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5 Paid Media Trends to Watch in 2022

Insights / 04.14.2022
Red Door /

A solid paid media plan will push your marketing to the next level. It increases brand awareness, engages your audience at the right place and time, and ultimately, drives your ROI. So, what does a strong PPC strategy look like in 2022? It’s all about prioritizing personalization — yes, even as third-party cookies continue to crumble.

Our paid media experts are here to help you build a winning strategy, with their predictions for the top paid media trends of the year. From first-party cookies to the rise of ad automation-plus-personalization, this list has you covered. Let’s get to it.

1. 1st Party Cookies Are In, 3rd Party Cookies Are Out

It’s happening and fast: Third-party cookies are getting the boot. Advertisers everywhere are scrambling to pivot their strategies as consumers call for more privacy. With no third-party data, first-party data will become king again, shifting the focus to contextual advertising, first-party publishers, and building brand loyalty.

What does this mean for strategy? Instead of getting to know your target audience through third-party data, you’ll be challenged to collect info through your own sources, like e-mail, loyalty programs, and website interactions — all with direct consent from the consumer. Data on their hobbies, personalities, what they like to read, and even eat, will help you personalize campaigns — and convert, convert, convert.

To do first-party cookies well, our experts recommend using contextual ads. Contextual advertising is the practice of placing an ad within an article. This ensures that the product or service is relevant to your audience. It also makes for a more natural feel that (fingers crossed) leads to engagement.

Another tactic in our paid media playbook: Direct-buy campaigns. These are promotional campaigns in which you work with a publisher to purchase ad space on a website or in a traditional publication. Direct-buy allows you to reach your audience where they are already looking for relevant info.

2. Understanding the Customer Journey

As the online world continues to evolve, so does the customer journey. Sales cycles are becoming longer and longer. From page experience and user-generated content, to reviews and competitors, consumers have a lot to think about before making their decision.

How can you nudge them in your direction? Our paid media team encourages you to dive into the mind of your consumer. Ask yourself questions like: What are their pain points? What do they value in a brand? What are they searching for? Questions like these will lead to valuable insights that you can use to personalize your campaign to their needs.

That’s not all. Being authentic with your messaging is also crucial. Bombarded with messages (including fake news), consumers are growing more aware of what’s true and what isn’t. They appreciate brands that offer empathy and realness. When you get this right, you get loyal customers in return.

3. Testing Remains a Top Tactic

Want to optimize your marketing strategies like the best of them? Focus your efforts on continuous testing across all forms of marketing. This tactic will help you pin down which variables drive performance within your target audience. For example, which CTA is more enticing? Or, what makes for a higher engagement rate: photo or video?

The most impactful type of testing is A/B testing, where you outline a control and test group, then analyze which variable between the two performs the best. Continuous A/B testing will help you determine what kind of targeting, creative, and messaging resonates the most. Plus, it can create stronger connections. How? Personalization.

Personalization kicks your A/B testing up a notch. It allows you to find the single best experience to show each audience segment. This approach yields better performance than serving the best average experience to the entirety of your audience. You have many options for segmenting your audience, from behavioral segmentation, like “intent” and “engagement,” to geographic, and psychographics, such as “values” and “lifestyle.”

4. Digital Out of Home and Connected TV Are Booming

Marketers just like you are turning to more personalized paid media methods to reach customers. Take digital out-of-home advertising (DOOH), for example. It refers to any digital ad that appears in a public environment. DOOH advertising integrates with AI and recognition methods like behavioral analysis and facial recognition, to generate personalized advertising in real-time. Yes, the future of paid media is here.

Connected TV (CTV) is also on the rise, as it’s become more accessible and trackable than ever. CTV allows you to place video ads — one of the most effective ad types — on smart TV screens, based on the user’s interests, location, most-watched channels, and more. CTV also gives you the ability to retarget through display advertisements on other mobile devices in the home.

Looking further into 2022, these mediums will continue to evolve with increasing vendor opportunities, deeper insights into best practices, and thoughtful creative that appeals to customers in a natural way.

5. Automation Is Here To Stay

Paid media automation does more than free you from redundant tasks like ad copy testing and keyword bidding. It gives you the opportunity to effectively target customers with automated messages across channels — with an added layer of personalization. One form of automation, called dynamic creative optimization (DCO), enables you to produce millions of creative options that speak to your audience on an individual level. It even offers real-time resizing and delivery of assets. So, how does DCO make personalization possible? With a little help from your data. You’ll want to establish in-depth data points, like that handy first-party data we mentioned earlier and collect info from your CRM software.

As platforms continue to push automation and personalization through their products, familiar ad formats like expanded text are being phased out. This change urges marketers to trust that platform algorithms will save them time and money, and help them stay competitive.

As you can see, personalization is a powerful thing, for you and your customers. Let our paid media strategists put the latest PPC tactics to work — and turn your data into dollars. Contact us today.

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