Out with the old, in with the new. We hear this just about everywhere as we head into a new year.
At 5K | Formerly Conklin Media, we stress staying on top of current (and future) trends. Digital marketing evolves on a nearly daily basis, so if you’re keeping pace, you’re actually falling behind.
However, we don’t want to throw out everything we’ve learned in the previous year in exchange for blindly implementing new trends and tactics. Instead, we need to keep a careful eye on how trends build on existing foundations. After all, we don’t just want to follow new trends; we want to conquer them.
2022 is going to be a big year in digital marketing. From new privacy laws to algorithm updates, we’re going to see some big changes in how we create and implement strategies. Creating top-notch content, using tools like automation, and building your team are even more important than before.
As we continue into the new year, 5K | Formerly Conklin Media’s team of experts have each shared about some of the trends they think will be most important for their respective department, as well as how you can stay on top of them. Keep this advice in mind to make 2022 your strongest, most profitable year yet!
Get Control Of Potential Customer Data: Dave Conklin, Founder
It’s likely that 2022 is going to continue the trend of new privacy laws aimed at protecting the information of the general public. Along with this trend comes increased difficulty in remarketing to audiences, creating niche “groups” to advertise to, and a host of other core marketing practices.
Our internal team is taking steps to help our customers collect and use data in ethical and legal ways – and you can take steps internally, as well!
Make Even Better Tools, Resources, And Content
The only way for you to actually “own” the data of your potential customers so you can communicate with them through marketing is by having them agree to provide you with their data.
The only way for that to happen is by asking them for it.
The only way they’re going to give it to you is in exchange for something truly awesome.
Stay on the Lookout for New Legislation
It’s likely that new laws are going to be introduced in 2022 that will require self-policing of the data you have access to. We’re going to do our best to be on the lookout for our clients, but we’re not attorneys; make sure you have someone who’s keeping your team up to speed.
Be Sure You’ve Got Problem Solvers On Your Team
As litigation passes, it’s going to make advertising on the big ad platforms (Facebook and Google Ads, to name the largest) even more complicated. As marketing practices become more complex, the “entry level” ad person you hired likely isn’t going to cut it for you if they don’t have a creative, problem-solving mindset.
Kendra Clark is a reporter for TheDrum.com. She does a great job of reporting on privacy related content and litigation from around the world. Subscribe to her on Twitter or create some Google Alerts for her name, and it’ll help you be informed.
Stay ahead of the curve by staying up to date on what’s happening so you can plan and adjust accordingly, but MOST IMPORTANTLY…
Create. Great. Stuff.
This has been the real way to do things well in digital marketing since the beginning of time. If you make truly remarkable content, tools and resources that your potential customers love – they will fall in love with you and be happy to share their data so you don’t have to rely on big tech and their “vaults.”
Use Data to Communicate with Customers on a Personal Level: Kyle Porter, Director of Strategy
Two things that will be really important for companies to keep in mind for 2022 are maximizing the amount of first-party data they collect and then using that data to really understand and communicate with customers on a personal level.
People are tired of feeling like all they get are automated or templated messages, so any time you’re able to create authentic interactions with your customers by calling, emailing, or texting them personally, it goes a long way. The biggest pushback we get from clients when we propose something like this is that it isn’t scalable. And that’s kind of the point. We’re investing in building relationships, and that’s an impossible thing to scale.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t create systems around our relationship-building efforts. Set reminders in your database to reach out to customers, send them a quick note on birthdays and important anniversaries, and make sure that each client or customer gets some sort of additional “touch” from you on a semi-regular basis.
The only way to make sure you’re communicating with customers in ways that feels tailored to them, though, is to know about them in the first place. As marketers, we used to be able to rely on many of the advertising platforms and social networks to tell us a lot about our customers, but as data privacy becomes more important to consumers, advertisers are giving us less information and making it easier for consumers to protect their privacy if they choose to do so. Simply put, customer data is harder than ever to come by.
That means that it’s up to us as marketers and business owners to collect and store as much first-party data (that just means it belongs to us) as we can about our customers. We also have to use that data thoughtfully when it comes to how we communicate with people who have entrusted us with their personal information. The more effectively and specifically we can tailor our marketing messages to what people are interested in, the more effective our marketing efforts will ultimately be.
