To successfully compete in the world of ecommerce, 2022 we will see more brands gearing up their content to be visual search ready; Image: Shutterstock
If 2020 was the year of adapting to the new normal to survive, 2021 was the year of resilience—when humanity pulled itself together to overcome challenges and hardship to bounce back. Over the last 20 months, we saw the emergence of trends that were more expedient. Decades worth of technological innovations took place in a few short months to keep pace with evolving consumer needs. Some trends were accelerating, rapidly after the initial Covid-19 outbreak and they continued to grow even after the lockdown (such as adoption of ecommerce, education technology and video streaming), while others (such as online fitness coaching) were more transient. Notwithstanding Omicron, I would like to believe 2022 will be a more hopeful year. My predictions of the trends are based on my understanding of the environment as it is today.
1. Television ads will be hyperlocal
With the rapid adoption of content streaming and connected TV in metros and mini-metros, adtech companies had to develop technologies that allow sharper and smarter ad targeting. In 2022, we will see the emergence of one such adtech—addressable TV. Once launched in India, it will allow advertisers to serve different ads to different households based on their pincodes. For the first time in the history of television commercials, brands will have the opportunity to customise their story based on hyperlocal insights, making television commercials more relevant for their audiences.
2. Live content will be the leading social media format
Consumers today want relatable and authentic content from brands. Live video streams and audio chat rooms offer an unparalleled opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences authentically. Brands that rely on social media will leverage these uncensored and authentic environments to creatively interact with their consumers through audio or video-led live streams. Apart from content, we will see brands using interactive features such as hand raising and dialogue-based ads to create a more personal bond with their consumers.
3. Brands will invest more in influencer commerce
In 2021, brands adopted short-form platforms
such as Instagram Reels and Moj that garnered millions of views through influencer-led campaigns. In 2022, big brands will take short-form videos a step forward and invest in influencer commerce as an alternative strategy to acquire new customers. Especially from Tier 2 cities and beyond, where these platforms are popular due to the relatability of the content. Though nascent at present, an industry report predicts that live commerce in India will clock a gross merchandise value of $4-5 billion by 2025. While there are already a few live commerce platforms, in 2022, we will also see a rise in vertical-specific platforms. Myntra
has recently launched its live commerce platform, M-Live, to facilitate fashion and beauty brands to interact with their customers via relevant influencers.
4. The persuasive power of voice will become the key driver of “yes”
With an increasing number of users adopting voice-enabled interfaces—connected TVs, smart speakers and wearables—we will see a rise in the integration of voice technology across multiple points in the consumer journey. From local language podcasts to audio-only social networks to conversational ads on audio and video streaming platforms
to voice-enabled feedback and surveys—the power of voice that persuades people to say yes to requests will be leveraged to improve the overall customer experience.
5. Visual search tactics will gain popularity with online shoppers
Though visual search has been around for a while now, it was not until recently that it could become a top digital marketing
trend. As consumers are increasingly adopting online shopping, visual browsing through apps, such as Instagram, has become a major source of shopping inspiration, especially for categories such as fashion. This has led to a sudden need for visual search. Visual search allows users to upload a picture of the desired item on an ecommerce site and find the same or a similar product instantly with the click of a button. To successfully compete in the world of ecommerce
, 2022 we will see more brands gearing up their content to be visual search ready.
6. More creative use of existing entertainment and communication platforms
From using WhatsApp’s broadcast list function to roll out brand dramas to using YouTube’s report button to create awareness about important social issues, we have seen brands using existing platforms innovatively to tell their story. In 2022, we will see more stories being told using platform features creatively to break the clutter and drive engagement in platforms where consumers are already present in large numbers.
7. Metaverse will be a point of conversation and awe
I can see many marketing forums and advertising articles covering the metaverse and inspiring a lot of awe, but I do not yet see many brands adopting it in a hurry. It will be a significant investment that will need a lot more understanding and thinking before we see the initial few case studies from India. Personally, I am fascinated and want to work on a metaverse project in 2022.
While predicting trends is always difficult, predicting them in an era marked by unpredictability is even more difficult. But I am certain that no smart and new-age marketing tactic will get us desired business outcomes if we do not obsess about making every interaction relevant and relatable for consumers.
Oindrila Roy is Head of Strategy, India at Essence, a global data and measurement-driven media agency that is part of GroupM. Views expressed are personal.
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