It’s important to know the digital marketing trends of 2022 (here are ours). But the thing is, from a small business standpoint, some of them are directional trends that indicate where “mainstream” marketing is headed, but not where mainstream is currently at.
I’m looking at you, NFTs.
Now, a portion of your strategy should include preparation for the future and even some early adoption, but you also need to know what is going to bring you results now.
Like, this year.
Maybe even this week
Which is why I’ve written this guide on the 19 best marketing strategies for 2022—based on the realities of today— that will bring results now, for any business.
The 19 best marketing strategies for 2022
Here’s your table of contents:
To jump to a topic:
To jump to a strategy:
The best paid advertising strategies for 2022
It should be no surprise here that each of these paid media strategies is focused on privacy. But don’t forget about the tried-and-true best practices here, like having a strong account structure and using a cross-channel strategy (not just multi-channel).
1. Use Facebook lead ads to collect zero-party data
Third-party cookies, which are in their final days, allow ad platforms to string lots of different data together into insights—both on your audience or to provide custom audiences to target—with respect to their hobbies, occupation, income, marital status, inner thoughts and more. Just kidding on that last one (but am I?).
And if you’re thinking hey, that sounds a lot like Facebook ad targeting options, you’re right.
This is information people give out in their public profiles and activity. And as such, Facebook lead ads—where the form can auto-populate based on the user’s profile, and where a user might feel more inclined to give out that information—are suddenly more appealing now.
When given directly by the user, it’s called zero-party data—the purest and most pristine data in all the land.
You won’t know how much you don’t know about your audience until third-party cookies are gone, and by then it will be too late.
So start collecting first [and zero]-party data now. To use Facebook lead ads in this manner in 2022:
You can also use our Free Facebook Ads Performance Grader to find and fix missed opportunities.
2. Create custom Facebook Page audiences
Here’s another underdog strategy.
When creating a custom audience in Facebook Ads, you can target users based on their interaction with your sources (like your website, customer list, app activity, offline activity) after clicking an ad, or with Facebook sources (your videos, lead forms, Facebook Page, and more).
Historically, “Your Sources” has been the popular pick, but with the Facebook pixel losing power and website data losing accuracy, “Facebook Sources” are coming in for the privacy-friendly Facebook ad targeting win.
Remember, iOS users can prevent Facebook from tracking them outside of the app, so the data you see in Ads Manager is incomplete. And incomplete data can actually be worse than no data at all if it leads you in the wrong direction.
Incomplete data can be worse than no data at all if it leads you in the wrong direction.
Your best bet with Facebook advertising this year is to switch over to Facebook’s sources.
You can even retarget users who have filled out your lead form. But the Facebook Page activity option in particular is key. Here, you can treat Page visitors just as you would treat your website visitors, serving them particular ads based on whether they:
- Liked, followed, or engaged with your Page
- Engaged with any post or ad
- Clicked any CTA button
- Sent you a message
- Saved your Page or any post.
To get started, jump straight to strategy #3 in this post on lesser-used Facebook ad strategies that will give you a competitive edge and then start driving traffic to your Facebook Page.
3. Prep for expanded text ads takeoff
The ETD for ETAs is June 30, 2022 ✈️
After this day, you will not be able to edit or create new expanded text ads (ETAS), and responsive search ads (RSAs) will be the only standard search ad you can create. We cover the story here.
What this does not mean is that you should stop creating ETAs now and wait until June to run responsive search ads (RSAs).
What this does mean is that you should do these things now:
- Test and create ETAs that you want to continue running after June 30 (they’ll still run, you will just only be able to pause or run them).
- Make use of the granular reporting with ETAs while you can.
- Start running RSAs now so you can set new benchmarks.
- Learn how to pin strategically
To create ETAs, start a new responsive search ad and click where it says “Use expanded text ads instead.”
Now is not the time to sit back and watch! Prepare for the sunsetting of ETAs so you can do that when they take off for good. We cover all the ways to prepare for the sunsetting of ETAs here.
Now is not the time to sit back and watch. Put the work in now so you can do that when ETAs take off for good.
