Where 2022 Ad Spend Is Going (And How To Get Ahead Of The Trends)

There is a multitude of factors to consider and important decisions to make when creating an advertising budget. Aside from choosing the right channels and tactics to meet their own strategic goals, a brand must take the state of its industry as well as the latest marketing and advertising trends into account to create ad campaigns that will stand up against those of its competitors.

Brands don’t want to jump on any old bandwagon or social platform without a good reason to do so, and this year, they’ll once again be seeking the right avenues to reach their target markets. From diversifying with an integrated multichannel approach to doubling down in a specific medium such as digital, television, print or social, the options are endless.

With their insight into where ad dollars are being spent in real time, the members of Forbes Agency Council can forecast where brands will be spending their budgets this year. See their predictions below, along with good ways for brands to get ahead of these trends.

Forbes Agency Council

1. Digital Marketing To More ‘Connected’ Consumers

Digital marketing is something that cannot be ignored! The pandemic has made people even more connected to their devices with the demands of remote work and staying in touch with family and friends. This shift has made digital marketing a great vehicle to get your brand noticed by your target consumer in a cost-effective manner. – Thomas Morganelli, Centipede Digital

2. Connected TV Ads Informed By First-Party Data

Where your media dollars are spent really depends on your marketing goals. One area where we see continued growth is connected TV. There is real power that comes with the ability to serve up video on the big screen in your target’s living room. Combine that opportunity with the strength of first-party data, and it’s clear why CTV offers opportunities unavailable on other marketing channels. – Jonathan Schwartz, Bullseye Strategy

3. Online And Offline Platforms With Consistent Media Availability

Ad dollars will continue to increase on digital platforms that are optimizing their ad strategies, such as TikTok. There will be a continuous amount of spending on offline platforms that follow the supply-and-demand curve, where media availability is consistent. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

4. Higher-Funnel Digital Efforts With Advanced Tracking

Ad dollars will be spent in digital, but more specifically in higher-funnel efforts where advanced tracking and attribution are now showing true impact and ROI. Think about over-the-top content, streaming video, audio and more, which were once stuck measuring impressions or maybe view-throughs. Agencies implementing better tracking systems will be able to show the trickle-down effect of these higher-funnel efforts and get better buy-in for a full-funnel digital investment. – Brian Walker, Statwax

5. Niche Targeting Via OTT And CTV

I see a switch from spend on social and search to a surge in OTT and CTV advertising. With the level of understanding of these mediums growing, the barriers to entry are not so high now. For companies with the right level of budget, both OTT and CTV present fantastic growth opportunities and the ability to reach new markets in this increasingly niched-out world. – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

6. Digital And Social Media Advertising Strategies

Ad dollars will definitely be best spent this year on digital and social media. Brands can get ahead by starting to implement result-driven social media advertising strategies. There are more users on social media than ever before, and platforms such as Facebook and Instagram give businesses the opportunity to yield a considerable return on ad spend and stay profitable year-round. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

7. Small-Budget Programmatic Buying On CTV

2022 will see lots of ad dollars move into the CTV space. Many major brands will take their first steps into CTV, especially as they discover how effectively smaller budgets can operate in this less-crowded space. With programmatic buying and audience-targeting tools, it’s possible to make a big splash in CTV, and I expect we’ll see lots of 2022’s ad dollars migrating in this direction. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

8. The Right Social Media Platforms For Narrow Targets

The growing addiction to social media in all the age groups and interest groups makes social media the best place for marketing investment. Social media ads allow for narrow targeting, which helps increase brand awareness among the target audience, and thus conversions. Agencies should identify the right social media platforms for their clients and develop a focused marketing plan to exploit this trend. – Ajay Prasad, GMR Web Team

