Digital Diplomacy
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Marketing trends 2022

What is happening in the current marketing landscape and what marketing leaders should do to improve digital maturity and performance in 2022.

The pandemic, with its prolonged quarantines and isolation, dramatically and significantly changed customers’ behavior, literally pushing people towards their screens. Even those businesses that previously doubted the practicality of online operations have now also dived into digital. However, as the digital world is skyrocketing, there also appear limitations and restrictions on data usage.

In 2022, we have already seen data privacy regulations, the start of the post-cookie world, the rise of New Analytics, and the Facebook Meta universe — and it’s only the beginning of the year! So what should businesses expect and prepare for in 2022?

The world of marketing analytics leans on two pillars — data collection and data application. Any change or trend that happens across the digital landscape can be placed within one of these categories.

Restrictions and changes in data privacy and collection

Familiar and advanced ways of working with marketing data are slowly coming to their end. Advertising personalization, retargeting, etc. are becoming harder to apply due to public outrage on account of privacy violations and resulting laws and regulations. Influential companies have already started changing the way they use personal data, meaning that this situation can no longer be ignored. Businesses have to prepare their marketing and analytics for the post-cookie reality and new conditions for working with personal data.

So what is happening to the digital marketing world now? We can highlight two significant, interconnected trends:

Data privacy restrictions

The battle for the preservation of personal data — or in other words, data privacy in advertising — is happening right now. Current ad technologies for online user tracking are undergoing close scrutiny from regulators and the public eye. Governments across the globe have started regulating personal data collection. The clock is ticking for monitoring user behavior online and gathering such sensitive data as gender, age, location, and content a user watches. Accordingly, market leaders have started reforming online tracking in an attempt to ensure legal compliance:

Specialists will have to learn how to use aggregated data (user segments and cohorts) and work differently with their first-party data to improve lead generation. Put simply, marketers can’t rely on user-level identifiers like they used to.

Shift from third-party to first- and second-party data collection

Digital advertising without traditional ways of tracking implies a total change for marketers, as they cannot use data as they did before. The era of first-party data is knocking at the door. We’re seeing restrictions on the use of third-party data, reduced cookie lifetimes, difficulty tracking user actions, and the main problem — the impossibility of matching data. The ability to identify, match, and merge datasets from various advertising sources creates extraordinary value for marketers. Without data matching, it’s impossible to evaluate marketing performance and investments.

Another example of the decline in evaluation possibilities is the increase of direct/none traffic due to the intensely fragmented user path (different browsers on different devices). Without cookies, services will assume that supposedly new users are new customers even if they aren’t.

Large advertising platforms (like Google and Facebook) continue to provide marketers with their second-party data but limit the use of that data. This approach both responds to legal restrictions and is an attempt to get billions in revenue from harnessing first-party data. This process has been going on for several years, and as a result, so-called walled gardens have evolved. Walled gardens own and constantly update a vast amount of first-party data, which is why they’re so attractive for marketers. Along with the reduced risk of privacy compliance violations, these platforms provide proprietary advertising tools to produce, track, and measure ad campaigns.

However, marketers are totally dependent on data gathered and performance measured by the platform. There’s no transparency, no control, and no way to compare the results of ad campaigns with data outside the walled garden. Moreover, marketers cannot get high data granularity, as they have access only to aggregated views due to data privacy restrictions.

To sum up, marketers can use the acquired (and aggregated) data only in the particular platform that is the keeper of this data. Accordingly, this approach makes lead generation less transparent and controlled and more complex and expensive. That’s why marketers should widely apply first-party data that customers share with their company.

How to take advantage of the changes?

  • To adapt fast and save the effectiveness of advertising, you need to collect first-party data and learn how to use it for segmentation. We recommend implementing a marketing data lake for collecting your own data from the website (first-party data) and data from advertising services (second-party data).
  • To prolong the lifespan of cookies, you can use the server-side tracking capabilities in Google Tag Manager. Another more advanced option is server-side tracking from OWOX BI — its technology allows you to extend a cookie’s lifetime up to two years.
  • Motivate your users to log in to the website so they can be assigned a unique identifier. Then this identifier will be passed to your CRM and used to form a single cross-device user profile.

For some companies, it can be difficult to restructure their analytics system to meet the limitations of the post-cookie world. To make the transition smooth and painless, we recommend businesses take advantage of out-of-the-box analytical solutions such as OWOX BI.

OWOX BI is a full-stack marketing analytics platform that empowers you to collect, prepare, and analyze all your marketing data. By applying OWOX BI, you can get business-ready data according to your business model with transparent data quality monitoring and an easy-to-use report builder for unlocking insights without SQL or code.

Note! Thanks to first-party data collection and server-side tracking technology, OWOX BI can extend the lifespan of cookies up to two years.

