13 Digital Marketing Trends In 2021 That’ll Continue In 2022
When all else fails to inspire, we look to trends. Be it fashion, music, or marketing, trends are a great way to inform strategy and efforts. After the pandemic, following the latest “it” thing became even more important.
Because 2020 made it clear that the same old marketing trends do not cut it! Regardless of the size of a brand, it became essential to update marketing tactics and adapt them to the new world. Anyone who failed to do so failed to grow in 2021.
We expect 2022 to be more of the same. In that view, here’s a look at the digital marketing trends that helped brands connect with their audience this year and will continue to do so in the coming one.
Must follow marketing trends for this and the coming year
We begin with a caveat. Of all the marketing trends that made it big in 2021, one has proven crucial – digital marketing. It grew by leaps and bounds, and it will sky-rocket even further.
The reason is simple. Today’s consumers demand an online brand presence. That’s why marketers plan to spend considerably more on digital marketing. Any business that doesn’t earmark a budget for digital channels would be outpaced by competitors.
With that out of the way, let’s explore the marketing trends that made a splash.
Marketing trend 1: Design investment
When the customer is digital-first, a brand needs to have a quality design across all channels. That’s the first marketing trend of this year – creating a better and consistent design to build brand awareness. From redesigning websites to social media strategy, it has become essential to carefully think through visual branding.
Marketing trend 2: Interactive content
Screen times reached Mt. Everest in 2020 and 2021, which meant people were consuming more content. That meant it became harder to catch the attention of your target audience with basic videos, simple articles, and static images. It gave birth to a marketing trend that we expect to accelerate further – dynamic and fun content.
From quizzes to AR ads, from polls to 360° videos, content that can be clicked, swiped, or tapped is numero uno. The takeaway here is to make all content a person can interact with because that equals cutting-edge and memorable marketing.
Marketing trend 3: Voice search SEO
SEO has always been a crucial element of digital marketing. But 2021 saw a change. Voice search engine optimization (VSEO) became central. Brands that incorporated it saw an enormous competitive advantage.
Why? Because smart speakers and voice assistants (read: Alexa and Siri) are multiplying at the speed of light. As a result, the number of people opting for voice search over typing is snowballing.
How do you include voice search in your marketing approach? First, use spoken key phrases rather than words a person types. E.g., “how to make banana bread” rather than “banana bread recipe.” Second, ensure all your content is written in a conversational tone.
Marketing trend 4: Visual search
Visual searches have gradually become more popular. Driving the trend are tools like Google Lens, Bing, and Pinterest Lens that help with visual search. Thanks to them, users are now uploading images to search for extremely pictorial things. This includes travel destinations, art, clothes, home decor and accessories. For brands, it means paying attention to the graphics used during any marketing effort.
Marketing trend 5: Social media marketing
The most important digital marketing trend of 2021 was without a doubt social media marketing. With the need to maintain physical distance, the only avenue left for brands to stay on top of consumers’ minds was social platforms.
Any business that hasn’t already invested in social media marketing (SMM) should do so now. Of course, which network best fits your brand will differ. For instance, if your demographic is between 24 and 34, Instagram and Snapchat are the right choices. For an older demographic, Facebook is ideal.
Additionally, businesses should explore platforms like Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube, with an emphasis on the latter given that video marketing is booming.
Marketing trend 6: Video marketing
Did you know 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video? It’s proof positive that video marketing works. Why? Because our brains are wired to remember visual content more than text. Besides, videos are interactive, while plain words are static.
But it is not just pre-recorded videos that should be part of a marketing plan. Think about live-streaming too. Couple Instagram Lives with influencer marketing, and a brand can create enormous engagement that leads to real conversions.
Marketing trend 7: Messaging app marketing
There is no denying SMM is the king, queen and kingdom of marketing these days. However, it is seeing increasing competition from messaging apps like WhatsApp, which has reached 1.6 billion monthly users.
The number of people using messengers on Facebook, Instagram, or apps like WeChat and Telegram is increasing day by day. For brands, this represents an excellent opportunity to stay in touch with customers, inform them of discounts, new products or offer customer service.
