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Reviewing the biggest creative trends in social media in 2022


By Dani Gibson, Senior Writer

November 21, 2022 | 8 min read

Members of the jury for The Drum Awards for Social Media talk us through the trends that emerged from this year’s entries.

Social Media Trends 2022

The trends from The Drum Awards for Social Media judging room

The days are closing in for The Drum’s week-long awards festival, running December 5-9. As part of the festival, we will be celebrating the companies and people from around the globe who bring creativity to social media marketing at The Drum Awards for Social Media. The awards ceremony will be held at The Drum Labs in Shoreditch London on Wednesday December 7. Find out how to purchase your tickets for the event here.

To prime us up for all the social media creativity, we caught up with this year’s panel of judges on this year’s entries and the trends they saw emerge from the best work.

Candice Beck, director, social and influencer, Chipotle

The best campaigns started with an insight, told a cohesive story and featured plus-ups that made the content and activations even richer. Those that authentically executed their brands, channels and media placements strategically weren’t afraid to address some tension. These brands didn’t take themselves too seriously, stood out among the competition and thrived in the award rankings.

If there are any opportunities for future content, it’s filling the gap in purpose-driven work that I’d love to see next year. In a divisive climate, it seems there’s some apprehension for risk, perhaps for fear of polarization or losing customers. I hope to see more disruptor brands submitting their meaningful, culture-driving work.

Overall, I’m encouraged by what brands brought to the table this year. The more we marketers obsess over the consumer perception around our campaigns, the more successful they’ll be.

Nicole Nunez, manager, social media and digital marketing, North America, Burger King

The biggest trends and themes coming out of the creative in this year’s submissions tie into human truths (discovered through deep social listening), making advertising emotional and functional, and impacting social changes. The work shows that social media is not just a place for entertainment but a true playground of inspiration that can move people to buy products, become brand advocates or feel a part of culture through a social movement.

My favorite category was Best Use of Social Media Advertising due to the breadth of work that showcased how brands leveraged a myriad of platforms to promote products and services. Whenever you have an idea that can answer or solve a consumer problem, it’s magic. It’s always interesting to see brands take things one step further and even create products for their fans to purchase.

I was surprised to see so many stunts in the submission versus truly social-first campaigns. Sometimes the simplicity of an idea rooted in data and people shines through in the clutter of big budgets and productions.

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Lee Goodger, director of corporate communications – digital and social media, Huawei

The evolution of social media, noted by the excellent number of submissions, still provides brands with many ways to interpret how to best use this channel. Encouragingly, no idea was the same.

From the entries that caught the eye of the judges, they had one thing in common: ‘Intelligent Simplicity.’ This translated as being confident in their brand’s social media purpose, with applied audience insights to a unique creative treatment; and, most importantly, it was an idea that was easy to understand with a clear value exchange.

Interestingly, taking this approach to the next level, the submissions that stood out further either fused social media to a CRM purpose or had significant levels of audience participation, not simply chasing vanity numbers.

It was disappointing when a submission was broadcast (not social by design), expected too much of its audience or conveyed too many generic messages.

It’s a confident brand that doesn’t get distracted by shiny new objects and forgets the basic principles of marketing communications. One thing is for sure – social media is still providing many creative ways for positive brand impact. All of this year’s entries should be proud of the work they’ve achieved in pushing new ways to engage and inspire.

Beckii Flint, director and co-founder, Pepper Studio

Moving into the New Year, the social media landscape is only continuing to accelerate. From my background with influencers, I have a keen eye focused on emerging trends, particularly from a native user’s perspective, and how we can tap into these as marketers.

I’m fascinated by the social trend towards less permanent content by default, as part of an overall theme toward more privacy for users – and how this can be incorporated within marketing campaigns that understandably typically have a longer window of delivery and performance. When judging the Snapchat category, it was interesting to observe how brands were considering the quirks of this platform within this context. And while we saw a lot of focus on publishing for Snap, I’d have liked to see more of the opportunity for creativity within a confined space come to life in this category.

The entries that stood out the most were the ones that had far-reaching potential, beyond performance and brand metrics. For example, within the LinkedIn category – an arguably tricker-than-most social platform to creatively execute – we saw some stellar campaigns that used the clever role-based targeting that LinkedIn can offer to deliver messaging to decision-makers, with the power to change how all of us express ourselves within the world of work.

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