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2022 is over, so what did we learn?

Well, that’s it - another year bites the dust, and we say hello to 2023.

Although 2022 was the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, that's not to say it was any less eventful as its two predecessors.

After the global train wrecks that were 2020/2021, it’s safe to say that we all entered the year with bated breath, watching vaccine updates through our fingers. But a lot happened. Rewind a year: Boris’s secret cheese and wine party remained under the rug, Putin’s attack was conjecture, and the Queen was still with us.

Millions of lives became consistently busier in 2022, and marketers were no exception. While the world raced back into full swing after its two-year hibernation, marketing branched off in new directions but clung onto old trends.

An unpredictable economy = higher demand for marketing

While the pandemic may have settled down, the economy certainly hasn't. Last year certainly did a number on the state of inflation, as the market experienced the most dramatic rise in a long time. With interest rates rising almost everywhere and the cost of living almost doubling, there’s no other way to say it: the financial sh*tstorm has officially hit.

Although, discounters are having a field day with these rising numbers, (with Aldi feeding an extra 1.5 million UK households last year (Marketing Week, 2022)).

So with an increasingly competitive market, many businesses have gone back to the marketing drawing board.

Within this economic uncertainty it was time for marketing to shine, and shine it did:

  • Short form video continued to skyrocket
  • Influencer marketing became more valuable, niche, and collaborative
  • 'Funny' and 'interactive' content proved to be the most effective, generating the most engagement
  • Duolingo demonstrated some head-turning marketing
  • Facebook generated the highest ROI
  • Social media continued to be the most successful marketing channel
  • 80% of marketers returned back to the office

Economic struggles and illegal wine parties aside, let’s further explore some of these successful trends and campaigns which reigned 2022. 

Short form video is here to stay. Probably forever.

Short form video took the lead in terms of best content marketing format for the third year in a row. TikTok has nestled itself rather comfortably as the most used video content platform, with 6 out of 10 marketers now using it to inform, educate, and entertain (HubSpot, 2022).

And according to HubSpot's 2022 Inbound State of Marketing Trends Report:

'While marketers are most likely to use content that matches their brand identity or industry, the most effective posts are 1) funny and 2) interactive.'

Short form video was born to be funny and interactive - so it's no wonder that it's taken the lead in becoming such a successful marketing dynamic.

Of course, there’s still a gap for more businesses to jump on the bandwagon here, and we expect to see this number rising further in 2023.

Let’s also not forget that many people went back into the office in 2022. 80% of marketers are back to the office now. We've returned to a new state of ‘normality’ – meaning video content creation is more free flowing, and less restricted.

It's a stubbornly successful trend that's not budging anytime soon.

Influencer marketing shifts

The marketing world also witnessed a shift in influencer content. The value of influencer marketing has increased considerably. Influencers started to collaborate with each other, forming a relationship with brands. Double the influencers, double the value of your content.

We also saw a rise in niche influencers, with social media enthusiasts realising that they (as so-called ‘normal’ people,) could become influencers simply just by producing well-polished content regularly.

This meant there were more influencers for niche markets. And by filling these gaps in more unique markets, influencers became self-branded businesses themselves. This begs the question - will influencers start out-competing with the brands they started out representing?

The future of marketing? Languages + dragons

One of the best marketing moves of 2022? The marketing partnership between Duolingo and HBO. The most popular language learning app teamed up with the Game of Thrones spin off, House of the Dragon. No, you’re not still nursing your New Year’s Day grogginess, you read that right. An unlikely combination, but a highly innovative and successful one.

HBO's House of the Dragon was already popularised by fantasy giant Game of Thrones - so it was a highly anticipated arrival for die hard fans. In fact, 10 million viewers tuned into watch HBO's newest show. They developed 'High Valryian' (the Westeros lingo) into it's very own course on their app.

Although they had already developed this in 2017, it had undergone several updates as the years rolled on. In 2022 they released their shiniest new update of the course, which aligned nicely with the show-stopping House of the Dragon premiere in August. This absolutely blew up, as Duolingo had successfully reached a crossover of audiences which happened to be a large population of both House of the Dragon fans and mobile language learners. HBO provided the entertainment, while Duolingo allowed fans to become even more deeply immersed in the fantasy world.

They even worked with the Game of Thrones language-creator David Peterson to develop the newest version of the app. A whopping 514,000 users have enrolled in actively learning High Valyrian (Duolingo, 2022).

So how can we speak the same marketing language as Duolingo?

Well, in it's own unique way, this partnership acted as a type of back to back influencer marketing which made heads turn. And in unison with it’s humorously entertaining TikTok channel (which was already funnelling a broad audience), they managed to pull off one of 2022's greatest marketing strategies.

According to Duolingo's Business Developer George Audi:

"We know content drives interest in language. Our data shows a direct correlation between user growth and what's happening in the cultural zeitgeist, from K-Pop to Eurovision, and various international shows and movies." 

The takeaway from 2022 

According to the HubSpot 2022 marketing report:

"The best, maybe only, way to create this future-proof marketing is by creating a really good online presence with amazing content and a well-structured, privacy-oriented, data collection strategy"

Essentially, the key takeaway from the (very recent) history of digital marketing is that marketers are more likely to focus more on quality content, over the quantity of content produced. Just like every year that’s come before it, 2023 is set to generate another interesting shift in the fast-moving conveyor belt that is digital marketing.

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