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

Get ready for 2021: 15 business leaders share forecasting strategies

Dominated by the global pandemic and the accompanying economic disruption, 2020 has been a challenging year for businesses across industries, and uncertainty is impacting planning for 2021. The unpredictable economy makes forecasting staffing and resource needs difficult for any business, especially when there’s also uncertainty surrounding clients’ needs and expectations.

The Business Journals

While resource planning may not be an exact science right now, you can still take steps to more accurately forecast your business’s needs for the next year. That’s why we asked 15 members of Business Journals Leadership Trust for their top business forecasting strategies for 2021. Here’s what they had to say.

1. Ensure the basics are covered if the unexpected happens.
Whether you add new members to your organization’s sales team or invest in more resources, those things all cost money. Each business must establish a budget at the beginning of the year and do their best to follow it. Accidents and/or surprises will happen, and occasionally they may drain more of your budget than anticipated. Have a predictable budget that accommodates your basic needs. – Wesleyne Greer, Transformed Sales

2. Keep in close touch with clients.
Over-communicate and ask more questions. If you are uncertain of your clients’ needs and expectations, ask them (often). Call them at least once a quarter if not monthly to check in. Leave a voicemail. They may not call you back, but they will know you care enough to call. – Matt Bratlien, Net-Tech

3. Plan for the best-, middle- and worst-case scenarios.
Having gone through multiple economic dips over the past 30-plus years, I’ve learned to run three options on forecasting: best-case, middle-case and worst-case. I typically base my forecasting on the middle level and identify other ways to address the best- and worst-case scenarios should either turn out to be the reality. – Scott White, BizCom Associates

4. Update your budget each month.
We will finalize our 2021 budget before the end of December 2020. We also update our budget each month throughout the year as the business climate and our strategy changes. Doing this in 2020 really made our year more predictable and stable during the pandemic. The cost of goods sold and expenses side became very predictable, and weekly sales meetings with projections helped us accurately project sales. – Matthew Palis, Infront Webworks

5. Audit your external data sources.
Proper forecasting helps businesses plan for future growth amidst the challenges in the current economy. Doing so now requires using the best data available. One strategy to improve forecasting is to ensure that all external data sources and assumptions are up to date. The pandemic has changed the outlook for industry growth, and it’s important to use market data that considers the pandemic. – Vincent Phamvan, Vyten Career Coaching

6. Ask customers questions early and update often.
If you are just now thinking about 2021 forecasting, you are late to the party. The best thing you can do to improve forecasting with customers is to begin asking questions early and often. The market is experiencing wild swings that directly affect resources and staffing. An accurate forecast today may be a swing-and-a-miss in just weeks. Start the dialogue now and update everyone often. – Paul Weber, EAG Advertising & Marketing

7. Plan for administration.
When forecasting, be realistic and plan for administration. We forecast 70% to 83% capacity at most when helping clients. We work to educate folks on planning 20% “reactive” capacity for the unplanned work that always comes up. Under-promise and over-deliver! Regarding Covid-19, we recommend continuing to use a smaller internal workforce with greater use of external workers — again, greater flex capacity. – Paul Herring, 101 Solutions LLC

8. Use data to project, then tweak based on intuition.
Previously we just flew blind, but we have implemented software that projects our monthly revenue based on history. On top of that, we’ve seen an upward trend since May, so we’re going to add 25% to our projections for 2021. This makes general sense for anyone. Use data to project your needs, then use your intuition to tweak it to reflect the strange times we are in. – Brian Walters, Walters Gilbreath, PLLC

9. Invest in business intelligence.
Business intelligence is all about harnessing the data that a company generates to gain valuable insights for interpreting and forecasting performance as well as for scenario-planning and future-proofing the business. These tools empower organizations to have flexibility in managing their resources with the kind of agility that enables their teams to engage more effectively and successfully manage changes in service delivery. – Joey Johnsen, Zeevo Group LLC

10. Study industry trends.
For us, an effective strategy for forecasting future business needs is focusing on trends related to our industry. Specifically, we focus on legal and regulatory trends that may affect our business or the business of our clients. We regularly review online search patterns related to drug and alcohol testing. The comparison of past and current trends aids in our forecasting. – Joe Reilly, National Drug Screening, Inc.

