December 29, 2021

12 Digital Audience Engagement Predictions for 2022

As we head into 2022, publishers and advertisers are faced with their share of obstacles — and opportunities.

They have to build their first-party data strategies, solve for identity and addressability, find new ways to target customers, and effectively engage audiences across multiple channels like email, push notifications, and high-quality websites.

Put simply, they have to supercharge their digital audience engagement in order to drive traffic and generate leads. In the process, they can break free of walled gardens created by social media channels and search engines, and truly take ownership and control of their audiences.

The question is: How do you actually do that? Yes, you have to give customers what they want when they want it and on their favorite platforms. But which actionable tactics can you use to make that happen and how will they play out in the evolving digital marketing landscape?

To help, we pulled together 13 quotes from publishing and advertising leaders about their predictions for 2022 and the future of digital engagement.

Here’s what they had to say.

1. Sarah Marshall, global senior director of audience development, social, and analytics, Vogue

“The field of audience development will broaden further. We’ll mitigate the risks of our often uneasy relationships with Facebook, Google, and Apple by further doubling down on diversifying our audience sources and cultivating direct relationships with readers. We’ll look for new ways to grow, engage and retain readers and viewers — and we’ll hopefully enjoy some in-person audience engagement too.”

2. Katherine Bell, editor-in-chief, Quartz

“Thoughtful curation [is the biggest opportunity]. Readers are overwhelmed by the abundance and unbundling of information. I absolutely love email newsletters, and I pay for a lot of them, but I only read a few of them regularly […] we changed the core of our membership to email, with four weekly emails that together distill the best of our analysis, acting a bit like a concise weekly magazine. We’ll build on those projects and try new experiments in distillation and curation in 2022.”

3. Iván Markman, chief business officer, Yahoo

“Those that delay [finding ID solutions] will be in peril of both revenue loss and consumer irrelevance. You literally cannot afford to wait. This time crunch, however, will yield more direct industry conversations, as we build innovative approaches to audience creation, engagement and measurement beyond cookies and app advertising IDs. 2022 will elevate the discussion on value exchange; more specifically, the strength of a brand’s offering to entice the consumer to connect.”

4. Pamela Drucker Mann, global chief revenue officer & president of U.S. revenue, Condé Nast

“Our marketers are buying us in a lot of new ways [and] the way we monetize our audience is direct through our first-party data capabilities. I do think there’s something to be said — and we’re just at the beginning — for this shift away from audience targeting to contextual targeting. And it’ll be interesting to see how other publishers do in this moment in time. […] I haven’t seen this kind of inbound ever in terms of just the amount of RFPs that are coming in right now. We’re starting to wonder, is some of this coming from these shifts in privacy and marketers needing to find new ways to find their customer? Which is obviously going to continue to be important to them.”

5. Nick Flood, global ad product & revenue operations director, Future plc

“With uncertainty set to continue into 2022, it is vital that advertisers build strategies that are both flexible and future-proof so that they can better their chances of reaching high-intent audiences. Publishers can help advertisers achieve this with rich first-party data – an essential tool in the privacy-first world and as the demise of the third-party cookie looms large.”

6. Jonathan Bradford, director of product marketing, Outbrain

“Publishers have historically used a range of monetization methods in the print world: subscriptions, charging a cover price, advertorials, product sampling/direct mail outs, user offers, and more. They’ve similarly turned to advertising models in order to monetize their digital offerings. We expect to see publishers continuing to invest in new online revenue streams that maximize the value of their unique brand and audience, while building direct revenues and opportunities to acquire 1st party data.”

7. Sebastian Cuttill, public affairs executive, Professional Publishers Association 

“The rich audience insights that publishers can gain from consumers has already opened up myriad revenue streams. This diversification has been a defining factor in robust performances from many publishers throughout the pandemic; a deep understanding of consumer tastes allows publishers to pivot to consumer trends with astounding agility.”

8. Gordon Crovitz, CEO, NewsGuard

“An increasing number of advertisers and agencies realize the impact of these blocklists on news publishers. A case study from ad agency IPG found that removing ads from low-quality sites and placing them on high-quality news sites resulted in lower ad rates to the advertiser — with higher clickthrough rates thanks to more engaged audiences. Restoring digital advertising to quality news publishers is a rare case where companies can do good and do well.”

9. Emily Collins, VP & research director, Forrester

“As the drawn-out [pandemic] recovery continues to impact consumer attitudes and behavior, marketers and publishers are looking for ways to extend that agility and capitalize on unprecedented levels of consumer experimentation. In Forrester’s August 2021 CMO Pulse Survey, 41% of marketing executives say improving their ability to innovate is a marketing priority for 2022. We expect advertisers and publishers to experiment with new modes, models, and methods.”

10. Linah Maigurira, sector lead for retail, travel, tech, and gaming, Google Sub-Saharan Africa

“It can be difficult for your brand to be seen in the complex ‘messy middle’ of a consumer’s purchase journey. To stand out in 2022, brands should be more intentional about communicating their value and authentic purpose. You have to create messages and experiences that are true to your brand and relevant to people, reflecting their needs. In this context, relevance is as important as reach […] This is what can — and will — differentiate your brand within the crowded online purchase journey.”

11. Jeff Riddall, senior product manager, OneLocal

“Businesses will become increasingly wary of leveraging Facebook and Twitter to share their content either organically or via paid campaigns, as reach and engagement on both platforms decline under the growing weight of their algorithms. […] Brands, for their part, need to craft their content as humanly and empathetically as possible. High-quality, relevant, entertaining, and engaging content remains key to optimal visibility.”

12. Jonathan Moran, global product marketing, SAS

“With the eventual demise of the third-party cookie on the horizon, marketers will embrace not only their first-party data strategy more holistically but will create new methods to initiate and create a better value exchange with consumers. Brands will have to design, test and measure new and innovative ways to influence consumers to relinquish that valuable first-party customer data. Marketers will help brands develop these unique and creative strategies to provide demonstrable value and encourage customers to participate in a two-way dialogue and opt-in to digital data collection.”

13. Jeff Kupietzky, CEO, Jeeng

Personalized email is key. The average person has over 1,600 unread emails competing for their attention right now, and cutting through that clutter gets harder and harder every year. Delivering personalized, relevant content to subscribers has proven to help publishers break through the scroll and delete cycle, increase engagement and open rates, and drive up to 5x higher revenue. In 2022, publishers should prioritize the engagement aspects of their reader experience to drive revenue and increase retention.”

New year, new digital audience engagement opportunities for success

Head into the new year with peace of mind — knowing that you have the tools and partners you need to win back your customer base and diversify beyond just social media marketing channels. 

That’s where Jeeng comes in. Our comprehensive platform is built to help publishers and advertisers deliver personalized experiences that drive engagement, leads, and revenue. So you can reach audiences via email, push notifications, newsreader apps, and websites, and start gathering and activating the valuable first-party data you need to survive what’s next.

Ready to supercharge your digital audience engagement in 2022? Contact us to learn more.

Contact Jeeng