“Why are you a digital marketer so obsessed with jargon all the time?” This question was promptly asked by a professor of marketing in a panel discussion recently hosted by a prominent management institute.
“Mea culpa,” I immediately accepted the accusation, “I accept, the digital world is very confusing. Sometimes, it is needless. But the fact remains that it is a dynamic industry, things are constantly changing and thus new developments are giving rise to new and often confusing technologies Sometimes. What do I do?”
“Well, at least make it simpler for the rest of us by deciding what’s more important than the extra crap floating around in your digital orbit?” Professor insisted.
“Hmmm… valid point, let me see what I can do,” I had meekly offered in response.
Truth be told, the professor was indeed right about his lament.
Compared to classic marketing, where the basic principles have remained virtually unchanged for decades, digital marketing has this tendency to throw up new concepts backed by acronyms and confusing words every few days. As a result, there is an abundance of terms that confuse laymen and non-novices all the time, such as CTR, CPC, ROAS, CPV, consoles, pixels, cookies, etc. Admittedly, digital by definition is not analog and therefore is given to discrete developments periodically. Every day, there is progress and this leads to the latest nonsense. Thus, for anyone working in digital marketing, change is an integral part of the job. However, undeniably, from time to time it is important to scrutinize the peel and determine what is really the key to purposefully managing the future.
So, in order to partially redeem my pledge to the grumpy professor – trying to focus heavily on only the most relevant developments and not mislead the gobbledygook – here’s my take on the eight key priorities that will surely move front and center for digital marketers in 2022:
1. The death of a cookie is just a matter of time now
Although Google’s plan to phase out cookies has been pushed into 2023, it would be wise for digital marketers to start planning first-party, group-based and contextual targeting as a basis for user identity in preparation for the post-cookie landscape. Going forward, players who have built an identity graph using consent-based first-party data, and across channels, will be well positioned to offer alternative targeting and measurement solutions. Advertisers and publishers alike will have to adopt interoperable solutions such as Global ID. In this context, developments around Google’s FLoC (unified learning for clusters) will also be followed.
2. Automated ads will be the star of the show
With technology outperforming and targeting difficulty, Programmatic will truly become a marketer’s best friend. To reach customers in new and innovative ways and attract more valuable conversions, automated advertising will become even more important. And this trend will be accelerated across mobile, video, and DOOH devices, as well as connected TVs. Indeed, this will surely pave the way for an effective data-driven method to attract highly relevant audiences at scale.
3. CDP will soon become a top priority, if not already
CDP (Customer Data Platform) is a single platform for a unified customer record from all touch points associated with a business, its software collects valuable information from multiple sources (first, second and third) to create a well-rounded consumer profile. As P3PCs (Third Party Cookies) have accelerated the plan for long-term data strategies for consumer ownership, brands have already begun to deploy CDPs to move from a sector audience data approach to individual consumer profiles.
As a matter of fact, even zero party statements are gaining more and more momentum. This is data that is provided directly by the consumer through a questionnaire, gamification, or simple online consumer/brand interaction. The combined CDP data will then be broken down into different categories, including definition, description, and indication of behavioral patterns and opinions – ultimately helping marketers craft personas to purposefully target their products or brands.
4. Metaverse will soon begin to form a network around us
Brands forever faced the challenging task of connecting with their audience emotionally and visually. Now, against this backdrop, and prompted not by a little Facebook’s explanatory call, the immersive technologies of Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality will soon find a permanent place in digital marketing strategies, causing customers or their digital avatars to enter the metaverse – a virtual world of Magical experiences to build stronger relationships and for conversions. There are a lot of apps already running in the augmented reality space and available through your smartphone’s camera. While many of us might remember similar noises about Second Life in previous years, this time the prediction about the metaverse seems well-founded. Recent reports suggest that the metaverse market will grow to over $1,544 billion in less than ten years – thus more than enough reason to focus heavily on this field.
5. Artificial intelligence/machine learning will rise in relevance and applications
In recent years, advances in artificial intelligence have led to more intuitive reporting and automation of general marketing tasks such as monitoring site traffic and promoting search engine optimization for organic reach. Soon, you’ll see more companies rely on machine learning tools for content planning and campaign optimization to improve engagement, conversions, as well as satisfaction. Language modeling will also become an integral part of marketing strategies, allowing machines to communicate with consumers in a language they understand and have conversations. Also, since AI can be used to predict the next move for customers, this means that marketers will start targeting them with a product or service they need, right when they need it. This type of targeting will definitely lead to higher conversion rates.
6. Social media stories, social commerce and push notifications will keep users glued to their screens
After Snapchat introduced the novelty of ephemeral stories over a period of 24 hours, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and others launched their own versions of the same, taking advantage of the FOMO phenomenon. Marketers will continue to use the tool effectively with tactics like polls, live videos, offers, etc. to keep users engaged. Likewise, to shorten the sales path and pay for instant transfers, the importance of social commerce will continue to increase. Tools like Instagram Shopping, Reels, IGTV, etc. are already starting to gain momentum in this field and this trend is going to get increasingly stronger. At the same time, as the influencer movement matures, the next natural step for platforms will be to help influencers and businesses sell directly to consumers.
At the same time, in an increasingly privacy-driven world, marketers will find push notifications as a cost-effective way to stay in touch with user segments. Notifications have a 7% open rate versus roughly 3% broadcast messages and a higher conversion rate (54% vs 15% broadcast) with split push notifications will ensure that metrics tilt decisively in their favour.
7. SEO needs creativity too
Zero-click search is now popular for users.
Here, as you search Google for any information, apart from the links that appear, there is often a piece of information summarized at the top. This exact answer, a featured snippet sponsored by Google Search, completely obviates the need to click on a link. This ready-made answer box is Position Zero. Needless to say, to clear this box, brands will now need to creatively update their page titles to indicate exactly what searchers will get when they visit their sites.
In parallel, voice search and image search will still assume greater importance as well. With the increasing use of voice-activated Google Assistants, Siris, and Alexas, the need to use descriptive keywords, using the kind of questions people will ask orally, will only make sense. However, along with all these new developments, the old and powerful tool for SEO and thought leadership will continue to use longer and more educational content through blog posts and articles.
8. Conversational Marketing will turn everyone into a storyteller
In this content-hungry world of fast-swiping audiences, increasingly shorter attention spans may mean that the need for content to thumb up always continues to rise. General cliched messages about FAB (functions/features/benefits) no longer work. Brand marketers will necessarily need to convert storytellers. Using interesting language, vivid images and lively stories will become the norm. Chat bots, custom videos, and virtual selling assistants will be some other forms of currency acquisition as part of this phenomenon.
So, in general, there is a lot of foolproof action in the digital marketing arena this year. As usual, terms or no terms, only the meaningful elements will shine through, and the rest will fall by the wayside. Here we wish all marketers a strong 2022!
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the opinions of exchange4media.com
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