Kevin Indig, SEO Director of Shopify, shared his SEO, marketing and e-commerce predictions for 2022.
Here are the key ideas:
1. Inventory is a New Competitive Advantage
Given the supply shortage in mid-2021, inventory is a competitive advantage. Companies that have enough inventory to meet demand win. This is due to a lack of supply.
In many cases, there is enough inventory to have an edge over the competition because consumers are impatient. When they find items that are out of stock, 32% of consumers change the seller, and 39% change the brand or product. Only 13% wait for the item to be back in stock, says SEOnews.
In 2022, we will see many cases where companies will lose market share due to supply issues, which is why Indig recommends e-commerce businesses, especially in the DTC segment.
2. Organic Traffic Returns to Dock Levels
In 2022, organic traffic levels for most industries will return to or below their pre-pandemic baseline. This is indicated by three trends:
- When the pandemic hit in March/April 2020, consumers were looking for specific products that were entertaining and useful during this period. As countries around the world tighten or loosen restrictions, the demand and volume of searches for “pandemic” goods fluctuates. However, they are now returning to their original level.
- The share of e-commerce in total retail spending is also returning to its original level. After an initial spike from ~ 12% in the first quarter to 16% in the second quarter of 2020, levels are back down to dock-like growth rates. This suggests that e-commerce has experienced a temporary surge in 2020 and 2021. Since e-commerce and Google search are so closely related, Indig expects this trend to result in lower search volumes for many products and less organic traffic.
- Google needs to make more money from Search. The company is trying to diversify its revenue streams, and so far the best option is productivity tools. Google is also creating more advertising “surfaces” with new features in other applications.
At the same time, revenue from search advertising remains the main one for Google, notes NIX Solutions. Therefore, the company will continue to promote advertising through organic traffic to sites. This will find its expression in more ads in the search results.
Indig predicts that businesses in most categories will see lower organic traffic in 2022 – even with stable rankings.
3. Brand Strength Becomes the Key to Success
Branded traffic is “free” and targeted. Google is prioritizing strong brands in 2021 in part because it wants to rank higher on trusted sites to combat fake news and maintain consumer confidence. Google’s own market position is a direct result of how users trust it.
In 2022, companies will invest more in building their branding and monitoring stronger brands as the driving force behind higher ROI, lower customer acquisition costs, and organic rankings.
- Refusal of cookies. Google and Apple are working hard to monopolize this through in-browser tracking (FLoC). And the changes to tracking on iOS have already taken a toll on Facebook and Snapchat’s revenue. Over time, the situation will only get worse.
- Web3. This is a kind of rebranding of cryptocurrencies and blockchain. New technology is difficult for consumers to truly understand, but many are investing in it for fear of missing out on something important (FOMO). On the one hand, the complexity of these technologies opens up opportunities for fraudsters to earn money. On the other hand, the development of this area is fraught with tremendous enthusiasm and a lot of talent, and the list of use cases for blockchain technology is quite long.
- The metaverse being developed by Facebook and Microsoft. 2 of the 5 largest companies are currently working on this concept. It’s too early to say what will come of this, but Facebook has already relied on rebranding and a new name for the company – Meta.
All the predictions and reflections of Kevin Indig can be found here.