3 Things Your Budget Needs in 2022 (And 6 Things to Test)

November 22, 2021

Blue Sky believes in always looking forward. We’ve been updating you about upcoming changes in search engine marketing, social media, and Cookie-geddon, but we know resources, time, and budget are limited. If you could only implement three new things to your 2022 digital marketing budget, what should they be? And why?

Here’s our breakdown of which hot topics we feel are most important. These top three “to-do” list items will help you stay connected to your digital audience AND allow you to continue to see the effects of your digital marketing spend.

Top 3 Things Your Digital Marketing Budget Needs in 2022

#1. Core Web Vitals Optimizations

Google Core Web Vitals is a set of three important metrics that Google uses to determine the overall performance and user experience of a website:

  • Largest Contextual Paint
  • First Input Delay
  • Cumulative Layout Shift

These terms are metrics that measure how quickly your pages load (and what is loading) when someone accesses your website on desktop and mobile.

Site speed and useful content are an important part of the online user experience, and these metrics are Google’s way of measuring how fast and relevant your website is from a technical standpoint. It’s important to know that having poor Core Web Vitals not only indicates a poor user experience, but they can also LOWER your SEO rank.

To Do: Website Speed Audit and Optimizations

We suggest making room in your yearly budgets to have your website audited and reviewed to ensure your Core Web Vitals are healthy. Faster website = better user experience = happier website visitors = longer web sessions = healthier Google rank.

#2. Planning for Google Analytics 4

While Google has yet to announce the sunset of Universal Analytics (the current version of Google Analytics), we believe in being prepared for a future where we will need to adapt to Google Analytics 4.

With machine learning at its core, GA4 is meant to surface helpful insights from customer data and fill in the gaps that privacy-based restrictions and cookie-less tracking may no longer pick up. We outline the big differences between Universal Analytics and Google Analytics in a previous blog.


Related Reading: What is Google Analytics 4? A Beginner’s Guide October 26, 2021

Read On »

To Do: Set up a GA4 Account and Custom Event Tracking Now

In 2022, we strongly suggest taking time to (1) set up a Google Analytics 4 property, (2) set up your GA4 tracking events, and (3) find your way around the new interface.

One key difference is that GA4 will present predictive metrics as well as web events (like page visits and form fills). GA4 tracks the same user from app to web to track their entire customer journey – this means that marketers who rely on Google Analytics will have to reframe the way we think about analytics in the new platform.

Setting up your GA4 property now will also allow you to start collecting data since the property will only start measuring data at launch. In other words – no historical data from universal analytics will carry over to GA4.

#3. First-Party Data and a Good CRM

If you don’t already have one, we would strongly recommend investing in a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM).

Enterprise CRM HubSpot explains, “CRMs are powerful tools that can help you expedite business growth while eliminating friction, collaborate cross-team, manage your contact records, sync data, automate daily tasks, and more.”

CRM Platforms we’ve worked with in the past include HubSpot and Salesforce. PCMag often reports on their top CRM picks for the year but choosing a CRM should be based on what works for your business and budget.

Why do you need a CRM? Because collecting and managing first-party data will be critical once (you guessed it) Cookie-geddon happens. Collecting first-party data is about more than just being able to send them emails – collecting emails and information from your subscribers and buyers allows you to remarket your products to them, get consumer feedback, and optimize your sales process.

In a digital world where making connections with your prospect will be important to closing sales, first-party data, and a CRM to collect, manage, and analyze it, will be especially important. CRMs range in price and features, so it’s important to select one that works for your unique business needs.

To Do: Start Shopping for a CRM or Audit How You’re Using Your Current One

If you don’t already have a good CRM, start doing demos with CRM providers like HubSpot, ActiveCampaign, or SharpSpring. See which platform has the tools you like the most and fit your business’s needs the best.

Already have a CRM? Review your usage of it – the platform may have introduced new features that you can use to make the most of your 1st party data.

6 New Media Buys to Try in 2022

Now that you’ve read about what you NEED in your 2022 media mix, let’s talk about other exciting media options. Currently, Blue Sky has partners that allow us to target your prospects via streaming video, audio, IP address, and geographic location.

#1. Geotargeting

Geotargeting involves drawing a geofence around a target location (like a competitor’s model home). People who walk into these zones have the intent to research or buy, and you want to be the one in front of those people.

With geotargeting, you can track someone’s phone when they enter your geofence and serve them your display ads when they browse online or use apps with ads. Conversions are measured when they walk into YOUR location, an extremely low-funnel conversion.

#2. Industry-Specific Ad Placements and Paid Content

With the sunset of the 3rd-party cookie, digital marketers will have to return to more contextual marketing – this means researching your buyer’s interests and intents. This lends itself well to sponsoring content or paying for ads on websites where your prospects go to research your industry.

For example, purchasing native ads on Zillow.com or Realtor.com if you are a development, or sponsoring a blog on a local community news website. Research where your audience goes to get information and meet them where they are already going.

#3. Streaming Audio

Spotify offers self-serve audio and video ad placements on their free streaming audio service. Spotify is a great brand awareness media buy, offering a low-cost way to target prospects in your desired zip code or demographic. Spotify’s native reporting also offers transparent metrics on your ad’s performance allowing you to see how many times the ad was played and if there were any click-throughs to your website.

#4. TikTok Ads

You probably saw this one coming – TikTok has exploded in popularity. The app continues to grow in popularity in the USA among almost all demographics, and has reached 3 BILLION installs (Source: Social Media Today). Fortunately, they have an ad platform. To be successful, though, ad creatives should match the culture of the TikTok platform, so it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the user experience. TikTok Advertising recommends keeping ads entertaining since 61% of users feel that advertising on TikTok is unique compared to other top social and video platforms.

#5. Connected TV (CTV) and Over-the-Top Media (OTT)

Who didn’t end up with a streaming service by the end of 2020? Connected TV refers to smart TVs that are connected to various streaming apps and OTT refers to the industry as a whole for self-serve streaming media. Video streaming OUTSIDE of traditional television is an exciting frontier for businesses who typically avoid the costs associated with TV buys.

Blue Sky has partners who can serve your video ads to your desired prospects on sites like Hulu and Pluto TV and apps like Discovery, HGTV, and more for lower minimums than you thought. This exciting brand awareness media buy also has the ability to launch with granular demographic targeting.

#6. Demand Side Platform (DSP) Network

Test partnering with a DSP service to serve ads and content directly to specific publisher sites. This will be great to test in a world where contextual marketing becomes more important – which websites are your prospects visiting? And how can you get in front them?

Power your advertising with integrated programmatic search, social, and site direct media. This is especially useful for serving ads to websites that are NOT part of the Google Display network. Some DSPs offer options for geotargeting as well.

Your 2022 Digital Marketing Budget

Next year will be exciting, and we’re sure there will be plenty of surprises unveiled within the next few months. If you’re interested in expanding your digital presence next year, let’s talk. Our experienced media buying team can help you develop a strategy that makes the most of your budget while embracing the changes the digital world brings.

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