Recent Trends and learnings we need to consider and adapt our Digital Marketing strategy for 2022

Digital Marketing ecosystem keeps changing continuously because user’s behavior keeps changing. The way users use internet, how they consume media and how much media they consume keeps changing

Even the way way users do their research has changed. To give you an example, 42% of the users in a survey reported that they check the Instagram page of a restaurant before going there for the first time. This used to be Google reviews and Zomato before

TikTok and Instagram reels have probably become the best consideration channel for hospitality industry. 28% of the users who booked a staycation for a hotel said they discovered about the hotel and offer on Instagram reels or TikTok

On top of this, there were some big changes and announcements in the recent past around the big tech companies around data and privacy laws

This all has led to some major changes in the digital marketing ecosystem and thus we need to adapt our Digital Marketing strategy in order to run profitable paid media campaigns.

I have selected the top 8 learnings and best practices, which you need to consider if you want to create an effective strategy that works in 2022 and beyond 

1. Go Broad in Targeting and Simplify campaigns structure

Whether it is Google or Facebook or any other Ad Platform, the deprecation of third party cookies will impact the performance, tracking capabilities and attribution. On top of that, if we just rely on cookie based data for our targeting, the reach will be impacted as well

To counter this, we will need to go broad in targeting and let the Algorithms and AI (Powered by so much Data Google and Facebook has on users) do the work. They will find the audiences for us as it is important for these companies as well to ensure the advertisers and still generating positive ROI. The major portion of revenue for these companies comes from advertising

For Google:

  • Start getting used to Affinity and In-Market audiences
  • Use Targeting expansion on DV360 and Optimize Targeting option on Google Ads
    • Google came up with this option to counter the impact on Reach after the curfew on third-party cookies. This is an improved feature and was called Similar Audiences before. However, Similar Audiences would only work for 1st party data but Targeting expansion works for Google Audiences as well (In-Market, Affinity Audience, etc.)

For Facebook:

  • Use Targeting expansion
  • Broaden your targeting
  • Simplify campaign structure
    • Don’t create a lot of ad sets having the similar targeting like Interest and Behavior. I have seen a lot of clients structuring the campaigns with a lot of Ad Sets to have better insights. For an example:

However, with the issues we have been facing after the IOS update in 2021, it is time to simplify campaign structure. This can be done by putting similar targeting in one Ad Set. Let’s say in the above case, put all Interest Based targeting in one Ad Set, All re-marketing targeting in one Ad Set and All Look Alike targeting in one Ad Set

2. Leverage Smart Campaigns, Smart Goals and Smart Bidding

In the recent years, the major updates in Google Ads were around new Smart Campaigns and Goals. These campaigns and goals are a way to leverage the data Google has about users collected across their properties.

Whether, these are Smart Shopping, Discovery, Local or Performance Max campaigns, the objective is to streamline the campaigns setup and optimization process. They are kind of plug and play campaigns. You have to upload creatives and in some cases Google will automatically fetch from your website, and then set a Goal to optimize like Sales, Leads, etc. and Google will take care of the rest

This is done by using hundreds of signals Google has about every user on internet. Google recommends to utilize these campaigns to still run profitable campaigns in the cookie-less world

These campaigns have other benefits apart from auto-optimization. For an example, if you run Performance Max campaigns and have a limited budget. You don’t have to worry about the budget allocation across Search, Display and YouTube campaigns. Google will automatically allocate it within these formats based on what is working for you based on the Goal you have selected

3. Automate processes and components of your Digital marketing stack

A lot of companies and clients used to think of Automation as optional, whether it is Email Automation, creating automated funnels, Dynamic creatives or anything else. However, it looks like going forward, Email is going to be an important channel for engaging and stay connected and top of the mind within your customer base

Email Automation becomes even more crucial for B2B clients and the sales cycle usually is long. In the digital noise, email is probably the best vehicle to keep that connection within your business and the prospect sale. If done right with proper funnels in email automation, we can create a user friendly journey between getting a lead until we generate a sale

For B2C clients as well, Email automation can be used to create engaging user journey to get introduced to your brand and keep them engaged. There are a lot of tools available to do this which are mostly free until you have more than few thousand Email IDs and need more than few funnels and automation rules. is one of the options which I use as well

4. Don’t spread your Budget and efforts too thin

Every business should identify their Hero channels based on where they see good results. It can be different for each company based on the business and their brand positioning, and other factors. Every platform has a vibe and thus the communication on that platform needs to be adapted to resonate with that vibe.

For example, a Google Ads Search Ad needs to be direct for example and relevant to user query without any fluff. You can’t post long form or boring content on TikTok or Snapchat. These factors needs to be considered while deciding on content strategy for each platform

So, based on your brand, positioning, your audience, your offerings, your performance on each channel; you need to wisely select a Hero channel/s for you and put most of your efforts on that channel

In terms of paid advertising, your most of the budgets should be invested there and avoid spreading the budgets too thin to generate any results

5. Leverage YouTube

YouTube processes more than 3 billion searches a month. It’s bigger than Bing, Yahoo!, Ask and AOL combined

YouTube is almost second Google. People use YouTube for most of the searches which we used to see on Google before. Searches like “What is the best video editing software”, “What is the best email automation tool”, “Best tennis racket for beginners” and so on..

When you look at these facts, you should immediately understand that like a lot of companies used to a content strategy to create blogs to generate organic traffic which led to sales; we need to have a YouTube content strategy as well

Creating YouTube content is tough and expensive but if you have the resources, it is worth a try

6. Collect Email IDs and Phone Numbers

Collecting and targeting audiences was probably the easiest with cookies. Whether it was your first party cookies or third party cookies using audiences. However, with the increasing regulations and decisions by big Ad Tech companies, we probably have to look for alternatives and richer sources of first party data.

The best options for this is collecting Email IDs and Phone numbers. Once you have developed proper funnels to collect this long validity data about users, you need to work on your Email campaigns and Whatsapp campaigns. You can also add a CDP to your Ad Tech stack to enrich this data and even integrate it with your cookie data

7. Put plans to increase your Digital maturity

In order to have a future proof Digital Marketing strategy and stack, you now need to look into your maturity more than ever in a lot of aspects whether it is organizational, Tracking and attribution, Creative, etc.

One of things I suggest to understand where you stand now with respect to you peers in your industry and direct competition is to use Google Digital Maturity Benchmark. This framework developed in association with BCG Group is like a questionare which accesses your Digital Maturity in various aspects and gives you a score along the industry and competition benchmark

You can use this result to identify opportunities to improve your maturity and lead towards a future proof organization and mitigate the impact of upcoming changes in the industry. You can also watch my video here to understand more about it – YouTube Link

8. Utilize LinkedIn and TikTok

The organic reach on Facebook and Instagram has went south of 1% in the recent years. Unlike Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn still has a good organic reach. Personally I have seen an organic reach of more than the subscription base on LinkedIn. On top of it, the polls have even higher organic reach. This probably will not stay like this and LinkedIn will restrict the organic reach and follow Facebook strategy. However, use LinkedIn reach until you can.

LinkedIn also is probably a Hero channel for personal branding and can be a great tool if you are a consultant, freelance professional and want to create a personal brand and generate leads

On the other hand, the same is true about TikTok when it comes to organic reach and is comparatively higher than Facebook and Instagram. Also, I have been hearing a lot of people talking about TikTok and claiming that it is not true that “TikTok is for Kids”. I don’t have significant data personally to comment on this but I am curious too!

Let me know if you have done any experiment with TikTok advertising and what were the results!

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