Marketing Briefing: Here are the top trends, issues marketers had to navigate throughout 2022
This Marketing Briefing covers the latest in marketing for Digiday+ members and is distributed over email every Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET. More from the series →
This year hasn’t been an easy one, especially the second half.
Marketers navigated economic uncertainty as well as determine what channels will be popular, Twitter ups and downs and privacy changes that have made their jobs much harder.
Before we look ahead to 2023 (our next Marketing Briefing will be out Jan. 2), we wanted to look back on the big trends of 2022. Read on below:
Flexibility amid economic uncertainty
Over the last few years, the marketing community has been dealing with uncertainty — when will the pandemic truly end and things get back to normal (if ever), when will we return to offices and with that more normal consumer behavior, etc. Over the last six months or so, that uncertainty has been more focused on the economy. The ups and downs of the market, the expectation for a recession the conflicting reports making it more difficult for marketers to read where people’s heads will be at and what they should be doing with their advertising — it’s all been uncertain. With that being the case, much of the second half of this past year has been about flexibility and tighter deal windows. That push for flexibility has been commonplace over the last few years and it’ll likely continue next year.
Continued rise of TikTok
There’s no denying it — TikTok’s continued rise throughout 2022 made it the golden child of the platforms this year. Marketers moved the platform out of their experimental budgets to be a budget staple as they want to show up where consumers are spending more time, especially Gen Z consumers. That’s not to say that TikTok is without its problems — marketers have detailed issues with ad reps as well as complained about attribution issues. At the same time, lawmakers are considering banning the platform. Whether that comes to fruition, only time will tell, but TikTok is on marketers’ minds and informing how they are not only spending social media ad dollars but thinking about how they should make their ads.
TikTok wasn’t the only social platform to make waves in 2022. Marketers have had to keep a close eye on the behind-the-scenes (and no-so behind-the-scenes) drama of Twitter as Elon Musk took over the platform. It’s been a tumultuous few months, with advertisers pulling back spending out of brand safety concerns and a sense that Musk is using a trial by fire way of leadership with changes announced and reverted within a matter of days or even hours. It’s certainly been tricky for marketers and their social media managers) — some of whom have been called out by Musk — who are still spending on the platform.
As part of the shift of focus to TikTok and the ever-changing social media advertising landscape, many marketers, especially those working on direct-to-consumer brands, have been beefing up their earned media strategies. Some marketers said they’ve done so as it’s been more difficult for brands to compete following the privacy shifts and iOS changes that they can’t simply rely on paid social ads to do what they need. That shift isn’t unique to 2022 but it has certainly ramped up throughout the year, with many marketers saying they are spending more time creating and beefing up their earned and organic media strategies to get in front of consumers more and more.
For some reason, marketers tend to focus on the younger, up-and-coming generations in the hope that maybe if they’re cool with that generation everyone else will follow? Over the last few years, the focus has moved from millennials to Gen Z as millennials have aged out of being the youngest marketer demographic. (Why marketers have continued to ignore Gen X, we will never know.) With that being the case, if you asked marketers the reason behind certain strategies like pushing for more organic media strategies, working with influencers or spending more time on TikTok, the reasoning for much of that was that they were hoping to reach Gen Z. That will likely continue next year but it was certainly a focus throughout 2022.
Throughout 2022, marketers experimented with NFTs, the metaverse, Web3, etc. None of that is surprising — marketers are always looking for the next big thing and hoping to be one of the first brands to crack it. (Remember when they thought Clubhouse would be it?) The question remains whether NFTs, the metaverse and the overall push into Web3 will be actually worth it. Do people actually want to spend time in branded hang outs in the metaverse? Unless there’s something in it for them, the answer to that question is likely a resounding no. Marketers will have to continue to find ways to make their push into these newer spaces useful for consumers otherwise adoption will likely be minimal.
3 Questions with Kelly Higgins, CMO of Doremus+Co
Doremus+Co is a B2B advertising agency that’s part of Omnicom Group
B2B marketing seems to be having a “moment.” How can B2B brands, sometimes viewed as stodgier than B2C marketers, seize it?
This is a watershed moment for the industry. There’s just an undeniable influx of interest and investment pouring into the space. There [are] new dynamics. The pace of business is evolving so fast. The amount of change that’s happening in the way we live and work is happening. B2B is the backbone of a lot of that change. It’s putting an incredible amount of pressure on B2B organizations, brands, marketers and, as an agency, on ourselves as well, to be delivering the right talent, capabilities, resources, thinking and creativity to help have an impact in that environment.
What does B2B being the backbone of recent change mean?
Things are going to change more in the next few years than they have in the last lifetime. Behind that is really technology. You’re going to see a lot of B2B industries, things like advanced manufacturing, fintech, sustainability, supply chain and logistics. They’re only going to become more indispensable over time. It’s turning a lot of heads. How do you recognize that shift and the growing importance of those things? How do you think about defining your brand and the business in a world where the future is still very much undefined? It’s a really interesting challenge for brands and organizations to have to figure out. It’s getting a lot more competitive for specialist agencies like us as that starts to happen. People are really trying to find ways to capitalize on the growth moment. There’s this need for marketers and organizations, [who are] looking to capitalize on this growth, to understand and embrace the intricacies of B2B marketing and what it takes to succeed.
What does this look like going into 2023 budgeting?
There’s definitely more flexibility and being nimble. But an agency, we also put our money where our mouth is. We know that in times of downturn it pays off to invest in your brand, to take big bets, to tinker, to try new avenues. We’re doing just that. Yes, the budgets are tighter, but that just means you have to get a bit more creative. There’s a lot of stuff happening right now. The rewards will be reaped by those who can recognize that shift, find some smart opportunities and take a big bet on those opportunities. — Kimeko McCoy
By the numbers
The future of advertising in the metaverse has yet to be determined. What has been determined, however, is how Americans feel about it. According to new research from market research firm, Reach3 Insights, at least 72% of consumers said that seeing a product in the metaverse would make them more likely to buy it. Find more details from the report below:
- 57% of consumers describe companies with a presence in the metaverse as “innovative”; 56% as “futuristic; 51% as exciting, rounding out to be an overall 88% net positive.
- 61% say seeing their favorite brand in the metaverse would enhance a positive perception of the brand.
- Some survey respondents consider brand presence in the metaverse to be “tacky” (3%), or just a trend (15%). — Kimeko McCoy
Quote of the week
“They can’t deliver. They don’t have enough inventory to deliver. So they’re literally giving the money back.”
— agency exec when asked about Netflix’s ad-supported tier as the streamer’s ad business is off to a slow start, per Digiday reporting
What we’ve covered
- A bill to ban TikTok is gaining traction in Congress, and with some marketers
- How the California Privacy Rights Act reshapes U.S. privacy compliance in 2023
- Journalist Aaron Rupar on the ‘chilling effect’ of being suspended by Twitter
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