Well, here we are. It’s the end of the year already, and that means it’s time for me to wrap up the year and forecast what will be important in 2022.
The hard part is that 2020 and 2021 haven’t exactly been predictable. Sure, we’ve all done our best, but we’ve seen wild changes to consumer behavior patterns. We’ve seen supply chain issues, slowdowns in shipping, hoarding tendencies, and price increases almost across the board. But, on the other hand, we’ve also seen estimates of 5 years of technological change pushed forward in less than six months, considerable strides in eCommerce, telemedicine, remote work, and website functionality across dozens of industries. It’s a lot to take in, and it makes anticipating where we’re going even more complicated as we start opening up and moving to a life where COVID is a certainty but one that’s easier to manage.
With all that said, we’ll end up with a few big ideas when it comes to marketing in 2022.
- Privacy and new issues with tracking. This is going to be huge, and it’s what we’re all going to be discussing. Whether it’s ios14 removing our tracking in Facebook Ads or consent mode changing how Google records its data, marketers have to limp along with whatever data we can glean from historical data and what little information is now going through. As a person, I prefer my data to be more secure. As a marketer, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to tell my clients, “I don’t know.” Because I always know. Until now, when I only mostly know and can assume based on previous history and various other data points. Things will change (probably between when I finish writing this, having it edited and posted, we’ll see several things change) when it comes to privacy rules and how our data is tracked.
- Authenticity. This remains the primary goal for social media, content marketing, and advertising. We want things to seem authentic, transparent, and natural. We want social ads to flow right into the native interface and appear just like another post. We want social media content to look, sound, and feel authentically on brand. We want blog posts and content pieces that are useful, helpful, informative, entertaining, and provide value. Trying to create a post just to post is so five years ago.
- Video. I’ve been saying it for years. And years. Video is here to stay, and it’s easier than ever. Five years ago, when companies embarked on video programs, it was expensive, and the expectations were almost perfection – great sound, great lighting, professional copywriting – all up to the standards of a documentary film crew. But TikTok, Reels, and Stories have changed our expectations of what video is and how it can be presented. More authentic (there’s that word again!), more accurate, more approachable is preferable now to the polished perfection of yesterday. Anyone with a solid iPhone can make a video now, providing value.
- Audit your work. I read over my recommendations from the last five years and one of the most significant pieces I stressed then and will continue to stress now is the importance of an audit of your marketing. Conduct a situation analysis, a competitor analysis, and a thorough review of what you did in your marketing, what you spent, and how it went. Did you set SMART goals in 2021? Did you achieve them? How has traffic increased over the last twelve months? Where do you stand from an SEO perspective or share of voice on social? How have your email subscriptions grown? Look at each piece, set new goals for 2022, and evaluate them quarterly. This will probably be a recommendation every year until I stop writing these (which won’t be anytime soon).
These four keys are what I think are going to matter in 2022. Now, I know I could be wrong. Being faced with a global pandemic will knock you down a few pegs when it comes to predicting the future. In a field as dynamic and everchanging as digital marketing, there’s no way I can guess at everything, but if you start with these four components, I know you’ll have the tools to be successful in 2022, no matter what happens.