Four Digital Marketing Trends for 2022

mobile marketing

The holiday season will be here before we know it, and soon everyone in the digital and mobile marketing world will be thinking about 2022 planning and budgets. They’ll rightly be asking questions with their crystal ball like “what should I do differently next year”? Or, “how can I make more impact next year in my marketing?”

The last few years in the digital and mobile marketing industries have been as ever-changing as the world around us. Right now, it’s a good time to pause and take a look at what’s powering the year ahead, and why. Here are four key areas of focus that digital and mobile marketers should pay attention to for maximum effectiveness going forward:

  1. Mobile-first and creative optimization — together — is a game changer

There’s no question that people nowadays spend a majority of their lives on their mobile or connected devices. Data by every major news organization supports this, too. It’s important that marketers embrace this mobile-first world and how it changes the game for every industry. The bottom line is that mobile and connected devices have changed the way consumers:

  • Actually consume content — there’s no longer “appointment viewing”; it’s an on-demand world now with people expecting to view, download or create content when and how they want.
  • Buy and shop — the expectation people have is now seemingly that they can buy or shop anytime, anywhere on any device.

What does this mean for advertisers? Advertisers, therefore, should be armed with a mobile-first strategy to reach these coveted consumers whose attention span or time is fleeting. Creatives and creative optimization are a crucial piece of the puzzle for advertisers in order to grab people’s attention. Having technology in place to analyze creative performance and be able to optimize it is a big advantage. This dynamic will be apparent more so in the coming year and beyond.

As well, with any mobile-first strategy, it goes without saying that measurement is also critical to understand better how effective your ad dollars are. Therefore, the importance of mobile measurement partners (MMP’s) will continue to be a part of the landscape that advertisers should understand and embrace.

2. The continued rise of AI

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in digital marketing cannot be overlooked anymore. It used to be a cool catchphrase, but not anymore. AI creates an inherent competitive advantage for marketers who embrace it.

To this point, lots of advertisers in industries like retail, banking, and healthcare have used AI to automate reporting or make recommendations based on past purchase behavior about consumer interest. AI has also been utilized within advertising technologies like programmatic advertising with real-time bidding (RTB) solutions to determine optimal pricing at auctions and expected bid increases or decreases based on a variety of factors. AI, in short, facilitates the entire marketplace and makes it more efficient. This will continue.

What will be explored and unlocked further in the years ahead is using AI as a predictive engine to determine what consumers might want at specific points along the entire customer journey and in the future. In other words, what they’re likely to buy or consume based not only on past purchase behavior, but based on real-time web surfing and how consumers are interacting with content like search, videos, social media and more….and importantly how those factors change over time.

The power and potential of utilizing AI is here to stay.

3. Consumer privacy and 3rd party cookie alternatives

Clearly, Apple drew a major line in the sand in 2020 and 2021 with changes to their IDFA based on consumer privacy initiatives. What spawned from those efforts was SKAdNetwork, which represents a “walled garden” for advertisers looking to reach customers via iOS. Google, too, has announced a major development in the year ahead: they are phasing out the use of traditional third-party cookies. This shouldn’t be a surprise to advertisers, but it does change things in ways that haven’t been considered in decades.

Between the two digital behemoths, what we’re on the verge of is a massive shift that advertisers must make all within a span of a year or two. The developments in the industry are driven by the consumer’s desire for greater privacy and control over their data. This momentum shift won’t go backwards, as it’s not likely that consumers will suddenly change what they are willing to share; rather, the trend will likely continue.

The importance of first-party data, for the reasons stated, is crucial. This will take center stage. The companies, partners and advertisers that put an emphasis on their own data will be at a competitive advantage. Likewise, within marketing campaigns themselves, focusing on the customer — specifically customer relationship management and nurturing — will take center stage.

4. Programmatic

We’ve written before about the massive trend in the direction of programmatic advertising. It’s already happening. Right now, programmatic accounts for a majority of all marketers’ budgets. Expect this to continue. Why? Because programmatic sits at the intersection of each of the first three trends listed above. It’s efficient. It’s fast. It reduces wasteful spending automatically. It scales. It promotes effective targeting and fast creative optimization. Data suggests that the rise in programmatic is here to stay.

But the point is that programmatic advertising, as a trend, will continue and evolve. For an advertiser, it checks all the boxes and combines technology, marketing, creative and targeting into one platform. Finding a great programmatic partner with understanding and insight across verticals is probably the best thing you can do to boost your marketing effectiveness in the year ahead.

Conclusion: If all of this sounds scary, or if you feel your digital marketing efforts could use an upgrade, seek a partner organization to assist and help you shift. Your partner should complement any in-house efforts being made as well as any existing relationships you have with agencies, measurement partners, data partners and the like. Make sure they have decades of experience in digital and mobile, too; enough to have seen the industry evolve while successfully navigating changes.

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