Digital Trends for 2022 – What You Need to Know

In the past two years, there have been significant shifts in the marketing and advertising landscape. From COVID-19 to privacy changes to evolving and growing social media channels, there is a lot to keep track of (and look forward to) in 2022. We asked the Coegi Account Strategy team what they predict will be trending in 2022. The following playbook uncovers seven of the top digital trends they predict.

  1. Pandemic-Driven Shift to Digital
  2. Cookie-less Future Preparation
  3. Updates to Privacy Policies
  4. Demand for Performance-Based Marketing Strategy
  5. Need for Audience Testing
  6. Evolving Creative Messaging
  7. Shrinking of the Sales Funnel

Download the guide to learn more about what to anticipate for digital trends in 2022!

Advertising on Reddit to Reach Niche Audiences

Reddit is not always the first platform that comes to mind when advertisers are thinking about paid social, but it should not be overlooked. Reddit is a fast growing platform that allows advertisers to reach a very niche audience at a reasonably low cost. The Reddit platform does have some downfalls though, such as a less advanced reporting platform as compared to competitors. Here, we discuss the benefits and challenges of advertising on Reddit and some helpful tips to create a successful campaign.

What is Reddit and who uses the platform?

Reddit is a network of communities where people can dive into their interests, hobbies and passions. It is a discussion-focused platform and is often referred to as “the first page of the Internet.”

There are 52 million daily active users, which represents a 44% increase from October 2019. The platform sees 430 million monthly active users.

  • The vast majority of Reddit users are in the United States. 221.98 million users are in the United States, followed by Australia with 17.55 million users and India with 13.57 million users.
  • Two-thirds of Reddit users identify as male.
  • Reddit is most popular among the 25 to 29 year old age group. 64% of Reddit users are between the ages of 18-29.
  • The majority of Reddit users have a college degree or some college education.

Benefits of advertising on Reddit

  • Reddit ads can reach very niche audiences. There is a community for anything you can think of on Reddit. Ex: If you are selling liquor, you may consider targeting the r/cocktails or r/Bartenders communities.
  • Because Reddit has such a large number of users, CPMs are more efficient than some other social platforms.
  • Audience targeting is not only based on interests like other platforms, but also based on communities, also known as subreddits. These communities are often made up of very engaged users, so it is important to learn about the communities you are targeting and tailor your creatives to these communities.

Challenges of advertising on Reddit

The Reddit platform reporting capabilities are not as advanced as some of its competitors. It offers basic metrics, but does not go into as much detail as some of the other platforms, specifically with regards to engagement.
For example, users upvote and downvote on Reddit to express their approval or disapproval on a post, but this data is not available to view on the Reddit dashboard unless you are an admin. This would be important information for hands-on keyboard execution partners to have.
The Reddit dashboard only displays six months of data, so you are unable to see spend and performance for campaigns longer than 6 months ago. Because of this, we recommend Reddit campaigns run for less than 6 months.

Best practices for advertising on Reddit

  • Utilize community targeting and interest targeting in each ad set. When testing interest targeting vs. community targeting, we have found that community targeting tends to perform more efficiently when it comes to CTR than interest targeting, but combining interest targeting and community targeting in one ad set outperformed both.
  • Conduct research on the communities you would like to target. Look to see if these communities have many active members and what they discuss. Use this information to tailor your creatives to these users’ interests.
  • Use creative that feels authentic to your audience. Users of Reddit appreciate advertisers to meet them where they are.
  • Utilize both placement options (conversations and feed) at the ad set level in order to diversify where your ad will be seen.

Reddit is an excellent platform for reaching niche audiences at a relatively low cost. The platform is not as sophisticated as some of the others, but the ad performance on Reddit speaks for itself. If you are looking for a new platform for paid social, do some research on subreddits that your target audience may identify with and give Reddit ads a try.

How to Drive Social Commerce Sales with Instagram Shops

If you use social media, you’ve probably noticed the online retail purchasing process has shifted onto social media sites and apps. More recently, social commerce has become increasingly popular on Instagram with the extension of Instagram shop, a page where users can explore different brands and products. This experience integrates all of a brand’s photos and videos of their products into one showing, making it easier for customers to research and compare products. While scrolling, customers can purchase items directly from the posts they interact with. This process creates a seamless experience for the user and simplifies the purchasing process because the consumer doesn’t need to be redirected to different webpages. 

Social commerce will be a $79.64 billion industry in the US by 2025. It’s important that D2C brands don’t miss out and one of the best places for you to start is Instagram. 

