It’s a jungle out there, and marketers are feeling it. According to a Hubspot Survey, nearly 80% of marketers agree that marketing has changed more in the past three years than in the past 50. Consumers are bombarded by ads everywhere they go, online or not.
In response, there has been an increase in “walled gardens” in the name of privacy, not to mention new regulatory issues, privacy rules, lawsuits, cookie tracking, and consent requirements.
Targeting can become increasingly uncertain in the wake of many of these changes. As this technology continues to evolve in real-time, macroeconomic and political forces change as well.
Digital advertising is only growing worldwide. Consumers are spending more time online, and advertisers want to reach them. New ad platforms and services are launching consistently, and the real-time ability, including response metrics, is making digital advertising more appealing to marketers globally.
If you look at the digital percentage of total media, it continues to dominate and will reach 80+ percent of total media spend by 2026.
According to Insider Intelligence, Google and Meta are expected to bring in less than half of all U.S. digital advertising this year for the first time since 2014. While they're still vastly larger than others, their momentum is slowing as competition moves in. The biggest threat? Amazon, whose annual digital ad business is over $30 billion.By 2024, Amazon is expected to have 12.7% of all U.S. digital ad dollars, withMeta at 17.9%
While TikTok's ad business is booming, it's still relatively small compared to the others. With an expected $8.6 billion ad revenue in 2024, they are currently the 5th-largest digital ad publisher in the U.S., behindGoogle, Meta, Amazon, and Microsoft/LinkedIn. However, as we can see on the chart below, TikTok is also one of the fastest growing.
Other fast-growing competitors would include:
Screens are everywhere, meaning consumers can be targeted anywhere, anytime, across multiple platforms. This opportunity has expanded the set of competitors for Google and Meta, from other publishers and social media firms to streamers, e-commerce companies, and beyond.
In response, Google and Meta continue looking for ways to stay dominant, relying heavily on digital video – YouTube forGoogle and Instagram for Meta.
Over the past five years, massive changes have significantly impacted data collection and the digital ad business. Keeping up with these changes has been challenging as lawsuits increase worldwide, typically targeting Big Tech., for violating policies like GDPR and the CCPA.
Google wasn’t as affected by these changes since its flagship search-ad business relies on customer intent/search terms, rather than data collected from app and web tracking.
Cookies, pieces of code on websites that track visitors, make it possible to target audiences based on interest. Apple and Firefox have implemented 3rd party cookie blocking, andGoogle is slowly phasing out third-party cookies.
Without 3rd party cookies, providing personalized advertisements will be much more challenging, which means businesses will have to alter their marketing strategies significantly.
Consent will also be front and center in 2023. Between cookies and app tracking, a recent data summit hosted by The Drum estimated that 70% of consumers have gone "data dark."During this summit, they referred to this group of consumers as the"Invisible 70%”.
Marketers will have to develop more personal strategies and one-on-one marketing tools to keep up.
Another consequence of this shift is Google is switching from Universal Analytics to Google Analytics 4. If you use Google Analytics, you should start migrating to the new version beforeUniversal Analytics goes away on July 1, 2023.
To reach the "Invisible70%," brands, tech platforms, and retailers are investing heavily in building 1st-party data, partly out of necessity with Apple's changes. Those with reliable first-party data have launched their own ad services to generate additional revenue.
Even if retailers offer up tens of millions of loyalty members and add the ability to reach them off-platform, they can't even begin to match the scale of Google, Facebook, andAmazon.
The digital lifecycle has more and different touch points to consider. As stated in PublisherWeekly, "There is a new generation of readers emerging," so your marketing needs to be more diverse, finding the consumers where they are in the journey.
Given all of the changes we've mentioned and the changes yet to come, your marketing strategy needs to be broad. For instance, it would be best if you were doing paid advertising.It's essential for driving traffic and can yield fast responses in the awareness, consideration, and purchase funnel.
So what things should you and marketers be thinking about? What have we found works, and how can we help?
Over the past four years, Ingram has built a consumer audience totaling more than 2.7 million email subscribers and millions more website visitors. We've been doing so while navigating new security challenges, and it hasn't been easy.
Creating first-party data effective base for advertising, retargeting, and lookalike/similar audiences.
Here at Ingram, we have been building our new consumer marketing business, including a network of consumer websites and newsletters that we run and operate, reaching millions of readers across dozens of genres/categories. We develop direct relationships with readers through these consumer websites and have created several services [RK1] to help publishers and authors reach those readers.
Let's talk about a few things that have worked for Ingram for the past four years and how we're adapting.
- Prioritize Email
- Cater to the Strictest Privacy Laws
- Experiment, then Double Down on What Works
We’re also seeing some great success with TikTok Influencer marketing, specifically pairing advertising with other efforts. For example, Instagram feeds are full of ads where the creative is an influencer’s post - doing this on TikTok has given us great results.
Mobile Video has also become increasingly important in our strategy, with the dropping of production standards and the easy repurpose of our influencer videos.
And don’t forget Google Ads – if your goal is promotion, paid or organic, think about what people are likely to search afterwards and be prepared with Google Search ads.
*Currently only available to publishers distributed by Consortium Books Sales & Distribution, Ingram Academic & Professional, Publishers Group West, and Two Rivers Distribution.