3 Digital Marketing Trends for 2022

Digital marketing in 2022 will prove more relevant than ever – join us as we look at 3 important trends for the upcoming year. As the basis for this research we’ve used Smart Insight’s 25 trends for digital marketing in 2022, but have also added some of our own study and condensed the list to three of the most important takeaways for the new year.


1. The continuing rise of the micro-influencer and distrust in the celebrity

A key digital marketing trend of the past five years has been the use of influencers alongside the equally important explosion of social media. Conventionally, companies would seek out a well-know figure, pay them to promote a product (subtly or non-subtly), and reap the rewards of the influencer’s authority as their fans pile in to buy the product in their droves. Or at least that’s the idea.

The trouble is this process if often very expensive and very transparent for the end user. Celebrities and well-known social media figures can demand large sums of money where a high conversion rate is not necessarily guaranteed. Further to this, research from advertising firm, Xandr, suggests consumers are growing increasingly distrusting of celebrities, especially those belonging to Gen Z (me!).

2022 will instead see consumers increasingly trust peer recommendations, as well as those of authority figures belonging to their specific niche interest (who normally have a reason for being an authority figure – perhaps for being prodigious at a certain skill – rather than just being a “celebrity”).  Furthermore, these micro-influencers are almost always cheaper to onboard and often have an incredibly engaged – if smaller – fan base, leading to higher conversion rates.

All this means that digital marketeers really need to dig into the audience of their product and find out exactly what media they enjoy and where they enjoy consuming it. Anecdotally I can say this has absolutely worked for me. Ham-fisted attempts at celebrity endorsement completely turn me off and actively discourage me from trusting a company, whereas I have signed up for a subscription to The Great Courses Plus – an online history resource – purely because most of my favourite history channels on YouTube genuinely recommend the product.

2. The death of the online cookie and the rise of identity graphs

The death of third-party cookies has been in the public sphere for some time now. Safari and Firefox have both already abandoned the use of them on their platforms, with Firefox gaining market share due users’ perception of increased privacy in the wake of the changes. Now, however, Google has announced it will discontinue the use of third-party cookies on its massively popular Chrome browser by 2022.

Put simply, third-party cookies are small packets of information collected by websites that track your online activity. This can be your activity from any website, not just the one you’re currently viewing. This is why when you start searching for a necklace for your girlfriend’s Christmas present, for example, you’re suddenly bombarded by a slurry of similar banner adverts wherever you go online, which can lead to a surprise being ruined…

The use of third-party cookies has long been the subject of privacy debate and now, seemingly, big tech has taken on this criticism and is doing away with the practice entirely. So where does that leave digital marketers who relied heavily on the information cookies provided?

These companies will now need to start developing their own identity graphs for their users. Identity graphs serve as a sort of bank of knowledge for each user’s activity on your website, among other pieces of gleaned information such as IP address, phone number, and email address. Companies will still be able to collect and store first-party cookies – information packets generated by their own websites – but will need to be tactical in developing a web journey that nurtures a useful of data profile for each user.

3. Be ethically aware, but be genuine about it

This year has seen a large amount of social upheaval, from mask protests to Black Lives Matter, the world has been shaken by the efforts of activists everywhere.

In the social-media age, it seems, consumers are a lot more conscious of the ethical (and unethical) practices of organisations. Companies must be aware of this fact and address it head on; consumers’ buying habits nowadays are directly affected by the ethical practices of the companies they buy from, particularly younger buyers.

This is not to say, however, that corporations should jump on every social movement bandwagon they possible can. Consumers are savvy and can spot insincerity a mile off. Empty statements of solidarity and responsibility will do nothing to help your brand and can ultimately hinder it. Make sure your message aligns with your brand identity and make sure your company’s ethics are bulletproof – you might find yourself appealing more to the customer of 2022 than a big corporation that claims responsibility and ethical awareness while still remaining the world’s worst plastic producer… Looking at you Coca-Cola and Nestle.

Final thoughts

We hope these trends might go some way to helping you develop a strategy for your company’s 2021 digital marketing plan, but give Smart Insight’s excellent 25 trends a read for a more comprehensive view. If you are looking for a digital agency we would be keen to hear how you will go about choosing and if you own one, and are looking for financing advice in these tumultuous times, do feel free to give a call, we’re always happy to talk or indeed join some dots!

There is always a huge interest in digital marketing trends and innovation in marketing around the turn of each year. 2022 will be no different, in fact, it’s particularly true since the pandemic has forced downward pressure on marketing budgets meaning that marketers are looking for new cost-effective techniques.

By Rebecca Garland on 22/12/2021