Treat the data you collect as an invitation. People are trusting you with something that’s personal to them, and that comes with responsibility. As marketers, we have an obligation to treat people the right way, to communicate with them regularly, to strike a balance between giving them value and asking them for something, and ultimately, to nurture those relationships the same way we care for any other relationships in our lives – with care and respect.
Make Sure Your Site’s Core Web Vitals Are Up to Speed: Sara Bodner, Digital Content Manager
In 2021, we saw Google start to prioritize user experience on sites even more than it has in the past. I expect that this trend will only continue, and become even more important, in 2022. In fact, Google is rolling out page experience ranking updates to desktop search results in February. This means that now is the best time to audit your site and make sure that your Core Web Vitals are strong.
To do this, you’ll need to examine three signals:
- Largest Contentful Paint: The amount of time it will take to make your largest content element visible from when your user requests the URL.
- First Input Delay: The time between when a user first interacts with an element of your page and when the browser responds to that interaction.
- Cumulative Layout Shift: The sum of layout shifts scores for every unexpected layout shift.
One of the most important things you can do is to optimize and compress your images. Chances are, images are the largest elements on your site right now. Compressing files has always been important, but with Google’s new updates, it’s now crucial.
Prioritize Semantic SEO & Content Value: Sydney Fuhrman, Content Specialist
For a while now, content has been considered critical for digital marketing, and that isn’t changing any time soon. But it isn’t enough to churn out content for the sake of flooding news feeds and inboxes. In 2022, we need to focus on the why of content. That is to say, it isn’t enough to ask what users are searching for; you need to ask why they’re searching, too.
Search intent–and, consequently, semantic SEO–will continue to play a much bigger role in content creation, distribution, and engagement as we move into 2022. The digital marketing playing field has already shifted so much to prioritize user experience with an increased focus on personalization and interactivity; actively considering (and addressing) the intentions behind user behavior is a natural progression of this practice.
What all of this means is that, when you create content for your brand, you need to up your game. Users don’t want filler, and they don’t want regurgitated information that they can find anywhere. All you have to do is:
- Identify and cater to user intent
- Provide unique value through content creation
Easier said than done. Fortunately, “value” is a nebulous concept. Collaborative brainstorming can help you identify unique edges your brand has over your competition (and so can a Strategy Blueprint). Honing in on those advantages will help you add value to your content and connect with your customers on a more meaningful, productive level than ever before.
Return to Marketing Fundamentals & The Importance of Messaging: Pepe Alcazar, Paid Media Associate
At the end of the day, marketing consists of putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. Nowadays, most marketers overcomplicate things by asking, “What marketing tool will help me target my customer avatar?” or “Will changing my bid strategy get me better leads at my ideal cost per lead?”
Don’t get me wrong, these are all great questions. However, the #1 marketing strategy that will always work is messaging. In the past, when neither Google nor Facebook were there to save you from spending millions of dollars trying to acquire your ideal customers, messaging was all there was.
Now, what is messaging? Messaging is the ability to communicate the value of your brand and product in a way that resonates with your audience’s everyday feelings and emotions.
How do you know you’re doing a great job at messaging? When you address your customers’ pain points and needs and create a solution that is impossible for them to ignore.
Messaging is truly powerful. For instance, if your audience targeting and bidding strategy are somewhat lacking but your ads have the right message, you can still acquire customers that may not even be your ideal targets. If you acquire customers who weren’t even in your mind when you created customer avatars, you’ve found the right message.
It can be easy to worry about getting your brand and products in front of the right people, but don’t forget about the true key to guaranteed success on any ad platform: the right message. As a paid media specialist, I always make sure to look at certain elements when running Facebook Ads and Google Ads campaigns.
For Facebook Ads, prioritize:
- Ad copy
- Ad creative
For Google Ads, focus on:
- Ad copy
- Match types
When exploring Google Ads, you can get lost in the depth of its various functionalities. While excluding search terms from an ad group, looking at your ad groups’ keywords, and doing bid adjustments are activities worth spending time on, so is optimizing your ads.
The same goes for Facebook Ads. Always make sure you are constantly testing different ad creatives, copy, and offers. Most importantly, make sure you are testing your messaging, which boils down to the way you explain your offer to your audience.
Understanding the critical role of messaging in your ads will put you at an advantage. If your agency gets really good at copywriting, you’re going to give yourself a competitive edge against your competitors.
In 2022, digital marketing agencies should prioritize the development of copywriting and messaging skills or work with an agency that excels at both.
