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Top digital trends that will dominate in 2022

The accelerated transition to digital during the pandemic period has brought about several changes in the way people work, conduct their business operations, connect, carry out financial transactions, shop, consume content.

After two years of pandemic-influenced growth, digital is poised for another blockbuster year. According to GroupM’s ‘This Year Next Year 2021’ report, digital advertising accounted for 64.4% of all advertising in 2021, up from 60.5% in 2020. Alphabet, Meta and Amazon account for 80-90% of the global total.

Adgully spoke to a cross-section of industry experts to find out about the key trends that will dominate Digital in 2022.

Shrenik Gandhi, CEO and Co-founder, White Rivers Media:

“Birth of the Internet gave way to the Age of Websites, which witnessed the rise of league players such as Google, Yahoo and Amazon. Web 2.0 was brought along by social networking sites, such as Facebook and YouTube, and the user-generated content that was being published on them.

Next in line is Web 3.0; an Internet, where services will run on blockchain and ownership of data will be decentralised. As far as these predictions go, publishers and advertisers will gradually establish independent CDPs, DMPs, and unique audience identifiers to benefit brand partners.

In 2022, social commerce and livestream shopping will become mainstream, while contextual targeting will be more sophisticated than ever before. Driven by MarTech innovations, advertisers will be able to achieve new milestones in personalisation of content, be it in any format.

Virtual spaces and experiences are predicted to set the tone for digital-first brands in 2022. Consumers are increasingly dabbling with opportunities to own, build, and grow assets in the digital world. The monumental rise in awareness, and subsequent participation, in the context of Cryptocurrencies and Metaverse was only the beginning.

Virtual spaces, digital houses, personalised avatar-based virtual meetings, and virtual apparel & collectibles will become more accessible and acquirable in the near future. The real world is gearing up to seamlessly blend with multiple virtual realities. With 5G and constantly evolving AI/ML technology, the upcoming decade will be adequately furnished with the tech infrastructure required to do it.”

Siddharth Devnani, Co-Founder & Director, SoCheers:

“The short-form video format experienced an upsurge with Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts and Snap’s Spotlight, followed by the launch of start-ups like MX Takatak & Moj leveraging the TikTok ban and quickly grabbing onto the talent which developed there.

Looking at its massive growth and evolution, it can be fair to say that many more advertisers/ brands would be seen leveraging it for ads and promotions. So, here’s to seeing how the platform-creator-user ecosystem moves forward in 2022 and how these platforms expand their avenues.

At the same time, a new technology came into the mainstream – NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) – which hasn’t yet been explored to its full potential, but might pick up in the coming year.”

Sidharth Singh, Co-Founder, CupShup:

“While 2021 has been a momentous year for the country and the business, to predict the trends, we can look at changes that have happened at following levels: Societal, Behavioral and Consumption, in that order as change at one level leads to another.

As a society, we have emerged much saner from the year. The reverse migration is here to stay and the brain drain, which has happened within the country, has redistributed talent across geographies, albeit at a much smaller scale than needed. This means creation of a new ecosystem, much bigger and better market and a society that prefers sustainable living to breakneck growth.

For the digital industry, the year gone by has shown only the glimpse and with easier access to markets, savings pooling into equities and the government pushing its reform agenda, the decade that is going to follow will play out the entire movie and it is going to be a blockbuster one for India and hence, the industry!”

Dina D’Souza, Vice President - Monetization, Trell:

“Trends to look forward to in 2022

Influencer marketing

The Influencer marketing industry is growing at a 25% CAGR YoY and is expected to reach a size of Rs 2,200 crore in 2025. Today, influencers from across India have a strong connection with Gen Zs & the Millennials, especially in the Tier 2 & Tier 3 markets. They are trusted by their followers and can easily influence their purchase choices by creating content in regional languages. Over 50% of India’s digital audience is from the Tier 2 & 3 markets and this share will only grow further in the coming year. Brands will find more value in partnering with the Influencers as their brand evangelists and create custom communication in vernacular languages to gain inroads into smaller towns & newer markets.

Social & video commerce

India has about 800+ D2C [direct to consumer] brands which have been launched & built entirely on digital platforms over the last few years. Consumers are searching & discovering brands through rich formats which combine audio, video & meaningful content. India has 448 million social media users, 500 million online video consumers and close to 110 million online shoppers. 2022 will see D2C & legacy brands build their image through video content and increase investments on social media platforms that can enable sales. 2022 will also see a lot of innovations in this space with live commerce, augmented reality & virtual reality driving immersive & engaging online shopping experiences.

