After collecting data from 1,600+ marketers worldwide, HubSpot has released its 2022 State of Inbound Marketing Trends report.
With each, we offer our top takeaways to help you level up your marketing strategy and attract more of your intended audience.
Content Marketing Trends
The key to effective content marketing is getting more of your target audience actively engaging with your brand.
A small but engaged audience is worth far more than thousands of followers that never glance at your content.
TAKEAWAY#1—CREATE A CAPTIVATING JOURNEY FOR YOUR AUDIENCE
Getting eyes on your content is just level one on the engagement scale.
Every publisher knows this: getting someone to visit a book’s sales page is ground zero. From there, you have mere seconds to give them a reason to stay, read the full description, check out some reviews, and, hopefully, click that “Buy Now” button.
Smart marketers know that engagement doesn’t end at that point, either. It just shifts gears. Same goes for real estate agents.
The most effective content marketing strategy focuses on relationships more than sales. Every piece of content you put out there should draw the consumer into a deeper relationship with your brand. Give them a reason to stay on board.
TAKEAWAY #2—CREATE AN EFFECTIVE DATA COLLECTION STRATEGY
It’s tough to build a relationship with your audience without data from their interactions with your brand:
- Devices on which they engage with your content
- Preferred days and times for engagement
- What types of content they engage with most
- Demographic data
Attach the consumer’s journey to an effective data collection strategy, and you can qualify and segment your audience, making it easier to create more of the content they want from you.
Use that data to move them through the journey with your brand by educating and entertaining them with the kind of content for which they’ve already shown a preference. In other words, give the people what they want.
Social media is constantly evolving, along with the tech that supports it and the people who use and contribute to each platform.
From smaller, more intimate relationships to larger communities, social media is growing in relevance as a platform for entertainment, learning, and inspiration.
TAKEAWAY #3— IF YOU’RE NOT ALREADY CREATING VIDEO, NOW IS THE TIME TO START
Social media teams in 2022 will continue to invest in Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok as key platforms for building their brands. They’ll also expand their efforts in live streaming and short-form video marketing.
In 2021, YouTube was the fourth most popular video platform; this year, it’s number two.
If you haven’t already, get started practicing your video recording and editing skills ASAP. Once you’ve got your feet wet, learn how you can scale up your YouTube marketing strategy. And if you’re focusing primarily on long-form video content, make room for short-form video in your strategy.
This was Chris Smith’s number one takeaway from HubSpot’s report.
TAKEAWAY #4—INCLUDE FACEBOOK IN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY
Smith’s second takeaway was about Facebook. When it comes to ROI, Facebook still takes the number one spot, followed by Instagram. Plus, as The Broke Agent has pointed out, those comments can be a goldmine for content inspiration.
Depending on your target audience, Facebook can still provide the best value for both B2B (agents helping agents) and B2C (agents helping consumers) businesses.
That said, if you know where your people hang out—and Facebook isn’t it—put your money where it will do the most good.
TAKEAWAY #5—PUT RELATIONSHIPS AND AUDIENCE COMMUNITY AHEAD OF SALES
More marketers are playing the long game when creating video content—putting relationships and community-building with their audience ahead of sales.
The goal is still to grow your business; what’s changed is what it takes to do that. And building stronger relationships with your audience gives your brand more credibility and staying power than simply playing to consumer wants.
TAKEAWAY #6—SHORT-FORM VIDEO IS THE MOST ENGAGING AND HAS THE BEST ROI
Short-form video is the most engaging of all content types and, consequently, has the best ROI. Businesses use Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, and TikTok to entertain, inspire, educate, and show off company culture.
In 2022, video content in any form is more engaging than static images and text. Short-form just happens to be the most popular form right now, though long-form content is growing the fastest.
Uploads this year of videos 30 to 60 minutes long have nearly tripled since 2019; uploads for videos over 60 minutes passed the one million mark—up 43% from last year and nearly four times the numbers for 2019.
This year, more than last, marketers are focusing their energy on the following:
- Brand awareness
- Building new audiences
- Improving customer service and retention
Getting your audience to consume more of your content is critical to all three. And short-form video delivers value and variety in snackable sizes. We don’t see this getting old anytime soon.
