Branded Content Day: Nemorin’s predictions for 2022

It’s crystal ball time. Here are five things to watch out for in the year ahead.

1 – The metaverse

When one of the biggest companies in the world changes its name to incorporate the first four letters of a new buzzword, it’s worth taking notice. As you’ll all know Facebook (the company) is now Meta, and Mr Zuckerberg and his cohorts are deadly serious about owning our future, virtual worlds, just as they dominate our existing social media lives. Microsoft wants to be the de facto standard in the virtual corporate space. 

Let’s hope that doesn’t come true: a ‘pure’ metaverse should be a place where multiple virtual worlds co-exist, with no single version being utterly dominant. That interoperability was the guiding principle of the world wide web. I want the virtual ‘me’ to be able to move seamlessly from one virtual place to another (and some companies, such as Ready Player Me, are already developing the tech to enable that). One thing’s for sure: the metaverse is coming, and fast. And it is, of course, a visual medium. 2022 might be a bit too soon for a fully immersive metaverse to go mainstream: VR headsets are still heavy, and (while coming down in price) fairly expensive. Some VR experiences are a bit clunky and can trigger nausea. But the future is definitely going to be increasingly virtual. 

2 – XR

This is related to the metaverse, but distinct from it. XR is the umbrella term for all flavours of enhanced or alternative realities. That includes VR (where you are transported to an entirely new environment), AR (which is where your existing environment is augmented by visuals generated by your handset, headset, or glasses), and MR (a combination of the two). Again, you have to take notice when the likes of Meta/Facebook (with Oculus) and Microsoft (Hololens) are investing billions in a given technology. Apple has been taking its time with true VR; its philosophy has long been that technology should bring people together rather than separate them from each other – one criticism of VR, which, until now, has largely been a solitary experience. But as processing power and bandwidth increases, the possibilities widen. Hence the credibility of rumours that Apple are working on VR headsets as well as AR glasses. So we’re likely to hear a lot more about XR in 2022.   

3 – TikTok

It’s TikTok’s world, and we just live in it. Or something like that. It felt like the brand was everywhere in 2021, from our mobile screens to the European football championships. It’s overtaking YouTube as the platform of choice for young creators, and forcing Instagram to mimic its UX (with Reels) and YouTube to respond with its Shorts product. TikTok’s growth seems unstoppable right now, and advertisers are responding by diverting spend to the platform. So what will 2022 hold? More of the same. More growth, more ad spend, more brands launching channels, more controversy – the Chinese ownership still irks some commentator and politicians, and there will undoubtedly be some unsavoury content posted. But the juggernaut will roll on. 

4 – AFP

The media likes a shiny new thing, hence the hype around TikTok. TV by contrast has been part of our lives for so long that its enduring power as an advertising medium doesn’t perhaps get the column inches it deserves. For sure the industry is facing some structural issues – the streamers and on-demand viewing have inevitably taken their toll, with the effectiveness of traditional TVCs in anything other than appointment to view shows and live sport in decline. But that’s not the end of the story: more and more brands are looking to play a role in the content itself. Be the thing, don’t interrupt the thing. K7 Media reckons about 20 brand-funded series appeared on UK screens in 2020, and the number for 2021 is probably similar. We’d be surprised if it doesn’t grow in 2022. 

5 – Shoppable, interactive video

With the ad cookie crumbling, advertisers will find it harder to follow consumers around the web. This makes first party data more important than ever, and will also encourage brands to reduce the number of clicks between exposure to a product or service, and purchase. Video will increasingly be a shoppable medium. Instagram and TikTok already have ecommerce integrations, while Amazon and YouTube also have new interactive video ad formats. As market researchers Forrester say, we can expect more shoppable ad content on social media and connected TV platforms next year. This trend is already a feature of the metaverse: brands (including Hugo Boss and Adidas) are ‘making’ virtual goods, such as trainers and clothes, which you can purchase. O brave new world, that has such well-dressed avatars in it… 

Those are our predictions for 2022. Got any thoughts? Need help formulating your own video strategy for the year ahead? Drop us a line.