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Analytics and social listening

According to Beth Morris, Programme Leader for BA Digital Marketing at Chester Business School, 2022 will be an interesting year for the digital advertising industry.

While there are still some uncertainties about life after the eventual (and lingering!) demise of third-party cookies, advertisers recognise the value of high-quality first-party data. In 2022 we will see further investment in first-party data management and analytics as part of social listening and tracking user identity. The benefits of high-quality data ownership will be felt throughout the customer journey. As we move from hyper-targeted advertising towards broader contextual approaches there will be a greater battle for audience attention. The more high-quality insight advertisers have the better they can develop relevant and distinct creative.

Data and personalisation

Senior Lecturer in Marketing, Julie Marshall predicts that intelligent use of first-party data will help brands develop deeper, more meaningful connections with customers.

Alongside diversity, inclusivity, well-being and value for money, nostalgia and a sense of belonging are part of a collective longing for today’s consumers, prompted by pandemic life. The nostalgia narrative will continue to position brands from soft drinks and fast food to cosmetics and confectionary.  Marketers must continue to earn consumer trust to stimulate strategically valuable User Generated Content (UGC), especially as the trend for consumer belief-buying drives reposting and mentions.  To mitigate pandemic-weary customers venting to social communities, marketing agility is key, through prompt, responsive, empathic and personalised social customer service.

Short-Form Content

The pandemic world has been characterised by the rise of polarised social media tribes, activism and misinformation. As we socially distanced and worked from home, we have grown to expect seamless omnichannel experiences. We are spending more time on social media and consuming live audio and video.

Final year Digital Marketing student, Joe Donoghue notes that as platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, Google, LinkedIn, and Pinterest expand their short-form offerings, brands are continuing to take notice. According to HubSpot’s 2022 Marketing Industry Trends Survey, it was revealed that more than half of marketers (51%) who use short-form video plan to increase their investment in 2022. Meanwhile, 38% plan to continue investing the same amount.

Business School alumnus and mentor, Joe Kelly, now External Communications Manager at Community Integrated Care expects more brands to create the consumable-sized, creative short-form video content currently dominated by micro-influencers. 

The Metaverse

Dr Alex Fenton Head of Centre for Professional and Economic Development predicts an acceleration of the Metaverse agenda in 2022.

A record number of cheap and advanced VR headsets being sold last year, and virtual world platforms are continuing to rise as we migrate from 2D social experiences of text, images and video to more interactive and 3D experiences. Likewise, the massive rise in blockchain and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) offers great potential for innovation and marketing experiences. The continued rise of a networked society through disruptive technologies will cause a further shift in the way we think about reaching and engaging new and global audiences.

Ultimately, marketers increasingly need to keep their finger on the pulse with digital maturity of audiences, evolving disruptive technologies as tribes and companies keep pushing the boundaries of what’s possible online. Advanced tools for capturing and utilising data for personalised messaging, building social capital with audiences and experiences through more interactive experiences will be critical. 

Hybrid lifestyles

Business School alumna and mentor Zuzana Mihalikova, now Digital & Product Marketing Executive at ChargePoint Technology, flags the growing phenomenon of hybrid working and events mixing virtual and physical realities. These present transformative user experiences and marketing power to reach larger audiences and niche communities.  Joe Kelly adds how hybrid working is giving direct mail more cut through than ever before. “I’m hearing more about organisations exploring using direct mail for the first time, from ‘handwritten’ letters to fully immersive packs using AR”.

Beyond the workplace, according to According to Social Media Specialist at RSK Group, Hannah Jarrett, who is also an alumna and mentor of the Business School, younger audiences are prioritising their digital life over in-person experiences. This will keep marketers agile in staying relevant.

Shoppable ads & privacy

With screen time still high, in part due to the pandemic and restrictions on social activity, Jane Martin, Programme Leader for BA Marketing Management predicts that we will see an increase in ‘shoppable ads.’

Actionable or shoppable ads have contributed to the increase in E-commerce over the last couple of years and will continue to do so as people are increasingly able to buy products directly when accessing social media posts and channels and when watching TV shows. As a result, brand story telling will be a crucial aspect of developing these ads and consumers will be looking for a more immersive experience. Brand related content will need to be more meaningful particularly as the Metaverse is growing offering more opportunities for social connection and therefore more outlets for shoppable advertising. 

This will lead to an increased need for privacy and improvements in data protection strategy for companies selling their brands. As E-commerce increased online during the pandemic, so did the concerns about online safety, as reports emerged of unscrupulous operators taking advantage of vulnerable people and those having to isolate, thus relying on online shopping. Consumers will need to feel more secure, so it will be essential for companies to build trust with their prospective clients and ensure that buying platforms offer more security for their customers.

We will continue to have a growing interest in climate literacy and sustainability in marketing. Brands will need to up their game and offer consumers more easily accessible information about how they are meeting the climate change and sustainability agenda.


Whatever 2022 has in store for marketers, the fundamentals of our discipline remain constant. Current marketing practices are enabled through innovative technologies but driven by consumer needs. Those that endure will be the ones that our consumers value the most.

If you would like to discuss anything in this post, or are interested in our courses please email us:

BA Digital Marketing  please email Beth Morris

BA Marketing Management please email Jane Martin

MSc Digital Marketing please email Karl Sinnot

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