According to internal data from Instagram, 81% of respondents say they use the app as a way to research products and services. 130 million users tap on shopping posts every month. This underscores the importance of the Instagram platform as a way to both promote awareness of your products as well as drive sales. The rollout of Instagram Shops has made it even easier for brands to offer their customers a seamless purchasing experience that doesn’t require them to leave the app. 

Instagram shopping functions as an extension of the ecommerce experience on brands’ websites. The tools offered by Instagram allow for customization that can individualize the purchase process for customers. The collection tool allows for the curation of products into themes such as new arrivals, gifts, seasonal trends, and more. Users can also shop your products throughout Instagram through the usage of Product Tags, which allow users to tap to learn more. Product Tags are also available to use in ads which can increase reach and drive more conversions. 

Instagram has also rolled out ads within the shop tab to make it easier for users to discover brands when they are in the mood to shop. The ads appear as a tile within the shop home page and clicking on an ad will take users to the product details page where they can then view the product on the website. In addition to serving ads within the Instagram Shop feed, using shopping ads in conversion based ads can be a strong way to increase conversions and drive increased ROAS. The user experience of setting up a shopping ad is seamless, with the ads manager pulling shopping posts directly in from what has already been shared. These ads will include shopping links that take people directly to the product details page and allow them to checkout within the Instagram app.

A Forbes study showed that two thirds of shoppers use social media as part of their shopping strategy and 77% of Millennials and Gen-Z use social media to shop. This trend towards social media emphasizes the importance of integrating social commerce.

Instagram Shop as a vital piece of a company’s ecommerce strategy. The platform allows for a streamlined path to purchase for potential customers that integrates seamlessly into their social media routine. The placement of ads in the shopping feed also allows for a brand to reach customers who are already in a shopping mindset, which can lead to higher conversion rates for consumer product brands. 

Key Takeaways

  • The rapid growth of social commerce cannot be ignored, especially for D2C brands. Instagram is a key player in the space, offering some of the most advanced features.
  • Instagram Shop places products in front of relevant audiences when they are in a shopping mindset and receptive to new products. 
  • Instagram allows for a seamless, in-app shopping experience that improves the customer journey and drives streamlined conversions. 

 

If your brand is interested in setting up an Instagram shop, visit the linked page and review the steps from Instagram found at the bottom of the page. For assistance running ads for your company’s product, contact Coegi to learn more.

 

Automated Content Recognition 101

While automated content recognition (ACR) may not be new, it is becoming more widely incorporated into digital marketing strategies. As the number of consumers using smart TVs continues to grow, marketers need to fully understand what ACR is, as well as all of the different capabilities it can bring to current or future campaigns. 

What is Automated Content Recognition?

ACR is a way in which content is captured and identified. It can be captured across all types of TV viewing: linear, video on demand, OTT, commercials and video games. The data received provides valuable consumer insights that allows advertisers to target niche audiences, create a better experience and drive more conversions.

How Does ACR Work?

ACR technology utilizes audio, video, or watermark cues to recognize TV content, and is then marched to a source database for reference. ACR data captures key consumer behaviors associated with TV viewership, like what content is being streamed, time-shifting, and ad-skipping. Beyond that, it can also provide insights on cord-cutting and binge-watching. 

Audio Fingerprinting

 Data is collected from connected devices through audio. In order to accomplish this, the app must be running and the user has to opt-in to data collections, which can cause the results to be limited and have gaps in data metrics. 

Video Fingerprinting

Data is collected directly from the user’s connected TV through visual or video capture information. It can capture all content that passes through the TV and, unlike audio, only requires that the TV be on and the user to opt-in to data collection.

Watermark Fingerprinting

Data is collected using digital tags placed before distribution. Owners then can use the tags to track how their content is being used.

How Can You Utilize ACR?

The data Automated Content Recognition provides empowers marketers to better understand and reach their unique audience, as well as customize a message that will resonate with them. Utilizing ACR also strengthens the way in which TV and digital advertising work together, providing more opportunities for second-screen advertising which results in additional OTT marketing capabilities.

Here are four ways ACR can be utilized in campaigns:

  • Content Identification: Identifying what content is being viewed
  • Content Enhancement: An interactive tool that triggers complementary content based on what the viewer is watching. This can be utilized on a second screen and can be formatted in various ways, such as trivia, polls, coupons or interactive forms.
  • Broadcast Monitoring: Provides data and when and where viewers are playing content. This tool allows advertisers to track the journey of their content.
  • Audience Measurement: Allows industry leaders to assess who is watching content in real-time, which is essential for ad pricing.

