7 Freelance Predictions for 2022
By Jena Kroeker
As the world spins unpredictably in 2021, you might be wondering how we can make freelance predictions for 2022. Many have faced serious challenges, but one thing remains clear — freelancers and virtual assistants have chosen a great industry that continues to flourish. As FreeU co-founder Craig Cannings says, “Freelancing has been a surprising blessing during COVID.”
For this reason, many of the predictions we talked about in a previous blog post, “7 Online Predictions for 2020,” have not only come to fruition but exceeded expectations. Think about this quote from 2019:
“You might have noticed fewer raised eyebrows when you tell people what you do. 20 years ago, people were surprised to hear that I worked independently from home. Now they’re unfazed and even suggest potential clients to me.”
With the growth of a remote workforce, this statement resonates even more today. So, as we turn the page to another new year, let’s explore seven exciting predictions that signal further growth in 2022.
Seven Freelance Predictions for 2022
1. The freelance industry will continue to grow.
How do we describe this? You could almost call it meteoric growth. In an article titled “The Great Resignation: From Full-Time to Freelance,” Upwork Chief Economist, Dr. Adam Ozimek, shares key findings showing that “the Great Resignation isn’t just about workers moving from one full-time job to another; 20%, or 10 million Americans, are considering freelancing.” He explains that this number represents a 17% increase compared to the 57 million people who freelanced in 2019. And 73% want to freelance because it allows them to work flexibly from a remote location.
In addition, Edward Segal’s article, “Freelance Workforce Could Increase By 10 Million—What That Means For Employers” shares this important quote from Robert Nickell, founder and president of Rocket Station:
“The pandemic taught the business world two lessons. The first…is that a remote workforce is not only viable but often preferable. The second… is that the average person wants flexibility and freedom in their life.
“As a result, a lot of people have started working in a freelance capacity, either on the side or to replace their traditional job. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back at this point, so employers need to be prepared.”
Ben Taylor calls it a “stratospheric rise” in his article, “Freelance Trends 2022: What Can We Expect?” And he offers reassurance that the number of freelance opportunities and gigs will increase in proportion to the number of freelancers. For example, he notes, “Upwork’s 100 largest clients increased their freelance spend by over 44% year-on-year between 2019 and 2020.”
2. Virtual events are here to stay in 2022.
Are you all Zoomed out? Well, hopefully not, because virtual meetings and events will continue in 2022 and beyond. In your business and personal life, you may have noticed how much easier it is to attend conferences when you don’t need to buy a plane ticket and take time off to travel.
Indeed, Mike Kappel notes in his article, “8 Small Business Trends to Look Out for in 2022,” that virtual events help expand a business’s reach and allow more people to attend. And a Webflow article titled “6 businesses that will grow in 2022 and beyond” supports this idea with evidence from Lawrence Coburn, co-founder of video-chat startup Twine, who observes that “event planners were seeing four to five times the participation in virtual events over their in-person counterparts.”
Consequently, the Webflow article suggests seizing the opportunity to create services that help businesses plan, host, and execute many types of online events. If you’ve been considering the virtual events niche, now is the time to add it to your business.
3. Video marketing’s popularity will continue.
In our previous post, we predicted that “online video will continue to take over the airwaves.” It did! And it still does! Alexa Nizam sums it up perfectly in her article, “67 Video Marketing Stats You Need to Know for 2022. (Including Original Research!).” She says,
“Video raises the bar across owned, earned, and paid channels, and it’s expected to continue to dominate the marketing field in 2022. With that in mind, we’ll borrow a popular adage that’s especially relevant for the video space: ‘The best time to start was yesterday. The second-best time is now.’ “
Specifically, she notes that according to HubSpot’s “Not Another State of Marketing” report, “Video is the #1 form of media used in content strategy, overtaking blogs and infographics.”
However, the optimal length of video has changed. It appears that short-form videos are most popular now. In their article, “Top 9 Social Media Trends to Prepare for in 2022,” Shannon Tien and Konstantin Prodanovic say, “Long-form video is a bust, except on YouTube.” They share statistics from Vidyard, stating that “60% of all videos published on the internet in 2020 were under 2 minutes long.”
