It’s almost 2022 y’all and everything has changed in the past few years, it would be odd if marketing strategies that were written pre-covid still had merit. Consumer behavior has changed, everything from one’s values to acceptable forms of communication. Technological changes in the past year are more dramatic than the switch from dial-up to wireless internet connections. For example, Google fLoc (Federated Learning of Cohorts) is currently is in the beta testing phase, this new ad targeting technology is sure to drastically change the digital marketing and advertising game. There is still time to leverage these changes as Google plans to fully implement Google fLoc on their platform by 2023 making now the perfect time to evaluate your own branding analytical methods and create a plan to address the shift in the external marketplace.
What got you here won’t get you there. Very simply if you want to grow your online brand you must take different actions. I am not saying that you should abandon everything that has worked, but it is imperative that you take time to understand why those tactics were successful and focus on recreating your wins using new and enhanced tactics.
Changes to Social Media Algorithms
Social media has played a major role in our lives, especially during the global shutdown where it was unlawful to be in the company of more than a dozen individuals in many parts of the world. As human beings we all crave interaction on various levels, yup even introverts need to be around others from time to time. Social media kept us connected to friends and families when we couldn’t see them in person. We literally watched newborns grow up on social media and take their first steps or say their first words.
While we were busy scrolling through our loved one’s feeds for clues on how they were doing, the social media platforms were taking notes on our behaviors and making some drastic changes to their algorithms based upon their findings.
Here are a few of the changes that occurred and how you can leverage them to grow your brand online.
Weighted consideration for different actions. For example, Facebook gives a higher ranking to a post that gets more love than likes. Similarly, Instagram learned that saved posts are of higher value to us and hence a post that is saved by multiple individuals is ranked higher than a post that is liked by the masses. To take advantage of this enhancement in the social media algorithms brands must encourage the behavior by informing individuals to take these high-ranking actions. (E.g. Save this post for later, follow me for more, etc.)
Less is more when it comes to Instagram Hashtags. In my previous post, I discussed the importance of using hashtags in your Instagram post captions. Since then, Instagram has modified its algorithms to encourage content creators to use fewer hashtags. The latest recommendation is to use 3-5 hashtags in your post for optimal results. This is a major shift from the previous recommendation of 20-30 hashtags.
This could actually be a good thing as it requires content creators to think more deeply on which hashtags to use, versus using a bunch of irrelevant or overly generic hashtags. They are now using hashtags that matter to their core audience.
Early on I was hesitant to adopt this trend, but after testing it on dozens of pages this is what I learned:
- Instagram posts with fewer hashtags are delivered at a higher ratio to your existing followers. Thus if your goal is to build engagement and convert followers to customers, consider using just a few high-impact hashtags in your Instagram post.
- Post with higher than recommended has tags are delivered to more non-followers, especially those who have favorably interacted with other content using that hashtag (shares, saves, etc). If your goal is to grow your Instagram following using a particular post, you may want to increase the number of relevant hashtags used. The keyword here is relevant hashtags.
Click on the above image for a quick example of a simple way to encourage engagement in the visual elements of your post graphics (opens in new window). To learn more about how to create post captions that convert, read Creating Great Post Captions.
The end of an era, 3rd party cookies will soon be a thing of the past
For years marketers have relied upon 3rd party cookies to target individuals with specific interests and/or behaviors. IOS was the first major player to take away the cookie jar. IOS versions allow users to opt-out of divulging their online activity and boom millions of data points disappeared at once.
By 2023, Google plans to roll out its fLoC technology which will change how it captures and shares users’ online activity and will go from allowing marketers to target individuals based upon their online activities, it will begin clustering the data and soon marketers will only be able to target the cluster, not the individual. This is going to be a major disruption in how brands promote their products and services online especially those who rely upon cookies and user data for targeted ads. Learn more about the impacts on new privacy legislation and Google’s response to Apple, Microsoft, and Mozilla’s adoption of data-limiting technology.
To address this trend it is imperative that we get back to our marketing roots. Brands should look at this as an opportunity to truly learn about their audiences beyond the data. Every interaction with a customer should result in brand-specific data and be cataloged for use in the creation of marketing campaigns. Brands should adopt practices that include active listening on social media and monitoring of google alerts to keep their finger on the pulse and have their own data to rely upon when making marketing decisions.
In conclusion, regardless of which platform you are using to communicate with your target audience, the message is clear… Consumers want to know that you are listening to them and making decisions and offers based upon their feedback, not simply following trends. The amount of time and effort you invest in actively listening and engaging with potential clients will be evident in your marketing message(s) and done correctly will take your brand to new heights in 2022 and beyond.
Need help creating a marketing strategy that is less reliant on 3rd party cookies? Schedule a One-on-One with Nahamani Yisrael and make sure your business is ahead of the game as these new changes such as Google fLoc roll out.