The ways in which viewers consume TV has drastically changed (and continues to change even still), but the overall love of programming has remained. Implementing data-driven tactics like ACR gives marketers access to higher quality ad space. 

Targeting in the Cookieless Future – What Marketers Need to Know

As the end of the third-party cookie nears, at the forefront of many marketers’ minds is the concern that approaches to audience targeting will soon be reversed by ten years and limit the sophistication of their data-focused strategies in a cookieless environment. While those who have solely relied on cookie-based audiences and retargeting audiences are going to need to overhaul their execution, many data technology partners have alternatives that will help bridge the gap with innovative solutions and, perhaps most importantly to the industry, this will require a necessary reset to marketers’ and brands’ overreliance on retargeting and vanity metrics.

ID-Based Solutions

In a cookieless environment, targeting solutions that are based on anonymized PII is going to be critical to maintain the one-to-one approach to reach consumers. Many of the upcoming ID-solutions will be interoperable, meaning they will speak to one another and create synergies for marketers. Below are a few of the most discussed solutions across the industry:

Unified ID 2.0

Many publishers and technology partners are working together to be able to produce Unified ID 2.0, which will be an open source solution built with hashed and encrypted email addresses across the web where a user has logged in. This solution, initially spearheaded by The Trade Desk and now being overseen by Prebid, has gotten significant backing by other publishers and brands. This includes, but isn’t limited to, Index Exchange, Magnite, PubMatic, OpenX, SpotX, LiveRamp, and The Washington PostFor consumers who are wanting to have more transparency about how their data is being used, they are going to be able to monitor and adjust how their data is being leveraged and encourage publishers to be more forthright in the value exchange that occurs. 

Liveramp Authenticated Traffic Solution

Similar to Unified ID 2.0, Liveramp is developing their own methodology to also get ahead of the cookieless future in collaboration with their partners. As outlined on Liveramp’s website, their “IdentityLink unlocks the value of your data securely because it’s encoded for every identity space, protecting your data from loss and misuse.” However, it does differ from the unified ID solution because it does not include identifiers such as fingerprinting and hashed emails. Instead they are creating an environment known as “Safe Haven,” which will aggregate many data providers’ information and enable for next-level machine learning to grow customer understanding and activate against new audiences. This will allow for fragmented data to be assimilated into a people-based solution based on identity across channels.

Lotame Panorama ID

Lotame’s solution is people-based and compliant, accumulating inputs across the web, mobile, connected TV, and customer data. This data can then be utilized across devices, domains and platforms universally across the open-web. As outlined in their press release, Lotame “…[matches] attributes across devices and domains to an individual…[leveraging] more than 90 platform partners, plus data from 180 providers in 58 countries.” This allows the ID to scale.

Neustar’s Fabrick ID

Neustar recently announced that they would also be rolling out an ID which aligns with the customer cloud solution that was released in the summer of 2020.  According to AdExchanger, “…Neustar has an API that publishers can call with the information they have on customers, most likely a hashed email or phone number. Neustar then spits out a token (the Fabrick ID), which publishers can use to share identity data back with Neustar’s advertiser clients and to sell their media programmatically on the open exchange.” Steve Silvers, the SVP of product and GM for customer experience at Neustar, informed AdExchanger that the ID is a more privacy compliant solution as compared to third-party cookies because it expires after 7 days.

First and Second-Party Data

First and second party data have been highly valuable for brands for a long time. Targeting these audiences allows for more touchpoints with known prospects, the ability to continue touchpoints beyond email with past customers, an opportunity to upsell with other relevant products, and the luxury of using other companies’ powerful audiences in your targeting. While historically important, this data is expected to be essential to establishing a well-rounded digital strategy in a post-cookie environment. The companies that are poised for success here have been building deterministic identity graphs for years not only based on logins and emails, but also devices, purchase information and phone numbers.

The Benefits of Walled Gardens’ Second Party Data

While there has historically been some frustration across marketing professionals on the siloed effect of walled gardens, marketers are beginning to change their tune after realizing limitations that they will be confronted with once the deprecation of the third-party cookie is in full-swing. The great thing about these providers is that nearly everyone on each platform is signed in, meaning that there is inherently an ID present without the need of cookies. Now that doesn’t mean there will at least be some impact on scale with data transparency really coming to the forefront in 2021, but there will still be an opportunity to reach deterministic audiences based on their behaviors. Coegi will have a follow-up piece all dedicated to walled gardens – the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Interest-Based Audiences

Some partners, like Google, are turning to behavioral tagging to generate audiences. This is basically works by giving users interest labels and sharing them with advertisers as the user visits the site. These labels or tags are determined based on recent browsing history and eliminates any IDs associated with the targeting, which provides more privacy while also allowing marketers to ensure they are able to provide relevant content to their consumers.

