By Tyler Brewington
The end of 2021 signals a fundamental transition for digital marketers as we recover from the unprecedented business disruptions brought on by COVID-19. Last year was filled with more pivots than Ross carrying his new couch upstairs, and many have found themselves scrambling to catch up with changes in consumer behavior, online business transactions/telecommunications, tech (thanks, iOS 14), and more.
While some things remain the same –– content will always be king –– trends will continue to shift in the new year, and marketers need to stay scrappy in the competitive digital landscape to stand out and make a lasting impression. So sit back, grab your favorite holiday cozies, and read on to prepare for a new year filled with the latest marketing trends that are sure to grab the attention of your most valuable customers.
Now let’s talk cookies. Not the kind you leave out for Santa, but the tracking ones that every website asks you to accept. After Apple released iOS 14, we’ve seen the effect of consumers opting for increased privacy as they browse the internet. Not only does this removal of third-party cookie data affect Facebook’s ability to report and attribute actions off-platform, but we’ve seen a decreased efficacy of Facebook’s targeting based on actions and behaviors, too.
However, with any challenge comes opportunity. C Squared Social has sidestepped some of these targeting challenges with the use of third-party data straight from the source. Now we’re using custom audiences from data providers like Experian, Visa, Bombora, and Dun & Bradstreet, just to name a few, to improve the accuracy of our targeting and get in front of the right audiences with the right motivators. As cookies continue to fade into the black in the digital marketing universe, marketers will need to leverage their first-party cookies and use CRM tools, surveys, and content to help measure the success of their campaigns.
Savvy digital marketers are always hunting for the latest and greatest ad platform to throw into the marketing mix, but one of 2022’s hottest trends could be fueled by tried-and-true form of marketing: audio! According to a Hubspot Survey, “[O]nly 19.1% of marketers use podcasts or other audio content in their marketing. Of those who do use it, 37.4% find it to be one of their most effective trends.” Furthermore, “roughly 43% of marketers plan to increase their investment in podcasts in 2022.” With the widespread adoption of audio platforms like Apple Music, Amazon Music Unlimited, Tidal, and Spotify comes a new take on an old form of marketing that shouldn’t be overlooked in your 2022 budget.
Now more than ever, consumers value brands that take a firm stance on highly discussed topics in the wake of the pandemic’s byproduct: louder calls for social justice and community activism. While most companies don’t want to “rock the boat” with their customers by establishing values or beliefs, compelling data suggests that the opposite approach may actually positively affect the business in the long run. In fact, a 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer survey revealed that many consumers see trust as a leading factor in their purchasing decisions. Navigating this marketing trend requires strong attention to tone, voice, and narrative, but can effectively build a positive relationship with customers that isn’t purely transactional.
As COVID-19 has forced people to reduce in-person networking and events, virtual options have taken over, and you can expect them to be here for the long haul. While people still have a propensity to gather and feed our social need for togetherness, we’ve also become more accustomed to the convenience, immediacy, and reduced costs of virtual meetings. This means that marketers should be looking at a hybrid approach to event marketing by creating options that cater to both preferences. Event marketing will need to attract, engage, and provide a captivating experience for both audiences, so plan to tackle your event marketing strategy through this dual-lensed approach.
It’s clear that marketers have their work cut out for them in 2022 as we navigate the always-changing world of marketing and an audience of consumers who have been molded by the events of 2020 and 2021. Opportunities for innovation and creative thinking are knocking at the door. With the right marketing partner by your side, you can leverage these trends to position yourself for growth in the new year.