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Digital advertising is a valuable tool for businesses big and small. While many trends from the past year will continue to be viable, there are ways to remain competitive while considering impactful ways marketers can stretch their reach and increase sales.

Let’s take a look at 22 trends that will help set your brand up for success this year.

1. Increased Value in Video Advertising    

Video content has taken the lead in digital marketing for brands as they try to connect with customers. Short-form videos have gained popularity with the rise of TikTok and marketers are taking advantage of this media to showcase products. Beyond short videos, live-streaming opportunities, stories, and reels on social media platforms are valuable ways to connect with the target audience. In this authentic way, brands can raise awareness and increase sales.

2. Sending a Message Visually (Utilizing Captions over Sound)

When creating video content that reaches the target audience, consider that many people watch from their mobile devices while engaged in other activities. According to a survey by Verizon Media and Publicis Media, 92% of consumers in the United States will view a video with the sound off. The addition of captions to get your message across can help bridge the gap as people are watching videos in public without the use of headphones. Be sure that your content is still effective even when viewed without sound.

3. First-Party Data Initiatives

With Google phasing out third-party cookies, gathering first-party data will be at the forefront to inform marketing decisions. Customer Relationship Management systems (CRMs) can help retailers manage and analyze data from purchases to get better acquainted with their customers. Making connections with buyers will be crucial, and brands will need to focus on ways to collect data on their customers through website tracking, email subscriptions, and surveys. 

4. Smart Bidding

Google Ads Smart Bidding employs strategies to help businesses large and small maximize conversions. By using automation and machine learning, Smart Bidding can use its wealth of search behavior data to determine how different bid amounts can impact conversions. With automation helping to optimize bids, your team can spend more time on growing your brand and creating marketing strategies to increase sales. Keep in mind, though, that this isn’t always the best strategy for every business. Learn more here.

5. Automation for Pay Per Click Advertising

PPC automation tools can save time and help optimize your marketing strategies beyond bidding. With AI, testing ads can give valuable information about the effectiveness of your advertisements using different formats. Once data is collected, automation tools can determine which descriptions and titles are most compelling and those will be used most often. Ad campaigns can be managed through automation allowing campaigns to be paused or increase bids based on clicks.

6. Responsive Search Ads  

Responsive Search Ads help brands to adapt to the needs of their customers. The ad is created with information about a product that can change to be the most relevant to your prospective buyer. By inputting multiple headlines and descriptions, Google Ads can determine which combinations perform the best, optimizing the overall performance of these ads. You can learn more about how responsive search ads can benefit your business here

7. Mobile Optimization to Improve CRO

Understanding the customer experience can help to increase your CRO and make your website more efficient. With mobile optimization, be sure all of your ads are customized to make the potential buyer’s experience seamless. Ensure that when they click the ad, they are led to a mobile-friendly, straightforward landing page. When buttons don’t work, pages won’t load, or links don’t match the ad’s offer, consumers will become frustrated and sales are lost. Take time to create a meaningful mobile experience for potential buyers. 

8. Increased Budget for Social Media Ads

In the face of pandemic life, more and more people are logging in to social media platforms throughout the day. Whether it’s the availability to scroll while working at home, the need for an escape, or the lure of creative content, social media users are consuming tons of content right from their phones. Businesses need to invest time and money into making strategic advertisements to target their prospective buyers. With millions and even billions of active users around the world, advertising on social media platforms cannot be passed up if your brand wants to stay competitive. Putting more into your social media advertising budget will increase your brand’s visibility and provide a huge audience to recruit and connect with new customers.

9. Expand Your Reach With PPC Ads on Strategic Platforms

Utilizing Pay Per Click Ads on search engines is a starting point for many businesses. Consider your customer base and where they spend their time searching and scrolling. Are your products being promoted in the places they search and shop? Taking time to analyze customer behaviors can help you make your ads more strategic. Recognize the power of advertising on marketplaces such as Walmart and Amazon. Can you reach possible buyers through Pinterest, Twitter, or LinkedIn? Think beyond Instagram and Facebook to spread your reach and connect with potential buyers. 

10. Virtual Reality Ads 

Virtual reality advertising opens up a new way for brands to connect with buyers. Products can be viewed in a simulated real-world experience. Potential buyers can try the product in a 360-degree immersive realm and get more details than a traditional advertisement. When experienced in this way, ads are more memorable to the consumer.  

