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January 19, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 10:55am

Marketing trends 2022: AI, rise of native, neuromarketing and more…

By Phillip Othen

In our first exploration into this year’s main talking points in the world of marketing, publishing and advertising, the metaverse, sustainability and cookies dominated the agenda.

Here’s part two of our 2022 marketing trends round-up.

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Mobile games

Levi Matkins, CEO at LifeStreet, an ad tech leader: “We expect to see a significant rise in non-gaming campaigns on mobile gaming apps in 2022. Gaming apps provide a stable, trusted environment for advertisers, with guaranteed levels of engagement. Given that these apps are now on nearly every phone, this means advertisers have access to a diverse audience with a huge reach.”


Alvaro del Pozo, VP international marketing at Adobe: “Those marketers that focus on earning trust with customers are experiencing the benefits of doing so, with consumers more willing to purchase, recommend to a friend, join a loyalty programme or write a positive review. It’s clear that the expectations of today’s consumers are higher than ever and, so too, is their ability to find alternative brands to buy from.”


Chris Whife, managing director global at B2B data company DemandScience: “Forrester predicts that 75% of efforts to create automated, personalised engagement will not meet ROI due to inadequate buyer insight. This means greater emphasis must be placed on relationships, and better data will be the Swiss army knife that helps marketers open new opportunities with greater opportunity for intelligent personalisation.”

Paige O’Neill, CMO at customer experience experts Sitecore: “In 2022, the revolution will continue with next-level personalisation. Supply chain issues may result in frustrated shoppers who go elsewhere when an item is unavailable. Retailers can battle abandoned purchases by personalising a shopper’s experience using browsing histories and AI-pattern matching to recommend the next best fit available product.”

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Christopher Baldwin, VP Marketing at CX-ers Insider: “We know personalisation is not a new concept, but when supported by powerful marketing automation tech, it can be the single most impactful CX improvement that a business can make to help revenue growth. Start by looking at the data you hold on your customers and analysing whether you have enough to communicate to those customers with relevance. Consumers are often willing to share information in return for an incentive or as part of a gamified experience.”

Native content and blurring of ‘church and state’

David Frossman-Miller, director of media and entertainment at PR business W Communications: “There has been a huge rise in publications putting on events and awards, offering consultancy, selling merchandise, ‘platinum’ subscriptions and the like as a way of boosting revenues. A spike in brand partnerships and sponsorships – takeovers, promotional content, special reports – will continue, further blurring the ‘church and state’ relationship between advertising and editorial.”

Test and learn

Emily Shirley, General Manager of Vista UK and Ireland: 2022 is the era of data. Customers are affected by so many things which you don’t see, so brands need to keep their pace of learning up to remain personalised and relevant. Test and learn should be at the core of everything that a brand does – it’s important to understand there is no end-state. Learning is an ongoing process and the minute that something works well, marketers should look for what will work better, or what will work when previous methods stop being impactful.

Privacy and new technology

Habenn Bereket, Northern Europe managing director, at ad tech organisation Ogury: “In 2022, media buyers will have to rely on a new class of technology, able to meet the performances advertisers demand, while respecting user privacy. One of the most sustainable options to help brands and buyers to overcome this challenge is personified advertising, which relies on audience interest data used to qualify impressions rather than personal data to qualify users.”


Dom Mernock, director at digital agency Engage: “It’s no longer about sprawling e-commerce websites. 2022 will see a greater focus on how quickly and easily businesses can sell to their consumers across myriad platforms. From native shopping with third-party apps, for example social media platforms, to headless e-commerce websites which make transitions super slick and speedy across any platform, there are multiple opportunities for brands.”

Paige O’Neill, chief marketing officer at Sitecore, who specialise in customer experience: “Consumers want the things they want instantly, and to meet this need brands need to generate enough content to personalise it to what each customer wants, and have it available exactly when they want it. As a result, next year may see the boom of ‘Buy Now’ boxes popping up on a TV ad, and with one click an order is complete.”

Christelle Fraysse, CMO at Workbooks: “Customer experience will remain the competitive differentiator for businesses when it comes to driving advocacy and retention in 2022 – even more so than price or products. Disconnected IT systems and data silos remain the main hurdles to creating a truly seamless online and offline experience, so having the right tech infrastructure in place, including CRM, will be key.”


Paul Knight, VP at martech leader Acoustic: “Looking ahead to 2022, brands that achieve the best results will be those that combine automation and intelligent tools with human creativity and empathy. Digital experience and behaviour analytics technology can be a valuable tool for understanding how consumers interact with your brand, empowering everyone from the customer service team to product engineers to optimize these touchpoints.”

Ian Lloyd, managing director at marketers WMG: “In 2022, we expect to see trends from the past year become increasingly important within marketing strategies. Making better use of automation is top of the list, and we predict that the day-to-day management of ads will move towards automated processes. Alongside this, it’s becoming more important to really get to know your audience as users expect personalised digital experiences – however they choose to browse and engage with businesses.”

Machine learning and AI

Charlotte Tomlinson, organic performance director at agency Hallam: “The application of machine learning is set to have an even bigger impact than in previous years across many disciplines. One example is using natural language processing (NLP) to generate text; with the release of OpenAI’s GPT-3, it’s possible to include machine learning directly into the workflow of copywriters, SEOs, social media consultants and many others.”

