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There was an earthquake this year in the performance marketing industry, says Asaf Yanai, VP of growth at yellowHEAD. As most now know, the seismic activity came courtesy of Apple when the company introduced new privacy regulations and changes to third-party cookies.
“It caught most advertisers by surprise,” Yanai says. “Within almost a day, their entire campaigns became obscured. They could not get the same level of data as they had before. They could not optimize their campaigns.”
First came the shock, but the big challenge has been trying to figure out what comes next — how do you optimize in this brand-new landscape where data has become tremendously limited, and how do you fill in those data gaps? Advertisers have been forced to come up with innovative and creative ways of completing this data, and many have shifted to alternative platforms, like Google and Apple Search Ads.
The change has shaken up all industry predictions for 2022, the first year that can truly be called post-COVID, Yanai says. Here’s a look at some of the top trends that are emerging.
What marketers need to know for 2022
The need for SEO brilliance. With performance campaigns being undercut by a 20-to-40% reduction in data, SEO will be taking a much more central role with marketers and advertisers.
“Now they understand that they can’t solely rely on performance campaigns, but they also understand the value of connectivity and search, the value of organic traffic and brand awareness, brand recognition, and brand positioning,” Yanai says.
Marketers need to figure out how to become more discoverable and more searchable, and appear more in organic search results. Even with the world opening up, people are still staying close to home and that means they’re looking for more ways to engage with brands. They’re not going to stores as frequently, so search engines, news portals, and social media have become the new billboards. Plus, consumers have more than just one device at their disposal at home. They’re not just on their phones, but using their smart TV, iPad, laptop, and more — sometimes all at once.
Adapting to ad bidding changes. The most important thing to be mindful of is that ad prices have gone up as traditional or offline channels have been reduced. With the increase in cost, companies have to be more mindful than ever of how they track, optimize, and maintain a good level of performance with their ad campaigns, because it’s going to be a bigger challenge than ever.
“Every single startup, every small brand, and small app developer can now launch a full-scale campaign globally on Facebook in an hour,” Yanai says. “They can start bidding wars with all of the other big brands. You need to innovate and become more creative to catch the attention of your users, to become a sticky brand.”
It will be essential to be innovative in your creatives, he emphasizes, and find new and engaging ways to meet your audience in a unique way that differentiates you from your competitors.
The rise of social ecommerce platforms. Nowadays, even TikTok has an ecommerce platform, while Facebook and Google have significantly increased their internal shopping capabilities in the past year. And every social channel is headed that way, from Snapchat to Pinterest and LinkedIn.
“Customers are more keen to try alternative commerce platforms like Facebook and TikTok,” Yanai says. “In the past, they used to go to Amazon. Now it’s also fine by them to find all of those products in their social media. Marketers need to take advantage of this.”
Competition is fierce on the traditional commerce platforms, he points out. You’re swimming in a sea of your own kind, and getting ahead of the school is a challenge. On Facebook, you compete with a broad array of brand types, giving you the opportunity to make a splash in your own sphere.
“If you’re able to innovate, if you’re able to attract the attention of users, if you’re able to come up with amazing creatives, and a different approach to how users will look at your products, then you’ll have a very significant edge on the social platforms,” he says. “The platforms are only growing. The commerce capabilities are only becoming stronger. The competition between social platforms and commerce platforms is yet to come. You want to be there when the revolution happens.”
Yanai emphasizes that companies should put their brand awareness, brand recognition, and capabilities into clear visual elements.
Big media consolidation. A few years back, Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp were separate companies, but now they’re controlled by a single media conglomerate. The same thing happened with Google enveloping YouTube, AdMob, Google Play and so on, all of which impacted ad campaigns. This kind of consolidation is going to continue to happen, and marketers need to stay ahead of the news, and how these big mergers are going to impact their ad campaigns before they’re caught short-footed.
The rise of black box AI. AI can be a powerful marketing tool, but many media channels are embracing what Yanai calls the black-box automated ad campaign. In other words, companies are taking the creative, bids, and targeting and automating everything from there.
“I think that can be dangerous, because what’s really happening is that we as marketers are losing control over our campaigns, and a lot of control over the specific media channels that we can use,” he says. “It requires us to either use third-party tools that can give us an additional layer of data to compete with this black box, or to experiment, experiment, experiment — and try to track internally how those black boxes are working, try to predict what’s going to be the next result.”
For more performance marketing predictions for 2022, best practices to handle the shakeups of 2021, and more, don’t miss this VB Live event!
Register here for free.
You’ll learn about:
- The latest ad bidding strategies
- Strategies to strengthen SEO in spite of Google’s most recent algorithm changes
- How to amplify sales by leveraging shopping features on multiple platforms
- The latest trends in D2C/DTC ecommerce
- Gretchen Saegh-Fleming, Chief Commercial Officer, Hydrow
- Rob Webb, SVP, Growth, Tonal
- Ren Lacerda, Head of SEO, CarMax
- Asaf Yanai, VP of Growth, yellowHEAD
- Franco Folini (moderator), Digital Marketing Instructor, UC Berkeley Extension
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