Automation is Key: Pam Abreu, Account Manager
Life is busy enough, so when it comes to finding new clients or customers, you might feel like you don’t have the time to fully invest in growing your business. Luckily, there are plenty of services available that take the manual work away from cold calling and automate these practices to find new potential clients.
Services like LinkedIn Lead Generation find prospects who meet your ideal customer avatar and send them tailored messages on an automated schedule. This service can automate the process of connecting with people who are already your target demographic and communicating with them about the services you offer. When a prospect responds with interest, you can take over the conversation, saving yourself hours upon hours of cold LinkedIn outreach. There’s nothing better than saving time so you can focus on other work to bring your business money.
Less luxurious but still effective, automated cold email outreach can also help you attract more customers. This practice often comes with people demanding that they be taken off your email list, but recipients will feel that you are actually emailing them, not that they are receiving templated messages.
Much like LinkedIn, these emails are automated from a list of potential clients pulled from databases like ZoomInfo and LinkedIn, and the messages are tailored to your target audience. You can even put gifs in the email to make it more lighthearted! The best thing about these emails is that they are all automated, so you don’t have to worry about sending them to individuals; they go out in batches to your list, and you only have to take over when someone responds, saving you a lot of time and effort.
In 2022, make sure you are optimizing your time and using automation to acquire new clients and customers. Integrating automation into lead generation efforts can give you more time to focus on other important aspects of your job and potentially bring in more clients and business. Win-win!
Transitioning to Automated Bid Strategies (PPC): Peter Landis, Paid Traffic Specialist
Manual bid strategies are starting to become a thing of the past when it comes to running Google Ads.
The time of setting your max bid and telling Google what you are willing to pay per click is OVER. Anyone running manual CPC bid strategies on their search campaigns are missing out on the BEST potential customers or leads for their business.
Google is getting smarter every single day, and it learns more about your business and your customers the longer you run ads on their platform. Google knows when to place your ad in a position where people are most likely to interact with it, as well as how much you should be paying to beat anybody else for being at the top of the page.
Using manual CPC will restrict you from being at the top of a search for dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of searches (depending on your budget). Google’s automated bidding uses your budget in the best possible way for your business. Now, I’m not saying every single click from an automated bid strategy will result in a new customer, but it is far more likely for you to be at the top of relevant searches through automated bidding rather than through a manual CPC campaign.
Google has also been updating their Broad Match Keyword targeting. A combination of broad match keywords and automated bid strategies is where you will most likely see the best results from your Google Ads. There are some instances where broad match keywords are not ideal for your business, but Google is also very good at serving your ads to people searching for things that are relevant to what you have to offer. Broad match keywords are almost always worth testing out in order to find new search terms that you may not have considered when creating your ad groups.
Google’s automation process is extremely advanced and one of the best forms of AI that is available to the public. I highly recommend taking advantage of automated bidding. This technology will only continue to improve down the road!
Strive to Attract High-Quality Backlinks: Karen Salem, Outreach Coordinator
One of the main link building trends for 2022 is focusing on quality over quantity. This means that businesses will need to focus on high-quality link building instead of getting as many links as possible. You will need to focus on creating high-quality content and making sure you control how it’s promoted on the internet. We’ve acquired some of our most powerful backlinks this way.
Creating informative infographics is another powerful link-building strategy. Infographics attract everyone’s attention, from your targeted audience and niche bloggers to other websites. They are interesting to look at, but they are also very informative. By creating high-quality infographics that are engaging and visually appealing, you will be able to get backlinks from many other places.
If you want to succeed in link building in 2022, it’s essential to stay ahead of the trends. Adapting to new ways of getting high-quality backlinks and staying on top of that will get you the results you are looking for.
Keep Changing Privacy Laws in Mind: Steve McMillen, Technical Development Manager
From a developer perspective in the digital marketing space, the area that I am most keen to keep an eye on is the continually evolving privacy standards and the slow death of the website cookie. We already see a number of laws in place protecting users, such as GDPR (in the EU) and CCPA (in California), as well as Apple’s recent iOS update that limits tracking. Still, I expect we’ll be seeing more movement in this area over the next year.
Don’t Know Where to Start? We Can Help!
We know that you’re always on the lookout for ways to boost the success of your business, and improving upon your digital marketing strategies is a great place to start. So this year, stay ahead of the curve by looking at what’s coming next and how it will impact your business.
If you need help implementing these strategies – let us know! Our team would love to partner with you and create a stellar digital marketing plan that gets you the results you want.