Photo credit: The precise Nathan Oakley
January and February are traditional post-holiday planning months for many furniture and decor companies and during that downtime it’s important brands step back and take a critical look at their digital marketing strategies.
In the last year and even in the last three months, major advertising and social media platforms have introduced new formats or announced changes that will significantly impact campaign performance. To help brands navigate the ever changing and often confusing world of online marketing, we’ve compiled a list of the most important changes and opportunities you need to be aware of for 2022.
Take Advantage of Google Organic Shopping Listings
Most brands that sell online already have Google Shopping ads but what you may not know is that Google provides free organic listings that show after all of the sponsored listings.
Getting organic shopping enabled and integrated into your eCommerce platform is an easy and straightforward process and we’re seeing it produce incremental revenue and in some cases account for 5-10% of monthly revenue for some clients.
It should be a 101 level task for any online business in 2022 and especially those in the home furnishings space where platforms like Google shopping serve as a discovery point for many brands and their products.
Test New Platforms
The platforms where consumers spend their time and energy is quickly evolving and marketing strategies that only focus on Google and social media ads are missing opportunities to connect with consumers in the moments that matter.
Just how quickly are new platforms taking over your users time? Consider that in 2021 Tiktok received more traffic than Google. That’s right, more people watched videos on Tiktok than conducted Google searches and if your brand isn’t present there then you’re missing out on significant engagement opportunities.
Often the biggest hurdle for brands adopting new platforms is that you want your brand to be approachable and authentic and avoid an overly corporate appearance. That lingering debate can often delay or completely destroy innovation opportunities and we always advise to test and refine because no one will remember your first tweet or post but they will remember a meaningful piece of content, delivered at the right time.
We advise taking a look at the targeting and creative capabilities of the following platforms and coming up with a game plan to test in 2022:
- Expanded Video use
Aggressively Segment Your Lists for Social and Programmatic
One of the biggest changes that rocked the ad world throughout 2021 was the ongoing impact of data and privacy changes on ad platforms, specifically Facebook and Instagram. Consumers now have more control over their data and these changes negatively impacted the performance of prospecting campaigns where you traditionally use lookalike audiences and demographic/behavioral targeting to serve ads.
With fewer users to track and less behavioral data being fed into user profiles, traditional prospecting campaigns that relied only on demographics and interests will continue to perform poorly. We recommend that brands replace these antiquated campaigns with highly segmented lists so that lookalike campaigns that typically drive prospecting can be much more effective.
Here are some initial ideas for lists based on where we’re seeing high ROAS:
- Power users (Users who log in daily)
- Repeat purchasers (Especially if you can segment by frequency)
- Purchasers by AOV (Hint: low AOV consumers can be great for new to brand)
- Multiple items/cart
- Business referrers (scrape loyalty program)
An “All Customers” list should be the last resort and should have a lower budget allocation vs your highly segmented lists.
Test Expanded Text Ad Messaging (While You Still Can)
Google and Bing both announced that after June 30, 2022, expanded text ads (the traditional basic header and description format) will be replaced with responsive search ads (ads with a rotating combination of headlines and descriptions). This is important for many reasons and the biggest is that marketers will no longer be able to A/B test paid search ads.
The data that’s available for responsive ads will still show all the metrics you see with traditional expanded text ads (Impressions, CTR, CPC …) but you can’t segment it by specific combinations or review data between ad variations. Instead you’ll just see a distribution of what ad combinations showed and at what percentages but you can’t limit distribution to just a specific set of variants.
The important thing to note is that the format is going away completely. Previously when ad providers would sunset products, they wouldn’t allow users to create new ads or make changes to existing ads but they would still show for some time after deprecation. Instead July 1, 2022 you’ll either have all of your new responsive ads showing or you’ll have no presence at all.
It’s crucial that marketers heed this opportunity to both review and document previous successes in ad messaging while aggressively testing through early June to get as many data as possible. For this reason we recommend brands add more budget to search in the first half of the year so that they can gather the data and develop a bank of high performing ad copy that can be carried into responsive campaigns.
Clean Up Marketing Automation Funnels
Odds are your marketing automation flows were setup at least 1-2 years ago which means it’s a great time to review how visitors are tagged, nurtured and remarketed throughout their customer journey.
When we audit client marketing automation flows, especially with highly sophisticated products and paths, we generally find outdated messaging or sequences featuring deprecated products/promotions. You should also consider your flows in the context of how consumer behavior has changed since Covid and make appropriate updates based on buying and delivery options.
As you’re going through your funnels look for testing opportunities both at the audience and sequence level and if you haven’t made any sequence or messaging adjustments in awhile, you’ll have a stable benchmark with which to test against. (Bonus: That rich audience data can then be fed into your prospecting campaigns!)
Making the Most of Your 2022 Marketing
If you know you need to work on these core areas but aren’t sure where to start or how to review your existing marketing then contact a digital agency or strategist that can help define and implement an action plan to help you unlock value from new and emerging channels.