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Facebook IQ’s 2022 trends report points to sweeping cultural shifts in 4 key areas

Posted by Neha De

March 28, 2022    |     8-minute read (1524 words)

If you are wondering about the latest emerging trends and what they could mean for your marketing strategy, look no further! 

Meta (Facebook) has published its Culture Rising: 2022 Trends Report, which highlights the current, evolving conversation trend shifts, based on anonymous and aggregated user data, collected from billions of online comments and posts from across its apps, along with a 12-market global study, to provide a cultural forecast for the next year and a half. 

Facebook IQ wrote in the report, “The physical, mental and spiritual effects of the coronavirus pandemic have been profound. In our latest global foresight survey, we found out that the future isn't what it used to be: 37% of the respondents say the pandemic spurred them to re-evaluate their purpose and priorities in life, while 41% said that if they could redo it, they'd choose a different career. And 65% now expect more out of work and life.”

The report features key insights into four global trends as well as 20 sub-trends. Let’s broadly look at these trends. 

Diversifying identities

“Rising conversation about gender roles, gender symbols and gender-neutral language reflect a gender evolution in full bloom,” revealed the report. Also, globally, almost half of survey participants believe that traditional gender roles are increasingly less relevant, in particular Gen Z and millennials, resulting in more gender-neutral products and services, and hence, product marketing.

Facebook IQ also found that individuals and cultures are going through a historical reckoning and making a conscious effort to come to terms with unjust and barbaric pasts and integrate historical injustices in a smoother way.

According to Meta’s research arm, “How can brands respond? Rise to consumers’ expectations by leading with meaningful action, followed by purposeful statements. Picture big entertainment companies educating viewers about racist content in their old films and beauty brands continuing to offer an ever-wider selection of multicultural products that can appeal to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of color) communities.”

The research found that organizations are more likely to accept activism and join hands with relevant communities, using their voices in order to “amplify pride, encourage acceptance and drive real change.”

The survey also showed that media and advertising needs to be “inclusive, representative and real.” According to the research “Pandemic-driven lockdowns and other safety measures unlocked new layers of realness. The quest for authenticity led to rawthenticity — an embrace of the unvarnished self. People repudiated things like traditional beauty standards, helping lead to new forms of acceptance and more inclusive representation.”

Regarding accessibility, Facebook IQ explained, “Awareness and understanding of people with disabilities continues to rise — including around those disabilities that may not be immediately apparent. Brands embrace more inclusive advertising and practices, and the media make PWD increasingly visible as consumers express growing concern for the disabled community.”

Expanding values

According to Facebook IQ, 58% of global respondents are making an effort to shop local, even if it is more costly. However, 62% of them consider themselves to be global citizens. The report showed, “Consumers seek global culture that’s locally made/sourced (food, furniture, clothing). Regional pride and consumer distrust of distant agribusiness practices also raised the demand for local, small-farm produce.”

Meta’s research arm touched upon the audio boom, too. It mentioned, “The immersive appeal of audio grows as we increasingly feel mental and visual fatigue from screens. Continued adoption of hi-fi audio in smartphones, smart speakers, headphones and car audio enable increased audio creativity. Brands are starting to jump on the audio bandwagon, but it’s just beginning.”

On the topic of e-commerce and social commerce, Facebook IQ said, “With online and offline boundaries blurring, many shoppers expect that if they can see it, they should be able to buy it—whether that’s shopping via website, mobile application, messaging app, photo with a product tag or live shopping broadcast.”

Facebook IQ also looked into the pandemic’s impact on wellness. It found that 37% of respondents globally reevaluated and reprioritized what matters most to them. Women and Gen X jumped on the most self-reflection. Facebook IQ forecasted, “Mind–body health and work–life balance become prominent among consumers. Alternative lifestyles and stress-reduction techniques emerge as a priority for optimal health.”

Regarding brands, the research showed that 69% of respondents worldwide believe brands need to “care about the environment and provide sustainable living products for consumers and sustainable tourism options for leisure activities.” 

