For marketers and business leaders, a new year means keeping up with marketing trends. Here is a recap of 10 key digital marketing trends in 2021 that will definitely shape marketing in 2022.
1. Audio Content
Everyone can see a brand, but how many can hear it?Audio content gives businesses a chance to cut through the clutter in a crowded content landscape as it is so easy to consume and interact with. Click To Tweet
It’s a hands-free medium that guarantees convenience, you can listen to it wherever you go, unlike video or text content where you need to be present to read or watch.
How can brands leverage audio content?
- Repurpose your blogs into audio
- Create your own branded podcasts
- Create and stream live audio on social media platforms
- Optimise your content for voice search
- Create audiograms/audio snippets and share on your website and social networks
- Leverage social audio like Twitter Spaces to host a Q&A session with followers, post-event conversations, interviews, panel discussions or to chime in on trending industry topics. (Despite the fall of Clubhouse in 2021 -the invite-only audio app that drove the social media world into a live audio frenzy throughout 2020 and beginning of 2021-the platform has pushed social media into a new direction. Other platforms like Twitter are perfecting social audio)
- Audio advertisements in podcasts and streaming services. Audio ads drive 24% higher recall on average than display ads and are 28% more likely to be seen as informative than display ads.
2. Social Commerce
Fish where the fish are, they say! This marketing trend i.e. social commerce helps you meet your clientele where they already are, modern consumers are now online.
In the UK for instance, around 23% of shoppers were using social media to discover and buy new products in 2021. Social commerce was expected to rise by 34% in 2021 to $36 billion, according to eMarketer, in the US. In China, the same is already a $300 billion business.
TikTok extended its commerce deal with Shopify from the US to Europe in 2021. This allowed more than 1 million Shopify merchants to access 100 million more TikTok users. Kantar research says 83% of TikToks’ audience have made purchases inspired by its trending content, while Friedrich says people are using the platform to discover new products and that the hashtag #smallbusiness has been used at least 3 billion times to date.
Facebook reckons that 85% of people now shop online, and with 2.74 billion monthly active users, it has created many avenues to capture this spend. Commerce on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp was tied together with the launch of Facebook Shops, which was accelerated by the pandemic. Now, businesses can create their shop, customize colors and fonts, and cherry-pick their catalogue, before putting some spend behind shoppable ads. With Facebook Pay, people can pay for products purchased.
74% of consumers said they get shopping ideas from Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp. Instagram currently has more than 200 million business accounts on its app and, nearly half of Instagram users surveyed, 44% said they use features like shopping tags and the Shop Tab Instagram to shop every week.
Tap into this major evolution in retail marketing and make your brand shoppable.
3. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
According to research firm Strategy Analytics, the global metaverse market was expected to reach $6.16 billion in 2021 and $41.62 billion by 2026.
Facebook Inc (FB.O) is now called Meta, in a rebrand that focuses on building the “metaverse,” – a shared virtual environment that it bets will be the successor to the mobile internet. Facebook said that its hardware division Facebook Reality Labs, which is responsible for AR and VR efforts, would become a separate reporting unit and that its investment in it would reduce this year’s total operating profit by about $10 billion. The same year, the company created a product team in this unit focused on the metaverse and it recently announced plans to hire 10,000 employees in Europe over the next five years to work on this.
Nike created this bespoke world with the backdrop of its world headquarters and inside Roblox’s immersive 3D space, building on its goal to turn sport and play into a lifestyle. On NIKELAND, visitors can use the accelerometers in their mobile devices to transfer offline movement to online play, allowing real-life movement in the digital space. While shared experiences in the Metaverse today are about doing fun things together, in the future they will be about literally anything people can do together in real life: learn together, play together, or work together. Roblox, which has 43 million daily active users, offers not just play, but for digital-first designers and entrepreneurial retailers, what has made Roblox unique in its field has been the interplay between its enormous constellation of experiences and its personalized avatar system. Add to that an attendant in-game economy which has sprung up to support this expression of identity, with all sorts of user-generated clothing, hairstyles, accessories and skins available to purchase in the platforms’ avatar shop. Roblox in essence wants to replace the workplace and the classroom, the pub and the tennis club. The Lil Nas X gig in particular, a Roblox experience visited nearly 37 million times, is an example of how these events are closing the gap between the physical and digital worlds. The Gucci Garden event, which saw a virtual bag eventually sell for around $4,115 when its physical counterpart costs $3,400 is another example.