These messengers offer a personal touch that no social media platform can replicate. That means when you market through them, you build a deeper relationship with customers, increasing the chances of an actual sale. Data supports this – Facebook Messenger marketing has 10 to 80X more engagement than an organic post on Facebook!
Marketing trend 8: Content marketing
The very foundation of digital marketing is content marketing. It has remained so for years and will carry on to do so. That doesn’t mean there has not been a paradigm shift in it. COVID-19 altered the type of content consumers want, and leading the way is helpful content that adds value.
Hence, the marketing trend businesses need to target now is creating content that is:
- Accurate and well written.
- Offers detailed and current information.
- In-depth and mixed with visuals.
It is not just the pull from consumers, but also the push from Google’s algorithm that requires tweaking content marketing strategy. The giant search engine is now giving preference to content that is precise, offers context and is written in natural, spoken language.
Marketing trend 9: Personalized marketing
We’re sure you’ve heard the adage, one-size-fits-all. Unfortunately, in digital marketing, that is not true. To connect to your customer, a brand needs to take a tailored approach and personalize messaging. That’s another big marketing trend this year.
Be it ads on social media or emails, incorporating a personal touch has become imperative. Moreover, it is important to create content that matches the interest of your target audience. Only with hyper-focused messaging can you expect an ROI on any digital marketing tactic.
Marketing trend 10: Email marketing
There are a myriad of reasons why email marketing took off in 2021. One, it is an excellent way to tap into the personalization trend. Two, it reaches consumers where they are – on the internet. Three, it allows for interactive and fun content.
Brands who are new to email marketing will find that it’s extremely effective in retaining customers or propelling them to take an action. To make the most of this marketing trend, we recommend using it in tandem with value-adding content.
Marketing trend 11: Omnichannel marketing
We know you’re tired of this buzzword, but the bare truth is that omnichannel marketing has become more relevant with each passing year. What is omnichannel? It is the process of connecting with your audience across multiple platforms, like blogs, socials, emails, and websites.
Why does it have 3x the engagement of a solo-channel strategy? Because it walks the consumer through the entire purchase journey, offering a richer experience.
Having said that, there is a rule of thumb. All your touchpoints, be it at a store or on social media, should have the same voice and tone. It’s the consistency that produces results.
Additionally, all the interactions should be seamless. For example, you can’t email a customer thanking him or her for their patronage of your hotel before they’ve even visited.
Marketing trend 12: S-commerce marketing
For direct-to-consumer (D2C) businesses, s-commerce marketing is a must-follow trend. Social commerce is a combination of e-commerce and social media. When brands sell products or services through social networks, it becomes social commerce. Think of shoppable posts on Instagram, Flipkart’s Shopsy or the app Meesho – all of them fall under S-commerce.
An example of S-commerce marketing is ads that sprout on social media feeds. In 2021, they mushroomed because regular TV ads, billboards and print media ads became ineffective. Furthermore, social commerce marketing offers something that the consumer of today itches for – instant gratification, which is the ability to shop for anything with a single click.
Marketing trend 13: Privacy and security
India is still at least 10 steps behind western countries when it comes to privacy marketing. But 2021 did increase awareness and demand for protecting customer data.
In time, marketing while keeping privacy-first will inevitably become as crucial here as in Europe or America. And businesses that neglect to protect personal data will feel the burn.
Consumers already want brands to ‘earn’ their contact information and then use it judiciously. Mass marketing approaches like sending the same SMS to lakhs of people are starting to backfire.
Security goes hand in hand with privacy. Modern websites need to have HTTPS certification. Those which don’t rank poorly in Google search page results. And it is not just SEO ranking that’s impacted. When users see that tiny lock next to the URL, they trust the brand more because they are reassured that all their data will be secure.
Wrapping up on marketing trends
Winston Churchill once said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.” And in digital marketing, change is integral. As a brand, you have to look ahead while embracing current marketing trends, new tech, and better strategies. That’s the only way to gain an edge over your competitors. So, if you haven’t already walked into the chaos that is marketing, do so now with a little help from a digital marketing expert.