Incredible Trends for 2022
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
When Charles Dickens scribbled down his iconic opening to A Tale of Two Cities, he probably never imagined that almost 160 years later, his words would ring truer than ever.
While 2020 changed the course of modern history and deeply affected every person on Earth, 2021 felt like a corrective (albeit slow) return to our everyday life — with a few caveats.
Phrases such as “the new normal” became mind-numbingly commonplace. Zoom meetings became situations we quickly realized we needed breaks from. Squid Game showed us that children’s games can be used in ways we never thought imaginable.
When it comes to the digital marketing landscape and how we apply it to healthcare, valuable lessons were learned and implemented. These lessons also help us better prepare for what is coming down the line in 2022 and beyond.
We surveyed the amazing leadership team at Incredible Marketing for key takeaways from 2021 and what healthcare professionals can look forward to in 2022.
Industry – Sam Peek, Incredible Executive Officer
Content – Elyse Romano, Incredible Director of Content
Strategy – Ebony Conditsis, Incredible Director of Strategy
SEO – Luke Miller, Incredible Lead SEO Architect
Web Design – Zack Bujazia, Incredible Creative Officer
Social – Mona Sharif, Incredible Innovations Officer
Business – Dave Sveen, Incredible President
The Metaverse has you: Content in 2021
The rise of the Metaverse. While it sounds like a new blockbuster Hollywood movie from Denis Villeneuve starring Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya (by the way, did you see DUNE? You need to – it’s amazing!!), the building blocks of the Metaverse have been in play for the last few decades.
We witnessed versions of this concept come to life in movies such as The Matrix and Ready Player One, and now those films are stepping closer to reality. Not so much the dystopian future part (hopefully), but how we spend our time and lives online.
It can be a bit confusing defining the Metaverse, but it can be summed up like this: the Metaverse isn’t so much a thing as it is the next step in how we interact with technology.
Virtual production and extended reality (XR) technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR), are in the early phases of adoption, but they are growing at a staggering pace.
Data from 2021 estimates that nearly 85 million users have experienced AR or VR at least once a month. Digital research platform eMarketer notes that although most uses for VR and AR are related to gaming and entertainment, the variety of applications is expanding as more consumers and businesses test out immersive experiences.
So, why should you, a noted healthcare professional, care about all of this?
Because interest in the Metaverse is spiking among consumers and companies worldwide. Building your understanding of the Metaverse (and its full potential) now will limit the learning curve when widespread adoption is reached. Especially if your practice or products are targeting Millennials and Gen Z.
Will your practice adopt a new digital office for remote consults? Or consider hosting better virtual conferences and events? What about “test driving” procedures or products via avatars?
Ask yourself (or those knowledgeable nerds at Incredible Marketing) how you can rethink your products, services and marketing strategies to account for the huge technological shifts taking place.
Content marketing is more than writing. Blog posts are still the first thing that comes to mind for many of us when we hear “content marketing.” The written word remains incredibly valuable, but there is now much more that fits under the umbrella of “content.”
As we move into a new year, content marketing strategies should include a variety of formats: video, audio, infographics, quizzes, etc.
Among these, well-thought-out video and audio strategies are critical. Video and audio content can encompass a number of different options, such as explainers, interviews, demos, podcasts, or various audio elements in your blog.
Video increases click-through rate, shares and audience retention of information. Audio is easily accessible and convenient, especially for busy audiences who prefer to multi-task.
These formats, and the storytelling they facilitate, are uniquely positioned to hold attention, provoke emotion, increase engagement, teach important lessons and build connection.
Taking a diverse approach to communicating with your audience allows them to connect with you on their own terms, using the format that resonates best with them, across all their devices.
Increased interest in preventative health & complementary modalities. Wellness was already a booming sector, but with the coronavirus pandemic, many people are re-evaluating what it means to be well and looking for ways to take better care of themselves. They are becoming more passionate, proactive and dedicated to promoting life-long health.
Healthcare in the United States and many other countries has predominantly focused on treating those who are already sick, rather than on disease prevention and health promotion. The pandemic radically strengthened the case for preventative wellness practically overnight.