9. Specific Content And Content Creators

While the easy answer is “digital,” I think “content” is more accurate. Forget about which screen, or even which delivery method, will be dominant—consumers are becoming more tied to specific content and content creators. This is a meaningful shift in consumer behavior and an opportunity for agile and innovative marketers to find their audiences. – Andrea Palmer, Publicis Health Media (PHM)

10. Video Content Designed For Omnichannel Use

Designing campaign creative for omnichannel use—with a focus on video through CTV and linear TV—is key. Our in-house production company and agency-owned studios allow us to quickly create video, and this is something all agencies should consider. Even out-of-home placements can leverage video more in 2022. Video content is the 2022 campaign anchor. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

11. Inbound Marketing Technologies

It depends on the audience. The goal of digital marketing is to get the right message to the right potential client at the right time. The best way to do that is to utilize the marketing technology that most clearly communicates ROI. I believe that inbound marketing technologies that show the full buyer’s journey are where ad dollars should be spent. – Christopher Carr, Farotech

12. Increased CTV Ad Spend Across All Industries

While spend by channel typically varies by industry, we expect a surge in CTV spending from brands across all industries. While many marketers are shifting spend away from linear TV, we expect investment to come from digital channels, as CTV offers the sophisticated targeting of programmatic advertising with a comparable reach to linear TV for a much lower cost. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

13. Product Placement In Streaming Content

Marketers and agencies are increasing their interest in product placement in streaming content on platforms such as Netflix, Amazon and HBO Max. This is driven by the fact that they themselves sat watching hundreds of hours of streaming episodes and films over the course of the pandemic, none of which included traditional advertising. – Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded

‘Table Stakes’ For Marketers: 15 Things To Budget For In 2022

Every year there are new tactics, channels for reaching consumers and methods of converting them to consider when devising a marketing strategy. While you may want to double down on efforts that saw great results last year, there may be other items that should be incorporated into this year’s marketing budget to gain the most traction for your brand and help fuel its growth.

Forbes Agency Council

The experts of Forbes Agency Council stay up to date on the latest movements, concepts and trends having an impact in the marketplace. Here, they share what “table stakes” look like for marketers in 2022. See some of the key elements they believe should be accounted for in every brand’s marketing budget in 2022 below.

1. A Balance Between Lower- And Higher-Funnel Campaigns

With indoor shopping on a continual decline, brands are subsequently experiencing a drop-off in the brand equity in-store experiences provide. Looking forward, I anticipate brands will attempt to stem the decline by developing an impressive budget-balancing act between higher-funnel brand awareness and mid- and lower-funnel campaigns that emphasize immediate conversions. – Jason Wulfsohn, AUDIENCEX

2. New Channel/Tactic Testing

Include a budget piece solely for new channel/tactic testing that is not held to the same revenue key performance indicators—so if the test fails, it won’t tank the overall marketing ROI. Having a budget that frees the marketing team to test new audience segments, try the next up-and-coming social channels and experiment with new ad creatives while increasing the volume of actionable data is key to scaling in a fast-moving ads environment. – Brian Walker, Statwax

3. Digital And Social Media Advertising

A marketing budget should consist of mostly digital and social media allocations in 2022. Social media advertising allows businesses to predictably generate profit from ad campaigns on a regular basis. The “table stakes” range from a few thousand dollars per month in ad spend for small businesses all the way to tens of thousands, and even several hundred thousand, per month for large enterprises. – Jonathan Durante, Expandify Marketing Inc

4. Investments In The Strongest Conversion-Based Traffic Sources

The best budget allocation should always focus on supporting your strongest conversion-based traffic sources. While growth and trying new things are always important, a business should always have a strong understanding of where their audience is converting from in the highest numbers and invest accordingly. – David Kley, Web Design and Company

5. ‘Content That Converts’

We call it “Content that Converts”—creative assets, strategic storytelling and product personification need to be part of the marketing investment in 2022. Data, connectors for internal tech stacks and tech stack refinement should also be high. Most marketers don’t touch that. However, we do, because all “strategy” talk is pure fantasy until we know what’s driving revenue. – Vix Reitano, Agency 6B

