The Wired and Tired Ad Creative Trends of 2022 (So Far)

According to an article from NPR, trends died over a decade ago.

Not one trend. 

Not a series of trends. 

But trends–in general. 

If you’re getting “Old Man Yells At Cloud” vibes off of this piece, you’re not alone.  But the point being argued is still an interesting one to explore. Due in part to the fractured nature of our content-saturated digital landscape, trends bloom and wilt so quickly that it begs the question: are trends even trends if they’re forever fleeting?

The article’s angle is that we don’t really see trends anymore. What we think of as trends are really just fads, or micro-trends (if you, like me, wished the word fad hadn’t escaped the 1990s.) As the NPR article describes,

“A 2009 study conducted by marketing professor Jonah Berger[…]suggests that ‘cultural tastes that have been adopted quickly die faster.’ People look at trends with a jaundiced eye, the report states, so they “avoid identity-relevant items with sharply increasing popularity because they believe that they will be short lived.”

But here’s where we get to push back on this point with a little bit of hindsight. It’s arguable that in 2022, the idea of trends not being trends anymore was–wait for it–a trend

Just look at the sensational rise of Snapchat. In the era of FOMO, the popularity of Snap’s brand of ephemeral content has effectively evaporated concerns that we won’t adopt a popular trend just because it may not be around tomorrow.

You can even argue that users adopt trends today expressly because they are short-lived. From a user’s perspective, engaging with a trending moment sooner than later maximizes the tiny window we all have to gain those sweet, sweet internet points we’ll never admit craving.

But the article did mention one thing we maybe should have read before hosting a webinar on the latest and greatest trends in ad creative, “When something becomes ubiquitous, it is no longer a trend. But it is also the case that merely calling something a trend or noting its trendiness may also decrease its allure or hasten its decline.”

Did we inadvertently sink the trends QuickFrame’s Morgan Bailey, VP of Product & Performance, just broke down in our recent webinar with eMarketer, Dissecting the Dailies: A Maker Marketplace Analysis of Q1/Q2 Ad Trends?


If you missed the webinar, watch the recap below–or keep reading to double click into everything she broke down.

TikTok-Style Creative

Users come to TikTok because it’s an experience unlike any other social platform which is why other social platforms are now emulating what TikTok is cooking. 

In other words, everyone wants to be TikTok because practically everyone is on TikTok

A reason why people are aping TikTok’s style? Because TikTok users shockingly really like to see ads on TikTok. 52% of users find TikTok ads fun and engaging, while only 21% of users find TikTok ads annoying.

Keep these things in mind when identifying TikTok style ad creative:

  • Does it appear like it’s created organically by a human?
  • Is it short and snappy?
  • Are there dynamic effects?
  • Does it instigate a fun, relatable emotion?

Above all else, try to be as genuine about your identity as possible when leveraging TikTok style creative. After all, the quickest way to create the cringiest of content is by lacking the authenticity that users crave.

Interactive Formats

We saw the popularity of an added element of interactivity in advertising with Coinbase’s viral commercial during the Big Game. If you don’t remember, Coinbase spent serious dough to show a black screen with a bouncing QR code. What did this cause? Everyone was putting a QR code somewhere in their ad. 

But there’s a better piece of interactive content out there: Augmented Reality.

Augmented Reality is a digitally immersive experience, best represented by the filters and lenses found on Instagram and Snapchat, that allows audiences to interact with ad creative directly from their mobile device.

AR has been around for a spell, but TikTok has once again helped accelerate the adoption of this emerging trend in ad creative. And as the Metaverse gets consumers excited for the next frontier of interactive experiences, AR allows you to dip your toes into the future of ad creative today.

This could be in the form of a World Lenses, that places AR effects into everyday environments, or Face Lenses, that superimposes creative effects on a user’s facial features. This in turn transforms the passive experience of being served an ad into an interactive one, blurring the lines between native content and branded placements. 

Narrative-driven storytelling

This is an evergreen trend that has exploded in popularity recently. These number may clue you in on why:

To get the most out of narrative storytelling in your ads, keep these three key things in mind:

  • Make sure your audience is invested in your characters
  • Give your characters Interesting obstacles to overcome
  • Create an exciting conclusion to leave a lasting impression

Increased Usage of Social Proof

Now more than ever in 2022, consumers want to feel an intimate, personal connection with brands. Businesses across industries are increasingly doing this via different styles of testimonial videos.

Whether it’s featuring real customers enjoying the benefits of your product, or professional thought leaders offering their advice on a service, these personal stories validate your brand or product to a prospective customer because you are authentically showing the confidence others have in your offering.  

These styles of testimonials establish instant credibility and trust in your brand, instigating something called social proof.

Popularized by a psychologist in the 1980s, “social proof” is when consumers see or hear about someone enjoying a product, or a professional recommending a service, and that testimonial encourages them to want it for themselves.

This year alone we’ve seen brands feature real families enjoying the benefits of night time vitamins, and health companies highlighting real life physicians–rather than actors playing doctors–to establish immediate credibility and trust with their audiences.  

A Continued Focus on Inclusivity in Advertising

Research continues to show that businesses excel when they prioritize diversity in their advertisements.

An annual UCLA report on diversity in the film industry in 2019-2020 showed that audiences are showing up for diverse casts like never before, whether they are watching on the big or small screens.

With the events of the past two years, this push for diversity in media is only accelerating 

You must apply these learnings to your ads as well.

  • 71% of audiences expect brands to promote inclusion in their advertising.”
  • 64% of consumers are more likely to make an immediate purchase when they are delivered an ad that is representative of diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
  • 80% of CTV viewers said they are more likely to pay attention to ads from brands that are in line with their lifestyle and opinions, and 62% said it was important to buy from brands that align with their lifestyles and opinions.”
  • This translates to social media too, “Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter engagement was highest in 2019-20 for cable scripted shows with majority-minority casts.” 

But you won’t be able to hit these eye-opening statistics if your ads aren’t authentic. It’s the single most important key to making an impact on your audience. 

When devising how you can make your video content marketing more representative and inclusive, you should approach it with an earnest desire to dismantle inequities, and not simply as a new tool to build goodwill for your brand.

Whether it’s an animated explainer or a customer testimonial, ads that prioritize diversity must feel relatable and–most importantly–genuine to effectively build customer trust and loyalty.

Related: Social Media Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

That’s What’s Hot. Now What About What’s Not?

Now you know what trends are hot, are you ready to learn which trends are fading into obscurity faster than you can say CNN+? Watch the full recap to get a complete rundown–plus you’ll get a few tips on how you can leverage the impact of trends to counteract ad fatigue!

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