During 2021 we saw the murmurs of new trends taking shape, and past trends from 2020 start to take a back seat as the economy began to bounce back.
Looking ahead to 2022, these are 5 of the key trends that I believe will start to take a lead and guide how we do digital.
#1 The Growth of Social Commerce
Social commerce can be defined as the buying and selling of products directly within social media platforms such as Facebook.
The concept provides both ease to the customer in the purchasing funnel, but also another means for ecommerce businesses to sell to such customers.
Social commerce is an ever-growing beast. With the emergence of new platforms over the last few years such as Tik Tok, these have led to new trends in themselves, with the launch of popular hashtags like #tiktokmademebuyit which has over 7.4 billion views.
Platforms are evolving quicker and deploying new social commerce initiatives. Within Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest you can launch your own digital storefront directly from your brand page. These storefronts allow you to list your products and provide product detail information to potential customers without them having to leave the platform.
Facebook and Instagram take it one step further and allow users to make purchases directly within their apps. This is particularly beneficial to smaller or new businesses whose websites may not be optimised, as it provides a means to start selling.
YouTube, Tik Tok and Twitter are all making their own moves to disrupt the space of social commerce, with all launching new ‘shop now’ features.
#2 Local & Independent Rule
‘Shop local’ has been a growing theme, with users becoming ever more conscious about who they are buying from. This trend goes beyond just ecommerce however, with users also keen to support local service-based businesses, with sustained growth in ‘near me’ searches, as seen in Google Trends.
This trend is already well underway with new independent stores popping up, as we see high street closures for national and international chains.
From a marketing perspective, this means that if using paid ads, these need to be hyper-local and bring to the forefront how your brand aligns with these customers’ needs. There is also an opportunity to utilise Local SEO, highlighting your customers’ needs or search intent and meeting that intent on your website and promoting it locally via citation and link building externally.
#3 A need to prove sustainability
The desire for local and independent businesses ties directly into the next trend that has been emerging. More than ever, consumers are looking for ethical and sustainable companies to do business with, fuelled by a sharp rise in ‘green consumerism’. Customers are also looking for brands to make it easier for them to be sustainable.
We have already started to see major retailers reacting to this and forging (in some cases implementing) plans to adopt more sustainable practices.
- IKEA who uses sustainable raw materials and powers stores through the use of solar power
- IBM who has been a long-term adopter of sustainable practices continues to roll out additional measures to make their offices green, with initiatives in procurement and water usage
Even without direct contact with consumers, businesses are still finding a way to make a difference. Google Maps for example promotes sustainable routes as the default.
To stay competitive and relevant smaller, independent businesses are going to need to react quickly to adapt and introduce new measures of their own to reduce their carbon footprints. Initiatives like Ecologi for example are growing in popularity due to how easy they make it to contribute or offset your business and do so in a fun and tangible way for your users. This can also create a huge opportunity to communicate your contributions and connect more with your users through content and PR activity.
Once you have defined your approach you can showcase this in your digital ads and website content.
#4 AI (Artificial Intelligence) and AR (Augmented Reality)
There was a huge shift to online shopping, spurred on by the pandemic. Now users are once again faced with a choice, their expectations in online experiences are increasing.
These users want to see personalised experiences when they visit a business’ website, and this doesn’t just stop at retail. Through Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR) and Visual Commerce, businesses can really create unique and custom experiences for their users.
From virtual fitting rooms and store assistants to more simple updates to website content, there are endless opportunities for businesses to get creative.
From a retail perspective, AI can help to predict customer behaviours based on their past purchases and browsing behaviour to increase upsells and cross-sells.
Overall, you need to be able to understand your customers and prospective customers and ensure that your online experience is representative of all of them.
#5 Privacy Concerns
When it comes to digital marketing efforts a lot of this is held up on user data, whether that be first party or third party. However, as users have become more and more conscious over what data is being collected, by who and how it is being used, businesses and platforms alike are having to adapt to ensure they can continue to reach relevant audiences with meaningful messaging.
First party data (data you collect first-hand and own) will become ever more important as we move through 2022. With this, businesses need to consider which marketing tags they are using and how they are collecting data. Platforms such as Google Analytics, Google Ads and Facebook have already started adapting their marketing tags to ensure both privacy and marketing capabilities are maintained.
Search engines like DuckDuckGo (and accompanying browsers) also need to be considered within marketing strategies, where you have an opportunity to target these through paid search and specific SEO optimisation.
All in all, for 2022 you need to adopt new practices, focus on personalisation and ensure that your business values align with those of your customers. If you are looking to capitalise on these trends in your marketing activities we can help you to understand how best to do this. Feel free to Get in Contact and speak with our team.