Advanced Contextual Targeting

Contextual-based targeting centered around keywords has been implemented across programmatic campaigns for years to expand prospecting pools and assume relevancy. While this seems overly simplistic given the granularity of other targeting options, it actually offers a great opportunity to reach those whom you might have not otherwise considered to be part of your target audience and also expand reach through cost-effective CPMs. Furthermore, contextual targeting has come a long way since the early 2010s, and many data providers now offer unique solutions based on real-time data and artificial intelligence that elevates the sophistication even further and allows for greater personalization in marketing.

One such solution is offered by Peer39, a highly regarded contextual data marketplace, who recently partnered with multiple data providers including Newsguard, Hotspex Media, and Planalytics. They are now rolling out a solution that allows for contextual targeting layered with weather triggering events, known as the product demand index, which takes into account environmental factors and dynamics weather conditions in the location that the user is. Beyond this, they also allow marketers to select contextual placements based on credibility and brand sensitivity of the webpage, overall emotional sentiment, and predictive trending targeting based on topics that are relevant to the brand.

Another respected contextual data partner, Oracle (who bought Grapeshot back in 2018), also offers a contextual intelligence opportunity. By using sets of keywords and phrases, Oracle Grapeshot is able to understand relevancy of the page for the category of content and subsequent strength of the category match. This approach allows contextual targeting to be evaluated on a broad versus niche basis, offering a variety of options for brands to tap into. 

Semasio also has a keyword-based contextual option that identifies webpages’ most significant terms and phrases and categorizes accordingly, inferring meaning and relevance. However, one of its more interesting solutions is the seed-based audience. This approach takes key customers or contacts from a CRM, analyzes what semantically differentiates this audience from the broader population, and produces a lookalike model of sorts based on contextual engagement. 

These elevated approaches open up new opportunities for marketers to intelligently lean into contextual.

What It All Means

As a whole, marketers and brands are going to have to tap into creative solutions to tap into audiences they have been targeting. While it will be time consuming to build up the repertoire needed, it is ultimately a safer direction to protect consumers and build trust.

Interested in learning more?

Nine Easy Ways to Stay Up to Date on Social Media Trends

Social media is an ever-growing and evolving landscape with new platforms launching and new features being released on a frequent basis. Being able to reach your target audience on the right platform with the right feature or placement is crucial. It may feel overwhelming to try to keep up with the continually changing social media trends without committing significant time – these nine tips will help you stay up to speed without sacrificing too much time.

Spend Time on Social Media Every Day

Try to set aside 10 minutes every day to scroll through your brand’s social media feeds. This is a great way to see what people are talking about, what’s trending today, and what changes are happening. Tips To use your time efficiently:

  • Customize your feeds so that you can easily see relevant and trending content/topics.
  • Save articles to read for later so you can revisit when you have more time.  
  • Ask your team to also spend 10 minutes a day on social media and share interesting findings/articles amongst your team regularly.
  • Familiarize yourself with new social platforms, even if you don’t intend to regularly use them, to understand new consumer trends

Use SEO to Find Places Where Your Business Could Fill a Market Gap

Use tools like SEMrush, Keyword Hero, Screaming Frog, or SEOquake to see what your customers are searching for in your industry and vertical, analyzing their behaviors at various stages in the funnel, and understanding nuances between various types of consumers.  Using keyword and search research will not only help you stay on top of trends, but can also help guide your brand’s content creation and create best practices.

Utilize Customer Feedback

Solicit customer feedback via surveys and customer interactions on your business’s social media pages. Surveys and feedback will help you to better understand your audience, their needs, and their interests, allowing your team to provide even better customer support and service. Additionally, feedback from your customers and social media followers helps you identify what type of content resonates with/performs best. 

Ideas of questions to ask:

  • What’s one feature/product/service you’d like us to start offering?
  • What [BRAND/COMPANY] product can you not live without?
  • What kind of [BRAND/COMPANY] content would you like to learn about?
  • What’s your struggle with _________?

Of course, once you receive feedback, you need to apply it

  • Your customers have the best pulse on your products and services and may think of things you didn’t. Listen to their suggestions of how to improve current offerings, things they’d like to see, or new ideas.
  • Don’t ignore negative feedback. Negative feedback is an opportunity to understand pain points, make improvements, and improve customer service.
  • Incorporate feedback into your product roadmap.
  • Thank your customers who provide positive feedback. These people will become positive advocates for your brand.