6. Artificial Intelligence Tools

It is very clear that how brands use artificial intelligence will make all the difference in the ways people make their purchases in 2022. As more AI is built into platforms, life is changing for the marketing world. Those who do not know how to make the adjustments with the new tools will perish. – Jon James, Ignited Results

7. Client Retention Initiatives

Plan quarterly to ensure your team has the resources to adjust quickly to market shifts and client needs. Evaluate marketing technology investments often to ensure they are delivering on their KPIs. Invest in current clients. New business is essential, but current clients can provide a lifeline during market shifts. Don’t underestimate the value of client retention when you’re planning for 2022. – Steve Ohanians, WebEnertia

8. Partnerships And Placements That Build Brand Reputation

Smart marketers will focus on building brand reputation far more than just brand awareness. Today, consumers want brands that not only have a story behind what they stand for but also legitimacy from being endorsed by what are seen as credible sources. This can include social influencer partnerships, strategic partnerships with other entities and product placement in popular content. – Stacy Jones, Hollywood Branded

9. The Ability To Uncover And Act On Data-Backed Insights

As competition to earn consumer attention continues to surge, the best marketers will continue to invest in their ability to uncover and act on data-backed insights. The main difference between “good” and “great” marketing will be a brand’s ability to harness actionable insights from both internal and external sources to better understand their target consumers and outmaneuver competitors. – Charlie Grinnell, RightMetric

10. A Mix That Aligns With Target Audience, Goals And Timing

How you set a marketing budget varies based on the size of the business, goals, channels, tactics and other factors. The Small Business Administration recommends that businesses generating under $5 million in revenue dedicate 7% to 8% of their gross revenues to their total marketing budget. In my experience, if you’re launching a new product or going into a new market, that can scale up to 20%. The marketing mix needs to align with your target audience, goals and timing. – Jason Wilson, Strategy, LLC

11. Conversion-Based Testing Of All Campaign Initiatives

Marketing budgets in 2022 need to account for the entirety of the marketing funnel rather than focusing so heavily on the top-of-funnel awareness and attraction portion. Neglecting to budget for conversion-based testing of all campaign initiatives is going to make “table stakes” way off balance. To know when to go “all in,” you must be willing to understand your opponents and their weaknesses. – Bernard May, National Positions

12. A Well-Rounded, Omnichannel Mix Of Platforms

A well-rounded, omnichannel mix, consisting of digital, social and streaming/over-the-top media platforms, will be more important than ever. There will also be a broader offline approach to ensure brands will reach their consumers wherever they are through various forms of content. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne LLC

13. An Integrated, Multichannel Strategy That Includes Video

Your marketing budget should focus on activities that work together in an integrated way, thus creating more thrust overall. You should not put all of your eggs in any one basket. Make sure to have a multichannel strategy that utilizes social media, digital advertising, public relations, SEO, email marketing, reputation management and so on. But put aside money for video—this is a must in 2022! – Christopher Tompkins, The Go! Agency

14. Data-Engineering Solutions To Pull In Nontraditional And Offline Metrics

As data continues to disappear due to an increased emphasis on data privacy on digital platforms, optimizing toward in-platform metrics will no longer be sufficient. To gain a competitive edge and break through the clutter, it will be crucial for marketers to invest in data-engineering solutions to pull in nontraditional and offline metrics, such as product margins and in-store foot traffic. – Donna Robinson, Collective Measures

15. Alignment Between Organic And Paid Strategies

Table stakes for marketers in 2022 should consist of prospecting investments on paid search and paid social. An area that occasionally gets less focus is organic social. Investing in organic social is crucial to ensure the strategy is aligned with a company’s brand, specifically its paid media and website strategy. Organic alignment is essential to building the trust and interest of relevant audiences. – Tellef Lundevall, Accelerated Digital Media