4. Run Performance Max campaigns
Performance Max campaigns jumped out of beta and into the hands of all advertisers at the end of 2021. These campaign types offer the automation benefits of Smart campaigns, the dynamic nature of responsive ads, and the multi-placement targeting of social ads—all in one.
The reason why they will be important to familiarize with in 2022 is that Smart Shopping and Local campaigns will be folded into Performance Max this year (not to mention the direction we’re inevitably headed with automation in Google Ads).
With Performance Max, you provide one set of assets (images, videos, logos, headlines, etc.) and Google will mix and match those assets to show ads across all of its channels, including Search (which includes Shopping and Local), Display, Discover, Maps, Gmail, and YouTube.
To get started, use Google’s Performance Max campaign guide (which we included in our round-up of the best Google Ads training courses for all levels).
Are you making mistakes in Google Ads? Find out with the free Google Ads Grader.
5. Improve conversion tracking with Google Ads enhanced conversions
Google is working on FLoC, but in the meantime, Google Ads has provided us with enhanced conversions. This feature provides the third-party cookie benefit of cross-device conversion tracking, without the third-party cookies. How so? Your first-party data about your website visitors (such as their email addresses and phone number) will get sent to Google (in hashed form). Google will then look for Google accounts that match that information and gather its first-party [which is cross-device] data on those users and transmit it back to you in hashed, aggregated, and anonymous form. Now you have insights on your ad clickers’ behavior (their logged in Google account behavior, at least) before and after your Google ads.
You can set up enhanced conversions manually with Tag Manager or sitewide tagging, or via API. Google provides instructions here.
The best SEO strategies for 2022
Just some general housekeeping: Creating useful, E-A-T, and fresh content that answers your audience’s questions is and always will be the best SEO strategy. Period.
6. MUMify your content
In May of 2021, Google introduced us to MUM—Multitask Unified Model. The goal of this search technology is to reduce the number of queries a person has to perform. So instead of performing multiple searches, like:
- “How to prepare to hike mount fuji,” and then
- “Mount adams vs mount fuji hiking,” and then
- “Weather in mt fuji in the fall”
…a person can ask Google a question in the same way they’d ask a human.
“I’ve hiked Mt. Adams and now want to hike Mt. Fuji next fall, what should I do differently to prepare?”
Google will then build a result that answers all of that, which could be comprised of different sources and media formats. On top of that, MUM knows 75 different languages, so if the best answer to that question is in Russian, Google can now connect that information to the searcher.
Pretty crazy, right?
And totally not something that will happen in 2022.
So why is it in this post? Because for MUM means following the same SEO best practices we’ve harped on for years. So basically, this is just a cool new way to tell you to:
- Write long-form content that targets long-tail question keywords. No, do not target complex questions like the one above. These keyword research tools will help you.
- Organize your content. Organize your H2s and H3s accordingly so Google can surface results (more on this shortly).
- Diversify your content. MUM can source answers from text, pictures, videos, and more, so create different media for evergreen topics that can start building traffic and authority now.
- Use structured data. Schema markup helps Google to clearly understand the information and information types you are providing.
- Optimize for [ 😬 cringe 😬 cringe 😬 cringe] voice search. I know I know. It’s been in every marketing trends list for the past three years. But it’s true. No one is going to type that long question above into a search bar. They’re going to speak it. So you’ve got to optimize for voice search.
7. Video schema
Speakin’ o’ schema…Google dropped two new video schema markup types in 2021: Click markup and Seek markup—the former of which allows you to create and communicate your own timestamps in your videos to Google Search results.
You’ve probably seen Clip markup in action if you’ve Googled a “how to” query and got a crazy specific video result like below:
We know that YouTube is one of the most popular social media platforms. We know that video is the way to go. And we know that schema is MUM-friendly. So video schema should be in your 2022 SEO strategy. No ifs, ands, or buts. (You may also want to check out these YouTube SEO tips.)
8. Optimize for passage ranking (sort of)
This comes from Brian Deans’ Guide to SEO in 2022 and fair warning: It’s yet another cool new 2022 way of telling you to do something we’ve been telling you to do for years.
