Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My 2022 Predictions: Patrick Zinga, Automated Media, Data & Technology Lead, Heineken UK

NDA, in partnership with Xandr, is collecting the views of some of our industry’s leading figures for their predictions on 2022 and beyond.Next up is Patrick Zinga, Automated Media, Data & Technology Lead, Heineken UK.

What channels provide the most exciting opportunities for digital advertising in 2022?

The pandemic coupled with the impending extinction of the cookie, has increased the significant importance of online purchases. I’ve seen a vast amount of improvement upon the user experience on site, the payment methodology and choices (Klarna, clearpay, PayPal etc) around retail media and ecommerce specifically.

With Amazon leading but being closely followed by traditional bricks and mortar retailer partners following suit, as the focus around first-party data and closing the loop from a measurement perspective has become increasingly more important. With a huge focus being on how we can develop our relationship with these partners and really drive value to the end consumer, there is innovation here that is looking to improve how users interact with brands.

What challenges and opportunities are there in delivering a seamless buying experience for digital advertising?

The biggest challenge is the lack of investment, sites are putting towards the user experience and technology. All consumers want is a seamless and easy way to pay for their items. As consumers we have become more precious with our time and any obstacle or delay within that buying process, can lead to a negative experience which could end up losing you a customer.

They want to be able to search quickly for what they want and to exit quickly with what they want. Another issue is the lack of consistency – whether online or offline, the customer should have a consistent view of the same branding, clear messaging, creative, and tone, with every touchpoint meeting or exceeding expectations and I just don’t believe a lot of brands are there yet.

There are opportunities that exist within two areas – at the start and at the end of a consumer purchase. The start: within SEO, still do not believe that we focus on here enough or give it the amount of praise we should because the first thing most consumers do when considering a product, when they are in that research phase, is search. The end: next would be where we focus on retention, what happens after the purchase – how do you keep these customers engaged with your brand and top of mind, so they come back? This is where we are seeing life being brought back into channels like CRM.

How will the distinctions between brand and performance advertising evolve?

One simply cannot exist without the other and they should work hand in hand to drive business outcomes. I think as most people know, you get better results when all channels work together, so both strategies need to be aligned, to be as efficient as possible. Increasing brand favourability for example, will inevitably increase sales, and having a consistent performance plan, will help increase brand awareness and recall. Consistency is key and both elements should be running side by side to help drive that consistency.

The importance we place on brand should be replicated within performance, to deliver your brands core messaging. You can’t have a great expensive brand campaign with a variety of different formats and executions, creative refreshing etc, then think about performance as an afterthought and have a basic static image of an MPU encouraging users to ‘buy now’. Understanding the roles of each and the value that comes with test and learn initiatives, will help. It’s important to also have a learning agenda in place to see what the correct budget splits should be between the two, how often you should have each element running and the best imagery, messaging and copy to utilise across the various consumer touchpoints. Attribution and measurement are also important here and having the right way to measure will help reveal the true value of both.

What new format, medium and channels hold the biggest new creative potential for 2022?

Experiential needs to make a comeback, people want more experiences, and they value the brands that give good experiences to them. There are just so many ways to connect with consumers on a level that goes beyond simple functionalities of a product, and we should take advantage of this in 2022. Creating more experiences that matter to our consumers. That can take a lot of different shapes and forms. I’m still a bit unsure about VR and AR – think like connected TV, we just need to see prices drop to a point where your average consumer can afford it and it becomes mainstream. A great opportunity of course to test and learn with partners in this space.