And the article above shares information from Social Insider, stating that “the optimal video length for engagement on Facebook is between 2 and 5 minutes.” So, in 2022, wisely consider building your marketing strategy around short-form videos.
4. SEO is more important than ever.
Two years ago, we discussed how “SEO will encourage the creation of meaningful content.” That prediction still rings true. But SEO takes on even more significance in our freelance predictions for 2022. Consider this compelling statistic from an article titled “Powerful Digital Marketing Statistics and Facts for 2022.” Namely, “93% of all online interactions start with a search engine.”
Let that fact sink in. The importance of showing up first in the search engines cannot be overstated. As the article says, “essentially, ranking your company or business website high on search engines can turn out to be the best form of advertising for your product or service.”
And along with showing up high on the search engines, continue to create content that’s highly readable and relevant to build credibility with your target audience.
5. Digital marketing is one of the most in-demand niches.
Some freelance predictions for 2022 may not come as a surprise. Over the past two years, many companies have gone digital, and ecommerce continues to thrive. In an article titled “Our Look at The Top Career Trends of 2021,” James Elliott says the pandemic changed the job market forever in this way:
“Digital over everything. If companies hadn’t already embraced digital, you can bet they have now. Especially in retail and hospitality, the need to develop and engage customers through digital channels was critical for survival.”
Consequently, he lists “Digital Marketer” as one of the most in-demand and fastest-growing jobs. And Annette Brooks provides some more key examples of digital niches in her article, “The 30 Most In-Demand Jobs and Skills [2019 – 2022].” She lists search engine optimization as “one of today’s most effective marketing strategies” and in-demand skills for 2022. Social media marketing is considered one of the “hottest skills for freelancers” according to a 2019 Upwork survey that “highlights emerging skills in the tech industry and marketing with more than 120% growth year-over-year.”
6. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a powerful content marketing tool.
Two years ago, we predicted that “Artificial Intelligence will create more, not fewer opportunities for humans.” We discussed chatbots and the need to make them sound more human as they’re incorporated into a business’s communication strategy.
Now, predictions for 2022 involve an even more robust strategy for AI that uses “predictive analytics.” In his article, “The B2B Ecommerce Trends and Statistics to Follow in 2022,” Michael Keenan predicts that personalization of content will be driven by AI in 2022.
Specifically, he shares a quote from Raviteja Dodda, CEO of MoEngage, who suggests that AI can provide data that lets you know how often your target audience or customers want to hear from you and how well they react to different kinds of content and offers. AI can even help you understand what people like or dislike when they interact with your brand.
This trend combines nicely with the creation of relevant, high-quality content. As Dodda says, “Your customers won’t mind hearing from you more often, as long as you are sending them content that feels personalized to them.” He stresses the need to examine the data that’s been collected and be strategic about your next steps.
7. Social Media marketing will gain ecommerce power.
As alluded to above, social media marketing continues to dominate. It’s a powerful channel where you can continue to reach vast numbers of people. Specifically, 3.2 billion people are using social media each day, a statistic shared in the article above.
And an added opportunity appears when you marry ecommerce with social media — it’s called “social commerce.” In essence, customers can buy products from ecommerce stores on their favorite social media platforms.
In the article above, Michael Keenan says, “Social commerce sales are expected to triple by 2025.” In particular, 30% of internet users in the US and 50% in China buy products through social media platforms. He explains that the ability to promote and sell products solely on social media is “a major trend in 2022.”
Noel Rosos refers to “shoppable posts” in his article, “Digital Marketing Trends To Be On The Lookout For In 2022.” He describes how Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest, are adding features (like the ability to tag products) “making it easier for people to shop and enjoy social media at the same time.”
The year ahead awaits, and these freelance predictions for 2022 bring great hope and optimism. There is a lot to look forward to in the freelance and virtual assistant industry. You may find that some of the skills you have can be taken to another level. Or maybe you see a new trend or new niche you’d like to pursue.
The sky’s the limit, and the industry is poised to grow even further. So, we’d like to hear from you. What trends do you see happening in the digital world in 2022? And which ones do you see benefiting your business the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!