What should marketers look at? Top 3 trends I observed at AdWorld 2022
In a nutshell:
It has been the longest two years since I attended a conference due to the pandemic. It was definitely an eye-opener when we beamed virtually into AdWorld 2022, the biggest marketing conference joined by 25,000+ marketers from 160 countries to learn and discuss trends that will impact the marketing world in 2022. Yes, there was the hype about “metaverse”, “NFT” and “Web3.0”. But beneath the hype was a quiet consensus about these three themes that were repeatedly echoed by presenters.
Metaverse is about building a virtual community.
Since the announcement of the Facebook’s rebranding to Meta, the search interest in the term “metaverse” surged tremendously since October 2021. Forbes called it a “very big deal” for the world. Companies rushed into the space with brand collaborations at Decentraland and building virtual experiences in the Sandbox. Ultimately, as many marketers shared in Adworld 2022, it is really the community that matters.
“Any brand can win in any channel if they focus on and know exactly who their audience is and what they care about.” Kipp Bodnar
Short-form content is the way to go.
It is obvious where marketers are looking at in the months to come. Out of the many presentations, more than 50% of the presentations shared on how you can capitalise on TikTok. Marketers spoke about the rise of TikTok and how marketers can create “thumb-stopping” content that will capture every audience. Hardly, do you hear anyone talking about the usual FIT (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) anymore. It’s just SEO and TikTok.
Consumers’ attention span has decreased drastically from minutes to just 8 seconds. If there is something you want to say, that’s all you have to capture anyone’s attention. TikTok, as an entertainment platform, often providing these “instant gratification” moments that reward consumers with what they want to see over and over again. The question for brands is how you can also provide such gratification while building a following.
Brand owners will need to learn how to move at the “speed of culture” to capture the latest trends and happenings to get in touch with the community. This means creating shorter content that is aligned with what is happening. You need to get the pulse quickly. Short-form content is the way to go.
It’s going to be mobile-first
There seems to be an app for everything these days. This is not a new concept. People are spending 4.8 hours of their entire day on mobile phone usage. This is one-third of the waking time of an average person. Google has pushed for the “mobile-first” strategy since 2010 to emphasise the shift from desktop to smartphone. Marketers will need to consider how their brands will present themselves to consumers on mobile-first. Marketers will also need to consider how they can continuously be ranked on the first page of search engines.
To rank on the first page of search engines, marketers will need to understand consumers, find out what their needs are and what stage of purchase funnel are consumers currently at. Take, for example, a consumer searching for “different colours of Nike Air sneakers” is a very different consumer as compared to someone else searching for “different types of sneakers”. If you are Nike, you would want to show two different types of results to these two consumers. All these are happening on mobile (they could be sitting in a café or walking around a shopping mall) and marketers will need to consider how to optimise their content for the different types of consumers along the customer’s journey.
So these are the three trends that marketers are talking about in 2022. Of the three, mobile-first is not exactly new. It has been there since 2010 but it takes a mindset shift for organisations to shift their approach from “fixed” (desktop) to “anywhere” (mobile). Consumers are more conscious about their data today and this presents a new set of challenges for marketers to design a mobile-first strategy that understands the customers’ journey deeply.
The metaverse is still a mystery to the wider community, with many barriers to entry. It is yet to be seen if it will actually take off. With Web 3.0 coming onboard, this mystery will unfold and marketers will need to jump on this bandwagon earlier than expected.
Another challenge for marketers would be to tell stories in a much shorter time span with the rising expectations of short-form content. Consumers are bombarded with so much attention-grabbing information in a minute (see below). Marketers will need to continuously find ways to stand out and show what they need to represent in mere seconds.
So, if you are a marketer who is only focused on doing the content, you are missing the forest for the trees. Clearly, the direction is about doing the right content, for the right person, at the right time and at where the person is at. That is where marketing is heading towards.