With the passage ranking update, Google can now consider not just the relevancy of a page—but also a section of content within a page—to a given query. So all of the regular Google ranking factors still apply, but your pages now have even more opportunities to show up on the good old [and by old I mean at the leading edge of search technology] first page of Google.
The best way to optimize for passage ranking? Use your H2s and H3s to organize your post into crystal clear sections. Each of your H2s should cover a specific subtopic (which should happen naturally if your H2s are different long-tail variations on the target keyword).
Illustration inspired by Brian’s.
For example, in my post on How to Get on the First Page of Google, I have several separate sections, indicated by H2s (not all shown in the illustration above).
- Why is the first page of Google important
- Benefits of getting on the first page of Google
- How to use your website to get on the first page of Google
- How to use your business listings to get on the first page of Google
- How to get on the first page of Google [recap]
So instead of just having just one H2 with 10 H3s, I have five H2s with 10 H3s. Not only does this give me several opportunities to put the keyword in an H2, but it also 1) makes the content more digestible and 2) creates those discreet sections Brian recommends.
If you know SEO basics, you should already be doing this. But you might want to do an seo audit to find opportunities to do this elsewhere.
MUM and passage ranking just give us cool new ways of telling you to do things we’ve been harping on for years.
9. Technical SEO [the easy kind]
The content side of SEO is supreme, but with the page experience update and mobile-first indexing of 2021 and the tools we have available today, there’s plenty you can do on your own in terms of technical SEO. If you’re unfamiliar, a new set of ranking factors called Core Web Vitals came out last year with the page experience update.
Core Web Vitals in plain English:
- LCP (Largest contentful paint) = How long it takes all the visible elements on a page to load.
- FID (First input delay) = How long it takes for your site to register a user’s first tap or click on your page.
- CLS (Cumulative layout shift) = How stable the page is (i.e. are there any unexpected movements on the page like elements shifting around when you pinch/zoom/scroll, disruptive popups, etc.).
You can use Google Search Console to check your Core Web Vitals. Many of the recommendations for improving your Core Web Vitals will require a developer, but..
Here are some technical SEO optimizations for 2022 that you can do on your own:
- Compress images using a free compressor tool (Tinypng.com is my absolute favorite).
- Resize your images so they are not wider than the maximum column width of your site.
- Implement comment moderation for your blog to prevent spammy links.
You can also use the free LOCALiQ website grader to identify more opportunities to improve your website’s technical and content SEO.
Get your own SEO report (social and ads too!) with the free LOCALiQ website grader.
The best social media marketing strategies for 2022
I have one v. specific social media strategy (if you’re ecommerce), sandwiched by two v. broad social media strategies to prioritize on your list this year. You can find the complete list of 2022 social media marketing trends here.
10. Social local SEO
The thing about the vast audiences on social media is that they’re not just audiences. They’re also posting their own content, forever increasing the size of the whirlpool your content can get lost in. Organic reach just keeps getting further and further, well, out of reach.
Apart from social media advertising, a local approach is one of the best ways to stand out on social to who those who matter most to your business—whether on Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and more.
We actually have a whole course dedicated to local social media marketing but here are some starter tips:
- Treat your profiles like listings (Facebook especially—it’s one of the top online business directories).
- Add your business to Facebook Places so you (and others) can tag your location in posts.
- Use location-based hashtags on Instagram and Twitter.
- Share local news articles on Facebook.
- Share industry insights from influencers in your geographic community on LinkedIn.
Facebook is right up there with Google as one of the biggest local business directories.
11. Shoppable live streams
Now this is one of the 2022 digital marketing trends that might feel too far off to you, but it’s not. Not only is live streamed content growing, but it generates 27% more minutes of watch time per viewing than on-demand video. On top of that, Instagram—which already revolutionized the online shopping experience with shoppable posts, Stories, and Reels—launched shoppable Lives in September, making this marketing strategy easier than ever.
To create an Instagram Live Shopping session, here’s what to do:
- Set up a Facebook or Instagram shop and enable Instagram checkout.
- Make sure products are in your catalog three days before you go live.
- Tap on “Your Story,” select “Live,” and then find the shopping bag icon.
- Add products from your catalog.
- When you’re ready, go live and then use that same icon to pin items to your video.
