By the time the ball drops and the confetti has been swept up, the event industry is already halfway through engagement season, stirring up a flurry of activity as newly minted “soonlyweds” embark on their wedding planning journey. It’s go time. Now is the time to get in front of as many couples as possible to fill your inquiry pipeline for the year.
It’s tempting to supercharge your exposure with digital ads. After all, it seems simple enough—you set the target, define your budget, upload a great image, and let the inquiries roll in. Right?
Perhaps it was an easy solution in the past, but 2022’s ad landscape looks remarkably different.
You may have heard that the infamous iOS14 updates have changed the advertising game on Apple platforms. In a nutshell, apps and websites must now ask users to track their data before doing so.
As a consumer, you likely opted out of tracking in the name of targeted advertising—but, as a business owner, what does that mean for your own marketing efforts? It means there are far less data to use to laser target your ads. So, the rumors are true—the updates have changed the game. The good news is, you can still run effective ads in 2022. You can even do so on a modest budget.
The real trick is going back to basics. In fact, many classic, pre-internet advertising strategies are just as practical as they were in the heyday, even when modified for a digital environment.
Here’s what to expect from ads in the next few years and how to adjust your strategy accordingly to succeed no matter how the algorithms change.
Be prepared to budget additional money for ads.
Since it’s so easy for app users to opt out of being tracked, that means the days of cheap retargeting are over.
If you want to make a splash with paid media, prepare to spend more money on ads in 2022—especially when launching new campaigns. While the initial ad spend may be more, rest assured that when you commit to consistent advertising, you’ll eventually build your own data set, improving results as ad costs go down. So be patient; the numbers will balance out with time!
Build a more robust marketing mix.
As you invest more money into your ads, it becomes more important than ever to ensure your marketing funnel hits prospects at every phase of their booking journey. For example, you may consider using organic social media to bolster paid ads or build an influencer marketing platform. Or, perhaps a dedicated Pinterest campaign is the answer. While your target audience will dictate the channels in your marketing mix, the goal is to diversify your brand’s messaging to cover your bases with potential clients.
Don’t forget about enhancing your owned channels, too. With a diverse marketing mix, single-platform algorithm changes don’t hit as hard. Email marketing engagement has seen a resurgence in the past year, so now is the time to start building (or growing) your list. Create a local-specific lead magnet and set up a simple, three-part automated email sequence to nurture inquiries and turn them into sales calls.
For example, if you had a robust Google AdWords strategy before the iOS14 change, you likely didn’t feel the impact as much since AdWords relies primarily on search intent rather than data tracking.
All businesses should use a multi-dimensional marketing approach! Smart marketers have long diversified their marketing and advertising mix to attract and sell on all fronts.
Focus on your content and message—not the platform.
People can sense when a small business is in touch with their needs (or not). If you aren’t creating an exceptional pre-inquiry experience, there’s a good chance you’ve been paying too much for marketing without seeing a return in conversions.
It seems counter-intuitive when you can’t go two clicks on the internet without seeing an ad or post about “growing your Instagram channel” or a product for “authentic selling on TikTok.” But platforms are simply vehicles for your message. So while it’s vital to know where your ideal client hangs out, showing up is not enough to win them over.
Each year, tech pundits emerge with the hottest trends—like YouTube Live, podcasts, or TikTok—and it’s easy to buy into their message. You need to show up and, if they’re telling you it has to be on platform X, then you better be there! Right?
Not quite. Hopping onto every new platform is annoying at best but can even pull you off track if it becomes overwhelming to keep up with it all. Consider the rise and fall of Clubhouse—yes, it was great to get an invitation and see what it was all about, but the buildup and anticipation were ultimately unsustainable because most people didn’t have the time or patience to leverage their brand’s presence.
That’s why your content strategy must come first.
Consistent and on-brand messaging should drive the content you share. Focus on content first and the platform second, always. Start by developing core messages around your offerings. Pay attention to what sets you apart from competitors, and use those themes to develop your brand’s story and content. When you focus on content first, you can easily plug your content into new platforms and manage multiple channels.
Every algorithm change and privacy update will inevitably force you to adjust your strategy in some way. However, a diverse marketing mix and strategic content strategy can mitigate the worst effects, saving you the hassle of doing major damage control each time a tech giant switches up the game. A well-crafted, intentional brand journey will always outsmart an unpredictable digital landscape, so focus on building a sustainable messaging foundation first.