Brands embracing new forms of advertising

2022 will see newer forms of advertising and integrations as brands gear up to explore opportunities to connect with audiences in the virtual world. Emerging digital natives are already familiar with the concept of the metaverse, though the term itself might be unknown to them. They will continue to spend more time creating digital avatars & identities to connect with people for work & leisure in the virtual world. Brands will need to understand this shift in behaviour and incorporate it in their marketing plans. They will need to think of brand strategies that help them co create virtual experiences for their audiences.”

Neha Puri, CEO & Founder, Vavo Digital:

“With advancements in both research and technology, 2022 will see further expansion of the influencer marketing sector to adapt to the changing business needs. Application of AI and ML in social media platforms will be another advancement that will affect how the content is produced and communicated by the influencers amongst the audience in 2022.”

Ajay Trehan, CEO and Founder, AuthBridge:

“In 2022, we expect the digital onboarding space to continue its growth momentum. With the threat of Omicron lurking outside and the strong potential of the virus to mutate in the future, a hybrid work model will be the way forward at least in non-essential services. We can even expect innovation in sectors like retail, manufacturing, and agriculture to encourage remote work as far as possible.

Organisations across non-essential, technology-friendly sectors will look to build on the strong technology foundation laid in 2021 and continue to direct efforts towards scaling up. Personalisation of onboarding journeys for employees, customers and users will be a huge differentiator. The focus will be on providing mobile-first, end-to-end digital experiences that seamlessly connect stakeholders across geographies. Technologies like voice-based authentication, liveness detection, gesture-based authentication, video verification, digital signatures will explode on the onboarding scene in India, along with a strong demand for these technologies to learn to be humane and promote diversity and inclusion, especially in the Indian context.”

Angad Singh Manchanda, CEO & Co-founder, Chimp&z Inc:

“2022 will be a year for gamification and blockchain service integration in digital marketing. This will lead to an increase in the creation of more and more NFTs by focused brands. One trend to look up to in 2022 would be animated conversations that brands shall venture into with 3D characters and interactive storylines for digital promotions. Audio and podcast marketing are also in their expansion stage. All of these trends are just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more to come.

The buzz around 5G is getting massive attention day after day. As the 5G network evolves, it will prove to be a major driver of expansion in IoT and other intelligent automation applications. However, it may not be on the path of creating a revolutionary impact on the digital industry. It will surely add up to more efficient and faster communication with an increased bandwidth compared to 4G. But it is a gradual process.

Curiosity rises when we look at the impact it would create on the Metaverse. The metaverse is all about AR and VR, it’s more about stepping out into the world and enhancing it, and 5G when it arrives will be a welcome change for the new technologies evolving. The potential to create a tight-knit environment is enormous and can lead to further innovations for improved customer experience and engagement. I see the new year bringing in a lot of Animated 3D content to be consumed and 5G will only add to the experience. Overall, I’m looking forward to 2022, which I believe will be an epic year for digital marketing.”

Harikrishnan Pillai, CEO and co-founder, TheSmallBigIdea:

“From a consumer stand-point we see a lot of disruption waiting to happen in wearable tech and household appliances. Impact of IoT in B2B advertising will also be significant. Especially in sectors like agriculture, healthcare, we see a lot of adoption and hence subsequent impact. However, unless tech integration in end-use hardware and affordable tech isn’t the norm, large level monetization or impact on advertising will stay a desire. Another substantial third dimension to the integration of IoT and advertising is the rising awareness around data privacy and the control being given back to the users to select what data they are willing to share. However by 2025, we see IoT and connected devices become a critical part of advertising to a certain segment in the society.

5G will ensure that data is available to users with low latency and higher throughput, leading to an overall improved connected experience, both from a richer user experience standpoint and also content accessibility. That would mean that entertainment through gaming, OTT, short form video apps will end up being the pivot when it comes to time spent and hence will become a crucial input to the marketing plan. Also due to the low latency, experience dampeners like buffering will be a thing of the past making the content to ad transitions more seamless. It will make immersive advertising more accessible, have the ability to show richer ad units and make shoppable ads a more experiential reality.”

Raghav Bagai, Co-founder, Sociowash:

“From Multiverse to Metaverse, 2022 is the year to expect innovation, leaps in technology, and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The world took the last two years to build a virtual world and advancements in technology are anticipated in the coming year. Avenues are broadening for influencers and digital platforms and advancements like NFTs, virtual weddings, fashion shows, will evolve and improve in 2022. Recheck your seat belts are still tight enough for the crazy ride 2022 is going to be.”

Amit Dhawan, Head of Business (Delhi) & Media Sciences, Schbang:

“5G is transforming the advertising industry and powering new types of ad experiences, like AR and other immersive formats, in order to stay relevant and engaging for customers. The changing norms of data privacy and cookie tracking have significantly reduced the number of 1-to-1 addressable devices and limited the opportunities to target or directly re-engage customers. Advertisers thus need to focus even more on the creative experience and shift to ad formats that do not require user-level data for ads to be highly engaging.”

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