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Q1 Snapshot: New Year, New You … New Strategies

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Q4 is well underway, and if executed with the right strategy, is poised to be the most profitable in over 20 years according to many consumer-based studies. Many sources have coined the trend “revenge shopping,” or a pent-up urge to make up for the pandemic-afflicted holidays of 2020, which translates to a “surge of splurging” with consumers continuing to spend and click their way through BF / CM. 

In reality, however, brands are now navigating the ever-shifting and bumpy landscape of social and e-commerce thanks to iOS 14+’s privacy-first new features, which impact ad costs and performance measurement. Thus, partaking in this so-called e-commerce boom will not be as simple as in years past, making your Q4 and Q1 strategies all the more important. 

Now that our Q4 go-live of November 1 has come and gone, it’s time to shift gears and set your sights on Q1. For an in-focus snapshot, we sat down with Josh Henry-Hicks, VP of Paid Social, to pick his brain for insider insights to ensure your newly acquired customers of Q4 become brand loyalists in Q1 and beyond. 

Below are Henry-Hick’s Top 5 tips to winning big during 2022, as Q4’s battle of the brands rages on into the new year.

Tip 1: “NEW Year, NEW You” Means NEW Messaging!

Truth be told, the start of the new year is typically slow unless you are a health & wellness or fitness brand gearing up for a “New Year, New You” push.

However, if your brand falls within these verticals and you’re thinking you can run a successful evergreen ad and simply slap on the words “New Year, New You,” reconsider. 

This Q1, creative messaging is all about appealing to audiences on both logical (think data) and emotional (think storytelling) levels. Since the world is made up of both types of consumers, MuteSix suggests leveraging a consolidated approach that resonates with both audiences in one. By doing this, your brand will increase the odds of conversion and improve your ad costs as more users will be engaged.

So, how do you reach both audiences? To truly promote health & wellness, fitness, and rejuvenation, show consumers what you’re trying to say. Demonstrate how your product can impact the consumer in a compelling video, while focusing on the benefits, not the features. For example, if you have an athleisure shirt that is wrinkle free and machine washable, instead of simply highlighting those features, show how much time and money you save by eschewing dry cleaning. Celebrate the extra hours you now have in your day to focus on working out, as well as the saved money that could be spent on a gym membership or fitness equipment. 

With the content piece being more critical than ever and requiring a complete overhaul for Q1, your brand needs to be investing in its content and shooting it now so as to truly usher 2022 in with a bang (for your buck, that is). 

According to Henry-Hicks, brands need to create and edit content messaging well before BF / CM, and once you identify your winning messaging strategy, you should then amplify it with influencer marketing. 

In particular, influencer whitelisting, which is boosting influencer posts by running them as paid ads, is having a big moment right now and shows no signs of slowing down next quarter. Carefully selecting influencers who are genuinely aligned with your key messaging and value props will help make your content messaging more authentic, and help convert “New Year, New You” enthusiasts into loyal shoppers.

Tip 2: Prioritize, Customize, and Optimize

While Q4 is all about acquiring new customers, the name of Q1 game is nurturing them, according to Henry-Hicks. Many deal-hungry, “non-typical” shoppers are drawn to brands around BF / CM for slashed price tags, so it’s critical that brands understand these “customer avatars” and strategize how to turn them into long-term shoppers accordingly. 

The smartest way to accomplish this is to include custom messaging and segmentation in email flows. To help accomplish this, MuteSix suggests using tools like Peel to identify cohorts and segments so as to weed out the deal-hunters from the loyal customers, which will assist with creating custom messaging and custom flows. 

Remember, what appeals to one audience, may not appeal to another, so personalizing your messaging to all your cohorts will ensure success across the board. One way of speaking to the more price-conscientious Q4 outliers is to partner with brands who promote a giveaway with purchase. For example, choose a brand that aligns with your ethos, then offer those shoppers something beyond product / pricing messaging, such as the chance to win tickets to a live show with a purchase. 

Tip 3: Think TikTok

According to Henry-Hicks, channel diversity this Q1 will be critical for DTC brands. In particular, TikTok is low-hanging fruit, as it’s becoming THE platform for shoppers to see and brands to be seen, with over one BILLION active users spending as much as 80 minutes per day on the app. According to sources, time spent on TikTok is up 325% YoY, which means it’s now beating Facebook in terms of hours spent per user each month.

It’s also a prime opportunity to take advantage of the cheaper inventory to fill the funnel with low CPMs. While TikTok will by no means replace some of the heavy lifting by Facebook and Instagram, it is a channel that will complement remarketing efforts across the board, as Henry-Hicks explains. 

With a number of MuteSix’s clients, we’re already seeing first-hand how TikTok feeds other platforms to bring cheaper traffic, increase targeting capabilities, boost remarketing efforts, and most importantly get consumers to their websites. 

The scalable success of TikTok content is also undeniable. With the evolution of TikTok, snackable, entertaining, music-enhanced clips have transformed the way brands are telling their stories and promoting their products. The days of longer-format UGC mashups once popular on Facebook and Instagram are becoming a thing of the past in favor of shorter, more engaging Reels-type clips. 

Industry-wide, we’re finding that shoppers have grown to expect TikTok-like content and longer-format videos are becoming increasingly irrelevant because they’re not as eye-catching and engaging. Brands need to start developing this type of content, not just for TikTok, but for Instagram and Facebook Reels, which are also pivotal social commerce opportunities. 

The best part? The TikTok format is channel agnostic and can live almost anywhere, making your creative all the more scalable and capable of capturing more eyeballs on various platforms.

Tip 4: Pay Attention to Attribution

Truly understanding the incremental impact of each marketing channel is also critical to boosting your business in 2022. Here at MuteSix, we’re leveraging attribution modeling and running lift tests to objectively assess where marketing dollars are best spent. 

There’s no denying the iOS 14+ landscape has made measurement challenging for brands. To circumvent this, we’re focusing on robust measurement solutions that allow brands to weigh each channel appropriately to understand its true incremental impact. 

Doing this will ensure you’re leaps and bounds ahead of the brands still relying on the 2020 way of measuring performance, which is “challenged” at best, according to Henry-Hicks.

Tip 5: Arm Yourself with Brand Response

Another trend we’re subscribing to is “brand response,” which is essentially the synergy between upper-funnel branding and lower-funnel direct response.  

At MuteSix, we’re seeing the growing impact of upper-funnel initiatives, like traffic campaigns, brand awareness, and reach, and believe pairing those with conversion campaigns will be more profitable than ever given the rise in CPMs and restrictions on data.

As Henry-Hicks summarizes it, “With iOS 14+, brands need to loosen up and not be so tightly bound to conversion campaigns. Brands that can establish that succinct relationship between upper-funnel initiatives and conversion-driving campaigns will ultimately win out over those who are entirely revenue focused.” 

Final Takeaway: 2022 Is the Year to Customize, Amplify, and Diversify  

When it comes to Q1, get a head start and think smart. 

Whether it’s customizing your email flows, amplifying your messaging through influencer whitelisting, or diversifying your paid media mix to include TikTok, 2022 is your year to be ambitious with your marketing efforts–-and victorious with your results.

For a free marketing audit to help your brand not only pace itself into 2022 but crush the competition at the finish line, reach out to the MuteSix creative, paid social, and data experts today. 

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