Are you starting mulling your digital strategy for the year ahead? Well, 2022 is just around the corner, and it’s about time we start considering what next year has in store in terms of digital marketing trends. 

Digital marketers can’t expect to go through something like a yearlong (and still counting) global pandemic and not see plenty of things changing. After all, marketers and change aren’t exactly strangers. They’ve always lived and promoted in a world where consumers’ preferences are constantly evolving and changing, forcing them to adapt. 

In the past year and in 2021, marketers had to adapt to very abrupt changes that literally no one saw coming. From the abrupt suspension of in-person events, a massive global shift towards digital marketing, and for many marketers, significantly decreased budgets, these were all challenges that no marketer faced before. 

Now, things are starting to see some ease. Consumers and brands alongside are more at peace with doing everything online, making the jobs of marketers a lot easier. But, although marketing budgets are starting to increase again, how should marketers spend them wisely? What messages will best attract consumers in a post-pandemic world? And will consumers go back to the old normal or stick to the habits they’ve developed during the pandemic? 

As the marketing game must go on, here are some first predictions of digital marketing trends for 2022

Hybrid events 

The COVID-19 pandemic forced closures and social distancing requirements, making marketers worldwide face the cancellation of all sorts of in-person events they had in mind. Store grand openings, big-ticket concerts, tradeshows, or conferences, all such events were off the table. 

In their place, virtual events became a new “normal” that marketers had to adapt to in order to engage customers continuously and leads despite the physical limitations imposed by the pandemic.

But, 2022 almost feels like a post-pandemic time. So, it’s almost counterproductive for marketers to stick to virtual events when they know that in-person events bring the best results and genuine connections. So, the urge to gather in person again is strong. But, will these in-person events feel kind of boring after all the virtual experiences consumers had online? Possibly. That is why we’re expecting hybrid events to take place in 2022. 

To cater to both audiences, those who missed in-person connections and those tech-savvy consumers who loved digital experiences, marketers will need to craft in-person events using hybrid event apps that will have a strong digital component with technologies like VR or AI to create unique experiences.

Fighting for position zero in search engine 

No-click searches or featured snippets are not new to the marketers’ world. They are kind of old, being around since 2014 when they were first introduced and created quite a furor in the search engine optimization community. So, why are they predicted to be more of a thing in 2022? 

Well, it took some time for companies to get frustrated by the fact that their websites don’t get clicked on because Google displays Internet users the answers that they are looking for pretty quickly, in position zero. So, for business owners looking to convince Internet users o enter their websites, it’s pretty clear now that they first need to make it to Position zero. 

How to get there? Well, valuable content is always the answer for all sorts of search engine optimization strategies. 

Marketing companies taking more ownership 

Another digital marketing trend expected to become a big thing in 2022 is marketing companies getting more involved in their jobs, even financially. More precisely, sales and marketing companies seem to take more ownership in the products they help other brands to sell. And, it’s a shift that genuinely makes sense. 

Think about it: if you manage to market a brand’s product/service so well that it gets sold like hot cakes, like the marketing agency on this website, you basically help increase the value of that company. So, if you have an ownership stake, you’ll be more motivated than ever to go above and beyond to make sure the product gets sold. This is a strategy that benefits both sides. 

Non-profits as a part of companies’ marketing 

Today’s consumers are more aware than ever before of environmental and social issues. And, they are also mindful of the fact that companies could be the entities that can give back in some way, which is why they are willing to support those brands by buying from them. 

This trend isn’t new either. But, it is definitely expected to increase, especially in a post-pandemic world after consumers had quite some time for reflection on their values. 

So, another trend that we’re expecting to form in 2022 is more partnerships between companies and non-profits to grow business by getting involved in philanthropic missions that are important to customers.  

Visual searches on the rise 

Today’s Internet users are busier than ever before, which is why they want immediate information with minimum effort required from their side. This is how voice and visual searches are fulfilling their needs. 

Users no longer have to waste time typing a description into the search bar. They can simply upload an image and get information about the item in the photo in just a few seconds. For this reason, Visual search marketing is expected to grow and be a major digital marketing trend in 2022. 

AI and influencer marketing will join forces 

Influencer marketing is far from being dead, despite some industry experts predicting it. In fact, the sector, valued at $9.7 billion in 2020, is expected to reach $15 billion by next year. What’s more, a majority of marketers agree that they direct over 20% of their budgets to influencer content.

 So, influencer marketing isn’t going anywhere for 2022 as well. But the sector will join forces with a new allay to bring brands better results, and that allay is artificial intelligence. 

By 2022, we’re expecting to see widespread adoption of artificial intelligence that will also be used to create better influencer marketing campaigns. More precisely, AI can help with influencer identification and improve the performance of influencer marketing. Think about it: powered by a predictive AI, you’ll screen thousands of influencers in minutes and in ways that a human could never do. Once you find the one right influencer that AI predicts that will bring your company the best results, ROI is practically assured. 

Richard is an experienced tech journalist and blogger who is passionate about new and emerging technologies. He provides insightful and engaging content for Connection Cafe and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments.