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5 digital marketing trends small businesses should consider in 2022

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Smarter Writer
Smarter Team

A team of business and technology journalists and editors who write to help Australia’s community of small and medium businesses access the technology and know-how that helps solve problems and create opportunities.

Few things move faster than digital marketing trends. As more small businesses move online, it’s important to know what to expect, so you can invest your time and money in the right places.

Woman looking at phone and working on computer

From video to voice optimisation, things rarely stay the same in the digital marketing landscape. If you want to get a good return on investment from your marketing spend, it’s essential to stay ahead of the curve by arming yourself with knowledge of what’s happening at the intersection of marketing and technology.

We’ve reviewed the latest research, technology innovations and marketing trends, so that you don’t have to. Here’s our forecast of what’s to come in the digital marketing space in 2022.

1. Video

Video is one of the best storytelling tools out there but the ways consumers and social media companies approach it are changing. The good news is that customers are more engaged than ever. The Hubspot Not Another State of Marketing 2021 Report found that video has dominated as the #1 content type for the last two years. With minutes watched increasing by 85% back in 2020, this trend has continued through 2021. The biggest difference? Consumers are looking for longer videos. The number of videos in the 30 to 60 minute category grew 140% compared to 2019 as more companies embrace video series and other long-form video content. Anna Ross, founder of cosmetics brand Kester Black, puts it well: “Give people a look behind the scenes. People want a story they can relate to.”

2. Social commerce

We know that social media makes up a large part of how consumers find and choose businesses. In 2020, COVID-19 drove a remarkable uptick in social commerce, and it’s a trend that continues to rise. According to the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Digital Marketing, 22% of consumers expect to use social media eCommerce more. But with many small businesses tripling their ad spend, how can you ensure you’re getting the most bang for your buck in 2022?

The PayPal Australia 2021 eCommerce Index reports that those who use social media to shop are now spending an average of $106 a month, with those surveyed turning to either Facebook (70%) or Instagram (47%).

“The incredible amount of time we all spend on social media, especially younger people, is positioning social commerce as one of the biggest trends we’ll see in online shopping over the next few years with 42% of Australian Gen Zs shopping on social, [which is] 70% higher than the one-in-four average,” 

Peter Cowan, Managing Director of PayPal Australia

 3. AR and immersive experiences

The world of augmented reality and immersive experiences is taking a step up (again) in 2022. This technology trend gives your customers the chance to interact with your products digitally before visiting your store in-person. We’ll see more placement preview and virtual try-on solutions. This way, customers can see how a piece of furniture fits in their home or how an item of clothing suits them before purchasing. Augmented reality can reduce returns by providing customers with a real-time glimpse of your product. Interactive user manuals are also set to rise in the coming years. This is worth considering if your product requires detailed instructions, like a coffee machine. 

In the Thriving in the Digital Age report from the Telstra Business Intelligence series, Nick Busietta, from Liminal VR, tells us that virtual and augmented reality have a profound impact on a person’s emotional state. This makes it great for training and events. “The fact that VR creates such a strong sense of presence makes it an ideal training tool where participants can realistically role-pay real-life scenarios,” he says.

4. Voice optimisation

While Google Assistant and Siri have been around for a while, voice searches are increasing at a fast pace. One of the most common uses for voice search is to find out information about local businesses, eg. “Japanese restaurants near me”. The increase in use is due to technological advances in voice recognition software, the spread of voice-activated devices like Google Home and Alexa throughout our homes and offices as well as better integration of assistants within our technology. The Smart Audio Report found that 42 per cent of Australians now use a voice assistant.

Small businesses can optimise their brand for discoverability via voice search by looking at their website and Google My Business listing, if applicable. When thinking about voice search, it’s important to remember that customers are more likely to use full questions, rather than keywords, and that they are usually trying to answer an immediate need. So it’s helpful to address the “who”, “what”, “when”, “where” and “why”.

You can answer this need by incorporating questions and answers into your Google My Business listings as well as FAQ’s and conversational blogs on your business website.

 5. First-party data acquisition

Consumers have become more protective of tech companies tracking their movements and using their data in ways they deem to be an invasion of privacy, and rightfully so. Still, Google’s announcement that they will discontinue first-party cookies came as a shock to marketers. This is due to happen in 2022 and will mean limited options for small businesses wanting to use third-party data to target advertising.

However, first-party cookies will still exist, meaning you can still analyse your customer’s movements on your own website. It will also mean a move to proper first-party data acquisition strategy. You can do this by encouraging sign-ups to an email newsletter directly, collecting customer details on check-out, or providing discounts to customers who provide their customer data.

As long as it’s used in a helpful way that doesn’t seem sneaky, customers are generally comfortable with their data being used directly by a place they shop with.

In the Telstra Business Intelligence report on Customer Experience, 81% of consumers say they are comfortable or don’t mind if businesses use their customer data to deliver better products, services or experiences. However, 40% of SMBs don’t use customer data to offer an improved level of customer service, which is a missed opportunity. Find out how by reading about three ways you can use data for repeat business.

Regardless of Google’s business decisions, it’s important to have a solid customer data acquisition strategy.

No matter your industry, paying close attention to the ever-evolving digital landscape can give you a competitive edge. However, it’s worth weighing up what tech and eCommerce trends align with your business. This way, you can ensure you’re investing your time and money in the right places.

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