There has also been growing fatigue with the “wellness industry” and its too-frequent focus on elitist, trendy, unproven, expensive wellness solutions.
Medicine and wellness are converging, evolving from their previously combative relationship. In this new era, prevention and holistic care are poised to take a bigger seat at the healthcare table.
Care will be more accessible, inclusive, comprehensive, personalized and on-demand.
Be “You” in 2022
Omnichannel marketing. Content alone isn’t king. Creating and distributing content in the right context is actually more key to your practice’s long-term success. You have to give people what they want or need in that specific moment, in the optimal format for that channel or device.
The buyer’s journey has changed. It’s more complex, with customers taking a more circuitous route to purchasing, often interacting with a brand across various channels before committing.
Clients who engage with multiple channels spend more and are more loyal over the long term.
An omnichannel marketing strategy aims to create a seamless experience from the first touchpoint to the last. Each touchpoint should feel like a continuation of the previous one, so that every time your brand is in front of a customer’s eyes, no matter the channel, the messaging is relevant and consistent.
This is different from a multichannel marketing strategy in which multiple channels are used but managed separately, which does not create a seamless user experience across devices and platforms.
To do omnichannel well, everyone (content, email, social, ads, public relations, sales, etc.) should be communicating and working together, aligning their messaging and goals. This allows us to orchestrate the customer experience across channels so it is seamless, integrated and consistent.
Authenticity and personality. Consumers are inundated with more marketing and advertising messages than ever before. Their bullshit detectors are strong, and their tolerance for being sold to is at an all-time low. They have learned to tune out messages they can’t relate to or don’t believe in. Consumers are also more conscious of brand values and want to align themselves with brands that share their values.
To win in this world, brands need to continue focusing on authenticity. Don’t be afraid to have a personality. Don’t just tell a story, be the story. Genuine engagement is what drives sales and loyalty.
Speak from the heart. Think, “How would I say this to someone I know personally?” and use conversational language (which is also helpful for the rise in voice search). This builds deeper, more trusting relationships.
Numbers from the 2017 Consumer Content Report were telling and confirmed what we know to be a foundational truth now: authenticity is more important than ever.
“Our survey revealed that 86% of people say authenticity is important when deciding what brands they like and support… An overwhelming 90% of Millennials say brand authenticity is important, proving that younger consumers prefer ‘real and organic’ over ‘perfect and packaged’.”
“Gen Zers prefer brands that are authentic,” writes Marketing Dive, “with 82% saying they trust a company more if it uses images of real customers in its advertising, while 72% said they’re more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes.”
Apple Updates Shook Up Marketing Strategy in 2021
iOS 14 updates. The latest iOS updates from Apple shook up digital advertising in 2021 and caused us to reassess how we reach our audiences, retarget them and track results.
Specifically, Apple requires that apps in the App Store that engage in what Apple defines as “tracking” to show a prompt on iOS 14.5 or later devices, in accordance with their AppTrackingTransparency framework. Apple’s policy prohibits certain data collection and sharing unless people opt into tracking on iOS 14.5 or later devices via the prompt. As a result, ads personalization and performance reporting may be limited for both app and web conversion events.
In simplified terms, with governments and citizens around the world more concerned about privacy and how social platforms track users, tech companies are taking proactive steps to stay ahead of legislation that may severely limit how they make money in the future.
ADA compliance. An increase in reliance on digital experiences during the coronavirus pandemic exposed issues with accessibility online. ADA compliance lawsuits continued to increase by 64% in the first half of 2021 in the medical aesthetics industry, particularly targeting websites with embedded videos that did not have closed captions.
The Wall Street Journal posted a report by UsableNet stating that “ecommerce companies are sued most often, accounting for 74% of federal cases between Jan. 1 and June 21, the report said. Rounding out the top five categories were digital media and agencies, finance, food service and healthcare, each accounting for less than 5% of the total.”
