2022 is looking to be an exciting year for the digital world and technology, and it got us thinking internally about what we’re most excited about. From office chatter, kitchen conversations, and Zoom calls, I’ve rounded up a few of the team to talk about what they’re looking forward to in 2022, and what we believe will become the next big thing.

We did something similar prior to 2020, and our predictions were almost spot-on – apart from COVID-19, and how it changed the digital landscape in unprecedented ways. Let’s give it another go. Wish us luck!

Charlie: Manifesting well-being on social

Brands are having a responsibility shift, at a dramatic rate, from simply selling their products to developing a personality, social voice and playing a part in society as a positive role model. The fight against climate change is one of the first huge social issues we’ve seen brands tackle, and continue to play a part in. This’ll continue, rightfully so.

In addition to this, over the last few years, we’ve seen an emerging emphasis on people’s wellbeing on and offline. Accelerated by the recent pandemic, brands have been using their voices, and this will only continue into 2022 (and the future) as consumers invest more time than ever before in their personal well-being. Maltesers, Apple and Innocent are just a few who have been using their platforms to make a change.

There is no one social cause of greater importance than another, but this continued trend of brands speaking up will continue and I can see wellbeing as one of the top items in the agenda, which is incredibly encouraging, inspiring and motivating after such a turbulent couple of years. And it’s something I look forward to seeing. In fact, it’s even appeared in the infamous Pinterest Predicts for this year – so, chances are, it’s going to happen!

Ryan: Owning data is key

Apple has pretty much turned off half of Facebook’s tracking ability. Apple fortified user privacy with iOS 14, giving the iPhone community more control over what information they share with advertisers. Opting out of tracking is problematic for Facebook advertisers because 94% of Facebook advertising revenue and half of mobile users have an iPhone.

In the past, if a user displayed bottom-of-the funnel buyer behaviour, Facebook would serve relevant ads to that prospect to help them decide what to buy. This is the definition of striking while the iron is hot.

You’ll still see ads, but they won’t be as relevant. For example, you won’t see that discount that would have made that online purchase more affordable. 

As an advertiser, there are things you can put in place to help combat Apple’s armageddon. Continue to use UTM values on your Facebook ad URLs to help get back the data you might be missing. Strengthen your advertising by owning your own data.

Nev: Credit where credit’s due?

Digital payment methods are rapidly evolving, and disruption is already well underway in FinTech, but Amazon’s dispute with credit provider Visa may be the precursor to the online retail behemoth introducing its own dedicated credit payment system. With net sales amounting to close to 386 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 alone, the value of transaction fees accrued is no doubt substantial, and something Amazon will be loath to continue paying. 

Amazon could acquire a banking licence and establish its own credit platform, and incentivise its audience to adopt it (free Prime, anyone?). Their own line of credit would not only result in a reduction in transaction fees, but provide the opportunity to generate income through interest fees, and – if used away from the Amazon ecosystem – become a new means of acquiring additional consumer spending and tracking data. That’s win-win-win for Amazon.

Daf: AI will revolutionise marketing

Over the next few years, AI and machine learning will revolutionise every aspect of marketing and communications, influencing tactical, strategic and creative direction. Beware though. Over reliance on AI and data-driven decisions brings the risk of homogeneous solutions which lack flair and originality. The challenge for human creatives will be to devise ideas that not only stand out but equal their machine counterparts’ effectiveness.

Laura: Focusing budget to ‘Emotional Insight’

With more focus being placed on the overall Customer Experience, we will see a greater proportion of insight budgets being channeled towards ‘emotional insight’ and not just behaviours and data analytics. At the same time, there will be a greater demand for agencies to support their clients in turning insights into action that have a notable impact on customer satisfaction, leads and reputation. 

Simon: Launching satellites for low-cost broadband

Firstly, there’ll be endless debate over various companies’ plans to launch low orbit satellites into space in a bid to bring low cost broadband to all corners of the planet. Commendable, but in a world where (rightly) environmental impact is an increasing concern, do we just end up with junk all over space? Did no-one learn anything from watching Wall-E?

Secondly, we keep being told the world of work has changed forever, hybrid working (if it isn’t already) will become the norm not the exception. My prediction, or more accurately, hope is that with more people working more often from home, that they will naturally be drawn to try out their local independent businesses, and that we can finally start reducing congestion that clogs up our cities.

What do you think? Keep an eye on our social media. We’ll be back soon with our design predictions for 2022.