Over the past few years, many of us have changed the ways we work, shop, and live. And for marketers especially, their roles are continuing to evolve too.
Marketers' roles are further expanding to encompass initiatives such as social responsibility, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, protecting people's privacy, and more.
We reflect on some of Think with Google U.K.’s most-read articles in 2022. This gives us a clear indicator of what's top of mind for marketers – and the key themes we've seen emerging.
1. The shifts in shopping and which habits are here to stay
Over the past two years, we’ve seen a huge shift in people's shopping patterns. The pandemic changed the type of products people were buying and influenced them to shop from home in new innovative ways.
And while people still enjoy the in-store experience, platforms like Search and YouTube are becoming increasingly popular for consumers to research and discover new brands and products — and help connect the dots between the online and offline experience. Retailers need to create seamless, exciting journeys between the online and physical worlds to meet expectations of the ‘always on’ consumer.
For example, we looked at how automation can help marketers capture seasonal intent and embrace short-form video content. And Cate Trotter, founder and head of trends at Insider Trends, and Seth Godin, marketing thought leader and author, shared their thoughts on the ever-evolving retail landscape. “I envisage retail to be embedded into every part of the world around us,” Trotter told us. “From the customer’s point of view, the retail experience will be all about engagement, discovery, education, and inspiration.”
2. Automation and experimentation are helping to drive further success
Advertisers are increasingly experimenting with different techniques in Google Search and automation to stay on top of changing consumer behaviours and better serve new and existing customers.
Take note from pet insurer, ManyPets, who experimented and saw great results from running fully automated Performance Max campaigns. The trial sparked a 21% uplift in sales and a 20% improvement in average cost per action.
We also learned how HP felt inspired to experiment after seeing a rise in generic search terms, such as “best laptops”. HP tested whether a strong ad presence on these non-branded Search queries would have a positive impact on performance. The results spoke for themselves.
3. Great campaigns supercharged with innovation and creativity
The YouTube HomeShows Award winners showed us how creativity can help supercharge tech-driven campaigns, which led to impressive reach and powerful results. One of the winners included Avon, which used YouTube to share stories of female empowerment, encouraging people to look at the brand in new ways. Another winner, pet food brand Sheba, featured a campaign that cleverly targeted new cat owners as they browsed in the depths of the night because their pets have kept them awake (bless).
And Sheba continued to innovate — this time, using a YouTube campaign to empower users to help save the world’s fish. People watched 440,000 hours of content in the campaign’s first three months, and Sheba used a share of its advertising revenue to help conserve coral reefs.
The YouTube Global Creative Works team also shared the creative best practices for attention-grabbing app campaigns, drawing on note-worthy campaigns from the likes of Tinder and Deliveroo.
Meanwhile, Alyson Lowe, audience growth manager at British Vogue, showed us how the prestigious brand is using channels like YouTube to help drive engagement around their suspense-inducing cover reveals and “making the experience as sticky as possible”. She shared a wealth of tips and content strategies for marketers to adopt similar strategies for their own product launches.
4. Exceed customer expectations with your privacy-first approach
Today, marketers can harness comprehensive customer insights to give people exactly what they want in powerfully tailored ways. The challenge is to deliver that level of service in a world increasingly focused on data privacy.
We spoke to experts working in three agencies to get their perspective on U.K. privacy and the changing data landscape — and to find out where your first-party data strategy needs to be by 2023.
And Google U.K.'s privacy leads shared an invaluable primer to help marketers prepare for a privacy-first world. Their overarching advice: take an approach to customer privacy that is proactive rather than reactive. Deliver a feeling of control, build trust and forge mutually beneficial, sustainable relationships — and your business will continue to thrive.
5. Marketers are stepping up on sustainability
With advertising having such a huge influence on people’s lives, it clearly has a vital role to play in the transition to creating a more sustainable world.
Marketing professionals are embracing that responsibility. We explored the multi-faceted role CMOs are now playing in driving change — finding ways to help consumers connect sustainability to their product categories, and helping people make better-informed choices.
James O’Keefe, commercial director at Legal & General, said: “If we can’t expect consumers to demand the change at the pace we need it to happen, then marketers need to work to create the change and drive the demand.”
Think with Google contributor and chief strategy officer of creative agency Iris, Ben Essen, also highlighted three ways marketers can lead the way to net zero with an overarching goal to build sustainable businesses that can actually benefit the planet now and beyond.
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