With a lot of Australians still on holiday and many businesses taking a break, your digital marketing is probably the last thing on your mind. Now, however, is a perfect chance to reflect on the year that was and start thinking about your marketing plans for the new year.
From Google’s SEO algorithm to new social media platforms, digital marketing is always changing — and it’s important to keep up with recent trends in marketing if you want to stand out and get more customers in the future.
With this in mind, here are seven digital marketing trends to keep an eye on in 2022.
1. Voice search will continue to thrive.
Just when you thought you had all your marketing jargon down pat, there’s yet another acronym to remember — VSEO.
VSEO stands for Voice Search Engine Optimisation, and is predicted to be the next big revolution in search marketing.
As voice technology continues to grow, smart assistants like Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa are becoming more popular. The numbers speak for themselves as more than 1.35 million Aussies have a smart speaker in their home.
While voice search is still relatively new, it’s important to prepare your business for next generation SEO in the new year. This means you need to have a solid SEO foundation for your website, particularly when it comes to site structure and local search keywords (such as ‘doctor in Wollongong’).
2. Live videos show no signs of stopping.
Within the space of a couple of years, TikTok has gone from the new kid on the block to one of the fastest growing platforms online.
Between January 2018 and July 2020, the platform saw a 1157% increase in global users, and in 2019, users spent a massive 68 billion hours on the app combined (that’s almost 8 million years – more than the lifetime of the sun).
TikTok is a video-sharing platform where users can shoot, edit and post 15-second videos. While its audience is pretty young — the majority are under 24 years old — it’s growing fast.
Even if TikTok isn’t right for your business, it reflects the growing social media trends for short-form mobile videos and live streaming. YouTube has recently created ‘YouTube Shorts’ and Instagram has made efforts to switch from being all about photos to embracing the short-form video trend as well.
Set yourself a goal to play around with videos and live streaming as part of your social media marketing in 2022, whether for social media content or for advertising. For example, if you’re a florist you could create a sponsored post featuring a short video of a new floral arrangement or, if you’re a carpenter, you could share a time-lapse video from a recent job.
3. Mobile is the priority for Google indexing.
Google is always updating their algorithm and, in a recent update, they switched to a Mobile-First Index. Essentially, this means Google will use the mobile version of your site when deciding what search results to display to users.
Make it a priority to optimise your website for mobile in the new year. Yellow Pages’ Digital Check Up is a great tool for checking the health of your website, including how it performs on mobile devices. If you end up with a low score for mobile-friendliness, you need to tackle the issues with your website, such as page speed, unplayable files or strange formatting on mobile phones.
4. Saying goodbye to third-party cookies.
In an early 2021 press release, Google announced that it would end its support of third-party cookies in its Chrome browser, following both Apple Safari and Mozilla Firefox in the move.
Third-party cookies have been a boon for marketers, as they collect data from users as they move about the internet, making it easier for marketers to target specific groups and enjoy the increased engagement and sales that comes from superior user information.
But third-party cookies are soon to be no more as Google aims to tighten up its privacy settings for users. This means marketers are having to change tack to find new ways to collect and use customer data.
As noted in the Deloitte 2022 Global Marketing Trends Report, 61% of high-growth brands are already shifting to a first-party cookies strategy in the wake of the move.
First-party cookies are when a website collects data from a user as the user moves around their own website. It is more limited, but also more acceptable in terms of privacy, and users can even switch first-party-cookies off if they prefer.
For businesses, this can mean investing more into building or upscaling their consumer data platforms (CDPs), putting valuable first-party cookie data to better use with strategies such as email optimisation, and experimenting with other ways of collecting data, such as loyalty programs.
And the good news is that Google hasn’t completely abandoned marketers when it comes to data possibilities. They have announced the introduction of Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) marketing, which offers a compromise between privacy and useful data by collecting information in ‘cohorts’ that marketers can effectively use to target certain groups of customers.
