2022 was a challenging year for everyone and no less for advertisers.
While user behavior online is continually shifting – in good times and bad – one thing always stays the same: people are wary of ads, and many have developed banner blindness. What does this mean? When a user senses an ad interrupting their content consumption, they will likely close it or swipe away. What’s more, they may develop a negative feeling towards the brand, and this is definitely something that advertisers want to avoid.
With all this going on, advertisers nevertheless continue to have the same (or tougher!) KPIs and targets, so now is the time to adapt and thrive.
Let’s take a look at some of the trends and strategies advertisers need to succeed as we move deeper into 2023.
Diversify away from social media
According to an Outbrain-Savanta study, 21% of online users are planning to spend less time on social media, and 75% trusted ads in editorial environments more than on social media networks. With discussions around banning TikTok in the US, and users leaving Facebook/Meta in droves, clearly, there are serious issues in the social media landscape.
For advertisers, the lesson here is not to gamble all your traffic on one channel, but to diversify outside of social media. Start testing new channels that you may not have tried before. And focus your resources on websites and online experiences that consumers will always rely on, such as native advertising on popular news sites and other websites where your target audiences spend their time.
Demand generation for B2C
Demand generation is a popular and effective B2B marketing strategy to drive awareness and interest in a brand, product, or service, with the ultimate goal of customer acquisition and long-term engagement. Now, thanks to changing customer behavior, demand generation is becoming an integral part of B2C marketing strategy too.
How to create demand generation for your product or service?
- Identify a target audience that has a pain point that can be solved by your product or service.
- Build brand awareness by exposing the target audience to online content that aligns with their pain point and adds value to their lives. Content can take the form of videos, articles, blogs, or quizzes. Create a funnel targeting the audience with appropriate content at every touchpoint.
- Reinforce your funnel with gentle reminders and more information that can further convince the audience that your brand understands their problem and can help. Outbrain native ads and native social ads both work well for this.
- The funnel can be long so the earlier you engage the better. With Outbrain, you can show content on premium news sites where your audiences consume content, right from the beginning of their discovery journey with your brand.
- Conversion = showtime. After experiencing the demand generation funnel, when the user is ready to convert, your product is top of their mind. When they search online, they will find you, even if using a generic keyword. Remarketing on Google, Outbrain, and social media will help you capture those end-of-funnel conversions.
The Mere effect
Competition is fierce, and whoever succeeds in building awareness and getting into the audience’s minds will be the winners. How? With the Mere effect.
The Mere effect is a psychological phenomenon in which people tend to develop a preference for things that are most familiar to them. Whether or not you are consciously interested in a brand, the more you are exposed to it, the more familiar you become with it, and will be more likely to choose it when making a purchase decision.
Remember the Mere effect when building your brand awareness strategies and demand generation customer funnel. Lots of exposure is the name of the game!
Value-aligned ads will be most relevant
With so much online content available to consumers, advertisers need to focus less on hard-selling, and more on building a connection with their target audience. One of the most powerful ways to do this is by infusing ads with meaningful value that aligns with the needs and values of potential customers.
In 2023, advertising will need to be more socially relevant, positively influential, and values-driven than ever before. To strike the right note, brands and businesses need to pay a lot of attention to what their audiences are genuinely thinking and feeling, and tap into those trends.
Humanize your brand
The most memorable brands tell a story. They don’t overly sell and they definitely don’t give off a pushy vibe. Consumers today are extremely savvy; they see through hype and are skeptical of lofty claims. Brands that can get personal and really connect with audiences in a genuine and humane way are the ones that will succeed.
Marketing strategies that integrate branding and storytelling instead of just promos tend to make strong emotional connections. With smarter ad formats that support storytelling, such as videos and carousel ads, brands can expand their creativity and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Omnichannel is the only channel
Whether on a website, in the physical store, brand app, or viewing a native ad, consumers today are connecting with companies on numerous platforms, channels, and devices. Creating a consistent and unified “omnichannel” experience across all touchpoints is vital.
Centralizing critical information about the business and distributing it across all marketing channels is necessary for a seamless working funnel experience in 2023. No matter how fast the situation is changing on the ground, your brand must be present everywhere and everytime your target audiences are spending time online, and that means native ads, social media, and search too.
What’s more, by creating an up-to-date and consistent experience across channels, you build critical trust with consumers.
Video and live streams are crucial for engagement
People spend nearly 7 hours a week streaming video online. Video content remains one of the key drivers behind sales, and one of the best ways to reach consumers.
From Instagram Reels to TikTok, and more niche platforms like Twitch, users are spending a ton of time on channels that exclusively feature video content and livestreams. These channels can be incredibly lucrative, too. One report estimates that livestreaming could power $78 billion for the creator economy through 2025 on social apps alone.
However, like banner blindness, disruptive video can be damaging for a brand. Currently, two-thirds of consumers opt to skip video ads. That’s why Click-to-Watch video ads are so effective.
The best video ad experience is when users can choose to watch; they opt in, rather than having no choice but to wait to skip. Outbrain offers the Click-to-Watch native video format, and several others that are great at engaging audiences and building brand awareness and loyalty.
Today is not too late…
The marketing funnel is a long journey. Building trust and relationships with target audiences takes time. The sooner you can start engaging potential customers, the more you will be able to drive relevance – so when conversion time comes, they are ready with your brand at the top of their minds.
Start generating traffic today beyond social and search, and engage target audiences with native ads on brand-safe news sites and other websites on the open web where they are spending time. That, and more, is the key to advertising success in 2023.