With over 50,000 attendees and 100+ speakers, AdWorld Conference 2021 definitely catered for the masses this year. However, this didn’t mean that their content was any less specific and relevant. From analysing human behaviour to finding your money words, AdWorld really provided an excellent all-in-one advertising event which looked to the future of advertising in 2022.

So, looking to 2022, what should advertisers and marketers be focusing on for the future? 

  • Your keyword ‘Candy Land Zone’
  • Optimise for a healthy level of variance 
  • Ethical advertising provides balanced choices
  • Perspective distortion 
  • Build on owned land
  • Expand the client comfort zone

Your keyword ‘Candy Land Zone’


With the world responding to the 2020 crisis and becoming even more reliant on digital technology, future advertising needs to be even smarter to filter through the noise. 

“Create less content but make it more focused” – Joe Pulizzi 

Daniel Nguyen, CEO of WriterZen, described the ‘Candy Land Zone’ as the optimal keyword strategy to harness short and long term customer engagement. Adding a unique 3-5 keyword sentence within content can enable marketers to tap into a niche with high customer demand but low existing websites putting their focused content at the forefront for consumers. 

To find your specific ‘Candy Land Zone’ Daniel recommends using Google Ad Keyword Planner, WriterZen, and Answer The Public.


Optimise for a healthy level of variance


‘Rationality and biases in behavioural economics is dangerous’

… expressed Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman at Ogilvy UK, in his much anticipated Masterclass in ‘Behavioral Economics and Consumer Psychology in Marketing‘. 

‘Optimising for the average is a mistake, optimise for a healthy level of variance’ – Rory Sutherland

The system is currently designed for the average person and their decision process, making it very difficult to adjust when something doesn’t go to plan. Referring to Rory’s ‘motorway service station architecture’ analogy, if we make one mistake on a busy motorway and come off at the wrong junction, we must double back on ourselves to get back in the right direction. The motorway architecture appears rational, assuming that people don’t make mistakes, but it’s disastrous for humans making ad-hoc judgments in their own varying way

‘Creating similar human behaviour leads to market distortion.’ – Rory Sutherland

The majority of ads are now based on recent and past behaviour instead of advertising for future decision making. Rather than focusing on the high demand impulse purchases, which fluctuate and are mostly trend led, the correct focus should be on the unchanged person and how that varies – as everything else around us will have changed in 25 years anyway. 


Ethical advertising provides balanced choices


In our daily lives, we’re all consumers of advertising, whether on social media, TV ads, or magazines. However, does anyone ever really know all the information before making a decision?

Understanding a variety of information from different aspects of the decision making process enables us to make more educated and balanced decisions. For example, if someone is buying a house in London and checking their route to work, there are more aspects to consider than just the fastest route on the tube map. For example, factoring in the bus routes, the overground, any pleasant walks which break up the journey or lift share options, etc.  

‘Understanding information asymmetry enables us to make better quality decisions.’ Rory Sutherland

This statement is true for every aspect of our life choices – politics, religion, sustainability, transport, relationships, etc.

Identifying a gap in the market, Rory called for more balanced choice making technology when exploring the future of advertising. 


Perspective Distortion


“A change in perspective is worth 80 IQ points.” – Alan Kay, Computer Scientist 

Breaking the normal thought process was a theme that we saw across multiple AdWord webinars. The benefit of stripping back everything we know to be true enables advertisers to answer deeper and more abstract questions, i.e., what do we know to be true, what aspects of this problem have never occurred to us? 

The content marketing guru Joe Pullizzi, CEO of The Tilt, celebrated this in his webinar ‘The ultimate strategy to building and monetizing your digital audience’. Joe encouraged his listeners to not just think about finding the USP sweet spot but to shift mindsets towards finding solutions that people never knew they needed. 

Abstract thinking and innovations can break through the noise without much competition, putting them at the forefront of future advertising. 


Build your house on owned land


‘There’s currently a Land grab happening’ –  Joe Pulizzi 

Joe frankly stated that there’s an even more prominent focus on buying owned consumer followings now than ever before, calling it a ‘land grab’. 

However, this might not be what you initially think. 

This isn’t about buying a popular Instagram account with 300k followers or a Twitter account with 2m followers; it’s about buying email subscriptions with loyal audiences

Rented land, i.e., Instagram, TikTok, OnlyFans, etc., are individually owned companies and can therefore change the rules at any given moment. Therefore, building your following solely on another company’s owned land is very risky as it’s not your own. 

“Don’t build your house on rented land” – Joe Pulizzi 

Ensuring you have a strategy to move your audience base from socials to your owned land is absolutely crucial to building a long-lasting and self-owned consumer following.


Expand the client comfort zone 


‘Reviews out rank copy because customers trust each other more than you’ – Benton Crane 

Benton Crane, CEO of Harmon Brothers, expressed how sharing user generated content humanises brands, making more relatable content that resonates organically with the consumer. 

Including a person within the first 5 seconds of video content immediately builds cognitive empathy, states Matthew Hauer from Vyond, an animation video software company. After that, connecting with characters, experiences, and personal journeys are the most powerful methods to insight emotional engagement. 

We’re also seeing that more and more businesses are going the extra mile to connect personally with their customers. Breaking the traditional divides to check-in with customers personally and show empathy through the tough times. Whether that’s showing gratitude to customers through success stories, promoting individuals online who have been inspirational, or adapting working processes to flex to businesses crisis responses, showing up for customers can truly reap long term rewards. 

‘Brand heroes are your friends.’ – Phil Pallen

Joanna Wiebe from Copyhackers shared her magical formula to identify your customers’ emotional buying power – insert the following survey question into your purchase confirmation message ‘What was going on in your life that brought you to join/buy [XYZ]?’ 

This seemingly very personal question opened up Pandora’s box for Copyhackers. Identifying that their customers were not joining a course for the reasons they expected, they were joining to build copywriting confidence. ‘Confidence’ then became their gold dust keyword, transforming their customer engagement strategy.