There are a variety of factors that weigh on a retailer when they are coming up with an advertising budget or a media buying strategy. Each year, consumer buying trends shift and evolve, and retailers must find ways to stay ahead of the curve if they want to optimize their advertising budgets. 

To stay ahead of competitors, they must choose the right channels and tactics to match their goals and fit with what’s happening in the world of retail. Global retail sales in 2022 are anticipated to grow by $1.65 trillion compared to 2021, which means with the right media buying strategies, retailers could end up connecting with an audience ready to buy.

A smart, well-thought-out media buying strategy requires careful planning and a deep understanding of each year’s marketing trends. Here’s what’s happening in the world of retail marketing and media buying this year.

Social Media Continues to Be an Important Way for Consumers to Discover New Brands

There are 4.62 billion people in the world who use social media today. This alone would be impressive, but when you consider that 424 million new users have engaged with social media in the last year, it’s important to continue to use this channel to engage with potential retail customers. What’s more, consumers spend an average of 2 hours and 27 minutes on social media every day.

Social commerce” is a newly-minted term used to describe eCommerce sales through platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Social shopping and social commerce picked up in 2020 with the beginning of the pandemic, but even as infection rates wane (again), consumers are still making purchases through their social media channels. 

This means that a brand’s social media account, as well as its paid advertisements, are essential to keeping with consumer buying patterns. 

One way to accomplish this is through “social programming,” which Business News Daily shares as a new business model. In one instance a New York City boutique hosted a “variety show” on Instagram that included entertainment and brand sponsors selling their products on the social media platform. 

The result was that the retailer found new audience members and new channels to promote their brand and their products and engage with existing and potential customers in meaningful, memorable ways. 

An Increased Consumer Focus on Values-Based Branding

It’s been reported that 71 percent of consumers generally prefer making their purchases from brands that match their personal values. This isn’t just about online patterns about things like data privacy, it also refers to brand equity transparency and perception. It’s also estimated that 90 percent of consumers are more concerned about making sustainable choices than they ever have been before.

One doesn’t have to search long online to find hundreds of examples of brands that have been championed and challenged because of their diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and marketing strategies. And while 78 percent of consumers shared that they made a purchasing decision based on values over the last year, only 4 percent said that it wasn’t at all important to them that the brands they choose shared their personal values. Additionally, 53 percent of consumers reported that they were even willing to pay more for products that match their social values.

What this means for retailers looking for the right marketing strategies and media buying plans for the next year is that perception really does matter. Now is the time to find ways to connect with consumers not only on the channels that matter to them, but also to assemble messaging that will connect with them on an emotional and values-based level.

Skyrocketing Growth in Connected TV Ad Spending

It’s estimated that ad spending on connected TV (CTV) will climb to almost $35 billion by 2025, accounting for 10.9 percent of all digital ad spending. In 2022, this figure is somewhere around $19.1 billion, or just 8 percent of all digital ad spending. This is likely because U.S. consumers are spending 78 more minutes streaming video than they do watching cable television or broadcast videos. 

It’s clear to see that CTV ad spending is taking over a portion of the media buying market. When it comes to addressability, CTV is not without some challenges, like combining metrics for accurate calculations regarding successful impressions across various platforms, an increasing number of consumers are taking advantage of connected TV. Retail brands can even use this medium to add a level of addressability to their marketing strategies, targeting specific areas or key demographics that will take interest in their products.

Not only is this trend increasing because more consumers are watching more CTV, but it’s also a direct reaction to changes in consumer privacy regulations. Retailers, marketers, and media buyers are looking to re-allocate their media dollars because of the phasing out of third-party cookies. AdAge shared that an astonishing 84 percent of media buyers who were increasing their CTV spending were doing so because of consumer privacy issues.

Because CTV still offers a decent amount of addressability with a growing audience, it’s a smart way for media buyers and retailers to connect with consumers.

Increased Retail Media Spending—and More Sophisticated Strategies—in 2022

Insider Intelligence reported at the end of 2021 that retail media spending will climb to $41.37 billion in 2022, an increase of almost $10 billion from 2021. Retail media refers to the strategy of marketing directly to consumers at or near their point of purchase. It’s likely going to be one of the fastest segments of digital ad spending, putting it on par with both CTV and podcast advertising. Next year, retail media is anticipated to grow past $50 billion, adding up to around 20 percent of all digital ad dollars. 

For a long time, “retail media” only meant things like search ads at the bottom of the sales funnel. But in 2022, it seems that these strategies are evolving to attract customers closer to the top of the sales funnel, and even at the awareness-building stage of marketing. This includes more targeted ads and sophisticated media buying strategies. 

This improvement is all thanks to the work of third-party retail media technology platforms that can help retailers ramp up their progress and stay better attuned to the needs and demands of their target audience.

Consumer Demand for Short-Form Video

Social media has long captured the attention of consumers everywhere, and now it is shaping the way that Americans take in content. While markers are poised to spend an expected $177 billion on social media advertising in 2022—far outspending TV media buying—and digital channels will surpass 60 percent of global ad spending this year. 

While Facebook still reigns supreme as the most widely-used social media platform, there are an estimated 1 billion active users on TikTok. Between the fact that Instagram’s short-form Reels get an average of 22 percent more engagement compared to longer Instagram videos, retailers and media buyers need to account for the fact that in the world of videos on social media, shorter and snappier is better—or at least more effective in reaching more people.

Your Guide to Navigating Media Buying in 2022 and Beyond

There's no doubt that media buying is a complex process, and it can be especially challenging for retail businesses trying to navigate the ever-changing landscape of advertising. With so many choices available to consumers, it can be difficult to know where to allocate advertising dollars for the greatest impact. Here are a few guidelines to help you navigate these waters:

  • Be prepared for an ever-changing landscape. The way people consume media is constantly evolving, so you'll need to be adaptable in order to stay ahead of the curve.
  • Know your audience. Who are you trying to reach with your advertising? Understanding your target market is crucial for effective media buying.
  • Think outside the box. There are many different platforms available for advertising, so don't be afraid to get creative and try something new.
  • Stay focused on your goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your advertising.

Looking to make a splash in retail in 2022? You need to start planning now. We’ll leverage industry connections and years of insider experience to help you find the right strategies and best deals to put your retail brand in the sight of your target audience. It may be CTV, social media videos and advertisements, retail media, or other channels like out-of-home advertising, podcasts, radio, or print marketing—our experts will help you sort out the best plan to make 2022 your year. To learn more, connect with us today!