2022 is days away and we’re all looking ahead to that flip from ‘21 to ‘22. It feels in many ways like the first time we’re turning the page since March of 2020. What will this new year look like? We expect different, in many ways, and have explored what we see as the biggest trends presenting us as marketers.

#1. Deja-Vu.

Have you ever been on Instagram Reels for half an hour and realized you’re on TikTok? How many Tweets have you seen posted on your Instagram feed? YouTube Shorts now offer similar vertical, short-form content to Snap, TikTok and Reels. We’re not only noticing the same content posted across platforms, we also see a trend toward the growing appetite for quick-hitting, lo-fi video content and anticipate that social platforms will continue to look more and more alike with similar content and formats, at least in the immediate future

#2. Chime In

The desire for deeper human connection, the continued rise in hands-free tech and screen fatigue have given rise to the explosion of audio based social, with new platforms emerging and older ones adapting to offer audio-based functionality.​ The rise of podcasts over the last decade has contributed to comfortability with visual-less formats, and the ease and portability of listening-only has become a welcome convenience. The movement away from listening to interacting is the next iteration, leaning further into social than entertainment. We see this with Twitter Spaces, Instagram Live Rooms, and even dating apps, and expect audio-forward platforms to thrive as we come to demand their ease and ability to connect us.

#3. The Metaverse Unfolds

This growing crypto art space that reflects the best of people’s ingenuity, community building, and creativity and highlights the worst of our inequality, controversy, and patience, will see peak popularity in 2022. Brands have already opted in, but true accessibility for everyday people will heighten as the metaverse becomes a household word.

#4. In-House Advocates

As the shift from paid budgets to earned efforts continues and the return-to-work post-pandemic commences, companies are leaning into the benefits of employee activation on social. This strategy not only allows companies and brands to show up in a more authentic and human way, employee activation programs have also been proven to increase retention and satisfaction. Put simply, employees could serve as the most effective brand advocates of the future.

#5. Social Emotional Health

Brands are taking a hard stance to support emotional wellbeing. In the wake of Facebook’s whistleblower conundrum this fall, while platforms scramble to prove their ability to protect and promote safety, brands are stepping up. As consumers increasingly view self-care as a necessity and self-regulation on social as a means of self-care, brands have an opportunity to assist them by rethinking their product offering, platform presence and content mix.