As marketers, we’re used to being asked to adapt and evolve, but the past 12 months has seen an unprecedented level of change.
The pandemic has forced Channel marketing to rapidly embrace hybrid working and digital transformation and that in turn has had implications on how we work, both within our teams and with external clients.
With the state of flux brought about by Covid still ongoing, you may be struggling to pinpoint exactly how to reach your target market. What can help is staying ahead of marketing trends.
HubSpot have surveyed more than 1,000 global marketing professionals across B2B and B2C to discover what strategies and tools they are using and their predictions for the 12 months ahead.
We’ve taken their research and scrutinised it with a trained Channel eye – read on to discover the marketing trends we think will be most relevant for Channel marketing in the months ahead.
More than 31% of global marketers currently invest in short-form video content. In 2022, 89% of global marketers plan to continue or increase, their investment in video.
The Essential view: Attention spans have dropped, along with their patience to read; that’s why video should now be part of every marketing strategy. There are so many reasons why video marketing is now vital.
When looking at the most effective content strategies, video marketing appears at the top before blogging or even email marketing. 59% of survey participants use video in their content marketing strategy, while 76% of marketers that leverage video call it their most effective content format. Not to mention, one in four marketers who use video (or 27%) say it's the content type that yields the biggest ROI.
The Essential view: Yes, now is the time to invest in video. Use it in a variety of ways to quickly capture attention.
50% of annual online traffic to websites comes from mobile phones and tablets so it makes sense to design your marketing with this in mind.
64% of SEO marketers call mobile optimization an effective investment and 56% of marketers who work with email are focused on delivering mobile-friendly email experiences to subscribers going forward.
The Essential view: We think this is more a trend in B2C than B2B, but it’s still essential to consider if you’re planning on investing in any web design or email campaigns in 2022.
Although many social platforms seem to be prioritising their ‘Story’ formats. The fact that the content disappears or is archived after just 24 hours isn’t appreciated by all marketers.
The HubSpot survey shows that 44% of global marketers are looking to invest in more permanent social content rather than a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ approach using platforms such as Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook stories.
The Essential view: Our top tip for success on social is that people follow people on social platforms. Although it might not seem a natural fit for B2B, it is worth getting teams onboard with sharing some more personal, yet still valuable and engaging content. Our own social analytics show that our ‘human’ content receives much more engagement than our blog and thought leadership pieces. For B2B we suggest working towards a balance of 50/50.
Businesses and consumers are putting importance on buying from socially responsible brands. Trust, care, ethics, transparency, and sustainability all now matter more than ever.
Companies that are trying to change with the times by becoming more inclusive, diverse, or environmentally aware should be proud to shout about it.
The Essential view: We’re finding more and more of our clients are putting sustainability as one of their main priorities. Looking at the environmental impact of any marketing initiatives will become increasingly prevalent in 2022.
While SEO is not new, the HubSpot survey suggests marketers are becoming increasingly aware of its importance. 28% of marketers say they currently use it. Of those, 49% call it effective, while 84% plan to invest the same amount or more into the tactic in 2022.
The Essential view: We’re surprised by some of these statistics as to us SEO is crucial – it should be central to your thinking and in the forefront of content-makers minds always. What should we say? How should we say it? How will it be seen? How will it help generate growth?
47% of marketing professionals who leverage SEO say their companies use search insights reports in their strategy and 55% said they were at least trying to optimize their content with search-driven keywords.
The Essential view: Another surprising statistic, only 47% of the marketers surveyed are doing the right thing then? Keyword optimisation is essential if you want your content to be discovered.
SEO doesn't just involve changing the text on a page. It can also involve choosing and optimising the right videos or images for a page to help it rank in Google images or search engine video carousels. Along with compressing files to increase page speeds and adding alt text to images and videos.
Currently, 53% of marketers who leverage SEO have a strategy for optimizing videos and images. Of those marketers, 49% say image and video optimization is their most effective SEO tactic.
The Essential view: Yes! Make every bit of content you create count! Add keyword-specific image titles, Alt tags and use a tool such as Tinyjpg to make sure your large file visual content doesn’t slow things down.
When other websites link to your content, Google’s algorithm takes notice. Creating shareable content that builds your authority and your backlinks could be time well spent.
Of the 48% of SEO marketers surveyed that use backlinking and link building, 63% say it’s their brand's most effective SEO tactic.
