2022 Marketing Year in Review

By Aimee Meester
December 19, 2022

When it comes to marketing, the best way to predict future trends is to develop an understanding of the past and the present. After all, in order to know where you’re going, it’s important to know where you started and where you’re at now. With 2022 coming to a close, we’ve taken some time to pause and reflect on the marketing trends we’ve noticed over the last year, and we made a few strategic predictions about what companies can expect to see in 2023. Here’s our 2022 marketing year in review – and what it means for your company as we head into the new year.

Big Market Changes

2022 saw large-scale changes to markets across a variety of industries. Many of these changes were tied to shifts in social media and search engine updates, which resulted from increased concern about the relevance of search results and the importance of consumer data privacy rights. These changes created limitations in how companies can collect customer data going forward, necessitating a new approach to– and an increased respect for– collecting customer data.

Google’s Helpful Content Update

Google’s Helpful Content Update was completed in September 2022, and it has since changed the realm of SEO entirely. The update featured an algorithm that downgrades low-quality content that appears to be generated solely as a strategy for optimizing search results, while promoting content that feels genuine, authentic, and useful to Google’s users. The update was implemented in order to reward content that is designed to be genuinely helpful, as opposed to promoting content that is solely designed to rank high in search engines. After releasing the update, Google also released a list of questions that companies can answer in order to create what the company calls “human-first” content, – content that is “written for people, by people.”

Changes to Chrome’s Cookies

In 2022, Google Chrome announced that the company will phase-out its use of third-party cookies. This shift was made in response to rising consumer concerns about users’ data privacy. While many users are in favor of this change, it has the potential to drastically alter the way that companies collect and track consumer data. Companies are already predicting that they will have to increase their marketing spend in response to Google’s policy changes, focusing more on using email marketing and third-party softwares to collect market data and reach their marketing goals.

Apple’s Commitment to Customer Data Privacy

Google isn’t the only company that made moves toward a higher standard of protection for customer’s privacy data settings. In May 2022, Apple launched its “Privacy on iPhone” campaign, as part of a larger customer data privacy initiative, which first began in 2021. During this campaign, Apple emphasized the company’s commitment to maintaining user privacy, while outlining features, such as App Tracking Transparency and Mail Privacy Protection. Through these features, customers have more choices and information about their personal data. For example, they will be able to see details about how often apps access their location, camera, and microphone. They will also be able to prevent email senders from seeing when they open an email. These changes will require companies to be more strategic – and sensitive– about customer data collection.

Amidst the growing concern for applicable information and increased customer data privacy, many social media and search engine companies have adjusted their data tracking policies in 2022. As we continue into 2023, it is likely that these trends will continue, and companies everywhere will not only need to be more thoughtful about how they collect customer data, but they will also need to be more prudent in determining the need for such data in the first place. They will also need to be more intentional about creating authentic content that genuinely appeals to the needs of consumers.

Shifting Perspectives on Marketing Spend and Marketing Staffing

In addition to sweeping changes in the marketing industry, 2022 also saw immense shifts in companies’ attitudes toward the value and the importance of marketing spend and staffing.

Marketing Spend

Beginning in January 2022, inflation rates rose to over 7%, reaching over 8% by September. With the increase in inflation came growing concerns about economic recession among industries everywhere. Oftentimes, when the economy begins to tighten, organizations also begin to tighten their spending; when this happens, marketing spend is usually among the first things to get cut. However, as many companies have come to find out, this is often not the right approach. In fact, a report from the Harvard Business Review revealed that when brands strategically invest in marketing during a recession, they actually bolster their market share and improve their return-on-investment.

Historically, advocating to maintain and protect marketing spend has been an uphill battle. However, in 2022, more companies are beginning to see the importance of marketing budgets. Rather than making knee-jerk reactions that cut marketing spend in response to economic recessions, companies are beginning to think more critically about how they allocate investments in marketing spend. As we approach 2023, it is likely that strategic investment into marketing efforts will continue, with a focus on optimizing available resources and maximizing return on investment.

Marketing Staffing

After spending the last 2 years adjusting to remote work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2022, companies began to transition back to in-person or hybrid work models. As we approach 2023, marketing teams will most likely continue to prioritize in-person meetings, as opposed to virtual ones.

With the tightening economy, however, companies are likely to initiate downsizes in their staff. That being said, these downsizes are going to be accompanied by a focus on maximizing alignment and creating synergies that promote collaboration and idea generation – which will likely occur in terms of in-person meetings and brainstorm sessions. Not only do 84% of executives prefer in-person meetings due to their ability to build stronger working relationships, but people who attend in-person meetings also experience increased collaboration and engagement. Transitioning back to in-person work enables companies to see the value of meeting face-to-face, in terms of collaboration, brainstorming, and the magic that happens when teams get together in a live setting.

As we approach 2023, companies can expect to see an increase in the perceived importance of marketing spend. That being said, the anticipated economic downturn in 2023 will require companies to be strategic about how they invest in marketing spend, as well as how they structure their marketing staffing, in order to maximize collaboration, effectiveness, and ROI.

The Best Marketing Campaigns of 2022

A year in review is not complete without a recap of what we think were some of the best marketing campaigns in 2022. These five campaigns were able to authentically and innovatively capture the attention of the masses this past year.

  1. Applebees’ “Fancy Like” ad is a great example of a timely ad that hopped onto a trending song. Country singer Walker Hayes wrote a song with the lyrics, “Fancy like Applebee’s on a date night,” and the restaurant took the trending song and turned it into an advertising campaign that became a viral sensation.
  2. CoinBase’s Super Bowl QR Code is a prime example of clever marketing. The ad was aired in a commercial slot during the SuperBowl, and it featured a bouncing Coinbase symbol – an homage to the bouncing DVD logo meme. The Coinbase symbol then turned into a QR code that viewers could scan to access an exclusive time-sensitive deal, where they would receive $15 of free Bitcoin and a chance to win $3 million. The ad was so successful that the company’s app went down due to the influx in user traffic.
  3. AirBnb’s experience-focused advertising was a hit in 2022, with the company pivoting its strategy to focus on showcasing different AirBnbs that double as both unique experiences and unique places to stay. The ads showcase people’s own experiences while staying at an AirBnb, in order to entice people who want to have a similar experience.
  4. Domino’s Pizza and Stranger Things partnered up to create a collaboration that captured fans’ attention. This partnership features commercials that star some of the Stranger Things characters, while advertising the Domino’s Mind Ordering App, which offers customers a unique, streamlined ordering experience.
  5. Shutterstock’s “Fyrestock” ad was a successful parody ad that poked fun at “Overhyped Festival” curated footage. The ad featured shots that are commonly found in video highlight reels from different music festivals, in order to create a parody social media campaign that also cleverly advertised their products.

Marketing in 2022

This past year, companies everywhere experienced widespread changes to the marketing industry. As we head into the new year, it is important for companies to understand current and previous trends, in order to effectively plan for success in 2023. For more ideas on how to create a strategic marketing plan for the year ahead, check out Madison Taylor Marketing.