• Nat Sharp

Digital marketing trends in 2022


10 key digital marketing trends for small businesses to act upon


I’m pleased to have contributed to Startups.co.uk feature on the latest digital marketing trends. It is hard to keep abreast of all the new trends in the world of digital and this article sums up the latest developments nicely.


The 10 trends identified include:


  • Using short-form, vertical videos

  • Cookie-less marketing and working with first-party data

  • AI content-writing tools

  • Ethical marketing

  • Marketing in the metaverse

  • Micro and nano influencers

  • Customer-centric, E-A-T-focused marketing

  • TikTok marketing

  • DALL.E — creating graphics using AI

  • Making vs taking marketing


1. Using short-form, vertical videos


Video has been forecasted for many years to yield results and the growth in using short videos has exploded with the introduction of Instagram reels in 2020 and the increased popularity of TikTok.


According to Oberlo, this year the top trending videos include explainer videos, social media videos, presentation videos, and video testimonials.

The good news is the majority of these videos can be captured on your mobile and produced in-house at no cost making them an attractive option for small businesses.


2. Cookie-less marketing and working with first-party data


A well-publicised trend is how businesses will cope once Google removes third-party cookies in 2023. Without this, marketing will become less targeted so the onus falls on businesses, future-proofing their business now if they haven't already and collecting their own data.


Also known as ‘first-party data', this data is information your company collects directly from its customers.


There are several ways businesses can address this including addressing data silos and investing in a connected infrastructure and activating your first-party data. Again, technology can enhance this including AI.


3. AI content-writing tools


With content marketing being key to so many businesses' marketing and being resource-intensive, AI content writing tools could be a game-changer.


In one of my earlier blogs, I show an infographic breaking down how much time you should spend on creating content. Even experienced content experts that are super-efficient know how time-consuming this is. This is where AI content tools come in.


Search Engine Journal compare and contrast the best AI content tools in the market.


4. Ethical marketing


The pandemic accelerated our desire for ethical marketing alongside key events such as The Facebook data scandal. Much of digital marketing relies on the use of technology and undisclosed algorithms. These black-box models can be perceived as not transparent, so intervention is needed to ensure businesses take a well-rounded approach.


5. Marketing in the metaverse


The term ‘metaverse’ first entered our vocabulary in 2021, when Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta, as a nod to the idea of a virtual reality (VR) world.


Sprout Social’s UK & Ireland Index 2022 report revealed that 85% of social media marketers anticipate incorporating new technologies like virtual reality and the metaverse into their social media strategy within the next year. Furthermore, two in five businesses are planning to invest up to half of their budget into a metaverse social strategy over the next two years. It simply can’t be ignored. Learn more how small businesses should prepare for the metaverse.


6. Micro and nano influencers


Over the years influencers have downsized and nano influencers have prevailed. A nano-influencer is someone with a following under 10,000, and a micro-influencer has a following anywhere from 10,000 to 200,000 followers.


Influencers aren’t cheap, and for a mid tier (50,000–500,000 followers) you could be paying anywhere between £100 to £1,000 per post on socials.


Nano-influencer content is essentially user-generated content. They are customers and fans, rather than experts, authorities or celebrities.


7. Customer-centric, E-A-T-focused marketing


Back in 2021 Google announced core updates that included a major overhaul in the way content ranks on its search engines. Since then one of its big ranking criteria has been E-A-T — a specific page's expertise, authority, and trust on a subject matter.


Businesses need to consider how they can leverage this. As I mentioned in the article, one of the simple ways to do this, is to create answer-based content.


“It is no longer sufficient to have some basic frequently asked questions (FAQs) on your website. It is now common to create FAQs for each different area of your business, which can be highly cost-effective. This content will not only help with your search rankings, but it will also aid the customer experience.”

You also need to ensure author profiles are up to date and provide insight and facts on your website and blogs.


8. TikTok marketing


TikTok now has over 1 billion monthly active users. Many of these are young, with 28% of users aged under 18 and 35% aged 19-29. Some of the key trends to capitalise on this year include:


· Hashtag #memes

· Episodic content

· Branded hashtag challenges

· The use of duets


Here are some top tips on how to use Tik Tok as part of your social media strategy:

  • Showcase your bestsellers

  • Talk to happy customers and use their testimonials

  • Create ‘behind the scenes’ videos

  • Create a ‘day in the life’ videos

  • Create lists — Tiktokkers love lists!


9. DALL.E — creating graphics using AI


Much like how AI can create written content in a few seconds, it can also do the same with graphics. DALL.E, created by OpenAI, is a machine-learning programme that creates images from textual descriptions.


This gives businesses the ability to request any image, no matter how niche, saving resources, budget and allowing even more creativity.


10. Making vs taking marketing


Charlie Terry, founder of digital marketing consultancy CEEK advises:


"Before you even start thinking about your marketing strategy, you need to ask whether you will be a market maker or a market taker and plan accordingly. A market taker will be up against any number of competitors in their sector and hoping to steal a share of search, getting in on existing conversations to rise up the rankings. A market maker, however, will be a new product that’s unlike anything else on the market. Their focus should be on stimulating conversation, creating interest around a brand, and tapping into the power of word-of-mouth."

He advises that start-ups will need to establish precisely where in the startup environment you fit.


And so to close


There are a lot of trends to look out for. Don't feel overwhelmed and feel you need to react to all of them now. Depending on the size and stage of your business and the sector your serve instead chose a few that are most relevant and think about how you can capitalise on them.


Want to learn more about digital marketing? Then discover 10 reasons why you should have a LinkedIn presence and how to win on social media as a small business.

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