Keep an Eye on What Your Competitors Are Doing

Set aside 10 minutes a week to look at what your competitors are posting and promoting. Ensure you derive inspiration regarding emerging trends in your industry, or even some of your personal favorite brands, but are not copying content. Share your unique POV and showcase the expertise of your brand.

Subscribe to Trade Journals, Publications, Newsletters and Magazines

Schedule time on your calendar weekly to read through your subscriptions to keep on top of the latest trends and changes.

Some good publications that frequently share the latest and greatest on social trends include:

Join LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups are a great way to network with other business owners and social media enthusiasts. You’ll be able to ask questions of your peers to learn from their experiences and discover new social media sites/trends. Some great groups to join include “Social media Marketing Group by Connect365.io”, “Digital Marketing: Social Media, Search, Mobile, & more”, and “Digital Marketing.”

Attend Conferences Monthly or Quarterly (whether in-person or virtual!) 

Get the most up-to-date and relevant information about social media trends and advice from industry experts. Conferences are a great way to network and interface with other professionals in the social media industry who have different backgrounds.

Stay Current with Twitter and TikTok Trends

Twitter and TikTok function differently in terms of the type of content and algorithms than the other social media platforms. Here are some tips to help stay on top of what’s trending in both platforms:

Twitter

  • Create a stream on Twitter with hashtags such as #socialmediamarketing, #smchat, or #TwitterTip to help understand what to expect in the coming weeks.
  • Follow social media marketing influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn (sometimes discovered through hashtags!) and spend time reading their content.

TikTok

  • The “For You” page is a great place to start to see trendy and viral videos but this should not be the only place to look for trends.
  •  Hashtags help people find relevant content (think #mentalhealth, #prank, or #taylorswift). The most-used hashtags in video captions are the best place to see what is trending on TikTok. Many users will often use hashtags relevant to their niche in addition to one or two trending hashtags to help boost their content organically.
  • Keep an eye on challenges on the platform. Users are actively creating and engaging in challenges, which can create new trends. Many challenges include lip-syncing, dancing, or skits.
  • Observe what influencers on Tik Tok are posting. Influencers and celebrity posts on the platform will be popular in addition to clueing you in to what is trending.

Commit to Learning

The world of social media is always growing and changing. By spending time daily or weekly on social media platforms and news, you’ll be able to have a firm grasp on trends and changes. 

Staying on top of social media trends can be a daunting task. Using these 10 tips can help you use your time efficiently and stay in the know.

 

Further reading:

How to Moderate Trolls on Facebook Ads

Trolling is the act of leaving frequent, offensive/negative comments on social media posts. This can be done by a single person (troll) or a group of people (trolls). Handling a troll on social media can be uncomfortable. Here are a few strategies to help eliminate trolls on your Facebook page. 

Utilize Facebook Filters

  • Community Standards –  Facebook automatically conducts moderation on the Facebook platform as a whole. In order to use Facebook, users are required to agree to the Community Standards. These standards ban things like nudity, hate speech, excessive violence, and fake profiles. 
  • Profanity Filter – Any page admin can implement the Profanity Filter setting on Facebook. When using this filter, admins have the option to set the filter to either “medium” or “strong.” The difference between the two settings is the offensiveness of the profanity allowed. This is determined by Facebook and is not completely defined.  
  • Keyword Blocking – Facebook allows admins to block up to 1,000 keywords from appearing on their pages. This setting is not case sensitive and will block variations of the specified keywords from appearing as well. 
  • User Banning –  In the case of an individual or small group of trolls, it could make sense to simply ban the offending users from the Facebook page. The banned user(s) will still be able to share content from the page, but they will not be able to comment, like, or post on the page. The banned users will also be blocked from sending messages to the page’s inbox.

Additional Considerations

While each of the aforementioned Facebook settings can be incredibly useful, those filters are typically preventative. When actively dealing with trolling, the following recommendations should be considered: 

  • Responding to the Troll – In general, it is best practice to respond to comments on your posts. The same applies when it is a troll commenting. If possible, address the frustration or concern of the commenter and provide a solution. This could be through encouraging the user to reach out via personal message or phone call. Other users generally react positively to a brand being responsive and helpful by commenting back. Alternatively, ignoring the troll can give credence to the troll’s complaints and even encourage other trolls to comment. 
  • Deleting Comments– If responding to the user’s comment is unsuccessful or if the user’s comment leaves no room for a solution, it is possible to delete comments from your posts. This should not be the first course of action as it can lead to frustration from the commenting user. Deleting a comment can provoke the troll to leave another, more offensive, comment. It is also important to consider the fact all comments (negative or positive) play into an ad’s engagement rate. A higher engagement rate leads to better performance. 
  • Resetting Ads– If there is one ad causing the trolling, it is possible to reset the ad. This is not ideal as every time an ad is reset, all of the data and learnings associated with the ad is reset as well. After resetting an ad more than once, it is worth considering sunsetting the ad in question and replacing it with a new ad. Resetting an ad is an extremely manual process and is not something that can be done for all live ads frequently. 

