Bernard May is the CEO of National Positions, a 5-time Inc. 500 company, award-winning marketing agency and Google Premier Partner.
Whether you’re a startup or an established brand, marketing never stops evolving. There’s no time to rest as we continue full steam ahead into another new year.
Marketing in 2022 will require listening intently to what customers want and being responsive to their needs as competition grows ever-more fierce. Here are five digital marketing strategies to help you make the most of 2022.
1. Treat your first-party data like gold.
Advertisers and marketers are on their toes as growing consumer privacy concerns force traditional third-party data collection into the dustbin of history. Safari and Firefox have already banned website cookies. Google will scrap them on Chrome (which represents nearly 70% of market share) in 2023.
Brands need to adopt new strategies for connecting with customers. That means capitalizing on the “gold” sitting right under their noses. I’m talking about first-party data. Customer data from sources like completed on-site purchases, surveys, customer feedback and your CRM is valuable for two big reasons. First, because you own it. Second, it gives you the blueprint for your ideal customer.
You can use first-party data to glean key insights about your customers, tailor content to their preferences, predict their behavior and more. Squeeze every drop of value from this pot of gold and handle it as if your success depends on it — because it just might.
2. Use machine learning for paid media.
Speaking of first-party data, one of the main challenges is how to make sense of it all. Why have your staff sift through and analyze mountains of data when AI-powered solutions can do it in a fraction of the time? This is where machine learning comes in.
Simply put, machine learning is the application of artificial intelligence (AI) to help systems learn without explicit human intervention (i.e., programming). It can help you determine when a user is most likely to click on an ad and when they’re more likely to convert on your site.
One area where machine learning is already serving paid media is Google’s “Maximize conversions” bid strategy, which uses advanced machine learning to automatically optimize bids based on historical information about your campaign and budget. No more guessing games when it comes to setting bids on individual keywords.
It’s time to ditch the spreadsheets and tap into the power of machine learning for paid media (and more).
3. Focus on personalization.
We all like to feel special, and research shows that customers who get a tailored, curated experience are more likely to make a purchase. They’re also more likely to buy from you again. Two in three (66%) customers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations. Around the same number (68%) expect brands to demonstrate empathy.
Given these expectations, how can you deliver a more personalized customer experience? The needs of your shoppers will depend on where they are on the customer journey, of course, but here are some ideas:
• Welcome returning customers back to your site with unique images and messaging.
• Use dynamic remarketing to reach customers who are still on the fence about a purchase.
• Personalize your outreach based on specific actions, such as an abandoned cart.
• Segment your email list by things like browsing history, prior purchases, location, purchase time and other data points.
• Personalize email content with images and descriptions of products that your customers have searched for or purchased in the past.
These and other personalization tactics can help you win over customers and build brand loyalty.
4. Prioritize customer privacy.
Nearly 80% of Americans are concerned about how their data is being used by companies — and Big Tech is responding (by banning third-party cookies, for example).
Online privacy measures may be a thorn in the side of brands, but it’s what consumers are demanding. Brands will need to adapt and find new ways to predict what customers will buy without collecting personally identifiable information.
Homing in on first-party data will be crucial. Contextual targeting (display ads that are directly relevant to the product being sold) is another strategy. Also consider offering customers discounts in exchange for personal data — just know they’re likely to expect a higher level of customer service in return.
5. Command attention with TikTok and Reels.
It’s not news that video has been driving engagement for years. But short-form and bite-sized video content now dominate the social media landscape. TikTok, Instagram Reels and even YouTube Shorts are prime placement for fresh brand content. While younger audiences have traditionally been the prime target, data shows older demographics are quickly catching up.
Choose the platform that’s most likely to reach your customers. TikTok attracts a younger audience (nearly half of the platform’s users are under age 30). Instagram has a more diverse audience, with nearly half of all users falling between the ages of 25 and 44. It should be mentioned that YouTube is muscling its way into this segment with the introduction of YouTube Shorts in 2021, but user metrics specifically surrounding YouTube Shorts are still trickling in. Consider which platform is more likely to resonate with your target audience and get creating!
No matter your brand, product or business model, one of the preceding tactics is sure to set you apart from the competition. Not every brand online knocks each strategy out of the park every time, so don’t try to do everything at once. Whether you are expanding your e-commerce reach in 2022 or just getting ready to launch your new business, choose a few strategies and apply them well. Cheers to 2022!