What to expect from digital communications in 2022

Danny Bass, Snap AUNZ director business solutions
By Danny Bass, Snap AUNZ director business solutions | 28 January 2022
Danny Bass

In a highly competitive market, brands and platforms are constantly looking ahead to predict the next big thing and stay ahead of competitors. While the meta race is heating up, in 2022 it’s important that brands and platforms continue to meet changing consumer needs at the base level. This year it’s important for brands to focus on personalisation, privacy, and transparency to continue to build trust and affinity with communities.

For 2022, these are three areas that will be a focus this year:

Augmented Reality - a mainstream reality
While there’s loud conversation about an alternative world of the future, we’ve spent the past 10 years building technology that enhances the real world we live in, and adds value to businesses and society, right now.

Every day, over 200 million people engage with AR on Snapchat. In the next four years, it’s predicted that 75% of the world’s population (not just Snapchatters) will be actively and routinely engaging with AR.

In a 2021 global shopping study, one in three shoppers said they would actually prefer to use AR to try on clothes virtually rather than in-store. As well as increasing the likelihood of purchase, businesses using AR try-on tell us it leads to less returns, which is good for the bottom line and the environment.

While the pandemic has seen the digital acceleration of commerce, there is also opportunity for physical stores to provide novel experiences and transform into must-visit destinations, with virtual technology boosting in-store appeal. More than a quarter of Australian consumers would go out of their way to visit a store if it had interactive and virtual services such as smart mirrors that allowed them to try on clothes, or smart screens that allowed shoppers to customise products. These technologies provide a sophisticated level of personalisation to meet the expectations set by online shopping services.

People are already using AR daily to connect with businesses. For 2022, the use of AR and virtual services will go from being a nice to have, to a must have as brands catch up with consumers’ expectations to interact with them in more personalised and immersive ways.

People will spend more time with tech that makes them feel good
The turbulent past few years have been universally tough and tech has played a crucial role in keeping us connected and entertained. At the same time, there’s been more scrutiny on the impact of tech on the lives of individuals.

We’ve always believed that doing the right thing for our community is the right thing for society and for our business. That’s why friendship, fun, privacy and safety is core to our product, and every piece of content shared in the public parts of our platform is pre-moderated, to make it safe for all users and stop the spread of misinformation.

Our focus on human connection and design is why 95% of users say Snapchat makes them feel happy. For 2022, people will want to spend time with the tech that makes them feel good – whether that’s because it’s fun, entertaining or informative. Brands should focus on reaching people when they’re in this positive mindset, and cultivate experiences that are feel-good and playful, encouraging community building.

The third-party cookie will finally crumble
The pandemic has forced marketers to adapt and think differently. In 2022 advertisers face another challenge: the retirement of the third-party cookie, which is finally set to come to force in 2023.

This means 2022 will be a critical year for advertisers to pivot from their old model of reaching people in context-agnostic way, to a new model focussed much more heavily on contextual advertising and better using the cultural resonance of media, content and platforms.

This year, brands are going to have to pay much more attention to the contexts in which their advertising appears. The smartest brands will realise how powerful adjacency and cultural context can be – and create competitive advantage from it.

2022 looks like a promising year for Australian marketers. Those who stay on the front foot of technology and new ways of engaging consumers will reap the rewards. I personally can’t wait to see what the year ahead brings.

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