Ultimately, having a troll target your page be a nuisance. However, there are multiple strategies and resources that can be used to help stop a troll. Inconvenient as it may be, appropriately responding and reacting to a troll can be a positive reflection of your business.

Why You Should be Advertising on Connected TV

Connected TV has officially met the reach of broadcast television. Streaming and connected TV devices exploded in 2020 as more consumers stayed home and cut the cord. As of 2021, there were just shy of 214 million connected television users, and that number is projected to increase to 230 million by 2025. In order to get full reach, brands cannot rest on just linear television buys alone – they must also lean into connected television.

In tandem with the upcoming deprecation of the third-party cookie, there is a substantial opportunity for marketers to better reach consumers through this premium medium. However, it is critical to approach connected TV strategically, to connect with your broader business goals in order to achieve the best return on your investment. 

Here are some connected TV strategic recommendations that Coegi leans on to create optimal user experiences for our brands:

Balance Audience and Contextual Targeting

The best thing about connected television compared to traditional television is that marketers are able to offer more customized targeting approaches beyond generic demographics and gross rating points. Instead, we are able to take it several steps further by having targeted reach and frequency in an environment where consumers tend to watch 90%+ of the video ad to completion. When analyzing how to reap the most success from targeting, it is important to balance both audience and contextual targeting. Audience targeting offers a lot of benefits in drilling down to behaviors, interests, purchase history, among other characteristics. However, because televisions and the relevant devices are most often shared across entire households, you cannot always be sure that the person who you are trying to reach is always the one in front of the screen. Furthermore, as third-party cookies become a thing of the past, pixel and cookie-based, probabilistic audiences will lose their potency and fade away from marketing tactics.

Knowing this contextual targeting on connected TV is going to become increasingly valuable. While programmatically bought connected TV ad placements aren’t able to target down to the program level, we are able to achieve scale by targeting specific networks, content genre categories and major live events (i.e. the Superbowl, the Oscars, etc.). Knowing your brand and how your preferred audiences index against specific television content is likely to become essential as you look toward the future of connected TV strategies. While these types of premium placements are often more expensive with CPMs often ranging between $40-50, it is critical to communicate the value of having brands’ content run alongside highly recognizable content, elevating the trustworthiness for newer brands and energizing excitement around existing brands. 

Take Advantage of Automatic Content Recognition (ACR)

Linear television continues to be a successful medium for many brands due to the cost efficiencies associated with the buy. However, they are certainly not reaching 100% of their target audience through this channel. In order to have greater reach, utilize linear extension through connected TV to reach other consumers in your target market who have not been exposed to your ad through linear television. Another option is to reinforce reach and frequency by retargeting those who were previously exposed on linear television on a connected tv device. 

Furthermore, ACR offers a great opportunity to have a new way to competitive conquest. You can serve connected TV ads to consumers who have watched your competitors’ commercials, giving an opportunity to gain greater awareness against a broader audience and potentially gain some untapped market share.

Understand Where the Greatest Areas of Opportunity Exist – Omni-Channel

 As with any omni-channel marketing strategy, it is important to consider how your target market tends to engage with media and where they tend to spend the majority of their time. Currently, the greatest volume of users fall between ages 25-44. However, due to the brand safety associated with the channel, it is possible for marketers to safely reach younger audiences as well. Beyond this, there is a word of mouth element to connected TV. Inmar Intelligence reports that Unruly found that “compared to linear TV viewers, ad-supported CTV users are 71% more likely to tell a friend about a brand, 53% more likely to search for a brand and 52% more likely to buy a product…”

Furthermore, this can be done effectively by taking more of an omni-channel approach to the CTV world and following the consumer wherever they are watching television.

Some marketers have become concerned by the fragmentation of connected TV – there are now so many streaming services that it feels challenging to unify the experience. In the interim, consider having a presence beyond the Hulu’s of the world and also tap into the connected TV walled gardens of Amazon Prime and YouTube TV to extend reach, have more of a holistic approach to the opportunity across the consumer base, and unify measurement accordingly. While these are our recommendations today, we are also aware that digital media and trends are changing at a rapid pace. Chief Strategy Officer at LiveRamp, Jay Prasad, recently said in a recent webinar: “Yesterday’s strategies weren’t built for today’s media.”

