It goes without saying that the digital and online marketing universe evolves at breakneck speed. What's hot today when it comes to marketing on the shifting sands of the digital environment may very well literally be old news when the next big thing happens along. If we take a look at 2022, which is approaching at the speed of thought can we make some calls about what the digital and social media environment holds in store for the 21st-century marketer?
Crystal ball gazing is always a practice fraught with peril - but we can certainly make some educated guesses, so let's dive right in.
Some may not realize it, but the term 'Metaverse' was penned by author Neal Stephenson in his 1992 sci-fi work 'Snow Crash.' In it, he envisioned a world populated by people's avatars. They would interact with each other in a lifelike environment. Fast forward to 2022 and it seems inevitable that the current struggle for the Metaverse high ground is going to see Microsoft and Facebook continue to stake their claim to Metaverse real estate.
Technology has advanced since 1992, and today the online virtual world of the Metaverse will (in all likelihood) make use of augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D holographic avatars, video and ever-evolving communication technology.
So what does this mean for marketing?
It is no exaggeration to say that the Metaverse could revolutionize how we think of marketing. Marketers need to understand that target markets like millennials and Gen Zers are already using VR and other technologies. Now a company could very well offer virtual advertising in the virtual world. And that advertising would conceivably be inescapable - woven into the Metaverse itself. And also cross over into the real world. Brands can offer collectibles or brand-themed experiences. Online currency earnings could be linked to brand interactions. The possibilities are endless when your brand is part of virtual life.
Like it or loath it social media marketers cannot afford to ignore the reach of Facebook. it's shedding younger users at an ever-increasing rate of knots - but the older user base seems to be standing their ground, privacy issues and censorship issues seem to mean less to the older generation than the ability to enjoy what is by now a comfortable social media home. whatever their misgivings digital marketers are going to find the lure of 2.9 billion active users too enticing to ignore.
Facebook will also be looking to allow users more control over its algorithms, for instance allowing users to turn off political content. Allowing users to fine-tune their experience may quiet a lot of criticism of the world's largest social media platform - but Facebook has a lot of work to do in this area to entice those all-important younger users away from other platforms like TikTok.
Aside from the abovementioned push for dominance in the Metaverse, Facebook is also making a huge push into the eCommerce space with Instagram and Facebook shops. Facebook seems determined to dive even deeper into eCommerce in 2022. Marketers will be quick to take advantage o0f more 'shoppable' posts, more intuitive product discovery, and the continued evolution of 'Facebook Pay', as well the entrenchment of Facebook's Diem currency.
Expect to see Facebook improve and hard launch its AR Glasses - and integrate their use with platforms like Instagram.
Twitter's user base continues to grow - however, it may face new challenges (or would those be opportunities?) due to the departure of Jack Dorsey who relinquishes his role as CEO and unusually is stepping away from the company completely. The Board is under enormous pressure from investors to deliver on their profit promises - and this means that they are going to have to supercharge their efforts to tighten up new functionality.
It seems inevitable that Twitter is going to continue to invest heavily in allowing its users, at least those with a significant following to monetize their Tweets, while at the same time increasing its own earnings. Two developments worth watching in this area are 'Super Follows' and 'Ticketed Spaces'. The 'Twitter Blue' creator tool is also very promising.
Like every other social media platform, Twitter is also looking to increase its footprint in the eCommerce space. Marketers can expect to see the platform prioritize users' ability to buy directly from Tweets. The company is also making a strong move toward new video tools, including allowing users to switch to a full-screen mode from tweeted video. Marketers should be excited by the new possibilities to tap into Twitter's young and active audience.
Experts expect to see Artificial Intelligence (AI) playing a far larger part in fine-tuning CPC marketing efforts in 2022. From automatically adjusting keywords due to Cost-Per-Click levels to providing quality scoring of ad performance and optimizing bids it appears that the robots are getting smarter and marketers more comfortable with the use of AI. One of the most exciting developments harnessing the power of AI is in predictive marketing. Using the power of AI to predict the success of a CPC strategy and fine-tune its content prior to launch to ensure optimal click-through rates.
It is anticipated that 50% of shoppers will be using voice search by the end of 2022, at least when it comes to those all-important mobile devices like Smartphones, it's currently at about 5%, but the smart money sees enormous growth. This is according to a study by Moffett Nathanson. It appears that what is being called 'v-Commerce' is going to hit the big time in 2022, digital marketers need to take note.
2022 is going to be a humdinger for digital and social media marketing. Marketers are going to have to be at the top of their game in order to leverage the increasing pace of change. But, hasn't that always been the case?