“Companies with revenue below $50 million were the targets of two-thirds of lawsuits between Jan. 1 and June 21, a shift from the year-earlier period, when the share was less than half, UsableNet said.”
We recommend a plugin named accessiBe to our clients to provide some protection, although it’s not 100% guaranteed protection due to the onerous and sometimes vague nature of the legislation.
The demand for ecommerce. The demand for ecommerce has increased dramatically since pre-pandemic days, even in the medical aesthetics industry. Clients who previously only offered products for sale in their practice had to move to online stores to keep some revenue flowing during lockdowns.
Now, as the lockdowns that caused our clients to close their doors ease, ecommerce stores remain a key revenue source offering products from skin care, holistic supplements, at-home devices such as LED masks and treatments such as Botox.
More and more practices are creating Instagram shops linked to their ecommerce stores for a convenient shopping experience without having to leave the platform.
Stop! Collaborate and Listen… in 2022
Instagram Collab. In October, Instagram began to slowly roll out a new feature called Instagram Collab for reels and feed posts, allowing accounts to co-author content. When two creators choose to collaborate, the post or Reel appears on both their Profile Grids, and it has a shared view count, like count and comment thread, Instagram says.
(1/3) Collaborating is a huge part of how people connect on Instagram. To make that easier, we’re testing a new way for people to co-author Feed Posts and Reels, called Collab. pic.twitter.com/YD1SaSYHOl
— Vishal Shah (@vishalshahis) July 21, 2021
With creators and influencers not going anywhere any time soon, expect to see a rise in collaborations between practices and influencers, device companies and industry brands.
Increased attention to privacy. Increased attention to confidentiality and privacy protection of personal data will continue to make it even harder to reach your audience. With the Facebook rebrand to Meta, the conversation has once again pivoted to security and privacy concerns.
As the Metaverse grows and expands, it will soon grant access to biometrics, location, facial expressions, financial information and other sensitive user data. How will this data be handled, and will it be safe? If the data is somehow lost to hackers and thieves, what can regulators and businesses do about it?
Google also has big plans to combat growing security concerns.
The tech giant plans to phase out third-party cookies in 2023. Cookies are used to track website visitors, improve the user experience and collect data that helps advertisers target campaigns to the right audiences.
As we move into 2022 and beyond, users are demanding more transparency, choice and control over how their data is used. It’s a monumental undertaking that has been in the works for years, but with limited testing and heat from government agencies around the world, it’s clear that Google means business.
Integration. More and more clients are moving to online patient forms that integrate with their website for a faster, seamless and more integrated patient experience.
These electronic health records (EHR) help by, first and foremost, delivering better patient care. When patients can fill out these forms from home, giving more thought and attention to their medical history instead of hurriedly pushing through paperwork just minutes before seeing a healthcare provider, it helps caregivers be more informed and leads to better care being delivered.
Added benefits include a streamlined employee workflow and saving money by going paperless.
Record Numbers Pushed SEO in 2021
Record numbers. With the country fully opening up this past year, Incredible Marketing saw record numbers across the board. Website traffic, contact form submissions and phone calls all skyrocketed in 2021 for most medical spas and plastic surgery clinics we work with.
Patients were missing their touchup treatments and anxious to return.
For healthcare clinics, it highlighted the importance of having a strong SEO and search strategy in place and an updated website, plus a customer service plan that helped and informed patients along their journey with you.
Core Web Vitals. The Core Web Vitals rolled out this summer, which made a big impact and shifted up the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) drastically in the medical industry. This update is based on a set of metrics created by Google that measures the overall user experience of a website, such as page speed and how easily a user can navigate a website.
The three main metrics are Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), which measures loading performance; First Input Delay (FID), which measures interactivity; and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS), which measures visual stability.
To see how your website stacks up, Google has a tool for measuring your own site performance. If your website is found lacking, hit up the nerds at Incredible Marketing, and they’ll make sure it’s not only beautiful but also blazing fast.
Mobile first indexing. Every website was officially moved to mobile first indexing earlier in 2021. This means Google will primarily use the mobile version of your website when it indexes and ranks your site.
