Dust Value

How digital marketing is set to change in 2022

As we enter the new “roaring” 20s (a decidedly threatening roar, this time around), think-pieces about the unpredictability of our present are about as eye-opening as government-confirmed reports of UFO sightings being buried under ever-increasing news of even newer, deadlier COVID-19 variants and collapsing governments – which is to say, not really. As such, the only thing we here at Dust Value can predict with a reasonable degree of confidence is that when it comes to the ever-evolving world of digital marketing, this year is going to end at a completely different place to where it is now, with developments in the fields of privacy, data protection, risk management and especially virtual reality (more on that in a minute) ensuring us content writers a steady stream of work come 2023.

However, let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet – the year’s only just begun, after all. Accordingly, these are four of many trends that we predict (i.e., we are pretty sure) will play a major role in digital marketing in 2022.

Things are about to get Meta

To the average person, the idea of a world dominated by Virtual Reality had long seemed as distant as the prevalence of flying cars – they existed within laboratories and Black Mirror episodes, sure, but out in the real world? As a part of everyone’s daily life?

Then, in October 28th 2021, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg – in what was part of a brilliantly-timed manoeuvre worthy of its own proper article – not only rebranded the mega-corporation as Meta, but also announced the launch of the metaverse: quite literally an immersive virtual world where users can do anything from socialise to buy virtual goods to even attend work meetings. The result of billions of Dollars’ worth of VR start-up acquisitions, the advent of the metaverse will likely result in incalculable changes to the world of digital market in the long run. While there are a ton of augmented reality apps that already mine similar territory (remember Second Life?), the $1.5 trillion-estimated metaverse market will most likely dwarf all of them in terms of marketing potential.

Prepare for the crumbling cookie

Remember Tony Soprano telling Gigi to close his laptop because cookies made him too “nervous” to be talking business around it way back in the year 2000? While themselves harmless, general (and occasionally misplaced) anxiety regarding the privacy-invasive potential of cookies have been almost as old as cookies themselves. However, for advertisers, tracking cookies in particular have proven to be a goldmine when it comes to collecting potential customer data of all kinds.

Hence, Google’s announced plans to phase out the usage of cookies in 2023 is likely to strike a large blow to extant digital marketing models, many of whom will likely have to start gradually shifting towards cohort-based (grouping by shared traits) and first-party (data collected directly from customers with their consent) targeting strategies instead. It goes without saying that those marketers smart enough to have created a repository of cross-channel, first-party data will be in a far better position to weather the impending changes. Two further major changes that the removal of cookies is likely to bring about are:

  • The widespread adoption of interoperable alternatives such as Universal ID
  • The embrace of developments made around Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC)

Zooming in on the individual profile

For those who don’t know what a CDP is, we’ll defer to the (mostly) trustworthy Wikipedia:

“A customer data platform (CDP) is a collection of software which creates a persistent, unified customer database that is accessible to other systems. Data is pulled from multiple sources, cleaned and combined to create a single customer profile. This structured data is then made available to other marketing systems.”

With the removal of cookies set to change the digital marketing landscape, many advertisers are likely to look into CDPs, particularly utilising Post Third-Party Cookies (P3PC), in order to transition from collective audience data to the profiles of individual customers. In fact, even so-called zero-party data – collected through online consumer surveys, gamification engagement and even simple brand-consumer interactions – are gaining even greater momentum. Experts predict that the integrated data of CDPs will eventually become separated into the following categories:

  • Identification
  • Description
  • Behavioural patterns
  • Opinions

This data can help marketers target their products and brands in a meaningful manner through the usage of personas that are relatable to the intended base.

SEOw us what you’ve got!

Think about it: what happens when you search for anything on Google? Chances are that you find what you’re looking for without even having to click on any link, because the search engine itself finds ways to highlight the (often effectively) summarised answer to your specific question at the very top of the page.

This is known as zero-click searching and it is one of the many benefits of Google’s ever-evolving search algorithm. Well, benefits for the average user that is, as according to the website searchmetrics, around half of all Google searches currently conclude without any clicking whatsoever. For advertisers used to relying on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), however, this increasingly common trend is likely to pose a considerable challenge in 2022. As a result, many of them are looking into effective SEO workarounds, some of which are as follows:

  • Leveraging Google My Business (GMB) profiles (using business information, contact information, website links and especially reviews) to establish rank and credibility in Google Maps’ Local 3-Pack listings.
  • Owning Google’s Search Engine Results Page’s (SERP) featured snippets by appearing in the top 10 SERPs for a particular set of target keywords. Businesses can either achieve this by utilising those keywords in creative and engaging content or by searching for high Click Per Search (CPS) long-tail keywords.
  • Utilising schema mark-ups in order to help Google display relevant company data with better context in the SERPs.

There are many more trends we can name here (the rise of conversational marketing, the increasing rise and sophistication of AIs etc.), but these are 4 trends that we suspect will significantly shape the digital marketing landscape of 2022.