A business leader’s ability to adapt will determine how successful a brand may be in this new phase of virtual interaction.
4. Video Marketing (Short Form Content)
In this day and age, it has become increasingly difficult to stand out online with so much competition for attention. The rise of social media platforms focused on short-form video has brought about the basis for video marketing as a great way to reach your audience and tell your story! As of July 2021, TikTok was the first non-Facebook-owned app to have 3 billion installs. Since experiencing a massive boom in 2021, TikTok has become the adversary to overcome for other platforms, having overtaken short video app musically as the second-largest short video app on the market. Unlike Instagram and YouTube, TikTok accounts with even the smallest of followings can get millions of views on a new video thanks to the viral nature of the algorithm. As long as the content appeals to the audience, the engagement will follow. With all this success in such a short amount of time, it was always inevitable that YouTube and Instagram would be watching. Instagram Reels, launched in August 2020, provides users with a platform that looked a lot like TikTok. Then in March 2021, YouTube launched its newest feature, YouTube Shorts, that enables creators to record, edit and share short, vertical video content that connects them to YouTube’s 2 billion users.
While Instagram is a social networking service first, it is also an extremely valuable e-commerce platform for big and small businesses alike. The shopping features we have become accustomed to on the platform have also been introduced to Instagram Reels, allowing content creators and online businesses to tag the products that appear in the video.. Take for example the NBA franchise, Instagram Reels has enabled them to achieve a 22% higher engagement than the average engagements they’ve had from standard Instagram posts or Instagram Stories.
When we talk about the plethora of advantages that social media offers, one of the more commonly discussed ones is that social media allows marketers to establish and develop personal relationships with their audience. Done right, brands can use these relationships to forge a loyal consumer base that feels deeply connected to the brand and its products. 80% of consumers are more likely to do business with a company if it offers a personalized experience. Personalized marketing focuses on targeting specific content to the people who will find it most relevant. The most obvious advantage to this is that content that is tailored to each person will have a much higher rate of success than generic content that is aimed at everybody. This is because your audience will perceive more value from you if you are able to talk to them specifically and address their needs. One of the most common examples of this is Spotifys’ Daily Mix feature.
According to research by Instapage,
- 63% of consumers are annoyed with the fact that brands repeatedly keep blasting generic advertising messages.
- 80% of consumers say they are more likely to do business with a company if it offers them personalized experiences.
- 90% of consumers claim that they find personalization appealing.
6. AI and Machine Learning
As most companies aim to automate their processes and technology becomes part of daily life, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) have taken center stage in solving business problems. These marketing trends/ advanced technologies can undoubtedly change how businesses operate and how employees will work in the near future. According to Stanford University report, spending on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will increase to $97.9 billion by 2023 and is expected to reach $299.64 billion in 2026. Big trends in 2021 include rapid expansion of AI / ML in medical applications, finance applications, customer-facing applications, cybersecurity, logistics/supply chain applications, Tiny ML, Quantum ML, AutoML, and the Metaverse (gaming applications).
7. Customer ExperienceCustomer experience is one of the most important considerations for any business, and a factor that can give you a competitive edge in a crowded market. Click To Tweet
Customer experience is one of the most important considerations for any business, and a factor that can give you a competitive edge in a crowded market. This marketing trend has changed quite a bit over the past year. With social distancing norms and lockdown restrictions becoming commonplace, there has been a drastic shift in how brands and customers interact. According to a Forrester report, 61% of U.S. adults say that they are unlikely to return to a website/application that does not provide a satisfactory experience, regardless of how good a product is. Customers of today place a premium on humanized and empathetic experiences.