The Essential view: This is massively overlooked and underestimated. Spending time getting a decent backlink can potentially be much more beneficial than a marketing campaign.
In this age of digital transformation, it’s time to embrace inbound marketing, the process of producing quality, valuable content tailored towards your target audience. 27% of marketers surveyed say they will leverage it for the first time in 2022 while 11% of marketers say it will be their biggest investment in the next year.
The Essential view: These stats show that there is now a realisation of the benefits of Inbound and a conscious adoption of the approach and the ethos. We think this is linked to organisations starting to realise the importance of the buyer’s journey.
In 2022, 33% of marketers who haven't yet used account-based marketing plan to invest in it for the first time.
The Essential view: We’re seeing a desire to bring together sales and marketing teams with the same goal of targeting specific accounts in a specific time frame. Planned events, such as our Virtual Sales Days, have a huge part to play in meeting this goal. Strategies that warm up the audience with marketing content followed by a coordinated, concentrated effort with the wholesales team on a single day.
Of the marketers surveyed who use native ads (featuring sponsored content on a third-party website), more than 36% say it's effective, while nearly 5% say it's their top ROI-generating tactic. In 2022, 23% of marketers plan to use it for the first time.
The Essential view: We agree. Native ads are effective and cheap. Google smart and display ads are a great way to boost traffic on your website.
Google’s rankings reward you for keeping your content up to date, but you can also take old content and repurpose it in a new way. Turn a written piece into a podcast or webinar or rewrite an old blog with timely updates. One in four SEO marketers leverage historical optimization in their strategy.
The Essential view: This is a quick and easy win. What blogs can we update today?
48% of companies with a content marketing strategy blog, 56% of them say it's effective and 10% say it's the content type that generates the biggest ROI.
The Essential view: Blogs are necessary as part of your long-term strategy; they will help increase organic traffic to your website over time and allow you the freedom to express your experience and expertise over a number of subjects. Blogs are core to every marketing strategy.
Longer-form case studies offer prospects an incredibly deep and exclusive look into how people or brands benefit from a product, service, or strategy. 64% of marketers who create case studies found them effective and 15% said they brought the biggest ROI of the content formats they leveraged.
37% of marketers polled plan to use case studies in their marketing strategy for the first time in 2022.
The Essential view: Yup! Spend time and effort on creating high-quality case studies. They’re particularly useful for B2B marketing where you want to share your knowledge, skills and expertise.
If a picture paints a thousand words, infographics could paint at least double according to HubSpot.
38% of marketers plan to leverage infographics for the first time in 2022, while 45% of marketers are already using them.
The Essential view: Double Yup, these need only be simple, yet engaging statistics to catch the eye.
A whopping 70% of marketing professionals currently use automation. Meanwhile, 33% of marketers who don't use automation plan to implement it in 2022.
40% of marketers who use automation leverage chatbots and that figure is only set to grow in 2022.
The Essential view: Applying some time and effort to your chatbot conversation scripts can yield you more leads.
Just as marketers are getting used to GDPR regulations, companies like Google and Apple are now taking stands for user data as well.
In 2022, Apple will finish rolling out another IOS update with additional email privacy protections features for Apple Mail users. Meanwhile, Google will be discontinuing the use of third-party cookies on Chrome, while encouraging advertisers to leverage its Privacy Sandbox instead.
Businesses who leverage personal data to run campaigns will need to create alternative strategies and pivot plans in case they lose access to crucial datapoint.
The Essential view: Data is no.1. The important and biggest key is to continue to use data to inform better and intelligent decision-making. The more insight you can get the better.
As the world becomes increasingly digital, getting your brand noticed is crucial. Excellent SEO should no longer be considered an afterthought but a priority.
The web and social media are becoming increasingly congested spaces and only quality, engaging, shareable content will stand out. Don’t just take a tick the box approach to content creation but really work out why, how and for who you are creating. Start with data to help inform your content plan, look for keyword opportunities, popular content, trends, and gaps. Test your ideas.
Launch content in a variety of channels and a variety of ways. Use video, infographics, blog and offer downloads.
Cover all the stages of your buyer’s journey, providing a path and make it easy for your buyers to make a decision. Then, end with data. How did you do? How can you improve next time? What new opportunities are there?
The job of the marketer is never done but the most important thing of all is to make sure you are always learning!
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