11. Account for both short-term unknowns and long-term client expectations.
There are two sides to this coin. On one hand, the needs your clients had prior to all this uncertainty are still there and likely even greater. On the other hand, there is a slew of unknowns that need to be accounted for in the short term. Factoring for both short-term and long-term expectations is a great strategy to employ in 2021 and beyond. – Rachel Namoff, Arapaho Asset Management

12. Be conservative when forecasting staffing needs.
Err on the conservative side with staffing because it’s easier to staff up than staff down. When hiring is needed, hire strategically and selectively to ensure your entire team works well together. Invest in your staff to make sure they have all the tools they need to operate at 100% efficiency. – Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, Hawthorne Advertising

13. Use BI to forecast demand.
Analytics is no longer enough; you need business intelligence. BI for us is a combination of the current demand level for our products and services and our expectation of how much of that demand we can capture in six, 12 and 24 months — and on. When we see an increase in demand for one area of our business it is typically a predictor for success in the months to follow. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS

14. Set a nonnegotiable baseline.
As an early-stage company, we know there are some nonnegotiable numbers we need to hit to continue to validate our business. We are following a 20/20/20 rule. We must grow revenue at 20%; we must have 20% earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization; and we must keep employee and client turnover to less than 20%. We can build from there, but we view that as our nonnegotiable baseline. – William Balderaz, Futurety

15. Consider whether certain historical data are still valuable.
Typically, forecasting uses historical data to estimate monthly, quarterly and seasonal needs and trends. With Covid-19 creating a wildcard disruption, it may be time to eliminate multi-year historical data depending on your business model’s reaction to these circumstances. It’s a new normal in many areas. Use a new baseline as your forecasting starting point. – Jeffrey Bartel, Hamptons Group, LLC

8 Advertising Trends Experts Predict Will Die Out In 2020

Year after year, marketing industry leaders experiment with and popularize innovative advertising techniques. From the convenient Instagram shopping checkout feature to advertisements centered on social change, 2019 has been a year of constant connection.

8 Ad Trends Die Out 2020

While many of these marketing techniques are here to stay, a few may not be back for a second round. We asked eight members of Ad Age Collective their take on which advertising trends could fizzle out before the calendar hits 2020. Here’s what they believe will be on the way out, and what new trends we might have to look forward to in their place.

1. Mid-tier influencer marketing

There will be continued effort put into managing influencer programs, but consumers’ trust in influencers is disappearing fast, as are results. Micro-influencers, such as close friends, will remain, and celebrities will continue to play their role. But mid-tier influencers will be replaced by measurable social advertising where it is overt that brands pay to target prospective customers via ads. – Reid Carr, Red Door Interactive

2. Highly detailed personalization

2019 has been a year of increasing personalization, to a point that consumers are starting to be creeped out by how well an anonymous company “knows” them. In the wake of privacy scandals and data breaches, 2020 will see a pullback in this personalization in favor of advertising that demonstrates how a company is respectful of its consumers and takes steps to secure their private information. – Patrick Ward, Rootstrap

3. Inaccurate voice search

Our devices are not yet sophisticated enough to provide fully satisfying and accurate responses to voice queries. A comprehensive and SEO-focused content strategy can help advertisers maximize success in voice search today. However, we will see an increase in visual search strategies as improved user experience has driven an increase in visual search adoption. – Kerry Curran, Catalyst

4. Disruptive advertising

Disruptive advertising will phase out. Nearly half of global internet users enlist ad blockers today. The success of influencer marketing and integrated advertising is rooted in an ability to get in front of the right audience in the most authentic, non-disruptive way. We’ll see more creativity in how brands integrate into virtual reality, augmented reality and other tech-driven content experiences to build awareness. – Ricky Ray Butler, Branded Entertainment Network

5. Paid influencers with tons of followers

The idea of paid influencers that oftentimes have a gazillion followers but zero connection to your brand? Going, going, gone. We are quickly, and thankfully, moving to the age of the micro-influencer—the authentic person who happens to have a connection to your brand and also happens to have a social media reach. Finding this group and engaging with them is the evolution of word-of-mouth. – Rich Honiball, Navy Exchange Service Command

6. Simply using data for enhancements

Relevancy is key, and in 2020, brands will leverage data and AI in more holistic, creative ways. Rather than focusing on simply using data to enhance media plans, marketers will incorporate significant personalization strategies in the creative process to improve overall brand experience. – Oz Etzioni, Clinch

7. User-generated content

User-generated content has plateaued. Brands’ social media followers are growing weary of being asked to submit their own content for the benefit of the brand. Influencer commerce, selling products through online influencers, will skyrocket. Today’s online influencers are equivalent to how Michael Jordan was to Nike. Brands will seek influencers who can sell through their network of followers. – Jason Weaver, AirDeck, Inc.

