The marketing world moves at the speed of light.
In 2021, we saw just how quickly the marketing industry can evolve. In the last year, marketers embraced digital transformation more than ever as they adapted to constantly changing virtual and hybrid business landscapes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, as countries cautiously reopened—and more consumers left the house—some businesses saw slumps in the virtual engagement and online traffic they'd recently relied on.
As a marketer at any experience level, keeping up with these changes isn’t always easy. But, to succeed in the fast-paced marketing world—and maintain a sense of relevance with your audience—it's vital to stay ahead of them.
To help businesses build cutting-edge and competitive marketing strategies in 2022, KJB Digital surveyed more than 100 marketing professionals from both B2B and B2C brands—while also talking to a handful of industry experts—to identify these five key marketing trends to watch in the next year.
1. Influencer marketing will evolve from trend to a common marketing tactic.
When we asked marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34% said influencer marketing, putting it at the top of the list—above other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.
While 57% of marketing professionals that currently leverage influencer marketing say it's effective, 46% of them plan to increase their investments in 2022. Additionally, 11% say it's the top ROI-generating trend they've tested.
How and why has influencer marketing gone from an intriguing trend to a commonly-used marketing tactic? Well, influencers are often masters of the platforms they use and the field or topic they talk about. They already have an audience that's engaged, interested in their content, and influenced by the information they provide.
When marketers collaborate with influencers and industry thought leaders in their industry, they can expand brand awareness and gain fans from the influencer's own audience.
Can't afford to hire a celebrity influencer with millions of followers? That's okay. In fact, more than 56% of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are social media promoters with a smaller following (typically, thousands to tens of thousands of followers). Although they have fewer followers, their posts often pack more punch due to their higher level of engagement.
These influencers have found a niche in their industry, too—which is why they've started to play a bigger role in converting leads, connecting with audiences, and boosting brand awareness.
Because micro-influencers are still considered "everyday" people (unlike hard-to-reach celebrities), their audiences are actually more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
Although it's tempting to only look at just follower count when determining if an influencer is right for your brand, remember that true influence lives in engagement rates (clicks, subscribes, and purchases).
2. Video marketers will keep content short.
In our study, we learned that short-form content is the second most effective trend marketers are currently leveraging.
More than 31% of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content, 46% of them consider the strategy effective when it comes to performance and engagement. And, in 2022, 89% of global marketers plan to continue investing in it or increase their investment.
While long-form videos can offer depth and large amounts of information about a product, brand, or services to audiences, both B2C and B2B marketers have learned that getting to the point with short-form videos can actually be much more effective.
Not only does it take less bandwidth to create a short-form video, but this type of format aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics. This is likely why platforms like TikTok, Reels, and—in previous years—Snapchat have gained quick growth and marketing interest.
3. Mobile optimization will be even more important.
It's no surprise that consumers are spending more and more time on mobile devices. In fact, more than half of annual online website traffic comes from mobile devices, including tablets.
And, as millennials and Gen Z audiences continue to grow buying power, mobile-optimized digital experiences will be even more vital to consider as a business owner who markets to these fast-paced, highly connected generations.
Above are just some of the reasons why:
33% of surveyed marketers invest in mobile web design;
84% of marketers that focus on mobile web design are planning to continue to invest the same amount or more in 2022; and
64% of SEO marketers call mobile optimization an effective investment.
And, mobile experiences aren't just important on brand websites, they're also important in other key marketing strategies. For example, 56% of marketers who work with email are focused on delivering mobile email experiences to subscribers.
4. Permanent social media posts could overtake ephemeral content.
While ephemeral content—which often stays published for 24-hours before disappearing (unless it's saved or archived)—isn't going away any time soon, brands have seen that permanent social media content—such as standard posts, videos, and live events that show up on a platform's feed and can be viewed again days later—is more effective within their marketing campaigns.
Our survey results show that 44% of marketers plan to increase their investment in permanent social media content, while 8% say it generates the most ROI compared to other marketing strategies they leverage. Meanwhile, 25% of respondents called ephemeral content the "least effective" trend they invested in.
Lastly, 37% of marketers said they plan to decrease their investment in ephemeral content.
5. Companies will prioritize social responsibility.
Although 31% of surveyed respondents say social responsibility is ineffective when it comes to campaign engagement or performance, 45% still plan to invest in it throughout the next year.
Why? Because with the current state of things, social responsibility, ethics, and transparency matter to the modern consumer.
The interest in buying products from socially responsible brands really took hold during the many global events of 2020 and 2021.
As the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the world, it highlighted the pains employees had to endure in the workplace and in politics. Employees became more vocal about their frustrations, inequality, and workplace treatment.
Additionally, early research from organizations like McKinsey predicted that customers would more heavily support brands that demonstrated their care for all customers, employees, and shared causes.
With all of this in mind, companies have begun to pivot social media strategies to focus more on inclusive initiatives, promotions, and offerings, while highlighting causes or missions they support. Although this might not sell products immediately, showing a sense of social responsibility is still both thoughtful and effective.
Interested in chatting more about digital marketing trends in 2022? Contact us to schedule a complimentary discussion.