Digital trends and innovations for 2022
Somebody asked me today: ‘What are the new digital innovations I should be aware of for 2022?’
So I thought: I’ll write up a summary as a post.
For ease I have organised the points in the order of the RACE customer lifestyle framework (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage). Some of the areas aren’t brand new for 2022 but carry-overs from 2021; but they’re still important areas to touch on here.
Privacy and 3rd party cookies
A biggy for 2022 as Google plans to phase out the 3rd party cookie on the Chrome broswer to give us more privacy protection and control over how our data is used.
Firefox and Safari have already phased out 3rd party cookes (since 2013).
A disaster for digital marketing?
Let’s be clear – this is not about First party cookies (the cookie that tracks a visitors behaviour while on your site), so we’re ok for reading site traffic statistics on GA. But what you won’t be able to do is to track visitors on other websites.
As an advertiser you now won’t be able to track your visitor’s online behaviour outside of your own site (websites they visit, purchases and interests they have). So Google Remarketing may be an issue. Also targeting for GDN prospecting ad campaigns. So quite a major impact!
A major impact but not a total surprise right? We all know about the October 2019 ruling by Europe’s highest court re GDPR and sites now having to now explicitly (rather than the current implicit) ask for consent to cookies when arriving on a site.
Not totally. Google has been talking about a ‘Privacy Sandbox’, allowing data to be shared by anonymously, keeping the information ‘on-device’ only. So targeting will still be possible.
Also we have already been living with Firefox and Safari not allowing 3rd party. But Chrome does still account for over 50% of traffic.
Maybe consider using older ways of targeting, like contextual.
For now, keep an eye out for developments on this over the next few months.
Organic search and Google core updates
Google’s AI ranking software launched in 2015 is likely to become more important in the algorithms for 2022 with its focus on good UX. So make sure to focus efforts on building engaging site content and optimise key UX metrics like session times, bounce and pages visited.
As part of this you need to move to ‘long form content’ with pages and posts being 3000 words or more. As an article in MOZ points out it can also have other benefts:
- Drive traffic
- Build authority and credibility
- Add value to a website as a whole
- Generate links and brand awareness
Not only that but as the MOZ report shows long form content is usually better at generating links.
Google’s updates can seriously affect your ranking performance. An article from Search metrics shows significant traffic differences from the July 2021 Core updates.
But also take a look at the Google Search Central Blog page for updates, and take a read of this particular page about the importance and rules of content.
Mobile, mobile, mobile
Ever since Google launched ‘mobile first indexing’ in 2019 having a strong mobile channel has proved critical for SEO. Use Google’s Mobile Useability Report to assess your current mobile performance.
Content, content, content
Google, and a number of my past blogs, have emphasised the amount and quality of content as a key driver for SEO. Google uses the expression ‘EAT’, which is expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.
A great aproach here is to create user personas. Then you can focus each piece of content on a single persona ensuring it directly targets their interests, shopping habits and profile.
For EAT to work, make sure you back up your claims with research references and use authoritative sites to link to – thereby adding further credibility for Google.
SEO and opportunities from Structured Data and SERPS
SEO can make a step change to your business, and remember it’s not just about the low cost of traffic, but its quality and ability to convert. Google’s search algorithms are continuously becoming smarter and more contextual, meaning it’s less about tricking Google to achieve ranking but more on providing good and meaningful content to users.
An example is changes to page titles used for SERPS where Google reads associated content, not just the search query and the title given on the page. The bottom line is: write high quality, engaging, relevant content.
Paid Search Machine Learning
Some see the application of AI as reducing control and they are right to question the ROI. But I think businesses should embrace Machine Learning and develop the skills to understand it.
For example, Google’s Smart Bidding can help manage bidding across large product inventories on Google Shopping.
Designing for speed
With the now dominant device for browsing sites being mobile and the clear relationship between speed and monetising your site (see The important of page speed) , particularly given Google’s new Core Web Vitals report, you need to make mobile UX a top priority for 2022.
A market estimated to be $13.8 billion in 2021 and set to continue growing, with big brands using such as Adobe, SAP, GE and PWC.
Video as a channel just grows every year. More and more sites offer product explainer videos which not only drive SEO (helping to drive the above mentioned UX metrics key to ranking) and purchase conversion rates, but these same videos can be used as pre-roll for Youtube ads and assets on Social.
This is sometimes perceived narrowly as chatbots which have their place, but have not proved popular with end-users because generally, the AI is not intelligent enough and human-assisted chat and sales support has proved more practical in practice.
Using ‘dark patterns’ as econsultancy details.
This area can reflect badly on the brand as ways to drive CRO at the expense of good UX practise. E.g. Amazon prompting new customers who check out with a default order qualifying for free shipping.
This area wrestles with user privacy.
But 80% of frequent shoppers will only shop with brands who personalize their experience.
So therefore it’s important to explain the value proposition of data collection and reassure consumers about privacy to get that healthy balance of collecting personal data to improve the shopping experience.
Accordling to Absolunet 87% of e-commerce shoppers believe social media helps them make a shopping decision and 1 in 4 business owners are selling through Facebook.
Social, even when analytics shows a weak link between clicks and conversions, should always have a place as part of the digital channel mix.
Email lifestyle and behavioural segmentation
Email can be used throughout the 4 stages of RACE. Here’s a great graphic (below) from Smart Insights of the different messages possible along the journey.
A fascinating area of lifecycle email marketing which can be automated based on the user’s behaviour on the website and to the previous email.
LinkedIn continues to grow
Remember to try and include in your B2B channel mix given its popularity.
756 million members and 56 million businesses. 30 million users in the UK.
Drop me a comment below if you want to contribute to the article.
Thanks for reading. Matthew.