The digital trends you need to know for 2022

By seoBusiness

11 Feb 2022

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The rate at which technology advances is increasing – the pandemic has only accelerated this. It’s not just the introduction of new tools and new ways that things can be done – people have new demands and expectations of the companies they choose to deal with, too.

To achieve and sustain business success in 2022, it’s important to be aware of the emerging trends. Not every new idea will apply to every business, but it’s crucial to consider implementing the tools which will help you drive growth.

Those that don’t adopt new ideas are doomed to be left behind, with their customers instead turning to competitors who do. Just think of all those businesses that didn’t offer ecommerce or home delivery before the pandemic started.

Here’s an overview of everything you need to know this year.

One-time buyers

The pandemic shifted the way people buy, not only are we spending more money online than ever, but it’s shifted our priorities. With so many options just a few clicks away, brand and familiarity are less important. Search engines, marketplaces, price comparison sites, social media, third-party reviewers and so on mean that it’s never been easier to shop for alternatives and switch brands.

This has given rise to the ‘one time buyer’ – an individual, for example, who initially finds your product through a marketplace such as eBay, but when it comes time to buy again, is more likely to revisit eBay than your own site.

Key lessons: This means working harder to retain existing customers, but also recognising the importance of gateway sites, and maintaining your visibility on other social media and marketplaces.

A focus on local

Google, which drives a significant portion of all internet traffic, has been placing an increasing emphasis on delivering search results that take into account the user’s location.

The search engine is prioritising businesses, venues, news reports and tweets which are close to the searcher.

This is great for the user, allowing them to keep informed with relevant topics and not wasting their time with results that are too far away to be of use (searching for takeaway pizza shouldn’t show results from more than a few miles away, for example.)

It can also be a boost for businesses. Location is now a major ranking factor, which better enables them to compete with larger brands. For example, an independent furniture store may not have the resources to compete with a national chain, but by tapping into Google’s desire to show local results, they can put themselves into consideration.

Key lessons: Google, and even competing search engines such as Bing, are placing an increased emphasis on serving locally-sourced results. By utilising tools such as Google My Business, you can earn top spots for key searches.

Customer privacy

Internet users are becoming increasingly aware of the vast amounts of personal data that companies collect, and are beginning to take steps to protect themselves.

One of the key ways this is impacting digital marketing campaigns is users opting-out of third-party cookies. Cookies help a website learn useful information about a user – such as whether they’re currently logged in – but third-party cookies track users across sites, which is why you may sometimes see a product you viewed on one website later advertised on another, unrelated website.

The major browsers now give users the option to switch off this tracking service, and this year Google plans to switch it off entirely to protect their customer’s privacy.

Key lesson: Not only do businesses need to consider how they collect and handle customer data to comply with GDPR rules, but now marketing plans which rely on certain types of information may have to be redrawn. Building genuine relationships with customers will be the answer.

Customers reward good deeds

Another trend in customer behaviour has been to take a keener interest in the actions of the companies they deal with – and not just in their own transactions, but an organisation’s wider environmental, charitable and political moves, too.

Now, in the mix along with price and delivery times, many customers want to know that they’re supporting organisations who are doing right by the planet and its people.

This means cutting carbon emissions, using local suppliers, supporting worthy causes, treating employees and customers fairly, as well as avoiding practices which run counter to such goals.

Key lesson: Social media has made spreading the message of ESG and CSR much easier – for both positive and negative stories. It’s more important than ever to evaluate whether your business decisions are the ‘right thing to do’.

TikTok continues to surge

TikTok, the video-based social media service, had a big year in 2021. Metrics show that tiktok.com was busier last year than google.com – including the popular search engine, maps, news and other services too.

TikTok now has more users than rival social media platforms such as Snapchat and Twitter, and is third in the world behind only Facebook and Instagram.

What’s more, the service is predicted to continue growing over the next year.

Key lesson: TikTok should be a key consideration for any digital marketing or social media campaign in the future, especially for any organisation targeting under 30s.

A smarter way of doing business

AI is now very much part of our daily lives and is becoming a central part of more and more ecommerce sites. 

One of the most notable methods is the use of chatbots to answer customer queries around the clock. This smart software mimics a human conversation and serves the demand of potential customers who expect rapid replies to their queries, no matter the time of day, or day of the week.

AI can also be used to set pricing, run marketing campaigns and model future demand fluctuations.

Key lessons: Some of these technologies may be further down the road, but with the pace that technology is evolving, it’s important to track advancements and be ready to embrace them as soon as the cost can be justified – before your competitors adopt them and leave you behind.

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