- Save your live video—users can still shop from the saved version
You can also watch Instagram’s video tutorial here.
This capability is being developed on Facebook and is already available for YouTube Live. And this is not just for big brands. See #4 in our best of small business marketing roundup.
12. No, not TikTok
So here’s the thing about TikTok. As a social media platform, it’s big. Very big. As a social media marketing platform, it’s not all that great.
But the Tok is not going to conform to social media marketing. Social media marketing will conform to the Tok. I mean, Instagram told us over the summer that It is now looking to shift focus to “full screen, immersive, entertaining, mobile-first video” content. In other words, TikTokitize itself.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start marketing or advertising on TikTok (although if your audience includes entertainment-seeking teens with a good sense of rhythm, then yes, you do). What it does mean is you need to have a TikTok-inspired content strategy. And what does that mean?
I’ll give you one hint:
Short, entertaining content. This means:
You don’t need to market on TikTok (unless your audience fits the bill), but you do need to have a TikTok-inspired content strategy.
The best email marketing strategies for 2022
While SEO and PPC hit some turbulent patches last year, email marketing was just cruising along, living its best life. That is, until Q4 when Apple dropped the MPP bomb on us…
13. Close the door on open rates
For the uninitiated, MPP stands for Mail Privacy Protection, which rolled out with the Apple iOS 15 update. With this feature iOS users can block your ability to gather accurate open data (i.e., if, when, where, or how many times they opened your marketing emails). In short, Apple will open a user’s email, regardless—in a proxy server—so that any tracking pixels in the email download there, and not the user’s device. Then, if a user decides to open the email, they will be opening the cached version.
Email tracking software can’t distinguish between proxied and non-proxied opens. The result? Inflated open rates and missing or incorrect open data (like location, time of open, number of times opened, and more). We share iOS 15-friendly email marketing strategies here, but the key takeaways are as follows:
- A/B test elements in the body of your emails, not subject lines.
- If you do test subject lines, declare winners based on something like click-through rate or purchases (not open rate).
- Nix any email flows or dynamic content campaigns that are based on open-related data and rebuild them based on other triggers.
Proxied opens due to Mail Privacy Protection will tell you that your user opened your email even if they didn’t. Not good.
14. Email preference centers
Now we know that open data isn’t everything, but it still can tell us a lot about our audience—where they’re located, what types of content and topics they like, when they’re most likely to read your email, how frequently they want to receive emails from you, and more.
But there is a workaround. Instead of gleaning these insights, you can ask your audience themselves. When they sign up for your emails, create a preference center so you can get it directly from the [audience member]’s mouth.
You can even use them as a part of your unsubscribe flow.
15. Plain text emails
So plain text isn’t a retro trend (like the early aughts in our 2022 landing page trends). You should still send out branded, HTML emails but you should also send out a plain text version along with it. Why?
- Plain text-dependent devices are ever on the rise, like smartwatches, voice assistants, and screen readers.
- Spam filters really want to see that plain text.
- Some people do, in fact, prefer them. They’re simpler, they load faster, and you can see all of the links it contains right there in front of you.
Most email automation platforms will give you the option to generate a plain text version of your email, but you’ll still need to optimize it. Here are some tips and an image example, courtesy of Litmus:
- Use all caps or symbols to separate sections.
- Don’t add linebreaks to keep the text narrow. The text should resize to fit the screen of any device.
- Do add linebreaks to separate sections with whitespace.
- Use hyphens to create bullets.
- Keep links to a minimum.
The best content marketing strategies for 2022
The TLDR for this section? Pretend you’re a hipster content restaurant. Make lots of content. Content that is delicious-looking (attractive), easy to digest (skimmable), free of fillers (fluff and words you can’t pronounce) satisfies your readers (quality and interesting information), and suitable for different preferences and requirements (accessible). Here are three ways to make that happen.
16. Meaningful. Multimedia. Meta. ← (not the metaverse)
We know that it’s important to break up the text in your blog posts with images, but there’s a right and a wrong way to do it.
Your images should be such that if they’re the only thing the reader looks at in the post, they can still get value from it.
