The Biggest Question on the Greatest Marketing Challenge
2021 came with a completely unknown feeling of what it would hold when it came to marketing efforts. Would digital advertising continue to be effective? Would Facebook and Google still be able to connect marketers with their customers as Apple made massive changes to its privacy features, allowing users to stop all trackers? Most of us knew our data was being shared, but we had no idea to the amount and extent that marketers were using our data to track our activity and interactions across the web.
As the situation developed, CNET all but declared Facebook v. Apple to be a war. Apple responded by creating ad campaigns targeting the buzzword, Privacy. That’s iPhone. They rolled out more features to block tracking unless a user allows it. Cat Howell at Digital Distillery highlighted a bit in a video on Why every Facebook Advertiser is panicking right now:
Marketing doomsdayers began to bring up the fact so many brands would die, while others applauded the change. However, one thing was true and Ross Gerber hit the nail on the head:
Apple is focusing on security and giving users control over their privacy and data. This will have a direct effect on google and Facebook. The two biggest collectors of your data. People have no idea the extent of our data theft. $aapl $goog $fb— Ross Gerber (@GerberKawasaki) July 5, 2021
For most of us in the marketing world, we were left wondering if digital advertising on our main channels – Facebook & Google – would continue to be effective for reaching more customers and growing our brand. Patrick Coddou of Supply had this to say in his year over year metrics on Facebook:
My CPMs are up 2X YoY.— Patrick Coddou (@soundslikecanoe) June 10, 2021
But then there was TikTok – a brand new phenomenon that was allowing so many people to go viral overnight, gain massive followings, and e-commerce began to absolutely blow up on their ad platform. In fact it took off so quickly that even the Snapchat Queen herself, Savannah Sanchez, swapped over and went all-in on TikTok for a season to build out some incredible strategies on the success she found:
Gary Vaynerchuk’s expert opinion is that you stay active and bullish on TikTok on all levels of organic and ad content. TikTok is one of the greatest tools to keep up with trends and learn how Gen Z is leading us all into a completely new territory as marketers. Because in 2021, UGC (user generated content) has become the number one way to make a direct appeal to your consumers
So where does all this leave us for the rest of 2021?
Well, HubSpot went to work on the research for all of us with their Not Another State of Marketing Report 2021 and actually narrowed down the best strategies for the most effective marketing channels. When it comes to social media, they surmised that social listening and a more direct relationship with your audience is how to maximize success. And so far in 2021, the following has been found to be true:
- Ads are still being run.
- Campaigns are still being created.
- Video is still growing.
- Data is still being measured.
- Virtual events are still being held.
So how does a company succeed in this weird marketing climate? Success in 2021 comes through building comprehensive marketing campaigns and using proprietary data and analytics to measure everything. Marketers must commit to learning what each of their specific audiences are doing in order to reach them better.
The future is informational, educational, and relational
New social media and marketing platforms are being released every day in 2021. And thanks to the wild 2020 we all had, every single brand on earth has had to adapt and roll with the punches of the ever-changing digital ads landscape, which won’t stop changing anytime soon.
Even as privacy and tracking tightens with Apple’s efforts, the job of a marketer is to have the best tools, team, processes and software to help you plan ideas, execute on the creative, measure the results, and adapt to the ever-changing behavior of your audience.
Find ways to convince people to trust your brand with their information and don’t be creepy. Everything can change overnight, but the sooner you can pivot to stay ahead of those trends, the more you can create highly effective marketing campaigns.
Facebook and Google Ads ARE still as effective as ever, but don’t blink on trying new things and new platforms
Despite the all these changes this past year, Soulheart’s digital ads approach has remained the same. We work with our clients, as well as our own brand, to create ads on the Big Two (Facebook and Google) to reach the Big Four (Facebook + Instagram, Google Search + YouTube). After strategically creating ads on those four platforms, we allocate a percentage of our monthly ad budget to try other platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and yes, TikTok. We might not get the data we prefer on all of our potential customers to help inform their decisions and save them marketing money, but we can still create campaigns that move people to stop the scroll, trust the brand, and invest in the product or service.
PostClick has a great graphic they created on the actual ROAS (Return on Ad Spend) that companies achieved in 2020 which makes a great case for why they remain as important as ever in 2021.
And according to them, A whopping 44% of marketers identified Google as their top-performing platform, saying it delivers a higher return on ad spend than any other platform.
Most of our clients see more financial success via Facebook and Instagram, but every company is unique and different. That’s why agencies like Soulheart exist – to help companies filter through the data, the creative, the audience and all the tools to actually run the most effective campaigns possible.
If you’re interested in learning more about what we do, let’s talk about how we can use digital ads to grow your business. But no matter your marketing path this year, we wish you luck on your journey to keep your 2021 marketing campaigns winning!