What’s Hot in 2022 for Facebook Advertisers?

facebook ad trends

Whether you’re a New Year’s Resolution Avoider…or a fan of the annual “New Year, New You” re-boot – it’s always smart to stay ahead of the competition when it comes to Facebook Advertising

As you probably already know, things move fast in the world of online advertising. Which means what worked last year might not work well this year. And what stopped working 2 years ago, might be due a comeback. 

Now, when it comes to staying ahead in the digital advertising game it’s important to distinguish between cyclical trends and structural trends.  

What is a Cyclical Trend?

A cyclical trend is something that drifts in and out of style from one year to the next (like webinars or SMS marketing).

Now as humans we tend to see things in absolutes. So, if a strategy is working now, we want to believe it will go on working forever. Similarly, if a strategy stops working, we hear people screaming about the “death of XYZ” and we consign that approach to the scrapheap of history. Big mistake! Why?  

Well, the truth is that most marketing strategies flow in and out like waves. That’s because novelty sells. And “new” ways of selling will almost always be super effective at the beginning of the wave. Trouble is, as more and more marketers get wind of a successful strategy – that method starts to fatigue as audiences get wise to the fact they’re being sold to. 

However, when a strategy has been out of style for long enough…it can always come back into style (once audiences have forgotten about it). 

In short, very few marketing trends are permanent. Which is why you should avoid dismissing unfashionable strategies as dead and buried. Unless there’s a major structural change which has caused a strategy to die a slow and painful death. (More on that later).

Cyclical Winners in 2022

Before I make my 2022 cold traffic predictions, I will caveat that in many ways your guess is as good as mine when it comes to advertising trends. (I mean, who could have predicted a global pandemic back at the start of 2020). 

But these predictions are based on where I’m seeing success with my own clients. And what I’m hearing from my peers who are seeing great success in cold traffic acquisition.   

  1. A return to webinars – webinars have had a bad run for the last couple of years. In fact, I’ve lost count of the number of entrepreneurs and marketers who have entirely poo-pooed the humble webinar. 

But could 2022 see a webinar renaissance? I’ve worked with several clients over the last few months who’ve seen great results from webinar funnels – especially if they drive traffic using highly-targeted ad copy AND if they remarket their webinar via email follow-up and retargeting ads. 

That said, the “watch now or else” type of webinar is probably gone for good. Audiences expect to consume content on their terms, and so if you refuse to make your webinar replay available – you could lose a substantial number of cold leads.   

 

2. The growth of unpolished “native” creative – This might be wishful thinking, but I predict more and more businesses (even big brands) will finally cotton onto the fact that super polished, brand-centric Facebook ad imagery and videos tend to perform worse in the Newsfeed.   

That means you could see less Canva-style templates and more raw, face-to-camera selfies over the next few months. 

 

3. TikTok style ads – Personally, I think there’s nothing worse than seeing a middle-aged entrepreneur swinging their tooshie to gangster rap. But as audiences become more and more conditioned to consume TikTok-style media, you might start to see an increase in video ads that look and sound like reels. 

That’s because they look natural in the Newsfeed (especially on Instagram). And the lucrative 18-24 market seems to think Reels are cool. Me? I don’t get reels. But I’m old.

 

4. Pre-sell funnels – Before the second half of 2021, I was barely ever asked to write a pre-sell article (or advertorial) for cold traffic. But at the end of 2021 I saw an explosion in businesses asking for pre-sells to help lower their spiralling ad costs. 

The key to a successful cold traffic pre-sell funnel? It’s to have some kind of lead capture mechanism (like an exit intent pop-up) within the pre-sell – and to re-target page viewers with additional pre-sell articles to keep your new relationship warm. 

The reality is, pre-sell articles are often a slow-burn way to generate sales. So it’s important you set your expectations for a longer time to conversion. You’ll also need a solid email remarketing sequence on the back end if you want to see great results.   

 

5. Quiz funnels – Nowadays it’s not enough to make one-size-fits-all offers to cold audiences. That’s because customers know that there’s an infinite number of ways they could choose to solve their problems. 