8. Operating without an advertising strategy

Platforms that are not running profitably, that exist only on raising capital with the promise that it’s their subscribers that add value but have no advertising component, will have a hard time surviving in 2020 and beyond. – Jessica Hawthorne-CastroHawthorne Advertising

Automating the mixed-media model improves accountability

Author: Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO

Original Publication: Marketing Drive

Date Published: July 11, 2017

Editor’s Note: The following is a guest post from Jessica Hawthorne-Castro, CEO of agency Hawthorne.

As marketing budgets have soared, so has the need for accountability. For direct response marketers, this comes as no surprise.

The 2016-2017 “CMO Spend Survey” from Gartner found that marketing budgets increased to 12% of company revenue in 2016 and CMO marketing technology spend is on track to exceed CIO tech spend in 2017. Along with all this money flowing in comes the need for marketers to demonstrate results — to prove that those marketing dollars are dollars well-spent. This has made accountability a buzzword and guiding principle for forward-thinking marketing teams, but it’s a principle that has guided direct response (DR) marketers for years.

DR is an accountable, measurable and actionable way for brands to engage and collaborate with their customers. Digital marketers may have made accountability cool, but DR pioneered the concept when most brands were pouring all of their dollars into image-based advertising.

It’s a mixed-media world

The proliferation of mobile devices has made marketing more complicated and results more difficult to track. Between traditional media like linear TV and newer formats like social media and mobile apps, brands have to market across channels and embrace mixed media campaigns to stay relevant. However, campaigns across multiple channels are more difficult to measure than campaigns across just one. Organizations that value accountability need tools that can measure and track across platforms.

One of the tools driving the shift towards accountability is marketing automation, which is used to market across multiple online channels, automate repetitive tasks and measure and track results. It gives organizations the tools they need to measure mixed-media modeling, which involves analyzing sales data to determine the effectiveness of the marketing mix. Today, half of companies use a marketing automation solution, which is more than 11x the rate of use in 2011.

We’ve observed this surge in our own work at Hawthorne. Marketers are using technology applications and platforms to figure out how much “weight” to put on which advertising channels, which platforms are performing the best (and worst) and how to effectively allocate budgets among those various options. These insights can then help determine the optimal media mix, which can be a major challenge in today’s highly-fragmented digital media world, where consumers hop back and forth between devices and view ad content on each.

One solution is pixel technology, which can be used to figure out and track consumer engagement levels. This technique means adding pixels (or small lines of code) to client websites to track the consumer from beginning-to-end on a website in order to timestamp when they first saw the advertisement and then went directly to the website (or Googled it). Then it tracks their path through the website on each individual page and even creates a heatmap of what they are looking at on each page. This tracks consumer engagement and whether or not they made a purchase.

Accountability and automation

The combination of DR and marketing automation enables advertisers to seriously up their accountability. They can use an array of online and offline media choices to quickly capture engagement and directly pitch clients at the top of the sales funnel who are happy because they know their target audience is on the radar.

For example, Hawthorne recently created a campaign that targeted 18- to 25-year-olds, who represent around 10% of people in U.S. households with TVs. Hawthorne created a customized marketing plan that incorporated programmatic and addressable TV and targeted that specific demographic, similar to how online media can target specific niches. We then used mixed-media modeling to demonstrate the campaign’s impact across multiple platforms and to maximize the advertiser’s message across channels.

It was a highly targeted and highly accountable campaign that resonated with the audience and the client alike.

The learning curve

Automating and fine-tuning a campaign is a big challenge that involves a learning curve with new technology and requires research upfront, particularly in terms of identifying and leveraging cross-device segmentation.

Marketers have to figure out the paths that different demographics are going to take, as well as understand how quickly they will move through the sales funnel and make a purchase or sign up for a service. In addition, marketers have to identify which advertising mechanisms work the most effectively in each case. Or, to put it more succinctly, marketers have to understand how people respond from one end of the sales funnel to the other, including how they engage across devices. It all boils down to understanding the lifetime value of each customer and connecting that information back into advertising, station selection, creative and any other element that has an impact on sales.

The more consumers use multiple devices to consume content, the more marketers will embrace mixed-media modeling (and related tools) to automate certain parts of the advertising process. And, as consumers embrace more ways to connect with their favorite brands, agencies and marketers will have to evolve along with them, or fall behind. Greater accountability in marketing is better for everyone.