If there’s one thing that all marketers know, it’s that the marketing world moves at the speed of light.
In just the last year, marketers embraced digital transformation more than ever as they adapted to constantly changing virtual and hybrid business landscapes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Then, as countries cautiously reopened, and more consumers left the house, some businesses saw slumps in the virtual engagement and online traffic they’d recently relied on.
As a marketer at any experience level, keeping up with these changes isn’t always easy. But, to succeed in the fast-paced marketing world, it’s vital to stay ahead of them. Here are some of the top trends that HubSpot has recognised in 2022.
Influencer marketing will evolve from trend to a common marketing tactic
When we asked global marketing professionals which trends they planned to invest in for 2022, 34 percent said influencer marketing, putting it at the top of the list — above other trends like mobile web design and short-form video marketing.
While 57 percent of marketing professionals that currently leverage influencer marketing say it’s effective, 46 percent of them plan to increase investments in 2022. Additionally,11 percent say it’s the top ROI-generating trend they’ve tested.
How and why has influencer marketing gone from an intriguing trend to a commonly-used marketing tactic? Well, influencers are often masters of the platforms they use and the field or topic they talk about. They already have an audience that is engaged, interested in their content, and influenced by the information they provide.
When marketers collaborate with influencers and industry thought leaders in their industry, they can expand brand awareness and gain fans from the influencer’s own audience.
Can’t afford to hire a celebrity influencer with millions of followers? That’s okay. In fact, more than 56 percent of marketers who invest in influencer marketing work with micro-influencers.
Micro-influencers are social media promoters with a smaller following (typically, thousands to tens of thousands of followers). Although they have fewer followers, their posts often pack more punch due to their higher level of engagement.
These influencers have found a niche in their industry, too — which is why they’ve started to play a bigger role in converting leads, connecting with audiences, and boosting brand awareness.
Because micro-influencers are still considered “everyday” people (unlike hard-to-reach celebrities), their audiences are actually more likely to trust their opinions and recommendations.
For example, Rosie, who’s known as The Londoner, is a popular travel and lifestyle influencer with over 330,000 loyal followers who interact and engage with her posts. Her success is also aligned with her engagement rate. Her posts get around 11 percent engagement, a huge increase on the market average.
Although it’s tempting to only look at just follower count when determining if an influencer is right for your brand, remember that true influence lives in engagement rates (clicks, subscribers, and purchases).
Video marketers will keep content short
In our survey, we learned that short-form content is the second most effective trend marketers are currently leveraging.
More than 31 percent of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content, 46 percent of them consider the strategy effective when it comes to performance and engagement. And, in 2022, 89 percent of global marketers plan to continue investing in it or increase their investment.
While long-form videos can offer depth and large amounts of information about a product, brand, or services to audiences, both B2C and B2B marketers have learned that getting to the point with short-form videos can actually be much more effective.
Not only does it take less bandwidth to create a short-form video, but this type of format aligns well with the fast-paced attention spans of online audiences in a variety of demographics. This is likely why platforms like TikTok, Reels, and — in previous years — Snapchat have gained quick growth and marketing interest.
Still not convinced that short-form videos can be effective in your marketing strategy? Check out this great example of a TikTok video from Canva that informs viewers of just how easy it is to make professional-looking graphics with the website.
More consumers will hear branded audio content
In the summer of 2021, marketers were perplexed by Clubhouse – an invitation-only audio chatroom app that quickly gained millions of users without publishing any visual content. And, as Clubhouse took our field by storm, platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook unsurprisingly rushed to start investing in, testing, and/or launching similar features.
Meanwhile, throughout the year, a number of big brands, like HubSpot, expanded podcast content and networks to meet even more listeners.
Now, as audio content becomes much more common in the online world, marketers might be wondering if this format could benefit their brand.
According to our research, 53 percent of professionals whose companies leverage content marketing find “podcasts or other types of audio content” effective when it comes to engagement and brand awareness. However, only one percent of marketers that leverage audio content say it yields ROI. Still, 80 percent plan to invest the same amount or more budget into audio content and podcasts in 2022.
When it came to investments in audio chatrooms, like Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces, we saw a similar theme. Although only 16 percent of marketers say they’ve invested in this trend, 34 percent of those marketers find it effective. While, again, around one percent of marketers that use audio chatrooms say it yields ROI, 84 percent of them plan to continue investing the same amount or more in 2022.
Although audio platforms might not have great monetizing features or conversion paths, this data hints that they still provide the engagement and brand awareness companies need to see from them for a continued investment.
Consumers will step into virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences
In 2021, 35 percent of marketers were leveraging AR or VR in their strategies. Of those marketers, 42 percent plan to increase investment in 2022.
And, of the marketers who didn’t leverage AR or VR in 2021, nine percent will experiment with it for the first time in 2022.
Virtual reality is viewing a computer-generated, lifelike scenario. Augmented reality is viewing the real world augmented with visual, haptic, olfactory or visual additions. VR and AR offer different experiences, but both are making waves in the marketing world today.
This is affecting your lives, too. Ever watched a 360° video on Facebook? That’s VR. What about IKEA’s IKEA PLACE app which helps you visualise virtual furniture in your very real room? That’s AR.
VR and AR are used to supplement and improve customer experiences online and at events. Generally speaking, this is a trend marketers have been slower to adopt due to pricey equipment and bulky headsets. But, as VR glasses and AR apps become more accessible, businesses can expect to add this technology to the marketing strategy.
Want to know more? Download HubSpot’s trend report here.