The last two years have been a turbulent time for businesses around the world, and a time in which digital marketing has been leant on more than ever before, but what does this mean for digital marketing in 2022? We’re here to outline 5 of the digital marketing trends to watch out for across the new year.
Google’s E.A.T Framework
According to CMI’s latest B2B Content Marketing report, 2021 saw 43% of marketers experience an increase in their content marketing budget, with 66% expect to see it rise again in 2022. Moreover, according to an estimation from CMO.com, 87% of the marketing budget of most companies will shift to total digital.
Video, digital & hybrid events, owned-media assets, and PPC are amongst the top areas of content marketing investment for 2022, but committing to an investment in content marketing has to be applied strategically, with the long-game in mind, and quality, relevance and trustworthiness are of paramount importance.
Google’s E.A.T framework has been an important digital marketing consideration for several years now, and is still one of the fundamental components in the search engine’s value-weighting of your content. E.A.T represents Expertise, Authoritativeness & Trustworthiness of any searchable content online, and is set to continue to play a big role in digital marketing in 2022.
These principles are difficult to measure, and often one of the most challenging aspects of content marketing to get right. Where some technical aspects of SEO and content marketing are easier to optimise for, it really is a case of ensuring you are producing content of superb quality and value to your users and target customers.
Variety and new formats
Producing high quality content also requires an appropriate approach to variety and attention to formats. CMI’s report also asked respondents to choose the content formats that produced the best results in the past 12 months for them. Virtual events, webinars and online courses were an incredibly popular choice with 58% of respondents, spurred on by the coronavirus restrictions experienced in the past year, but interestingly, longer form written content such as research reports and ebooks/whitepapers also feature heavily with 47% of respondents saying these delivered the best results.
This report demonstrates a need to leverage the new mediums (and user needs) borne out of the pandemic, but also to craft a content strategy which features a variety of the most relevant and engaging formats.
However, focusing solely on volume can be a mistake – 2022 is the year to consider the variety of formats this content could take, leveraging the budget accordingly. For example, would an article be better delivered as a podcast (instead of, or as well as the original written piece)? Would producing a video or hosting a virtual event explaining the topic resonate more with the audience, or help position you as more of an authority?
2022 is a real opportunity to expand your brand’s repertoire when it comes to content and, if done right (using data-driven decisions), your content can’t fail but to engage your audience and expand your reach.
The concept of intent in marketing isn’t new to 2022, and it’s certainly not new to digital marketing, but looking at the intent of a user’s search for your content, product or service is key – understanding not only what people are searching for but why is essential in planning and crafting content that speaks directly to that need, cuts through the noise and resonates to bring a true connection. Intent can be broken down into four key categories:
- Informational intent: here, searchers are looking for an answer to a specific question or general information – for example, how to clean trainers.
- Navigational intent: searchers intending to find a specific site or page – for example, vans trainers.
- Commercial intent: searchers looking to investigate products, services, or brands. These commonly have an intent to complete an action or purchase sometime in the future, but not necessarily right now – for example, best trainers for weightlifting
- Transactional intent: searchers intending to complete an action or purchase and use what is often called buyer intent’ keywords – buy trainers online
Understanding where your customer is in their journey, and their intent, is key to getting the right content in front of them at the right time, ultimately enabling you to nurture them and steer their conversion decision as they move down the funnel. This is the case in both B2B and B2C environments, so ensure you’re crafting a content strategy that appeals to each of these intent groupings, and help answer the user’s why questions.
One quote in particular stood out from the CMI’s report, highlighting the power of brand & storytelling as an influence on trust:
We understood that digital does not exist without real life. We are now working on more ‘daily and authentic content’ for brand awareness and trust. Selling will be the last step, not the first one.
Of course, content marketing isn’t the only way to build a brand, but successful marketers employing a content-driven strategy still state their primary goal as brand awareness. 80% of the surveyed marketers report success in achieving brand awareness, with 75% saying it builds credibility/trust and 70% using their content marketing to educate their audiences:
Successful digital marketing requires a layered approach across a multitude of disciplines (and user types/intent as aforementioned), and a brand layer, driven by content can offer a huge contribution to this.
The pandemic has also shown marketers that there is still a need for empathy and storytelling as users have looked to connect in new ways and learned that personal relationships in business can still be effective – talking to B2B audiences as human beings, not just ‘decision making’ stakeholders, members of buying committees, accounts, or brands is one way to make a real distinction from the competition.
Finding new and engaging ways in which you can portray your brand and apply it online, whilst telling stories and nurturing relationships can all be achieved through a robust digital marketing strategy in 2022.
Selling with social shopping
Social Shopping, sometimes called Social Commerce, won’t be a new addition to 2022 by any means. However, accelerated by the pandemic and a second wave of new social platforms – it is fast-becoming a more common and mainstream style of shopping. In 2022, savvy brands will continue to look to leverage influencer marketing; craft social media ads that fit seamlessly into the news feed; and will be looking to integrate their social channels more closely with their e-commerce platforms.
Whilst Facebook and Twitter pioneered social media advertising, it’s fair to say that Instagram and TikTok have both been very influential in crafting the ability to buy through social media – social commerce platforms including ‘Instagram Checkout’, facilitate the ability for brands to advertise and sell their products directly on these social channels, with no need to jump off to the brand’s main e-commerce website to convert.