Measure Performance – Weighing Environment and Reach

Ads on streaming platforms tend to have really strong video completion rates, typically exceeding 90% but often reaching closer 97-99%. This makes the placement very valuable for brands who understand the power of storytelling. But how do brands evaluate success? Unique reach is certainly one metric to consider – how do I get my message in front of a lot of people and achieve broader awareness goals? However, it is important to also consider what placements are going to elevate your brand’s position. Some networks and programming opportunities are more costly than others, but also have powerful engagement (supplementing your local TV buy on the night of the Oscars with a presence on streaming devices watching). Overall, connected TV adds value through brands’ ability to evaluate performance against qualified audiences, reducing waste and allowing opportunities for optimization. It’s not just about reach and frequency on connected tv – it’s about targeted reach and frequency, placing dollars where there is minimal waste and greatest opportunity. 

Furthermore, for brands who really want to go the extra mile, advanced measurement tactics such as brand lift and foot traffic studies can be layered on to gain additional learnings beyond media metrics.

The biggest takeaway?

Connected television is relevant and pertinent to every brand across every industry – its power cannot be underestimated. That being said, it is important to remain agile in your approach to connected TV and be prepared to shift strategies in order to stay ahead of the curve and improve performance results.

Further reading:

Success in a Cookieless Future – Answering Common Questions

Marketers that have historically relied on cookies to be able reach their target audiences and measure success are panicking to be able to determine next steps for the cookieless future in order to avoid performance declines on their campaigns. Fortunately for Coegi, our team began anticipating this change years ago and have been transitioning towards people-based targeting signals versus a purely cookie-based approach.

While there are still questions that remain unanswered, we are confident that this transition will be seamless for our clients as we proactively work with our partners to identify the best solutions. We continue to prioritize premium placements, work with both identity and contextually based data providers, and implement various A/B testing to fully understand the implications on targeting and measurement for your brands.

Q&A for a Cookieless Future

When can we expect the cookie to be deprecated?

Google provided a rough timeline of when we can expect Chrome to no longer accept third-party cookies. It is expected to be a tw0-phase rollout in 2023. The Coegi team is working proactively to understand the future landscape and build upon our current solutions so the transition will be seamless.

How will cookie deprecation impact audience targeting?

Addressability will not be eliminated, but it will inevitably not be as easy to have access to a vast variety of third-party segments. Instead, having deterministic identity based solutions, first and second party data, and a robust contextual play are all going to be critical moving forward. The major impact will be on retargeting, which is necessitated by third party cookies in most instances.

Many publishers and technology partners are working together to produce Unified ID 2.0, which will be an open source solution. It is built with hashed and encrypted email addresses across the web where a user has logged in. That being said, there are several other data providers who are working or currently have their own solutions for 1:1 targeting without encroaching on privacy issues. Some of these partners include Liveramp, Wiland, MediaOcean, Amazon, Roundel, and Semcasting. 

First and second-party data (which is owned by publishers) will be central to an effective digital market strategy in a post-cookie environment. The companies poised for success here have been building deterministic identity graphs for years, not only based on logins and emails, but also devices, purchase information and phone numbers. Key players in this space include Liveramp, Eyeota, Oracle, Nielsen, and Adstra.

Finally, contextual targeting does not rely on cookies and provides brands with a strong opportunity to generate greater brand awareness when done strategically. As an additional benefit, the cost of contextual advertising tends to be substantially lower than addressable impressions as data is not layered on. However, this is impacted by whether the approach is through a whitelist or a private marketplace deal.

Will pixel remarketing be possible in the cookieless future?

Any pixel not owned by the owner of the website domain is considered a third party pixel. Unified ID 2.0 will allow for email-based conversion tracking in instances where email address is captured by the advertiser, such as a purchase or download. But, we don’t yet know the impact on reach in the buying platform.

However, we do know that first party data from opt-in email addresses will become increasingly valuable. Clients will need to adjust towards prioritizing prospecting and a full-funnel strategy versus relying on the metrics of consumers who were likely already going to convert, like from retargeting tactics. 

Should I adjust my channel strategy in the cookieless future?

The response to this question heavily ladders up to business goals, and may change based on forthcoming information and better understanding of scale implications. That being said, there won’t be any platforms that immediately become unusable. The difference is that attribution is going to be much more challenging.