GMB is now GBP. Google My Business is now called Google Business Profile in an effort to bring more of business profile management out of the Google My Business app and directly into Google Search, Google Maps and those respective apps.
Google wants businesses to manage single listings directly on Google Search or Google Maps.
More from the Alphabet overlords:
“The existing Google My Business web experience will transition to primarily support larger businesses with multiple locations, and will be renamed ‘Business Profile Manager.’”
So why the name change?
Google wanted to “keep things simple” to follow while phasing out the Google My Business app completely in 2022.
SEO Competition Heats Up in 2022
SEO competition heats up. SEO will be more competitive than ever as the quality of content continues to improve. As you should know by now, if you don’t have content, you don’t have anything to rank on Google.
Elyse Romano, our Incredible Director of Content, highlighted earlier in this post that “content” can be any number of options ranging from written blog posts to long format video and audio options. These choices fit different personalities, differing practice offerings and products, giving practitioners the privilege of finding the best fit for them and their patients.
However, practices around the world are stepping up the quality of these offerings, along with their budgets and the resources they dedicate to them.
Without a doubt, 2022 is the year to update your website and upgrade your content as user and page experience is more important than ever to Google and ultimately your website’s visibility.
Google Discover. It’s time to take more advantage of Google Discover, another great tool to help get your content promoted organically.
First, for those in the back who have been doodling instead of paying attention: Discover is an updated Google Feed experience that keeps users inspired and informed about the interests and hobbies they care about most.
This feed is based on information gathered from previous web and app activity, device information, location history, location settings, blood type and more.
Why should your practice take more advantage of Google Discover? Because it’s basically free organic search traffic. Having relevant blog posts and updated and thoroughly SEO-optimized product pages can help your practice see an increase in product page views, if they align with consumer interest.
The caveat is that this search traffic should be considered supplemental given the unpredictability of the results compared to Search options.
The potentates at Google note this saying:
“Given the serendipitous nature of Discover, traffic from Discover is less predictable or dependable when compared to Search, and should be considered supplemental to your Search traffic. This means that you might create and optimize content to fulfill specific search needs for search engine traffic, but there is no way to create content that explicitly targets Discover’s interest matching.”
So, while you can’t put exact numbers to it, you should keep your pages optimized and your content relevant and targeted to keep the traffic flowing.
AI. Artificial Intelligence (AI) will continue to have a huge role in SEO. By now, most of us understand that Google uses AI each time a user initiates a search through its search engine.
A user makes a query, and then those search engines use AI to predict results to answer the search question. Easy, right? Well, that AI and machine learning technology has a major impact on how your content ranks and ultimately how your practice gets found online.
Creating your practice’s content around search results is one thing, but AI can also help optimize what you’ve already got online to help it rank better as well.
AI can be a confusing concept with so many sub-topics and applications. You’re probably asking yourself, ‘How do I get started with AI and optimizing my content?’ Well, the first thing you need to do is contact those fancy rapscallions at Incredible Marketing. We’ve got the knowledge and know-how (not to mention that swagga) to get your SEO jump-started and your phone ringing just in time for the new year.
EAT. The Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness (EAT) principle will continue to be a significant ranking factor, especially in the medical industry.
Expertise refers to the creator of the main content (MC) on the page. Are they an expert on the topic? Do they have the credentials, if necessary, to back that up, and is this information available to read on the website?
Authoritativeness refers to the main content creator, the content itself, and the website on which it appears. The definition of “authoritativeness” gives us a big clue on what this means to Google and websites:
In other words, you have generally recognized authority in your field. People know you and your background, and you’re seen as a leader in your industry.
The “Trustworthiness” part of E-A-T refers to you and your content being a trustworthy expert and source. It means people can trust you to provide honest, true and accurate information.
Voice. “Write like you talk.” Voice search will continue to increase every year, so it’s good to keep this in mind when creating strategies.
According to Juniper Research, an estimated 55% of households are expected to own a smart speaker in 2022. That figure is expected to grow as more easily accessible 5G and high-speed networks come online.
