The opening weeks of 2022 have brought an uncomfortable déjà vu. Major events are postponed, hospitals are overwhelmed, and patchy pandemic protocols have dampened the national spirit. To navigate talent shortages, supply chain instability, and the elimination of key identifiers, brand leaders must prioritize the coming year.
Marketers must understand how consumers feel. However, despite the unfulfilled promises of 2021, many brands will continue to hope for better things to come.
Consumers are seeking companies that relate to them in today’s society. They’ve had a fantastic couple of years full of uncertainty and doing less of what they love. Customers will remember the world they want back if marketers empathize with this state without pandering.
Transitions will be bumpy in 2022. Apple’s monitoring modifications will impact social media performance, while digital marketers will be concerned about a cookieless future. Platforms would promote shopping features, which Accenture forecasts may create a $1.2 trillion social commerce sector by 2025. These experiments, like nonfungible tokens, will be marked by trial and error (NFTs).
Hopefully, this article helps you navigate the frantic months ahead in marketing and media.
Consumer Temperature Check.
Consumers are exhausted and perplexed after two years of COVID-19. Marketers should take note of the weary sense of independence caused by the roller coaster between hope and pandemic failures like the omicron variant. Consumers are more open to change and will have shifting expectations.
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) recently revealed that consumers appreciate the efficiency in commercials four times more than “fun” promotions. Brands who can tie their products to their creative may win out over those that can’t. Campaigns must also be adaptable to public mood fluctuations, incorporating a more diverse media playbook.
This year, marketers will also continue with a self-reliant mindset, understanding that they must be prepared for everything.
There’s an expectation, and more significantly, an opportunity for businesses to engage in real-time with consumers right now.
Metaverse, Meet Reality.
In 2021, the metaverse will be unavoidable, with high promises and platform reinventions. 2022 brand applications will be awkward, but they will provide lessons for when the tech frontier matures.
Some organizations, like Nike, will make purchases that use existing assets that easily convert to digital. In a confusing land grab on a space few understand technologically, let alone have a distinct pitch.
Many brands would enter web3 to gain a competitive advantage, but many will miss the mark when it comes to the metaverse’s new value exchange.
Recent metaverse activations have lacked viewership, and economic components like NFTs have sparked brand safety debates. Given that marketers are still figuring out internet 2.0, an all-purpose virtual utopia remains an idea, with many unanswered problems about government.
We’re seeing a lot of future shock developments that are coming faster than we can process them all.
Expect a Cookieless Future.
In light of Google’s decision to postpone the phaseout of third-party cookies until 2023, the next 12 months will be critical for advertisers, ad tech suppliers, and publishers. Even if Google keeps to its present timeframe, a cookie-free future will likely emerge gradually.
It’s unclear whether Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) concept will fly or if alternatives like identity resolution and fingerprinting would be viable answers. Consumers want more personalization but are apprehensive of intrusive data mining and targeting.
Identity resolution, first-party data, contextual targeting, and data clean rooms may be used to produce value for both marketers and publishers.
Short-Form Video is Riding a Consumer Wave.
For years, marketers have pushed to spend on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. For the first time, digital channels will account for more than 60% of worldwide ad spend, according to Zenith.
While Facebook is the world’s most popular social network with 2.9 billion monthly active users, marketers are increasingly turning to buzzy short-form platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
As Facebook struggles to scale and manage the never-ending stream of fresh content, TikTok will become a social media punching bag.
Consumer demand drives firms to use exciting video in their social media strategies. Short-form video and even shorter attention spans dominated 2021, with TikTok exploding, Reels spreading, and YouTube Shorts debuting. But the influx of new information on newer sites won’t be easy.
It has become a powerful, performative trend universe where producers compete for ‘algorithmic equity’ to get the most views on their video. With the tremendous influx of new content from a digitally aware and culturally generating audience, TikTok will always play a reactive, losing game of cat and mouse with bad actors on the platform.
Brand Deals with Up-and-Coming Stars.
A pandemic-related confluence of impacts transformed the role celebrities and influencers played in brand collaborations in 2021. Last year, brands tapped both big and small names, but micro-influencers are expected to lead the way in 2022, according to Kantar and eMarketer.
According to Kantar, Micro-influencers accounted for 91 percent of engagement across all sponsored posts last year. And that’s despite big-name brands like McDonald’s and Burger King promoting celebrity-studded collaborations.
While Instagram still reigns supreme for influencer marketing, TikTok is catching the eye of lesser-known creators as marketers investigate its potential. For proof, go no further than Charlie D’Amelio, who went from posting choreographed dance videos two years ago to leading a multimillion-dollar company with brands like Dunkin’ and Hollister.
We’ll see more innovative and unconventional brand partnerships, like the recent two-way cooperation where Billie Eilish releases her new music tracks within advertising for Dodge. We may see more franchise collaborations like David Beckham fragrances or celebrities like Ryan Reynolds and Aviation Gin buying stakes in the brands they promote.
As marketers prepare for a cookie-less future, some are revisiting tactical and creative foundations. Marketers have recently shifted their focus from flashy commercials to simple messages about community and joy, from Gap and Target to Hulu.
Avoid overpromising in ads and build a marketing message that expresses a brand’s underlying value. Being aggressively targeted won’t work. No one wants to be sold to, even if we all know we are.
Several marketers tapped into simple themes of unity during the recent Christmas season to authentically engage people during a time of year dominated by presents and consumerism. Starbucks and Target prioritize inclusivity and community, indicating how corporations may continue prioritizing human-centric campaigns in 2022 marketing strategies.
Customers expect brands to communicate with empathy and humanity, gradually building trust. A human-centric marketing approach is the only way ahead.
Payoffs for Investments in Retail Media and Live Streaming.
Marketers will continue to face a new brand development and choice ecology in 2022.
These new companies create direct communication channels and remarkable affinities for the next generation of shoppers.
Live stream purchasing may benefit from the changing scenario. For brands, however, live streaming may not work. This is because the accompanying costs and how platforms like Instagram compensate authors for live streams are skewing opinions of the medium.
Brands project to invest in retail media marketing in 2022 to increase engagement; however, not all investments are equal. Large national retailers have greater leverage than small brands to demand retail media network expenditures.
Brands will continue to Sip From the Fountain of Youth.
In 2021, CPGs reinvented their ads for younger audiences while QSRs reshuffled executive and agency positions. Marketers have a unique chance to deepen their presence in both new and long-standing cultural pillars.
Culture may still be a source of leadership, integration, and M&A chances in 2022 as marketers seek to engage consumers, particularly younger generations, who are challenging to reach through traditional means.
The Big Talent Shortage.
Financially, agencies had an excellent year in 2021. Holding corporations benefited from a dramatic ad market recovery. Client demand helped all players in e-commerce and brand transformation. But agencies, long known for burnout, are as susceptible to the Great Resignation as any other sector.
This trend may continue as the deal-making market continues to heat up. Rethinking rewards may also be required. Publicis Groupe is launching a program that allows employees to work remotely for up to six weeks. It’s easy for agency CEOs to overlook the importance of individual client relationships. If you don’t promote flexibility, you risk losing recent account wins and a competitive advantage over management consultant disrupters specializing in talent integration. An account director departing can have a significant negative impact on a relationship.