Well, 2022 is almost here… crazy right? And no you haven't just stepped out of the Delorean… (for all you Gen-Zer’s, Google it!) it really is almost 2022. As we look back at social media and digital marketing trends from 2021, it’s been a pretty jam-packed year! With video content taking first place, social media usage & screen time increasing, and the TikTok app continuing to dominate the social universe with over 2.6 billion downloads, 2021 has been a pivotal year for brands wanting to rethink their online activities post-covid (or, maybe not quite post-covid, thanks to Omicron) and reach their audience in new and inventive ways.
But what can we expect from next year? What trends are going to be shaping the social media and digital marketing landscape even more, and what should brands be keeping their eye on?
Influencers Are Going Nowhere
Firstly, how could I write a digital marketing blog and not mention influencers at least once, let’s be honest. But seriously, influencers aren’t going anywhere. In fact, the industry is set to be worth a massive $15 billion by next year
, so if you’re a brand or marketer that is still on the fence with this form of marketing – you either beat ‘em or join ‘em, and nobody’s beating them right now!
With the increase in influencer demand in 2021, came the renewed emphasis on creator marketplaces on social platforms, e.g. TikTok Creator Marketplace and Facebook Creator Studio, which were designed to create a seamless process for brands to collaborate with influencers directly for branded content partnerships. Essentially, they do all the leg work for you! As we have seen the fees for influencers and their agents increase over the past year, more and more brands are choosing to use these platforms as a way to combat this. The influencer world is expanding at a rate so substantial, that any brand who is yet to even consider the impact it could have for them as a business in the coming years, isn’t taking full advantage of such a beneficial marketing tool. I mean, half of all consumers say they genuinely rely on influencer recommendations for their purchases, and they aren’t lying!
The algorithm on TikTok specifically makes it incredibly easy for any unknown user to become a creator, and with the number of worldwide downloads of this platform continuing to grow, creator marketplaces popping up left, right and centre, and the fact that Facebook is planning to invest a huge $1 billion in creator programmes
, 2022 will be a year of endless opportunities to partner with influencers from all verticals. Don’t miss out!
Short Form Video Content Will Persist!
From UGC videos & influencer ads, to behind-the-scenes content & brand challenges, short form videos have dominated social media over the past year. Which leads us to ask the question – will long form video become extinct? And what does 2022 hold for short form video? With the increase in popularity of Instagram Reels and TikTok over the past year, came the greater demand and reliance on the actual production of short form video content, with 89% of marketers that currently use the format, saying they plan to continue to do so in the coming year.
This comes as no surprise really. Bitesize video content has a number of beneficial properties, e.g. it’s ideal for grabbing attention, it’s easily redistributed onto other social media platforms, and it receives higher engagement rates. For example, the average engagement rate (ER) on TikTok can go as high as 50% (yep, seriously), whereas when looking at YouTube (which produces primarily long form content), the average ER is around 6% - which is still high, but totally swamped by almighty TikTok.
Although long form content will still have a place in our hearts (especially for those who watch gamer streaming videos that are about an hour long…), it appears that in 2022, it’s going to be taking a backseat to its shorter brother. We’ll see the further use of Reels, especially with the redistribution of TikTok videos, so try to incorporate short form into your marketing strategies, you won’t regret it!
For health and beauty brands in particular, this may mean integrating more Reels, Stories and TikTok videos into your monthly content calendars with behind the scenes content, brand takeovers with influencers and product reviews from your customers.
Now back in 2020, when there were at least two loaves of banana bread in every British household at all times and our days were dominated by Zoom calls and Tiger King, our Content and Social Media Manager looked ahead to 2021 for social & digital trends
and touched on social commerce – something that BLEW UP over 2021 even though we were slowly, and I mean very slowly, getting back to ‘normal’ life post-lockdown.
Although ecommerce saw a slight percentage decline in terms of the UK retail market this year (dropping to around 30% vs 40% last year), social commerce was everywhere. Companies like Google and Shopify were partnering with social media channels to add the option for consumers to shop and purchase directly in the platforms themselves, which was huge and shows absolutely no signs of slowing down as we look ahead to 2022.
According to Instagram, 70% of consumers now use the platform for product discovery, and readily available ‘buy now’ buttons within social channels themselves have become a pivotal addition and opportunity for brands. With 73% of businesses already participating in social commerce and 79%
expecting to do so within the next 3 years, it’s a no brainer really.
With social commerce advancing quicker than Christmas has come around, platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and Facebook are all introducing new shopping features within the next year, and by taking full advantage of these, so many doors can open for your brand. With features such as virtual storefronts and product catalogues, being able to run ads with product tags and the addition of a shopping tab on your company profile, not only can these impact overall sales, but they could also increase the average purchase value and improve your customer engagement and experience. So what’s not to like right? Smiles all round.
The world of shopping has completely changed, and 2022 is the year that social commerce continues to make its mark on the UK retail market – watch this space!
Increase in Privacy
Remember those dreaded iOS updates? I know, I know. It’s still painful, but we need to talk about them. After the introduction of the iOS 14 update and then iOS15 this year, a mass hysteria occurred in the digital marketing world, but there were definitely ways we could adapt to these new privacy settings and still effectively target our audiences. Now brace yourself - privacy ain’t going nowhere next year, it’s only going to increase with consumer demand. But no fear! We learnt to adapt once, and we’ll do it again!
The huge increase in ecommerce over the past 2 years created a mountain of data for us marketers to feast upon, until Apple came along and stole it. But through reconsidering metrics, checking email segments & automation flows, going broader with your audience targeting and driving more interactions on-platform, we discussed ways in which to counter
the data changes that the updates introduced – which will still be relevant, if not more, in 2022.
Although we may be losing the ability to target some individuals based on their interests, technology is always advancing and marketing opportunities are around every corner, you just have to discover them. With new data privacy bills & legislation potentially being introduced towards the end of this year, it is now more important than ever for marketers to know how to still effectively counter this in your marketing strategies for the new year.
After the effects of the pandemic, 2021 was a crucial and crazy year for social & digital marketing. Marketers were brought to their knees by Apple, TikTok became the platform that no brand could ignore, and the consumer demand for seamless and accessible social purchasing grew. And from that, things are looking even bigger and better for 2022! So if you’re looking for a way to digitally transform your brand next year, I hope you’ve found some inspiration from this blog. And if you need a helping hand, get in touch with our expert team!
Posted 15 December 2021 by Liv Povey