Clients are increasingly doing voice searches on their phones or smart speakers, asking Alexa or Siri for directions, weather updates or listings for local businesses. In fact, 71% of Americans say they’d rather use voice search than mess around with entering a query on a keyboard.
The point is that voice search will only continue to grow among your patients, so strategize accordingly.
Web Design That Pushed Trends Forward in 2021
Gradients. Gradients everywhere. Last year we saw a huge resurgence in vibrant and complementary blends of colors across all design mediums. The best usage of gradients is often keeping the amalgamation as close together as possible, resulting in a shadow-light variation rather than traveling across the entire spectrum.
Glassmorphism. Apple isn’t a stranger to creating and elevating design trends, and their newest releases of macOS lit up the design world by creating glassmorphism elements. What is glassmorphism? Essentially, it’s a translucent blurry element that allows content behind to be moderately visible — a frosted glass effect.
Noise. No, not the audible kind. The latest trend is adding subtle textures to your design by adding a bit of graininess, aka noise. Texture and grain is something we see all the time in the ‘real world,’ but until recently, it was absent in the digital world.
They say life imitates art, but in this case, we see art imitating life.
Design pivots to Accessibility, Transparency in 2022
Accessibility. We’re seeing a much-needed push toward inclusivity on the web with a significant focus on ensuring web experiences are equally optimized for audiences of all sorts.
A few examples of accessibility on the web are tagging content for screen readers, enhancing images for those who have difficulties seeing colors, limiting or reducing motion effects, and achieving a particular contrast ratio for text/backgrounds.
Without a doubt, 2022 is the year these kinds of initiatives go from a nice thing to have to a must thing to have.
3D. Since the beginning of the internet, our experiences have been predominantly two-dimensional. Flat pages, flat scrolling.
This is rapidly changing, and many new site experiences are creating a sense of 3D space in one way or another. Whether it’s 3D renderings of product packaging or augmented reality that demonstrates a product or service in real-time, be ready to see many of your favorite websites leverage the power of a new dimension.
Over the last year, companies big and small have flirted with the world of 3D design for websites. In 2022, look for a broader commitment to 3D and all its offerings.
Transparency. What can be accomplished online with self-service applications and tools is truly impressive and becoming more common in everyday lives.
Website visitors expect all the information to be available for them to make a purchasing decision — including pricing and service options. Once they are informed and ready to proceed, again, they want the ability to schedule their own appointments without the need to call or visit an office.
Hiding away the vital information that clients consider before making a purchase will almost assure that no sale will happen. Patients want to know the vital information. Be open, be honest.
What became clearer about social in 2021
The return of having fun! If you’re not using humor, you’re not connecting with your audience. When done correctly, humor is a great way to grab people’s attention and stand out from your competition.
Humor also makes your practice and brand more human and relatable, which helps them feel comfortable connecting with you.
Your patients have evolved. Your audience is more tech-savvy than ever before, with the pandemic creating a “more technology-literate shopping base,” according to a new report by Wunderman Thompson.
“Marketplaces have strengthened their positions, advances in social commerce and the rise of aggregators… To win online, it’s vital that businesses know how consumers are shopping across channels and markets, and how they will shop in the future.”
Millennial kids no more. The Millennial has grown up and is now your target audience. Don’t forget, this generation knows the internet. They want to shop online, book online, and learn as much as they can online.
Where Social Is Going in 2022
Instagram moves in with video. After years of going steady, Instagram is ready to fully commit to video in 2022. We’re all so thrilled for the news.
Adam Mosseri, CEO of Instagram, said Instagram will no longer be a photo-sharing platform. Since its launch in August 2020, Instagram Reels – Instagram’s response to TikTok – has helped Instagram keep pace with the juggernauts that are TikTok and YouTube in the arena that is most important to all social platforms: attention.
Over one billion monthly users spend nearly a half hour each day on the non-photo sharing video entertainment platform with 81% of those users researching products and services.
Need one more stat to prove how important your investment in Instagram is in 2022? Of those users, 50% of people have visited a website to make a purchase after seeing a product or service.