Here is why customer experience matters:
- 84% of people say that the experience provided by a business is equally important to the product or service they’re using.
- One in three consumers will walk away from a brand they love after just one bad experience.
- 65% of US customers find a positive experience with a brand to be more influential than great advertising.
- 53% of consumers feel brands fail to meet their experience standards.
- Two-thirds of UK consumers can not remember when a brand experience last exceeded their expectations.
- 76% of people will switch to a competitor if they have just one bad experience
Here are 5 unbeatable tips to provide remarkable customer experiences in a world of constant disruptions.
8. User Generated Content
User-Generated Content (UGC) is at the heart of TikTok’s viral phenomenon, as the social app boasts its ability to democratize content creation and crown world-class creators out of everyday people. Its primary mission is to enable users’ creativity directly from their mobile phone. The Chinese-owned app has been downloaded more than 1.5 billion times.
User-Generated Content is a great marketing tool, and receives 28% more engagement rates when compared to a normal post because people trust real people. They do not trust high-paid celebrities or branded content but would gladly accept the recommendation of other people just like them. UGC campaigns are authentic and represent the voice of people who have used and benefited from a brands’ products. The best part about using UGC content is the opportunity to inspire more UGC content and therefore free advertising.
9. Live Stream Shopping
Livestream shopping also popularly known as live commerce combines instant purchasing of a featured product and audience participation through a chat function or reaction buttons. It is poised to grow even more in 2022. In China, this marketing trend has transformed the retail industry and established itself as a major sales channel. 66% of Chinese consumers said they had bought products via livestream in the past year. To put it in context, live commerce was used by 265 million people – almost 30% of Chinese Internet users. Live commerce has evolved rapidly in China, taking less than five years to develop into an innovative sales channel with an estimated penetration of 10%. The value of Chinas live-commerce market grew at a compound annual growth rate of more than 280% between 2017 and 2020, to reach an estimated $171 billion in 2021. The product categories most often showcased in live commerce are apparel and fashion, with a 36% share, followed by beauty products and food, with roughly 7% each. Consumer electronics account for some 5%, and furnishing and home decor for almost 4%.
In the US, the livestreaming market is expected to surpass $25billion by 2023. Platforms such as Amazon and Facebook have already enabled live stream shopping events; Facebook, for example, launched Live Shopping Fridays where consumers can enjoy shoppable live videos from beauty and fashion brands. Amazon has a streaming platform, which hosts daily shows on fitness, makeup and cooking- which indicates the exponential growth of the live streaming market.
Live commerce can help brands, retailers, and marketplaces primarily in two areas:
- Accelerating conversion – Live commerce is entertaining and immersive, keeping viewers watching longer. Companies report conversion rates approaching 30% up to ten times higher than in conventional e-commerce.
- Improving brand appeal and differentiation – Done well, live commerce increases a brands appeal and distinctiveness and pulls in additional web traffic. It can strengthen positioning among existing customers and attract new ones, especially young people keen on innovative shopping formats and experiences. Some companies are seeing their share of younger audiences increase by up to 20%
10. Big Data
Self-driving cars, lifelike robots, and autonomous delivery drones are the headline-grabbers of the digital transformation that we see all around us today. None of these would be possible, though, without data, the oil of the fourth industrial revolution and the analytic technology we have built to allow us to interpret and understand it. Big Data is a term that has come to be used to describe the technology and practice of working with data that is not only large in volume but also fast and comes in many different forms. For every Elon Musk with a self-driving car to sell, or Jeff Bezos with a cashier-less convenience store, there is a sophisticated Big Data operation and an army of clever data scientists’ who have turned a vision into reality. Big data is driving changes in how organizations process, store and analyze data. The benefits are spurring even more innovation. Big data continues to get bigger.
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