- The Great Reshuffle and privacy-first policies greatly impacted the advertising and marketing industries last year and will continue to disrupt the landscape in 2022
- B2B advertisers should wean themselves off of targeting lookalike audiences and focus on harnessing first-party and zero-party data
- People will buy brands, not products
- The big picture: the industry is going to evolve for the better
Two important themes emerged in 2021 and these will continue to impact the industry in 2022. The first was The Great Reshuffle, which was an unprecedented talent migration fueled by the pandemic that forced employees around the globe to reconsider not only where they work, but how and why they work. The Great Reshuffle challenged us to maintain relationships, forge new connections, and secure customers in the face of disappearing sales leads. The second major theme was—constant change in the privacy landscape, like Apple’s updated app tracking policy, which forced us to rethink our strategies for a privacy-led world.
There is no end in sight for this pair of seismic shifts as 2022 will be a pivotal year for the industry. Based on what we learned this year, here are four things to help future-proof your marketing strategy in 2022:
1. Buying signals will outperform lookalike audiences
For the last decade, marketers tapped into B2C lookalike approaches—targeting buyers based on their behaviors to drive success. But in a world where people want more control over how their information is used and third-party data cannot be shared as easily, we must rethink how to reach prospective customers and measure success.
This is unchartered territory. Nimble brands powered by marketers who test and iterate will prevail and redefine the future of B2B digital advertising. In 2022 and beyond, we must continually evolve our approach, evaluating the success—and potential failure—of new tactics while paving the way for the future of the industry.
As the industry leans further into privacy, we should harness the power of buying groups and leverage audience insights. Tapping into buyer intent data will help us move beyond lookalike audiences and adopt data-based marketing strategies that move the needle for our business.
2. Trusted brands will be more important than singular products
Elevating brand awareness, developing an active community, and building trust—as opposed to pushing product updates and marketing in a self-serving manner—will be critical in establishing brand trust in 2022 and beyond.
With that in mind, we will discover that buyers are less focused on purchasing a specific product and more concentrated on investing their dollars in a brand that aligns with their core values. Given that only five percent of buyers are in-market to buy a product at any given time, B2B brands should spend this year focused on how they are going to stay top-of-mind for the 95 percent of buyers who are not looking to make a purchase. To do that, brands need to invest in creating a community that helps members and provides insights into who they are – beyond their product or services.
3. B2B advertising is about to get better
The future of B2B advertising is uncertain due, in part, to the introduction of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency framework and the future deprecation of third-party cookies. Privacy changes are not going to stop anytime soon which makes it a prerequisite to winning in the new normal. But not knowing how you’ll reach your prospective buyers and measure the success of your campaigns can be daunting, and that’s OK. The privacy changes on the horizon will make B2B advertising better. Despite the uncertainties that lie ahead, implementing strategies like harnessing first-party data will be critical to achieving success. Privacy-forward technology will be our foundation as we chart more, new outcomes-based courses for our organizations.
4. Zero-party data will emerge
First-party data isn’t the only antidote for the advertising industry as it copes with changing digital privacy settings and the eventual death of the third-party cookie. In 2022, we can also tap into zero-party data or information that’s willingly shared with brands by individuals. This data informs brands of user intent, increases buyers’ trust, and delivers personalized experiences at scale.
Zero-party data is self-reported by the buyer and is inherently trustworthy and automatically compliant. Perhaps most importantly, it can buoy the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, since activations are based on information that comes directly from the source.
The Great Reshuffle and evolution of privacy-first marketing strategies will continue to drive the industry narrative in 2022. However, we can take solace in the fact that we’ll be better equipped to meet the challenges ahead by using digital tools to nurture buyer relationships and increase engagement.
It’s our duty to work alongside our customers to create opportunities with privacy at the core. To catapult the next generation of digital advertising, it’s critical that we lean into first-party and zero-party data in order to help customers achieve success in the face of a shifting landscape. If our community commits to succeeding on those levels, we’ll emerge stronger than ever.
Abhishek Shrivastava is Senior Director of Product at LinkedIn.
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