Let’s look at how you can get the most out of your data by using the OWOX BI all-in-one platform:

  • Create a measurement plan for your business or develop a system of metrics especially for your business needs with the help of our specialists.
  • Collect raw data from Google Analytics, advertising services, websites, offline stores, call tracking systems, and CRM systems in your data storage. OWOX BI works smoothly with large ad accounts and uploads all data regardless of the number of campaigns. Besides automatically importing cost data, OWOX BI recognizes dynamic parameters in UTM tags, converts costs into one currency, and monitors data relevance.
  • Normalize raw data by getting clean, structured, and processed data automatically. You’ll receive ready datasets in the clearest and most convenient structure along with a visual report on the relevance of data.
  • Have trusted business-ready data as you get prebuilt final datasets prepared according to your business data model. With up-to-date and unified data ready for further segmentation, you can get insights into the speed of your business and increase the value of your data.
  • Analyze and visualize your data wherever you want. Once your marketing data is ready, you can send it to the BI or visualization tool of your choice in a few clicks.

Applying data: faster, better, and data-driven

“2022 will primarily be about ‘doing digital right’ — leveraging digital tools to supplement integrated communications initiatives when and where it makes sense.”

Forbes, 15 Top Trends That Will Impact Marketing In 2022

Many companies are talking about the use of data, but only a few actually use their data to the fullest. Marketers are overwhelmed by the huge volumes of data collected, and to make full use of user behavior data and cope with data scaling is a significant challenge. However, with the right data-driven approach, marketing analytics is worth the effort. Not to mention that nowadays, increasing digital maturity is a must.

It’s not like 2022 is the year of entirely new trends in the marketing analytics field. Let’s see what marketing trends are continuing to develop this year.

Faster decision-making with ad hoc reporting

The digital advertising world is evolving faster and faster, meaning that businesses no longer can afford to wait several days (sometimes even weeks) for a report. Nowadays, decisions should be made right away and based on verified business-ready data, as the market situation is constantly changing. To make decisions blindly, relying on a bit of luck, is a terrible idea, as advertising is expensive and and continues to get costlier. One data discrepancy can result in significant monetary losses. Also, in the new reality of marketing, taking the reduced default expiration time of cookies into account is crucial for not losing users. You need to use data to convert or quickly return the user.

Ad hoc reporting based on business-ready data is the answer to the ongoing digital transformation of businesses, since classic analytical tools cannot fully accommodate marketers’ needs. Unlike traditional static dashboards, ad hoc reports are built as and when required. With the right BI tool, ad hoc reporting empowers business users to boost their performance by bringing data insights right into the hands of business users.

Modern analytics solutions to automate the routine

Businesses need to decide what they can do and what their expertise is, what things should be invested in, and what is more profitable to draw from outside sources. Reconsider your marketing technology stack according to your company’s needs and requirements.

You should be prepared and calculate how many resources (time and money) it will take to switch to new technologies if they are required. Of course, if you have an unlimited budget and human resources, then many things can be built in-house, on your own, but practice shows that it’s often more profitable to use professional help — for example, to use all-in-one marketing analytics platforms that can provide data collection, cleaning, and merging along with report creation.

Arranging data insights from digital touchpoints

With the growing number of digital channels and, accordingly, touchpoints, the customer journey has shifted. Customer behavior has been widely changing in the last few years due to the pandemic. Obviously, companies continue to create various experiences for their customers. Not to mention that customers expect a seamless experience with your brand from website to mobile application. In return, businesses can increase their customer lifetime value.

Whereas marketers create more touchpoints, they have to analyze the outcome of their performance. This work is for data analytics in real time — omnichannel marketing benefits and flourishes from automation.

How to take advantage of the changes?

  • Make sure you have full quality data you can trust to make well-considered decisions (we recommend applying server-side tracking to have a longer cookie expiration period). The first step on the way to achieve it is to monitor data quality and relevance. The next step is to automate data gathering and cleaning to avoid human errors and speed up the workflow. After that, you have to transform and model obtained data to convert it into business-ready data.
  • Use the business-ready data to analyze marketing performance, prove its effectiveness, and find growth points and risk zones.
  • Apply ad hoc reporting. Complex dashboards aren’t fast or granular enough to convey today’s ever-growing data volumes. Your employees need to be able to use data insights wherever they need them, not to wait days for dashboards to be prepared.
  • Personalize communication with users. As can be seen from GlobalWebIndex research, buyers of different ages consider it vital for advertising campaigns to offer various discounts and special offers, be relevant to their identities, and offer personalized recommendations. Consider accumulated data about the user’s behavior, the best scenarios, and recommendations for segments in your communications.
  • Build a modern technology stack to make data work for you at the right speed. Instead of using aggregated or unstructured data, start working with business-ready data so you can get answers to your questions in a couple of minutes.

Key takeaways

So far, traditional tracking technologies have no new solutions to use widely. However, the development of new tracking capabilities is just a matter of time. Overall, the challenges of the upcoming year associated with changes in the digital landscape won’t become a big problem if you start preparing for them now.

  • It’s time to build your business on data and empower your decision-makers with insights based on data you can trust.
  • If you miss the moment for preparation, you can find yourself without the necessary data, depriving your business of the opportunity to make balanced decisions.

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