- Meaningful images: Nix the empty stock images and graphics in your blog posts. Your images should be such that your reader can get value if images are the only thing they look at. Illustrate the concept, visualize the data, provide a real-life example, or (my favorite) make a meme analogy.
An image depicting the surrounding text on this page, of an image depicting the surrounding text of a page. 🤯
- A multimedia approach: Don’t just use images. Add videos (maybe the short clips you created from strategy #12?), podcasts, and more to your posts (more on this in a moment). Not only do people have different preferences on different channels, but MUM is going to allow Google to surface information across multiple media formats. So you can add value now while also building SEO equity for the future.
- Meta: Sit back down, metaverse, with your augmented reality and virtual nonsense. We’re referring to just plain old SEO metadata here. Use your meta tags and schema markup to clearly spell out for Google what you’re saying and in what form. This will improve your SEO and make your content MUM-friendly.
17. Accessible & inclusive content
The other reason to use metadata? Accessibility. Title tags, H1s, H2s, and image alt text are all used by screen readers so that those with visual impairments won’t just hear what’s on a page, but understand it.
Some accessibility tips:
- For visual impairment: Use meta tags (as just mentioned), proper color contrast, and font size for those with visual impairments.
- For cognitive or reading impairments: Use images to convey information
- For hearing impairments: Include the transcripts or key takeaways of a podcast or video.
And accessibility is just one way of making your content more inclusive. You’ll also want to represent all races and abilities in not just your visuals, but in the examples and hypotheticals in your blog posts too.
18. Use Canva
Not only will multi-media content help you to store up MUM-friendly content, but it will also keep you competitive. It’s getting easier and easier to create great content these days, and the more your audience sees it elsewhere, the more they will expect it from you. Which brings me to the next strategy.
For starters, neither WordStream nor I am affiliated with Canva in any way. And I have yet to find a free tool as great as Canva (but if you know of one, let me know in the comments). Hence the super-specific strategy.
Canva is perfect for:
- Marketers who have no design experience.
- Small businesses that don’t have a designer.
- Big businesses who wish they could clone their designer (like us).
You can make everything with Canva, from email signatures and branded graphics to Facebook ads and Stories templates. And most importantly, you can mark up images with arrows, labels, and boxes so you can create those meaningful visuals I talked about above.
Good visual content is an expectation now. So it’s no longer great visuals that will make you stand out, but mediocre ones, and not in the way you want.
19. Conversational copywriting
Here’s your final marketing strategy summed up in one image:
And here it is, typed out for SEO purposes and accessibility.
One thing to avoid in 2022 is writing too formally. This means using proper grammar always. It also means not varying sentence length. It also means being repetitive, using complex or boring words, or being too serious. However, it is not hard to learn how to write conversationally. This entails going against traditional grammar, but it will help you to attract customers. Here are some ways to write conversational copy.
What’s the best way to turn off your readers in 2022?
By using corporate blady bla or writing like a robot. Clinging tightly to proper grammar (you’re gonna have to unlearn some things), using words that are either too fancy or too boring, and taking yourself too seriously. But it’s easy to get the hang of. Here are some handy tips that’ll get your readers smiling and subscribing:
- Use contractions
- Ask questions
- Vary sentence length
- Make up words
- Use interesting (not fancy) words
- Put side comments in parentheses
- Write incomplete sentences
- Start sentences with “and” and “but”
- Be friendly with alliteration, rhyming, puns, and more.
- Use emojis
We’ve got more tips on how to write like a human being here.
These are the best marketing strategies for 2022
This isn’t a list of emerging trends to keep an eye on. It’s the realities of today and exactly how to use them to your advantage. So I don’t recommend “considering” these strategies. I recommend jumping into them like your business could slip behind your competitors if you don’t. Because it will. Let’s recap with the list.
The best marketing strategies for 2022 are:
- Facebook lead ads
- Facebook Page retargeting
- ETA farewell prep
- Performance Max
- MUMified content
- Video markup
- Passage ranking
- Technical SEO
- Social for local
- Instagram Live Shopping
- Entertaining content
- Facebook Page promotion
- Goodbye open rates
- Email preference centers
- Plain text emails
- Meaningful multimedia content
- Accessible & inclusive content
- Canva for quality visuals
- Conversational copywriting
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