Here are some tactical cookieless strategies to consider:

  • Shift budget toward CTV to drive more upper and mid funnel activity
  • Leverage DOOH with mobile retargeting – Android will still enable location tracking, despite iOS 14’s impact on tracking, and other vendors will provide alternative solutions
  • Lean into search and social with the objective of gathering 1st party data that can then be used for targeting and personalization
  • Maximize the ‘walled garden’ offerings (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.)

What differences are we going to see in measurement?

Cookies have been the underpinning for most digital marketing performance measurement for over twenty years, including post-click and post-view attribution. As a result, lower funnel tactics have stood out as ‘performance channels’ since a customer’s online actions can be more directly attributed to them.

Research shows that many customer journeys start on mobile. However, often mobile traffic looks less likely to convert than desktop traffic due to the fact that users switch between app browsers and mobile web browsers. This behavior makes it more and more difficult to stitch together the path to conversion. As a result, it can become hard to justify increased spending in mobile channels because the data does not indicate the actual influence on purchase or conversion activity.

Therefore, Coegi recommends integrating a directional approach to measurement as opposed to one that is solely deterministic. In fact, major platforms such as Google and Facebook have already implemented this targeting and measurement methodology to compensate for restrictions within the Safari browser and other limitations. 

Following are a few recommendations for developing your own model for more holistic measurement and attribution:

  • Benchmark your current performance: You can start modeling the impact of third-party cookie blocking by recording your current analytic metrics and monitoring them as the update takes effect. Establishing benchmarks by operating system and browser will enable you to calculate most accurately the potential impact.
  • Apply business intelligence models to your analytics: Predictive analytics can be used along with your data to provide deeper insights for the best performing marketing tactics and identify macro and micro trends that influence your business outcomes.
  • Consolidate media activation to as few platforms as possible: Platforms are developing their own internal frameworks to accurately track and measure marketing performance outside of third party trackers. The more platforms you execute your media through the more disparate measurement systems you have to take into consideration. There is also the likelihood that you will have duplication across platforms and consolidation will reduce that occurrence. 

Further reading:

Measure What Matters

One of my long-standing mantras at Coegi is ‘Measure What Matters’.

So when the ANA released a report entitled ‘Media KPIs That Matter’, I was more than a little intrigued.  What the report found won’t surprise too many of us that work in performance marketing: most brands focus on KPIs that don’t really align with their business objectives.  

So why is this?  For starters, there is a lot of pressure for digital campaigns to be ‘data driven’.  I bet if the ANA asked if their members organizations are data driven, 100% would say yes.  The challenge is that there is too much data for the decision makers to truly understand. For marketing veterans that came from creative or PR backgrounds (that weren’t exposed to digital media buying earlier in their careers), it is challenging to grade the effectiveness of an omni-channel digital marketing.   Thus, they lean on the stats they feel most comfortable with: CPM, CPC and CTR.  Website traffic, reach and completion rates.  What we have longed referred to at Coegi as vanity metrics. To be fair, media efficiency should be a factor, but far less than many brands think. As my friends at The Trade Desk say, you can’t report on CTR on an earnings call.  

So what about ROAS then? Isn’t that the magic metric we should all be optimizing to anyways?  It should be in theory, but in practice, it all depends on attribution.  Is 100% of the conversion credit going to the last touch or last impression?  There are very few digital programs that are even attempting multi-touch attribution, and those that try are stymied by walled gardens that don’t share a unified measurement framework.  ROAS numbers are only as accurate as the data you use to analyze it, and too often there is more noise than signal in last-touch attribution.  Recent changes to app tracking on Apple phones and the impending elimination of third-party cookies on Google Chrome make attribution all the more challenging.

So what about the agencies?  Isn’t it their job to advise their clients as to the metrics they should be measuring?   Certainly many performance strategists are pushing to move towards more meaningful measurement, but it often involves a lot more institutional buy-in at the brand that you would expect.  Advocating an advanced measurement framework at the end of a proposal just isn’t going to cut it.  Often, you not only have to educate the marketing team, but the C-suite, product and sales teams as well.  

So what is the path forward for marketers trying to determine their media KPIs?  From my perspective, there is no singular KPI that defines success for any digital marketing campaign.  Instead, we should build custom measurement frameworks across multiple KPIs, that incorporate not just media efficiency metrics, but also engagement, brand lift, transactional data, and ROAS analysis, to get a better understanding of your digital program as a whole. Furthermore, it can be worthwhile to revisit the more academic and statistical forms of analysis, such as media mix modeling, matched market tests, and regression analysis, to get to the heart of success. 

Recommended reading:

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