Email Marketing Trends
The simple reason marketers continue to rely on email is its ROI. According to Litmus research, email delivers a $36 return for every $1 spent.
So, it’s not surprising that 95% of marketers see email marketing as time well spent. It helps that top CRMs provide automation to help business owners (and their support staff) save time.
TAKEAWAY #7—EMAIL IS ESSENTIAL TO MARKETING SUCCESS
According to HubSpot’s report, B2C brands are even more likely to find ways to learn about their audience through email marketing. Email is cost-effective for businesses of all sizes and markets, boosting engagement, conversions, and revenue.
According to email professionals surveyed for Litmus’ 2021 State of Email Report, 79% of professional marketers ranked email as one of their top three channels for effectiveness. Its high visibility and low cost make it an absolute must for marketing your brand.
And your email list is yours—no one else’s. So start building that list and keep the emails going.
TAKEAWAY #8—USE THE BEST EMAIL STRATEGIES
In 2021, the best email strategies for reaching your marketing goals included the following:
- Email personalization (the most effective according to surveyed marketers),
- Effective subject lines
- Mobile-friendly format
Improving customer satisfaction has always been an important goal for marketers. Since more consumers expect personalized communications, marketers rely even more on data and technology that puts those personal details at their fingertips.
TAKEAWAY #9—EVERY EMAIL INTERACTION PROVIDES VALUABLE INSIGHTS
Your email subscribers provide valuable insights into their behavior and preferences with every interaction. And top CRMs allow you to use those insights to better serve your database with personalized emails on topics most likely to interest them.
Every piece of information you gain through these email interactions can shed light on new ways to develop or strengthen relationships with your subscribers.
To build and refine an effective email marketing strategy, focus on these three areas:
- Understand your data — Dig into your analytics tools and learn how to apply their insights to create email content that appeals to your audience.
- Define the metrics that matter — Look at other, frequently overlooked metrics like ROI to get a fuller picture of email campaign performance.
- Evaluate email engagement — Use data on devices and apps your audience is using so you know how they’ll likely view your email content. From there, refine your targeting, streamline your email workflows, and boost your engagement.
HubSpot provides more information in their State of Email Engagement Report.
Video Marketing Trends
Even now, only 60% of marketers claim to be using video in their content marketing. But more are joining the ranks, with 35% planning to use video for the first time this year.
TAKEAWAY #10–YOUTUBE IS THE MOST POPULAR PLATFORM FOR VIDEO CONTENT
It probably surprises no one that YouTube is the most popular channel for video content. According to HubSpot’s report, 30% of marketers plan to use YouTube for the first time in 2022.
Also worth mentioning, 24% of marketers in HubSpot’s survey plan to use TikTok for the first time this year. And while it may not be #1 (yet), TikTok now rivals Google as a search engine.
About 53% of marketers optimize their photos and videos for visual search engines. And 49% consider it one of their most effective strategies.
Here’s a round-up of other important HubSpot stats on video marketing for 2022:
- Of all media formats, short-form video has the best ROI
- One in three marketers plan to invest the most in video marketing
- 37% plan to invest more in live streaming (compared to last year)
- 29% plan to invest more in long-form video content
- 51% plan to invest more in short-form video content
TAKEAWAY #11—CONSUMERS PREFER VIDEO AS A WAY TO ENGAGE WITH BRANDS
In 2022, consumers are not only hitting the play button more than last year but also spending way more time watching videos. HubSpot clocked 14.6 billion minutes of video watched in 2021—up 20% from the 12.2 billion minutes in 2020 and 121% from 2019.
The numbers strongly suggest that, for consumers, video is fast becoming the preferred way to engage with brands. The question isn’t whether it will remain so but how you, as a content marketer, will use the information in HubSpot’s report to your advantage.
Future marketing trends and takeaways
According to HubSpot’s report, marketers for B2B brands are seeing better engagement and ROI on TikTok than B2C marketers. As a result, 58% of B2B marketers plan to increase their investment in TikTok, compared to 49% of B2C marketers.
B2C marketers plan to invest more in SEO, content marketing, and podcasting.
For the foreseeable future, HubSpot expects short-form video to continue its reign as the most effective form of video marketing, leading to more short-form video ads.