Performance Marketing Tech & Trends: Q1 2022
There’s an awful lot to read out there in the marketing stratosphere. Some doom, some gloom, a lot of change — and overall? — tons of noise. But where’s the signal? What are you supposed to do? We’ve got you covered. We put our collective heads together, sifted through the data, mined the articles, and came up with the top five digital trends you need to pay attention to this quarter — and we’ll top each trend off with a few straightforward strategies for good measure.
1. Into the Metaverse
Today, the Metaverse is generally understood to be an iteration of the Internet that supports online, 3D, and virtual environments accessed through personal computing such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets. The Metaverse, when fully realized, will include persistent and real-time experiences without resets, pauses, or ends. Once logged in, users will find no limit to the digital and physical worlds one can access — such as gaming and social platforms — with endless, interconnected experiences created and operated by a wide range of contributors.
While we are still decades away from tech experts’ full vision of the Metaverse, there are some elements that have already arrived and reached consumer acceptance. This has been seen in gaming, with the rise of open-world games like Fortnite and Roblox, and in financial technology, such as The Sandbox virtual world that allows users to build, own, and monetize their experiences through cryptocurrency and has attracted celebrity investment.
Tap into the Metaverse with these strategies:
- Brands should start thinking now as to how to best test and learn within the known and realized elements of the Metaverse
- Most brands should begin to evaluate how to shift digital assets from 2D to 3D
- Digital advertising is a low cost of entry to having a presence in gaming environments, such as Roblox, which can currently be purchased programmatically
2. Influencer marketing 2.0
We have already witnessed the unprecedented rise of the “Influencer” as a new kind of self-made celebrity using social media platforms to create content that captures a large audience of devoted followers. But influencers may be on yet another rise, with Statista reporting that influencer marketing has seen $12.1 billion in growth since 2016. It’s time to upgrade our thinking to influencer marketing 2.0 as we move into 2022.
Influencers hold a whole new level of power than if the message were to come directly from your brand. And influencers are incredibly engaging, with the Digital Marketing Institute finding that 70% of teens express trust in influencers and more than half of women report that a social influencer had spurred a recent purchase. Now that over 90% of brand and agency individuals report high satisfaction with their past influencer campaigns (Influencer Marketing Hub), this may be the time for your brand to begin exploring whether this tactic is right for your brand.
How to unlock results with influencer marketing:
- Ensure an influencer’s audience aligns with your own, so that your content resonates. While audiences that skew younger or female may be more receptive to influencer messaging, any brand can perform well in this tactic if the influencer, audience, and content aligns with your core offerings
- Beyond their ability to create quality content, evaluate influencers based on brand safety, their follower reach, demographics, past and current endorsements (to understand your SOV), and what rights to their content you have — from creation input to content amplification
- Use unique influencer discount codes or affiliate links that are unique to each creator, providing another level of impact measurement
3. I am, therefore I shop: the rise of everywhere shopping
It’s been well documented that consumers’ shopping behaviors changed during the pandemic, as well as their expectations. As shoppers spend more time researching and purchasing products online, consumers have come to expect a seamless experience, from discovery and purchasing to usage of the product and choices of how to buy.
As such, brands have introduced more options for shopping online, including new technologies that successfully engage customers to try new brands and products. This is further illustrated by Insider Intelligence’s findings that U.S. social commerce sales grew 35.8% in 2021 and that social commerce is expected to become a $46 billion industry in 2023. Livestream shopping — which combines social media, home shopping networks, game or talk shows, and auctions — allows consumers to chat and purchase in real time. Livestream shopping exploded in China, where it grew into a $300 billion industry and accounted for 11.7% of the country’s retail ecommerce sales (eMarketer). It has arrived in the U.S. market, along with gaming commerce or “gComm.” And with 81% of global shoppers indicating that they are open to purchasing gifts in an online marketplace, brands should consider how to develop their ecommerce options and offerings (Mirakl).
Stay ahead of the omnipresent shopping game:
- Diversify and test new digital shopping environments, such as marketplaces or gaming, to reach new audiences and increase competitive visibility
- To measure success, benchmarking and comparisons can be made in well-established marketplaces like Google Shopping, Amazon, and more
- Meet the consumer where they are and make it easy to convert with enhanced digital experiences
4. Video and the SEO star
As video continues to grow as an excellent way to showcase your brand, bring site content to life, and educate your audience, search engines are getting smarter about how to understand and rank video content. Social formats (like TikTok and Reels) have boosted video consumption and engagement, and the next step is on-site video promotion, which will resonate most with your core audience and increase your organic traffic.
Search engines can now categorize, index, and disseminate individual sections of video content down to split seconds and key moments to directly answer searcher queries. Search engines also increase scrutiny on whole-page content, rather than just title, meta description, and headings, making video a perfect way to increase your brand’s expertise and authority after a year of algorithms pushing organic results further down the page.
Seeing is believing: how to win in the organic video landscape
- Video content needs to be optimized across the ecosystem — on websites, in social profiles, and in ad messaging
- Capitalize on new structured markup capabilities to ensure on-site videos are indexable and categorized correctly
- Audit your own content against your competitors’ video content to understand gaps and opportunities to use video across the customer journey
5. Connected TV conquers linear in 2022
2022 may be the tipping point in the ongoing battle between traditional TV and connected TV (CTV). The power of traditional TV ratings and reach are crumbling, while CTV continues to claw out more territory due to increased adoption and enhanced targeting and measurement compared to linear.
Linear TV was dealt a blow in 2021 when Nielsen, the hallmark of measurement for the channel, lost its Media Ratings Council (MRC) accreditation, forcing advertisers to seek alternative standards that provide a true, authoritative representation of TV’s full reach to their target audiences. CTV’s foothold will be strengthened further in 2022 by linear TV’s limited supply and increased costs, driven by Winter Olympics and the U.S. midterm elections. While linear TV is expected to evolve with the introduction of “NextGen TV” — whereby linear TV will be broadcast in a more digital fashion — marketers and consumers alike have become accustomed to CTV’s sophistication and flexibility, ensuring the continuation of this evolution.
Connect with these strategies to win with CTV:
- Evolve TV approach to better align with media consumption habits of your audience
- Replace ratings-first approach to impression-driven planning and measurement
- Linear may still be the right environment to reach your audience, especially in higher age brackets or for select programming, but prepare for pre-emption of your linear TV investments, especially if you are in a market that is expecting a tight midterm election race
So… what now?
Let’s take a breath. That’s a lot to go through and a lot to think about in the first quarter 2022. Take this one step at a time: start exploring one tactic that makes sense for your overall strategic goals to set yourself up for a successful 2022. And if you have any questions, we would love to chat with you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.