Quiz funnels allow advertisers to segment their audience on the front-end – and give the perception of customisation to new leads. 

I’ve heard mutterings that quizzes have become too common – and that consumers have grown wise to the strategy. However you can increase your opt-in rate by sharing an enticing nugget of high-value information before you ask them to opt in. You then follow-up with an even higher value piece of information.

What is a Structural Trend?

A structural trend in marketing happens when there’s a significant shift in the way people buy and sell. For example, we see less and less hard copy direct mail these days because much of it has been replaced by online advertising. 

Of course there will always be some scrappy entrepreneurs who can still make a profit, while moving in the opposite direction to everyone else. But in general, when a strategy becomes victim to a structural shift, it’s a safe bet that it won’t come back any time soon. 

Structural Winners (and losers) in 2022

1.Privacy-first Advertising – As Apple (and governments) continue their crusade against big data, the world’s largest advertising platforms are being forced to shift towards a Privacy-First approach to advertising.

That means more of a reliance on gathering first party data via tools like Hyros and Wicked Reports…and a shift away from using Facebook Ads Manager as your source of truth for conversion data. 

In many cases, this means data analytics will become more labour intensive and complex. But you can take simple steps like setting up UTM codes on your ads to overcome some of these privacy limitations.  

 

2. Customer-centric Marketing – Over the coming months and years, consumers will have more control over the data they share with businesses. It means businesses will have to rethink the way they advertise and market – by earning the right to be seen and heard…instead of using data to keep showing up uninvited. 

And it’s not just happening on Facebook. It’s an email and a Google thing too. 

In fact, when I spoke to a marketing professional at Google – she said there’s been a big internal shift towards honouring consumer privacy at Google headquarters. They voluntarily stopped tracking link clicks on their email marketing because they know the depth of feeling towards data-spying. 

(Of course that doesn’t stop YouTube and Google ads from tapping into a mind-boggling amount of consumer data. But we won’t talk about that!) 

 

3. Micro-Niching – With the loss of re-targeting, businesses need to work harder to convert cold traffic on their first impression. Some businesses might opt for a more aggressive approach to advertising to coerce cold audiences into buying right away.

But what if you prefer a gentler approach to client acquisition? Is Facebook no longer an option for ‘nice’ businesses? 

The good news is, Micro-niching allows you to make a fast, deep connection with cold audiences through hyper-targeted messaging. This approach helps customers feel heard and understood – so they’re more likely to buy through choice…rather than coercion.  

 

4. Email Remarketing – Historically most Facebook advertisers judged the success of their cold traffic campaigns against their ability to generate a sale within a couple of days of showing up in the newsfeed.

With Facebook’s loss of data and rising advertising costs, it’s becoming more and more difficult to achieve low customer acquisition costs through direct-to-offer campaigns. That means longer funnels and more businesses relying on back-end email remarketing to convert cold traffic over a longer timeframe.

(Unless you’re one of the big boys with a multi-million dollar ad budget).

 

5. The rise of CRO technology – I used to think copy was everything. And while I still believe that copy and messaging are essential to the success of a campaign – I’m also seeing that CRO optimisation can play a huge part in cold traffic conversions.

Think about it this way. Pre-internet, we had little way of knowing where in a promotion we were losing our customer’s attention. But with in-depth data analytics and heat-mapping software, it’s now possible to make data-driven changes to your landing pages, based on actual user behaviour – which you can SEE right in front of you. 

This could mean making changes to your copy, your page layout, or even the structure of your entire funnel. The days of best guessing are over thanks to the power of smart CRO technology.

Evolving Your Cold Traffic Strategies for 2022

A lot of the big changes we’re seeing in the world of cold traffic advertising have come about because of privacy scares and a fear of Big Data. And these trends in advertising are unlikely to change in the coming months (or even years). 

Which is why businesses need to re-set their expectations and go back to the fundamentals of relationship marketing if they want to grow their business in 2022 and beyond. 

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