In a matter of years, digital marketing has gone from a novelty to something that nearly every business relies on. People no longer use the internet to research products or services - they use it to make buying decisions.

Online shopping is growing at an alarming rate. According to data released by the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce , US retail e-commerce sales for the fourth quarter of 2021 were $ 218.5 billion. A 1.7 percent increase from the third quarter of 2021. The value of total e-commerce sales for the year 2021 was estimated at $ 870.8 billion.

Consumers are using the internet to buy things. They look to search engines like Google and Bing for advice in making purchasing decisions every day. Consumers rely on Google for product recommendations!

This is why you need to be prepared to keep up with all of the changes coming down the pipeline. If you don't, your competitors will surpass you in no time! This article looks at some of the biggest shifts in digital marketing and how they will impact your business.

Why is digital marketing important in 2022?

Digital marketing is more important than ever. As the world continues to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, many brick-and-mortar businesses are struggling and forced to close their physical locations. Digital marketing has helped businesses stay afloat by allowing them to connect with customers online and drive sales through e-commerce channels.

Digital marketing has also become a go-to advertising strategy for B2B companies that need to fill sales funnels and generate leads.

The following are digital marketing trends that will impact your business:

AI-powered automation in Digital Marketing

The digital marketing landscape is always evolving, and we're rapidly approaching an era of AI-powered automation. If you're not aware of this trend in digital marketing, you're already behind the curve.

According to Oberlo , the number of businesses that have adopted AI has grown 270% over the last four years. This trend is expected to grow over the coming years - nearly half of industry experts believe that AI will significantly impact the future of marketing.

But why? What's driving this rapid growth in AI adoption?

According to the report, benefits include:

  • Reduced expenditure on manual tasks
  • Better engagement with customers

Improved management Automation isn't always about replacing humans with machines. It's about using data to optimize people - their time and productivity.

In other words, using automation tools can help your employees become more efficient. For example, when a customer service rep answers a query over chat, the system can use that information to flag future instances of similar queries that can be answered automatically. That way, your team doesn't have to operate the ticketing system 24/7/365, but they'll still be able to answer common questions at any time.

AI-powered automation has become mainstream in many industries, including banking and finance. This means that it's only a matter of time before your customers begin to expect an automated experience from your business.

More focus on real-time data in Digital Marketing

The biggest change we've seen in digital marketing is focusing on real-time data and analytics to support decision-making. The Internet of Things (IoT) has made that possible through sensors embedded into products, wearables, and other devices - such as a Fitbit or Nest device to track user behaviors. 

For example, if you have a Nest thermostat, it can sense when you typically leave for work and turn down the heat, so you're not wasting energy throughout the day. Knowing this type of information allows marketers to make better decisions about how they can reach out to consumers at a moment's notice with relevant content that is most likely to appeal to them.

All of your data was collected for a future date in the past. Maybe it was collected for next month's board meeting or next quarter's budgeting process. The problem with this is that by the time you have access to important data and insights about your customers' interests, thoughts, and needs - it's too late. You've missed out on an opportunity to connect with them in real-time and add value to their lives.

In the future (which is now), companies will be able to collect data in real-time, which will allow them to respond faster and more efficiently than ever before. Companies will be able to adapt quickly to what their customers need at the moment - whether that means sending them an email, text message, or social media post with helpful information that addresses their needs right away.

Greater emphasis on video content

There is an explosion in the number, type, and quality of video ads, and they're working. Videos account for up to 52% of all mobile traffic.

People also retain more information from video than from written text. Studies show that people remember about 95% of a message presented through video versus 10% when it's presented in writing. This is why YouTube is the second-largest search engine behind Google.

Businesses that aren't taking advantage of this trend are missing a huge opportunity to engage their audience and drive sales.

Accelerated SEO and SEM strategies

Most brands have an SEO or SEM strategy in place. With mobile search continuing to dominate the market, there is a tremendous opportunity to capitalize on a new wave of traffic - particularly if you're taking advantage of Google's update that favors mobile-friendly sites.

To ensure your brand is outranking competitors and appearing in relevant searches, consider investing in paid keyword campaigns to increase visibility and build out your organic search strategy by doing more content marketing. Content has been proven to boost rankings, so creating helpful "how-to" guides or engaging product descriptions can help you get found by buyers who might not find you otherwise.

Digital Marketing shift to mobile-responsive designs

Some years back, Google made headlines with its Mobilegeddon update . The search engine giant's algorithm change gave priority to websites that were optimized for mobile viewing. If your site wasn't mobile-friendly, you could see a significant drop in search rankings, translating into fewer visitors and lower conversion rates. Your website may have survived Mobilegeddon, but there's no reason to rest on your laurels.

Mobile browsing surpassed desktop usage for the first time in 2016, so if you haven't made the switch to a fully responsive website, you're living in the past.

Responsive design allows your site to adjust for whatever device your visitors are using automatically. With more than 50 percent of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, you need a responsive site to stay relevant.

Incorporating voice search into your Digital Marketing strategy

Voice search is already a growing trend. This year, it's expected to be even more popular as consumers use their devices to find answers, directions, and other information. As a result, businesses that have not yet incorporated voice search into their digital strategies should do so.

Voice searches are typically longer than those typed into traditional search engines. They're also in conversational language, which means that many people will not use keywords and instead ask questions. This means that you may need to consider updating the content on your website to account for voice searches.

For example, if you're in the restaurant business, you may need to add FAQs and other content that will help consumers find you when they ask questions like "where's the best Italian restaurant?" or "which restaurants are open late tonight?"

You'll also need to update your listings on Google My Business and other services that show up in voice searches. Ensure your hours are correct and provide as much information about your business as possible.

Increased use of smart speakers

Smart speakers continue to gain popularity in homes and businesses across the country. In the second quarter of 2021, Amazon sold over 10 million smart speakers , while Baidu and Google shipped about 7 million speakers.

This makes it more important for businesses to focus on voice search optimization. Companies must be prepared for potential customers to ask questions about their products or services using natural language through devices such as Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod, and more.

What does digital marketing consist of?

Digital marketing is a catch-all phrase that describes online strategies to attract and convert customers. In other words, it's the methods you use to get people to buy things from you.

The exact tactics you use will depend on your business model, the products you sell, and your goals for growth. However, these are the most common types of digital marketing:

  • Paid search ads. These are text-based ads that appear at the top or bottom of search engine results pages. They usually include a link to a landing page on your website where people can learn more about your offer and click through to convert.
  • Paid social ads. These are similar to paid search ads, but they appear on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter instead of Google. E-commerce merchants often use them to expand their reach beyond organic social posts and attract new followers with discounts or sales promotions.
  • Webinars. Webinars are online seminars typically hosted by an expert in a particular field or industry who offers tips and advice to attendees over video chat software. Some webinars offer special discounts or promotions for attendees who convert.
  • Email marketing campaigns. Email marketers use email software like MailChimp to send personalized emails designed to get more people interacting with their business. It's a proven way to increase engagement and boost sales, but marketers also worry about email fatigue - people getting tired of receiving promotional emails and unsubscribing from them.

Conclusion 

The digital marketing changes we've discussed here impact businesses of all sizes and are ultimately here to stay. The better you understand digital marketing trends, the more prepared you will be to capitalize on them and avoid any potential pitfalls that may come from implementing by-the-seat-of-your-pants strategies. As the digital marketing landscape shifts, businesses can prepare for these shifts by staying on top of new trends and adapting their strategies accordingly.