Facebook IQ highlighted the increase in electric car sales. It wrote, “Forward-thinking companies increasingly adopt stances that push beyond neutrality (e.g., shifting from ‘carbon neutral’ to ‘carbon positive’ means removing additional carbon dioxide from the environment). As millennials approach their peak spending years, they will be holding businesses to account. Companies must back up words with concrete actions to reduce emissions or risk accusations of greenwashing — or, better yet, start with action and follow with words.”

Relationships renegotiated

Meta’s research arm showed that most individuals want to balance their screen time and combine it with real life, and tech firms have offered better ways for them to manage their time on devices.

On the topic of the metaverse, Facebook IQ noted, “It’s still early days (remember the first mobile phones?). But over time, innovations lead to usable, practical and ultimately delightful products. Major brands increasingly respond to people’s hunger for more interactive and immersive experiences. Important conversations, which are underway, seek to help ensure that the metaverse grows into a fair, equitable and open place that can unlock opportunity for all.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed people’s viewpoints on love in distinct ways. While 33% of respondents globally revealed that widespread shutdowns had a positive effect on their romantic relationships, about 22% of heterosexual American adults said they prefer open relationships.

About community, Meta’s research arm predicted, “More people will continue to seek deep connections and open conversations with like-minded people, most of whom they will never meet in person, in nanocommunities. This goes beyond small talk to more intense conversations around areas once stigmatized, like the state of one’s mental health.”

Facebook IQ also mentioned Reels, another one of Meta’s features. It said, “10 years ago, online remixes and reinterpretations were often limited to professionals and targeted at mass audiences. Today, it’s never been easier to showcase your skills and share them across the world. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got a video editing studio right in the palm of your hand. And if you’re ready to #ReelItFeelIt, you might just discover a new sense of belonging and inspiration. You might just find perfect strangers who share your playful, competitive spirit and drive to push culture forward.”

Greater expectations 

According to the research, “The pandemic undoubtedly accelerated the move to virtual learning. However, this digital leap was more challenging for some schools than others, and many students experienced educational (and social) disruptions along the way. Indeed, parents, educators and students were all challenged in their own ways. Consequently, many people, especially Generation Zers, found themselves reappraising the value of traditional classrooms.”

The Facebook IQ report revealed that Gen Zers were more inclined to explore their options than millennials, who still value higher education highly.

Meta’s research arm also looked into work-life balance, and found that while meeting remotely via video tools increased fatigue and burnout, this was partially canceled by non-existent or reduced commutes.

The research also shed light on the future of the hybrid workplace. It wrote, “Having proven that business can stay productive while working from home, fully distributed workforces are here to stay and will continue to evolve as management and workers optimize the new hybrid workplace. Still, the need for human contact and in-person collaboration will drive a return to offices as people navigate into a hybrid future.”

To counter the pandemic, small- and medium-sized businesses and entrepreneurs turned to digital tools. The report said, “For SMBs, ecommerce was critical in their fight for survival. They have been increasing digital tool use across a range of purposes, with the largest increases seen in advertising and in selling goods and services. Indeed, 69% of SMBs worldwide reported that digital tools positively impacted their business during the pandemic.”

On cryptocurrency, Meta’s research arm predicted, “The trend line is clear that digital assets are on the rise. A creator economy, boosted by the metaverse, built around NFTs (nonfungible tokens) and other digital assets emerges, blending the economic rules of rare goods (scarcity, provenance, historic significance) with rules of creator economy (timeliness, virality).”

Facebook IQ wrote about the rise of the creator community: “The trope of the starving artist may have had its moment because the future will be written by creators. Creativity has been unleashed, driven by social networks, affordable and powerful software and hardware and the belief that everyone can be clever and inventive. Most successful creators remain millennials and Gen Z, and their audience sees their social selling success as highly relatable and attainable. Now, creators can take their large follower counts, the social influence that comes with it — and their built-in authentic appeal — and become a brand ambassador or microinfluencer.”

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