Coming into 2022, many businesses were still reeling from the incredibly unpredictable and, at times, tumultuous past two years. As 2022 began to unfold, much of the world returned to what felt like a pre-pandemic normal. Many people who stockpiled funds during the early days of the pandemic were looking for ways to spend their money. Industries, such as travel and leisure, saw the highest uptick in spending, with customers ready to put their savings to good use.
However, as 2022 has continued to progress, the supply chain issues caused by the pandemic paired with global instability have created a strange landscape for businesses across industries. For digital marketing, the first half of 2022 has taught us a lot about what to expect from consumers in the days ahead and how to best prepare for the second half of the year. Take a look at what we have learned in this year’s middle-of-the-year digital marketing report.
1. Businesses Need to Invest Intelligently During Inflation Peaks
In 2021, most businesses began to see their total sales steadily increase. More and more customers felt safe leaving home, and the lack of spending that took place during the height of the pandemic led to a pendulum swing resulting in large amounts of money spent. In the earliest months of 2022, US consumers were eager to open up their wallets and spend on goods and services. With around $3.3 trillion more in savings than they had in 2019, consumers felt comfortable and secure in spending a little extra. For digital marketing, this meant that during the first half of 2022, it was imperative to invest in reaching these eager consumers with targeted ads and personalized content. However, as consumer demand for goods strengthened in force, it quickly began to overwhelm supply chains that were already strained. Paired with the spike in fuel costs, building materials, and global instability, the entire global economy has been affected. In the US alone, inflation reached nearly 8.5% in March 2022, which is the highest level seen in 40 years.
Though inflation was already an issue in the earliest parts of the year, the shift in consumer behavior trailed behind. However, today, as inflation continues to be top of mind for most consumers, behaviors are beginning to reflect their concerns. One major behavioral shift has been that more US consumers have reported a switch in brands or retailers during 2022 than at any time since the start of the pandemic. Not only that, but most of the same consumers stated that they would continue to keep switching brands citing price as their top concern.
As customers tighten back up their wallets, small businesses will need to invest intelligently in their digital marketing campaigns. During the initial stages of 2022, campaigns could focus on gaining sales from customers who were eager to spend. During the latter half of 2022, digital marketing should focus on reaching price-conscious customers. With customers more willing than ever before to switch brands based on price, companies must seize the opportunity to gain new leads through targeted promotions and to retain existing customers by showcasing their unique value or rewarding long-term loyalty.
2. Consumers Are Glued to Their Mobile Devices
The trend in digital marketing has long been shifting toward a focus on mobile devices. If the first part of 2022 is any indication of where we are going, mobile will remain central to any business’s online success.
According to 2022 cell phone usage statistics:
- 71% of Americans say they check their phones within the first 10 minutes of waking up.
- 53% say that they have never gone longer than 24 hours without their cell phone.
- 47% consider themselves “addicted” to their phones.
- 70% of Americans check their phones within five minutes of receiving a notification.
- 45% say that their phone is their most valuable possession.
- On average, Americans spend 2 hours and 54 minutes on their phones each day.
- The average American will spend nearly a month and a half (44 days) on their phones in 2022.
These numbers speak volumes about where most consumers are spending their time, and they point to the imperative need for a mobile experience.
If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, the second half of 2022 should include prioritizing this work. And if you aren’t sure whether or not your website is mobile-friendly, test it out. Make sure that no matter what page you land on, regardless of what device you are using, everything renders clearly and that all forms are easy to fill out. Not only that but now is the time to implement an SMS marketing strategy. With people continually checking their phones and reading notifications within minutes of receiving them, there is a vast amount of opportunity for companies to reach customers directly.
3. The Metaverse is Still a Hot Topic and Points to the Need for a Digital-First Strategy
If you haven’t heard of it yet, you most certainly will in the days to come. The metaverse is a hot topic across the tech and telecommunications industry. With Facebook announcing its take on the metaverse, countless companies are looking to invest in this digital and physical mashup. While your small business might not need to jump on the metaverse bandwagon just yet, the buzz around this new take on digital engagement points to a clear need: Every single company needs a digital-first strategy.
