In 2022, the marketing world continued to evolve.
Not only did we get the ability to shop directly on our favorite social media apps, but we also began to hear lots of the futuristic buzz around AR/VR, the metaverse, and Web3 development.
As we move into another unique year, marketers might wonder if and how other companies in their industry are keeping up with everything going on.
To help marketers like you keep a pulse on how other brands are doing, HubSpot analyzed data from 150,000+ companies. In this post, we’ll note the three key marketing themes we discovered and how they could impact you today.
Want a full view of how the bigger business performed and what you can do to keep your company up? Read our full-year Business Data Recap on the Hustle Blog now.
About this Data: These insights are based on data aggregated from 130,000+ HubSpot customers globally between July 2021 and September 2022. Because the data is aggregated from HubSpot customers’ businesses, please keep in mind that the performance of individual businesses, including HubSpot’s, might differ based on their own markets, customer base, industry, geography, stage and/or other factors.
3 Marketing Data Themes We Saw in 2022
2022 Web Traffic Struggled to Outpace 2021
In 2021, much of the world was still reopening following the worst of the pandemic. And, although people were starting to get out of the house and disconnect from their screens more often, others were still highly connected, working mostly remote, and doing everything from shopping to entertaining themselves from home.
In 2022, as the global events we went through seem farther and farther in the past, more people than ever are trying to get out of the house, get off their computers, and continue to trade Zoom calls and texts with real, in-person connections.
In 2021, we also saw people become more honest with themselves about work. Instead of spending 10 hours a day in the office or working from home, they opted to take more time off, set work-life balance boundaries, or even take part in quiet quitting.
Lastly, we saw in our quarterly analyses, and note in the section below, that marketers sent fewer emails which also received lower email open rates overall throughout the year. For some sites, email can be the biggest traffic source following search engine and direct traffic. And, when any channel sees these impacts, it could greatly impact year-over-year performance.
With the factors above in mind, it’s not too shocking that web traffic across all industries took a hit in 2022 compared to 2021, with a 6.7% YoY dip.
The only industry that didn’t see a dip was, unsurprisingly, Leisure and Hospitality. This industry, which saw major business impact during COVID travel and country-wide shutdowns, is now showing signs of picking back up with a 6.35% YoY traffic increase.
The industries that saw the biggest dips were Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, as well as Professional and Business Services, which both saw more than a 7% traffic tip in 2022.
Marketing Emails Struggled to Capture Subscribers
As we hinted above, email open rates took a tip in 2022. Across industries, email open rate dropped by a whopping 12.89% while email opens dropped by just under 4%.
YoY (2022 vs. 2021)
Email open rate
While there could be many possibilities for this, a few impacts that seem likely are:
- Businesses sent too many emails. In 2022, companies sent 11% more marketing emails than usual, which could have easily fatigued subscribers, caused disengagement, or even hurt email subscription size. On top of this, sales reps also might have been sending emails more frequently as sales email open rates dipped by 11.6%, hinting that those who were subscribers AND prospects could’ve definitely gotten bloated inboxes.
- Email oversaturation from all sorts of brands (which also likely amped up email sends) could have caused higher competition in subscriber inboxes than in previous years. On top of marketing emails to compete with,
- Growing subscriber lists. While this shows people are investing in your brand and content, it can open rates harder to maintain. Because open rates decreased by a much larger percentage than that of opens, this could mean marketers added more contacts to their subscription lists, but only received opens from the same or slightly fewer people.
- Inboxes are continuing to improve organization, junk, and spam filters. While this is better for the consumer, these pivots could be moving emails out of sight, although this is less likely if spam rates for your email campaign are low.
- Competition from other mobile platforms: With the growth of social media and other mobile content-driven apps, emails could be feeling less relevant to some consumers, despite still being a solid marketing tactic.
If you leverage email marketing, keep track of your subscribers and your competition, as well as how email consumption and content is changing to ensure that you’re prioritizing sends with the highest potential impact. This will ensure that your content has a fighting chance of catching your subscriber’s eye in a busy list of unread messages.
Ultimately, your subscribers, prospects, and potential customers could reward you for understanding their needs with both engagements and even purchases.
Still, Marketing Efforts Yielded Lead & Conversion Impact
Although marketers aren’t closing deals like sales reps, they still drew in business impact despite lower traffic and email open engagements.
Leads and conversions, the biggest ties marketing departments often have to a business’s bottom line actually went up year-over-year.
While web conversions saw a nearly 11% increase, inbound leads went up by 6.66%
Although web conversions would be likely to go up due to the lower ratio of web visits (noted above), the number of inbound leads rising shows that companies are still growing their prospect lists.
Unsurprisingly, Leisure and Hospitality saw the largest growth in leads at a whopping 18.3% YoY, as well as the second-highest increase in website conversions at just over 12%.
Although they saw lowering traffic in 2022, other notable lead-growth industries were:
- Education & Health Services: 10.6% lead growth and an 11% rise in conversion rate.
- Professional & Business Service: 7.7% lead growth and a 13.7% rise in conversion rate.
These industries all make sense as top performers because the businesses within them often sell expensive or high-commital offerings (whether they be B2B or B2C). A random consumer won’t just pay for something like this after reading a single landing page, so the marketing teams within these areas are likely skilled in building robust lead-nurturing strategies.
One industry that seemed to struggle in 2022 was the Construction industry, which saw decreases in all metrics we looked at across the board, including inbound leads (-3.8%), web conversions (-0.65%), and web traffic (-6.84%). While we aren’t completely sure why this is, here are two of our best guesses (which would likely be temporary):
- Due to the rising costs of inflation, materials, and construction team talent, construction projects that consumers and businesses might have invested in within the last decade have gotten more expensive or unaffordable..
- During 2020, building and/or owners took advantage of their time at home or the lack of people in public/office buildings and used that time to invest in construction, remodels or maintenance. But beginning in 2021 and continuing on in 2022, construction has seen a less motion. Ultimately, as the cost of living rises and people return back to work, these projects might not be gaining as much interest or engagement online.
What’s Next for Marketers in 2023
While we can’t predict the future, we expect lead generation and conversion plays to be more important than ever to marketers as they aim to benefit their business’s bottom in still-unprecedented times. But, because people of the internet are still as hyperconnected as ever, anything could happen with traffic or email marketing.
Ultimately, what you do with your brand’s marketing plan is up to you. And, those decisions should be made with data from your company, your targets, and your own competitive analyses.
If you’re a marketing leader, entrepreneur, or just really interested in how overall businesses compared in 2022, check out this detailed business recap o all of the 2022 metrics we dug into. Or, get more tips on planning the most innovative marketing plan from our State of Marketing Report below.