At the heart of these numbers moving forward will be the video components of Instagram. Combining your practice’s fun and unique culture with your products and services will be critical to continued success on social media.
The TikTok Effect (not a movie starring Ashton Kutcher). Saying all of that about Instgram above should highlight something else critical: TikTok will continue to dominate trends and viralness. If it goes viral on TikTok, prepare for surging demand for the product or service.
While it doesn’t quite have the reach of Facebook or Instagram yet, TikTok still entered 2021 with nearly 700 million monthly users, with 62% of those users falling between 10-29 years old.
Even if you’re not a fan of creating another social media profile to stay on top of your overall social strategy, you should use TikTok for ads and shopping.
Influencer advertising on TikTok works particularly well, as this social media platform is known for showcasing authentic and natural content. Even better is that influencers enjoy an engagement rate of 18% on the platform (compared to Instagram’s 3.86% and YouTube’s 1.63%).
Social ads will become indispensable. Running ads on social media will be required to reach a larger audience. It has been an incredibly long time since you could simply create content and have the lion’s share of people you wish to reach see it.
Ongoing relationships will be the best way to leverage influencers. Having influencers near your office visit you only to never return will not get you the results you need. What matters now is forming relationships with influencers. When they regularly film themselves entering your office and let their followers know you are their go-to spot for aesthetics, it creates a sense of trust and familiarity with their followers, who will also make you their go-to spot.
An Incredible Business Look at 2021
Relationships. The importance of strong relationships with our clients was a determining factor in our success over this past year. The trust, the commitment through the pandemic, and the willingness to try new digital tactics have been instrumental in Incredible’s growth in 2021.
The same can be said for so many of our clients and friends, as we all rediscovered that contracts and commitments are only as good as the people who sign them. The strong bonds we’ve created over these last few years helped see us through these recent difficult times.
Those relationships, that loyalty, is created in the smallest of interactions between your practice and the patients you see. From how you take time to explain the next steps on their healthcare journey down to every time you greet them on the phone or interact with them online. These little moments can add up to big dividends later down the road when you might need it the most.
The loyalty you create with patients by providing extraordinary cutting-edge procedures, paired with fabulous products and unmatched customer service, will see you through tough times.
Tactical purpose. We work with purpose and recommend with purpose. To maintain trust with our clients, it’s essential that we do not work off checklists and deliverables alone, and that the work we do has a direct benefit in hitting our client objectives.
In our business, one of our ever-evolving roles is as a content marketer for our partners. These clients are not paying us just to write 1,500 words per month. No, they are paying us to hit an objective. Content is a tactical approach that helps reach that goal.
The popular phrase “Now you’re just arguing semantics” gets thrown around loosely, but we beg to differ – semantics and how we think about these transactions matter.
We don’t push forward blindly, without a plan. We move forward with tactical purpose.
Client experience. One of our primary priorities at Incredible Marketing as we head into 2022 remains the client experience. Just because digital marketing is a complex science doesn’t mean that it has to feel complex to our clients.
It equates to taking an airplane ride. People don’t need to know how the plane is built or the technical details of operating the jet; they only need to tell the pilot where they want to go, and they can kick back, watch a movie and relax.
But they can only truly relax if they know, believe and, most importantly, trust that the pilot (we the business operators) knows what they’re doing. That kind of trust and loyalty is earned through every interaction we have with our clients on their journeys with us. They have to know that when trouble arises, we won’t take the only parachute and wish them the best of luck as we disappear into the night like D.B. Cooper.
The client experience remains paramount to our present and future as we set out each day to build on these positive interactions so that we can earn the trust necessary to stay in the pilot’s chair of their digital marketing approach.
Ready to succeed in 2022?
2020 was a whirlwind and 2021 taught us some valuable lessons that we’ll carry with us into the future. If you and your practice are ready to reach a new level of success in 2022 then we would love the opportunity to work with you. We understand that every website and every practice is unique. Our educators are here to answer any questions you have, anytime, for free. Give us a call at (800) 949-0133 or click below to schedule a one-on-one.