Look Ahead: Our Predictions for 2022

As we look toward 2022, we asked leaders at AUDIENCEX to weigh in on their predictions, and they shared some powerful insights about the year ahead. Read on to find out just a few of the developments, trends, and strategic shifts that we expect to see in the new year and beyond.

The Metaverse

We think the metaverse is far more than just hype. Senior Director of Strategy Danielle Gale says to expect “more emphasis on virtual worlds and immersive technology as a thriving home to Gen Z consumers and the progressive brands which serve them.”

We already know that Gen Z and Millennials are on track to take over as the majority of consumers within the next few years, so it makes sense that technologies aimed toward them are establishing a firm foothold now. Facebook’s rebrand to Meta is a huge claim to stake, and it remains to be seen if their self-declaration as a metaverse company will be seen as authentic and earned, but they’re not alone. Brands such as Gucci, Nike, Disney, and Snap are also in the midst of creating virtual communities, content, assets, fashion, art, experiences, and entire worlds. As this becomes the next frontier, brands will need to rethink their narratives in three dimensions and marketers will need to embrace this emerging technology rapidly.

Restrictions on Targeting Minors

Keith Mantia, Director of Search and Social, expects to see advertisers face challenges reaching teen audiences. Facebook has already announced that they’ll no longer allow advertisers to layer affinity targeting on users under 18. That means that any audience segments that include minors will have any targeting outside of age and gender removed. As concerns around data protection and privacy grow and lead to changes in policy, we expect to see that expand into other social platforms in 2022.

Algorithms Under Scrutiny

It’s been reported that a bipartisan group of US House lawmakers have introduced the “Filter Bubble Transparency Act,” which may force social media platforms to allow users to navigate their feeds without algorithmic influence to filter or prioritize content. Benji Joachim, Director of Analytics & Insights, expects that with increased scrutiny, we’re likely to see more changes that necessitate strategic shifts from advertisers who rely on algorithms to get their content to consumers.

TikTok Keyword Targeting

At the same time, we expect to see more targeting options available on the rapidly growing social platform, TikTok. In Q3 of 2021, TikTok began introducing a limited keyword targeting alpha to allow advertisers to reach audiences based on keyword and hashtag use. While currently this is limited to seasonal, holiday-themed keywords, Senior Director of Marketing, Rickey Biljani, expects to see this expand into more nuanced options and become publicly available to all advertisers.

Better Audience Modeling

It’s certainly not all doom and gloom as we look toward the deprecation of the third-party cookie. While this change has been pushed back by Google to 2023, advertisers will still be hunting for alternatives throughout 2022 to shift their strategies in advance. The good news is, as they do so, they’re likely to learn that third-party cookies were never a particularly stable foundation.VP of Product Brittany Wray points out that there are far more useful audience modeling options available, such as AI-Powered solutions. By using digital signals such as opt-in consumer tracking panels, location and time of day, contextual insights and more, AI can now work to help predict audiences and performance. First-party data will also be playing a huge role moving forward, so an increased focus on leveraging that data at all stages of the journey will be key. This type of data is invaluable to effective targeting, as it enables marketers to reach individuals across platforms and devices to deliver a full brand journey.

As we look even beyond 2022 and toward the future, we see a lot of hope for a more meaningful consumer journey that will benefit both customers and brands alike. Built on individuals, relationships, and an authentic narrative, this will help to tell meaningful stories and build relationships. We see a consistent, immersive experience on the horizon that will mean greater privacy and better experiences for individuals, more genuine relationship building between brands and their audiences, and better performance – and attribution – throughout the entire marketing funnel.

While the industry remains in rapid transition, we’re here to keep you up-to-speed and adjust your tactics to stay ahead of the curve. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you plan your upcoming campaigns, please feel free to contact us. Our strategists are always available to help you maximize your campaign performance on any channels.