11. Highlighting Social Responsibility in Ads

Consumers are looking for brands that make a positive impact, especially in an era of concerns over climate change, carbon emissions, and social justice. Businesses should consider highlighting their environmental and social initiatives such as net-zero carbon footprints, diverse workplaces, and outreach to charities to attract consumers to their brands.

12. Improve Customer Email Marketing

While making considerations for connecting with customers, revamping your email marketing techniques can make a difference in getting promotional emails opened, instead of sent to the trash. Make sure the emails that are sent are mobile-friendly since most consumers will be opening on their handheld devices. Create interest with enticing subject lines to get readers to open and engage with the content. Personalize email campaigns as much as possible to create a feeling of connection, while spotlighting your most popular or new products. In a world where consumers are bombarded with emails, give them a reason to look forward to hearing from your brand in a way that makes them feel valued as your customer.

13. Connect with Conversational Marketing

According to Drift,  conversational marketing provides buyers with authentic experiences that can help build relationships and strengthen your brand. There has been a huge surge in websites offering chatbots to help customers navigate websites. Through this conversational marketing, retailers can connect with potential buyers and quickly answer questions or guide them directly to the product they seek. This is an effective way to engage customers and create a seamless shopping experience. 

14. Strategize through SEO and PPC Integration

SEO and PPC strategies both attempt to connect buyers with your brand through analyzing keywords. Knowing what your potential customers will be searching for allows you to tailor language to attract more clicks. By integrating the two, PPC data can determine which ads have more engagement, and pass on the top keywords and content that could drive SEO optimization.

15. Optimizing for Voice Search Advertising

With more and more people having smart devices in their homes, voice searches are more common. Consider the questions that may be asked to a smart device that would lead to your website. Include conversational language that ties into potential queries from users. Using data from SEO and PPC ads can help optimize your ads for these types of voice searches.

16. Retargeting Ads to Increase Conversions

Retargeting advertisements are a great way to entice a potential buyer to revisit your website in order to complete a sale. These remarketing techniques target specific ads to a consumer as a reminder of the item they were looking at or interested in. It engages the consumer to take a second (or third, or fourth) look at your product. It’s a great way to keep your specific audience thinking about your brand and what it has to offer.

17. Diversify Ads to Build Your Business

When a business is just starting out, it is common to start with search engine ads and big names like Facebook (Meta) and Google Ads. Think about your consumer and where they are spending their time. Since no one spends their time dedicated to one channel, neither should your brand. Don’t find yourself in a rut, but instead consider advertisement strategies that have done well. Continue to invest in these outlets, but also spend money to go beyond the familiar to find ways to diversify and take advantage of opportunities to reach new customers and grow your brand, and prioritize creating a monthly marketing report to keep things organized.

18. Use of Display Marketing with a Call to Action

Display marketing continues to be a great way to get potential buyers to visit your website if done effectively. Creating a display that is both visually appealing and concise is important so the consumer engages with the ad. Consider a CTA (Call to Action) that will entice a user to click based on the idea that visiting your page with have a positive impact on them. You can read more about revamping CTAs for digital displays here.

19. Increased Attention to Audience Targeting  

Google Ads has created audience segments that group people into different categories based on their interests, their reason for searching, and demographics. Advertisers can take advantage of this data by adding audience segment targeting to their ad campaigns to deliver relevant ads to prospective buyers.

20. Local Inventory Ads 

Search engines have seen a rise in queries including the “nearby” or “near me” keywords. Utilizing local inventory ads allows brands to showcase their products that are available for purchase locally while bringing storefront websites to consumers’ attention. It can also highlight pick-up services that you offer or fast shipping rates for items that may not be available in-store.

21. Podcast Advertisement

Millions of people in the United States spend time listening to podcasts. Marketing teams can take advantage of this kind of reach by promoting products through podcasts. Advertising through this media helps brand visibility, has built-in influence through the podcast host, and results in a high recall rate from listeners. 

22. Influencers 

Working with influencers to help bring awareness to brands is only going to grow in the coming year. Their authentic content and connection with audiences make them the perfect salesperson for products. This marketing strategy allows you to target a specific group that already has trust in an individual who will share your product. This creates more visibility, attracts new customers, and creates brand loyalty.

Final Thoughts

Making the most of your advertising budget requires analyzing what your team is doing well and how you can continue to grow in the future. All of the advertising trends going forward have a common thread– get to know your customer and how you can best reach them across a variety of platforms.