In fact, according to research by Deloitte, people are spending an increasing amount of their life socializing in digital space and engaging with digital systems, with some people stating that they now regard their virtual lives as equivalent to their physical lives. While the future of blending virtual reality into our daily lives might still feel far-fetched, there is no doubt that consumers are beginning to see digital channels as critical to their day-to-day life.
Look for practical ways your business can start to create a stronger digital presence. For example, if you are a small service business, consider implementing an online scheduling tool that allows your customers to self-schedule services with a few taps on their phones.
Make sure that you are present across social channels. While there was a time when Facebook and Instagram were only for social networking, consumers today are viewing these platforms as an extension of the real world. This is particularly true as you look to reach younger demographics who rely on digital channels for discovering new companies and for reaching out with questions.
4. Most Tried and True Digital Marketing Tactics are Here to Stay
While the start of 2022 has not been without its ups and downs, the reality is that much of what was working in the latter part of 2021 and the first half of 2022 is here to stay. Quality digital marketing tactics, while not timeless, do not require a constant overhaul. This is particularly true for local, small businesses. Showing up in organic search results for critical keywords will continue to be vital to your success. Optimizing your Google Ad campaigns to better reach your targeted audience will remain important in outpacing your competition. While 2022 will undoubtedly still hold a few surprises, much of the foundational work you have invested in over the past few years will remain central to your digital marketing success.
Continue to focus your efforts on what has been earning you leads in the first half of 2022. You might need to adjust your messaging as customers look for ways to save money, but if a channel was providing you with a steady stream of leads in the first half of 2022, it would probably continue to do so in the second half of 2022. Make sure to do a full audit of all your digital marketing strategies and focus your spend on what is performing well.
Get Ready for the Second Half of 2022
With an understanding of what has occurred in the first half of 2022, it is time to prepare for the next six months. Use the following practical suggestions for tweaking your digital marketing campaigns based on what 2022 has shown us thus far. Realistically, as inflation continues to impact consumers and their spending habits, it will be imperative for your business to do two key things:
- Retain existing customers that might be considering switching to a competitor due to pricing.
- Attract new customers who are considering leaving your competitor.
There are numerous methods for doing this, and not all of them involve dropping your prices, which is understandably a challenge as your business also battles rising costs. Consider a few of the following tactics:
- Start a brand loyalty program: Retaining your existing customers is one of the most important ways to prevent a loss in revenue. If you don’t have a loyalty program in place, consider launching one in the second half of 2022. Offering customer incentives to return to you for business is an excellent way to keep price-conscious buyers from making a switch.
- Showcase key differentiators: Most businesses cannot simply lower their prices until they beat out every other competitor. Instead of chasing price tags to the bottom of the barrel, focus your marketing strategies on showcasing what sets your business apart from the competition. While customers will undoubtedly focus on price during the latter half of 2022, you can retain and attract customers by increasing the perceived value of what they will receive from your business.
- Pay attention to your competition: During the next six months, it will be critical for you to pay careful attention to what promotions and deals your competitors are offering. With customers chasing good deals, it will be easy to lose out on valuable sales if you don’t keep your eye on what your competition is doing.
- Don’t underestimate mobile: One of the best ways to reach your customers in the days ahead is to focus on improving your mobile experience. This is an excellent way to beat out your competitors without requiring you to slash your pricing. Many customers will make the switch to your brand solely based on how easy your website is to navigate via a mobile device.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Team
The first half of 2022 has proven to hold both challenges and opportunities. At J&L Marketing, we are continually evaluating what is working well in the world of digital marketing and what needs a revamp. Our passion is helping small businesses design a digital strategy that earns more leads with less spend.
If you need help gearing up for the second half of 2022, reach out to our team. We’ll be happy to hop on a call and evaluate your current strategy while providing you with key insights into how you can ensure your business stands out in the months ahead. Contact us today to learn more.