. The ultimate aim? Reduce friction, streamline the checkout process, browse and buy all within the same app. 

This can already be seen through Instagram Shopping, with the likes of TikTok shopping and Pinterest Shops beginning to dabble in this area by launching BETAs to test interest. 
 
What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

It is important to understand your audience and what they are using different social channels for, understanding their motivation is key as they may be on there to find inspiration and not shop. It is vital to plan the customer journey to ensure social commerce has a clear strategy and works in tandem with other channels. If you are an eCommerce brand, think about how you can create a unique and creative social shopping experience for your customers to reduce the number of clicks to purchase. We’d advise starting with low-cost popular products to test these platforms out.

#5 Video to become the preferred ad format   

As part of best practice advertising, it was to run at least one static, however, things are expected to change with the growing importance of video advertisements across all platforms and channels. Video is expected to account for over 80% of all internet traffic as reported by Cisco. Due to the rise in TikTok and Instagram reels, users are expecting to see more videos throughout their platforms and are more likely to click and engage with videos over static. Google has announced their ‘Multimodal AI Model’ (MUM) which is now able to read and understand video content, showing the growth and importance of video formats.   
 
What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

Keep in mind the rising importance of video and prioritise your creative budget into developing video content for your adverts to encourage user engagement. With MUM it is important to create content in different formats to support your strategy and match up to what your audience wants. 

#6 Alternative targeting solutions in a cookieless world

Google’s ban of 3rd party cookies is coming in just one year (2023), which means this year we’re expecting to see a surge of alternative targeting solutions to prepare us for a cookieless world. Businesses understand the importance of hitting the right customers and ensuring we’re using the right data to do this, these are expected to be privacy first and interest-based. 
 
What does that mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

Be aware that changes are coming and marketing strategies will need to adapt in preparation for this change. Ensure your campaigns don’t fully rely on cookies now and broaden out targeting to trial new targeting solutions. You can leverage building your own data where you have the right opt-ins so are less reliant on 3rd party data. 

#7 The power of influencer marketing 

The impact of influencer marketing is no secret. This is expected to continue to rise into 2022, with the domination of TikTok. Since January, we’ve already seen the train spotting TikTok content creator, Francis Bourgeois partner up with Gucci and The North Face to launch their latest collection, an unlikely pairing or viral sensation? 
 
There is huge power in influencer marketing, which can be seen from Sidemen launch XIX Vodka which sold out within minutes of launching. Alongside this, micro-influencers are set to see growth in 2022, these are content creators which have fewer followers than macro/mega influencers, despite their lower follower count it has been proven that their audiences are much more engaged and likely to take action. This can be due to macro-influencers having perfectly polished content, usually with a team behind them, whereas micro-influencers can show the down-to-earth real-life authentic version of your brand. Influencer marketing can also have a great impact on SEO and authority by helping to build a diverse and link portfolio and increase content reach and engagement which are important factors for organic ranking. 
 
What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

By looking into your overall customer journey you’ll be able to see where influencer marketing can enhance or complement strategies to be in the right place in front of the right users. Keep in mind the power of influencers and how they can reach your audience in raising awareness and driving conversions. Look into how you can include micro-influencers in your campaigns to keep costs lower whilst increasing reach to an engaged audience. 

#8 Website speed is more important than ever

Since Google launched Core Web Vitals, a website's design and speed has become more important than ever. Even though most web traffic is through mobile, the majority of sites do not have fully mobile optimised website experiences which can then have an impact on organic visibility and conversions. As website speed tends to be a first impression your business can make, we need to make sure it’s a great first impression. 
 
What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

You need to ensure your website is fully optimised for all devices and speeds, this can be understood and improved by running a Core Web Vitals report. Core Web Vitals shows how Google is putting customer experience at the heart of everything, which aligns so perfectly with what we do at Reflect Digital. When you see things through your customer’s eyes, your marketing results start to increase. Making sure your website experience is as best it can be will not only please Google but most importantly it will please your customers. 

#9 Human-to-human connection 

It is no longer enough to rely on having a great product to get customers interested, there is a rising importance of how your business talks to customers. Businesses are beginning to be judged on their values and culture, the products are becoming second to this. There needs to be an emotional and human connection to invite customers into your business and family. It will be of growing importance to understand your personas, making sure your content, language and tone of voice resonate with these personas at the right stage of the customer journey. This will nurture them as loyal customers and encourage conversions. 
 
What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 

Think about how you communicate with your customers, are there general marketing messages or more of a tailored response showing there is a human behind the desk and not a robot. Understand your customers' motivations and use this at the forefront of your marketing messaging. 

#10 The rising importance of contextual relevance 

Contextual targeting is guided by behaviours and conditions surrounding audiences. Contextually relevant advertisements are of growing importance as it’s no longer enough to solely just target the right user, they need to also be in the right place, be that of the customer journey or in the frame of mind to think about your product or service. 

What does this mean for your digital marketing in 2022? 
Understanding the importance of relevancy for customers will also help you to understand the variety of customer journeys. The more relevant an advertisement is to the content the users are consuming, the increased likelihood they will engage with the advertisement. There are many benefits from contextual marketing; it is cost-effective as you know the audience is interested in what you are talking about, enhanced customer experience as you are in the right place at the right time when the audience needs you which leads to more engagement and finally an increase in traffic and sales. Think about how you’re tailoring your targeting and how you can run more contextually relevant advertisements. 

Key takeaways

In summary, there are a lot of exciting trends ahead of us to look out for in 2022:

 

  1. The Metaverse is coming and not something to be feared, keep an eye on AR/VR news and capabilities.
  2. Focus on brands to show they are acting sustainably and leading the conversation. 
  3. Encourage UGC to bring authenticity and a true reflection of who your audience is. 
  4. Looking into a stand-alone in-app social shopping experience for your audience. 
  5. Include videos in your advertising strategies. 
  6. Broaden targeting capabilities to not solely rely on 3rd party cookies, use alternative methods. 
  7. Embrace micro influences and how they authentically bring your brand to their audiences 
  8. Prioritise your website design and speed. 
  9. Understand the importance of understanding your personas and how to communicate with them.
  10. Look into including contextual targeting within marketing strategies to ensure your ads appear in the right place at the time.  

Are you ready to level up your marketing in 2022 but not sure where to start? Speak to one of our experts to see how we could help you elevate your brand and reach more customers. 
 

MEET THE AUTHOR.

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MEET THE AUTHOR.

HANNAH KANE

Far from your workaday Account Manager, Hannah strives to be your organisation’s representative within Reflect Digital. She brings a strategic mindset to all of her work, and works consultatively with her clients to ensure that, together, they can find the way to take their digital marketing to the next level, and smash their targets. She also ensures all of the Reflect’s teams are aligned, prepared and organised to give her clients the best experience.

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