Toby Roberts, president and COO of creators Happy Finish: “I predict that AI-based content generation and manipulation tools will become a mainstream de facto standard tool by the end of 2022. The tools that are niche now will become so sophisticated and seamlessly integrated into industry standard packages that they will be the norm rather than the exception.”

Ben Michaelis, marketing agency ThinkEngine’s managing director: “The advancement and adoption of AI and Chatbot technology is now arguably at its most progressive phase to date for B2B companies. After many years of slower adoption across several industries, it’s now starting to become a ‘go to’ solution for firms looking to step up their website and social engagement, website visitor retention rates and delivery of greater personalised experiences for their customers or clients.”

Creator economy

Jim Meadows, chief strategy officer at TAKUMI, an expert in influencer marketing: “Increased online traffic and a rise in engagement with creators is combining with a growing consumer confidence in online shopping and the development of better e-commerce tools on social media platforms. Combined these effects mean that creators will be the marketing trend for 2022.”

Human-centric marketing

Claire Lamb, director at Skout, a B2B PR and marketing agency: “One good thing that came out of the pandemic was marketers pausing for a minute to re-evaluate what their customers need. Throughout 2020 and 2021 we witnessed a rise in human marketing. Going into 2022, it’s important to keep this momentum – and relationships really are key. Whether that’s getting your brand name out there, maintaining a good relationship with current customers, or communicating internally with colleagues.”

Customer engagement

James Manderson, VP of Customer Success at customer engagement platform Braze: “Brands that build direct relationships with their customers stand to benefit. Exceptional customer engagement programmes see higher user lifetime value and lower acquisition costs, resulting in long-term, capital-efficient business growth. These brands use customer engagement technology, powered by live first-party customer data, to listen to their customers, understand them, and communicate with them quickly, personally, and effectively. “

Digital audio 

Bithika Basir, senior manager of inventory partnerships at programmatic agency The Trade Desk: “In 2022, advertisers need to take a fresh look at their audio approach. Reaching consumers on their terms is key, and focusing on the three ‘C’s’ will make sure they’re doing just that. Content: Consider the genre of music or podcast being streamed and target accordingly. Creative: Invest in a number of creative audio options so that the message suits the solo streamer’s circumstances. Combine: Audio should play a key role in the omnichannel journey, so formats should be combined across channels to help reinforce the message.”


Joanna Stephenson, managing director of PHD Marketing: “In terms of marketing theory, we are expecting ‘neuromarketing’ to inform comms strategies more in 2022. Neuromarketing refers to using deeper insight into consumer thought processes, behaviours and motivations in order to engage with an audience on a much more meaningful level. However, brands will need to be delicate in approach to avoid the perception of manipulation.”

Brand over product

Penry Price, vice president of marketing solutions at Twitter: “Although brand awareness is not anything new, in 2022 and beyond we will find buyers that are less focused on buying a specific product and more so looking to invest their dollars in a brand they trust, believe in, and that aligns with their core values.”


Chris Norton, founder of Prohibition PR: “The pandemic has certainly increased the demand for entertaining video content on platforms such as TikTok, but the demand won’t go anywhere as we navigate through a ‘new normal’ this year. Platforms that were never a video first channel such as Instagram, began adapting its video function last year to offer a more ‘discovery friendly’ service, which indicates the expectation that video will be the number one material used on all social channels, not just on TikTok and YouTube.”


Sarah Dawley, head of content at social media leaders Hootsuite: “People are spending a lot more time online and on social media, in particular. Marketers are taking note, and businesses will be spending more budget and effort on social advertising in 2022. More than half (51.4%) of the 18,100 marketers surveyed by Hootsuite reported that they’re planning to increase their paid social spend this year.”

User-generated content

Joshua Van Raalte, CEO of Brazil, the International Communications Agency: “In 2022, we will see brands increasingly using their customers, followers and ambassadors to generate content on their behalf, giving them the third-party endorsement that they need to drive legitimacy, engagement and desirability.”


Dimitris Maniatis, CEO at mobile marketers Upstream: “Within the digital segment, the fastest-growing channel will be mobile, and keep an eye on SMS. The humble text message may have been superseded by messaging apps, but it is poised to return as a key tool in the marketing mix. The benefits are considerable: text messages are almost always opened and read, and the average response time is around 90 seconds.”

Martech to continue unabated

Adam Sharp, CEO and Co-Founder of Clevertouch Marketing: “Spending on martech shows no sign of let up. Marketers love the next new, big thing, with more budget being allocated into digital martech than last year. There is and will be a swing away from adtech to martech, as marketers are increasingly concerned about first-party data and ownership/integrity of data privacy.”


Guy Hanson, VP of Customer Engagement at Validity, consumer data company: “We can expect 2022 to be a year of growth for the email channel, in terms of revenue and engagement, and volume. At one time, there were conversations around the ‘death of email’ due to the growth of platforms such as SMS and Facebook. However, research has shown that email remains the most relied upon and preferred channel across the customer journey.

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