5. Making the most of AI.
AI – artificial intelligence – has long been the stuff of science fiction, but what science fiction didn’t often cover was just how this technological advance would impact marketers. And in 2022, it seems AI will become even more prevalent across the marketing industry.
Many businesses are already utilising one AI marketing tool – chatbots. When a customer messages a brand via social media or on their webpage, automated chatbots are an excellent tool for answering reasonably straight-forward questions and passing the customer onto a human should the bot not be able to help.
Chatbots are becoming so popular that Zendesk’s State of Messaging 2020 report predicted that by the end of 2022, 70% of customer messaging will involve emerging tools like chatbots.
But chatbots aren’t the only trend in AI marketing. Businesses are turning to AI for everything from copy-writing, to personalised recommendations, email marketing, data analysis and much more.
These tools are helping to lighten the load for busy marketers and make improvements in difficult areas, such as email open rates and click-throughs.
Introducing a chatbot is a great place to start, but marketing can also look into AI to help them target ads to the right customers, personalise offers, segment audiences, and even create the perfect social media post.
6. Social media becomes shopping media.
Social media has historically been about making connections. It has allowed people to connect with old school friends, stay in touch with loved ones around the world, and even follow and engage with their favourite brands.
Yet partially driven by the pandemic and its influence over the move to more online shopping, social media is evolving to become a platform for consumers to also shop online.
In fact, social shopping in Australia is up by 700% compared to 2019, according to the 2021 PayPal eCommerce Index. Additionally, the report states that social shoppers spend $100 per month via social channels, with a quarter of them making a purchase weekly.
The report goes on to state: “There is significant untapped growth in social shopping, which could double, if not triple across most categories.”
Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok offer ways to sell your products online and, with just 35% of Australian businesses currently making the most of these eCommerce platforms, there’s certainly room for improvement in 2022.
7. Sustainability takes centre stage.
Australians and people around the world are increasingly concerned about the environment and are interested in supporting brands who share those concerns and offer sustainable products and services.
In Google’s own research, they found that 82% of people say that sustainability is more top of mind now than it was before the pandemic and, as a result, they are looking for simple, everyday ways they can live more sustainably.
Google suggests that businesses get behind this movement by ‘weaving sustainability into the existing value proposition, rather than positioning it as a bonus feature’.
“Consumers say they are motivated by sustainable experiences that tangibly show them how they are helping the environment. If you’re able to show people the impact they can have by choosing your product, they’ll feel that much more invested in it.”
Google is even taking a swig of its own medicine by introducing an ‘eco-friendly’ option to its maps. Users can now take the sustainable route from point A to point B, instead of simply the fastest. Google is adding this feature as a default, but offering users the option if a less-sustainable route is significantly faster, and adding carbon-footprint information to its results.
And Google is certainly not the only brand switching to more sustainable practices. Fashion brand H&M has switched to sustainable packaging, citing the increase in online shopping as a big driver behind the need to make the change.
National Australia Bank is promoting its sustainable practices, from reducing paper waste by 55% in 2021 to sourcing almost a third (31.4%) of their energy from renewable sources.
At Thryv, Yellow Pages and White Pages have both been declared as carbon neutral by the Australian Government. We have Forest Stewardship Council Certification and we’re very careful about distributing physical books, ensuring they only go to people who are likely to use them and get value from them.
Of course, moving to more sustainable practices should be front of mind for any Australian business for the sake of the environment. But marketing managers should also share those practices as part of their marketing strategies to connect with environmentally-minded consumers as well.
So in 2022, the move to highlighting a brand’s sustainability is sure to grow.
Need help getting your marketing off to a good start in 2022?
By keeping your eye on these top digital marketing trends, you’ll set your business up for success in 2022 and beyond.
And, if you’d like a hand setting up your marketing, creating strategies, ranking well in Google, building your social media presence, or anything in between, the experts at Yellow Pages are just a message away.
Let us know how we can help you get your 2022 marketing off to a flying start.