Trends for 2022

Like many industries, the marketing world will have to remain eager to adapt to change with still a long way to go in recovering from the pandemic. Consumer behaviour and intent are expected to fluctuate more than ever, as we adapt to the life post (or is that mid?) pandemic. 

When things are not straightforward, experimentation is a must. We believe 2022 will welcome new waves of innovation in the digital space and diverse advertising experiences. 

By now you would have heard the rumours of TikTok displacing Instagram as the king marketing app, the platform exploding in popularity during the global lockdown. Although we are sceptical, next year is in fact guaranteed to favour video content and AI-powered audience solutions are expected to proliferate. Read more about our trend predictions for 2022! 

The Birth of the Metaverse

The term Metaverse pertains to virtual reality and is already manifesting in 2021, with giants Facebook and Instagram inheriting the new name ‘Meta.’ Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse dream is a hybrid of gaming, social media, entertainment, eCommerce, and work – an all-encompassing, virtual and augmented reality (AR) world, accessible to everyone. Most predominantly, e-commerce will be considered a necessity rather than a desire, with users demanding direct access to your products and services from their social apps. 

Changing the Consumer Experience

The primary concepts of the metaverse are not new, however, with several brands having incorporated AR to assist online consumers with their shopping experience. For instance, Ikea has used AR to allow consumers to envisage their furnished homes with virtual furniture in their house, prior to buying. Similarly, Maybelline’s Makeup Studio allows users to apply makeup before making a purchase.

AR and AI are set to revolutionise all facets of customer service, with chatbots becoming a staple of numerous landing pages. 

Virtual Fashion

The fashion industry is projected to be particularly affected by AR due to the natural intersection this industry has with social media, especially Instagram. With more and more people investing in their grid layout, companies are starting to sell luxury clothes that can only be seen in photographs, similar to a filter. Virtual fashion will increase the accessibility of high-end accessories as well as increase the sustainability of the industry, with many influencers currently buying clothing items for a single post. 

Blink or you’ll miss it 

The popularity of ephemeral content has increased exponentially, with Snapchat’s disappearing content inspiring the rise of disappearing stories on Facebook and Instagram. The finite nature of these features grants extra exclusivity to the content and stimulates an element of FOMO in the consumer audience, which is really valuable for engagement and attention. 

Additionally, given the market is so saturated with messages and consumer attention spans are dwindling, succinct pockets of information and content are becoming more powerful and expected to persist in 2022. 

TikTok reigns supreme… welcome to UGC 

In recent years, Instagram has held the chief spot for social marketers, conventionally presenting the highest ROI. However, studies have indicated that 82% of all online content will be video content by 2022, paving the way for Tik Tok to continue rising, having already amassed over 1 billion users (September 2021). 

Specifically, short-form video content is at the forefront of trends. TikTok’s user-generated content (UGC), cuts through the noise and demands attention, with videos ranging from a few seconds to no longer than three minutes. It is the prime platform if you’re looking at reaching millennials and Gen Z. 

TikTok’s supremacy directly correlates with the growing trend of brands leveraging UGC on other platforms, including Instagram and Facebook. UGC is probably the most valuable asset of social media and should regularly sit in your content mix as it is a driver for consumer trust. Moreover, the content is free and largely considered more authentic by your audience. 

Finally, although an incredibly valuable platform for marketing, TikTok’s fleeting nature means that trends go out of style just as fast as they come in, so it’s harder to jump on a bandwagon as a brand, compared to Instagram for instance. Brands must remain vigilant and invest in resources to publish timely content that resonates. 

Creators add value 

The creator economy has existed for approximately a decade and boomed during the pandemic with people attempting to diversify their income. Social networks are both driving and responding to this entrepreneurialism boom, with monetization tools being integrated across apps; most notably TikTok’s Creator marketplace and Instagram’s Branded Content Ads. 

This trend indicates that granting some of your autonomy to a creator will work favourably – as hard as that may be for some brand owners. TikTok again is leading the way for this advertising innovation, with several brands granting complete agency to creators, due to their expansive reach and loyal follower base. 

Think small, Dream BIG

Everyone knows that investing in influencers is much cheaper than running paid ad campaigns. The ROI is also typically higher and more valuable, with influencers stimulating benefits beyond generating leads.  

However, a distinct trend that will continue emerging in 2022 is the use of micro-influencers. Rather than picking 1 to 2 major names, working with a cohesive network of smaller, niche influencers creates a community for your brand and stimulates more engagement and cross-account conversation. 

The only challenge this presents is scouting influencers who align with your brand, however, this research is worth the investment. 

Actions speak louder than words

Corporate Social Responsibility is a rising business convention that’s here to stay and brands in 2022 will need to continually display their commitment to inclusivity. Consumers have set high standards for brands when it comes to CSR and identifying social issues that mean the most to their target audience is a necessity, especially for bigger names. 

Mutual ROI Partnerships will grow in this space. A primary national example is fashion giant Princess Polly which has recently partnered with The Butterfly Foundation. Through this partnership, Princess Polly has not only demonstrated monetary support through their donation option at their checkout but has implemented an entire ‘Curve’ collection under the expert, body-image guidance of the charity. 

These are among the myriad of tips we could provide on our projection for the digital world and social media, in 2022 and beyond. By far, the rise of TikTok and short-form video content will immensely shape the landscape for next year. It is important to remember that social media is a dynamic, cut-throat, and subjective space, with tactics never 100% guaranteed to generate results. However, education on the latest developments, tools, and themes is a promising start. 

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