In this installment of our State of Music series, we asked Sean Hozumi, Co-Founder, Head of Media, & Sr. Director, Advertising Operations at MAX, to share his predictions for 2022. Sean talks about privacy, platforms, and why context matters.
Head of Media & Sr. Director, Advertising Operations @ MAX
2023 UPDATE: A look back on 2022 with Sean Hozumi
Increased privacy measures are still being added since I made my predictions last year and it looks like this will continue. TikTok and [Instagram] Reels have been growing at a tremendous rate, but we've seen a decline in efficiency compared to the early days. This is a pattern I've seen in the past where publishers will get advertisers "hooked" early on with lower cost and gradually raise them over time.
Are there any predictions about music/marketing/social/tech that have been on your mind going into 2022?
"It’s an interesting time in the world of marketing, tech, social, digital, publishing, data, privacy. There’s a conflicting battle between marketers, government, and publishers, all vying for different objectives. The success of any publisher, brand, platform, etc. will depend on how they grow and change (or don’t) with all of the external changes."
With new privacy laws, it’s harder to track how you’re performing and harder to target and understand efficacy – how will that affect the relevance of certain publishers? And just campaigns in general?
"Publishers will continue to shift the onus to advertisers to tell if things (campaigns) are working. Even outside of privacy laws, tech companies are prioritizing privacy, so a lot of old measures of success are no longer valid. The new iOS15 has a mail privacy feature that Apple users can toggle on that will never share their email address with anyone. Basically, when this is turned on, Apple Mail auto-opens any received items using an Apple-generated email address and then sends those emails to the end receiver from that Apple generated address. This means that every email received registers as “opened.” This bogus data from upfront activity skews performance, skews open rate, and affects optimization. In order to track performance, you need to go into lower funnel activity, need to look at things like clickthroughs, conversions, site visits. We’ll continue to see more responsibility pushed onto advertisers to figure out what you’re doing right and how you’re performing."
Is it fair to say then, that brands and marketers need to be more aware of not attributing success to a campaign based on these metrics, since lower funnel activity is a better gauge of success?
"I mean, this doesn’t necessarily apply to all channels. For example, we don’t see that on social, so it might not be as relevant there, but each platform, each method of delivery needs to be looked at differently. Basically, just because something worked before, doesn’t mean it’s the right approach now. Campaigns need to evolve with ever growing limitations, and marketers need to make sure they’re looking at the right information for each delivery method."
What channels will be the hot channels to focus on from a consumer standpoint other than TikTok? Or is TikTok it?
"Tiktok dominates headlines for a reason. People love it and spend a lot of time on it. I do realize that’s an overplayed answer, so I’ll also point out that Instagram is catching on to the success of TikTok and in certain instances, outperforms TikTok. Instagram benefitted from a humongous user base that didn’t have to opt into Reels, so they had a built in audience. We’re looking at a comparison of results between TikTok and Reels right now, and I don’t have definitive data yet, but we can talk more about how Reels stacks up against TikTok when that’s complete."
Would you say Reels is relevant? Or even a competitor?
"I’d say it’s a competitor, and a relevant competitor. And it’ll continue to be a competitor. A lot of the content on Reels is recycled from TikTok, but that doesn’t really matter to the end user. They’re still enjoying the same content and the experience is basically identical from an end user viewpoint. Both Reels and TikTok have benefitted from the pandemic - you run out of stuff to do when you’re home for years at a time.
"From a marketers standpoint, Instagram has a leg up on targeting from the page side. TikTok’s marketing audience choices are not as robust, so it’s easier to narrow your target audience on Instagram."
So, basically, don’t follow the crowd and get wrapped up in Tiktok because other platforms can be effective, understand budgeting, targeting, all of that?
"Test everything and see what works for you. Just because something worked for somebody else doesn’t mean it’ll work for you. Context matters. It’s easy to test and figure out what works for you."
Stay tuned - next week, we’ll talk with our President & COO, Steve Fullbright, to hear his 2022 State of Music predictions. And as always, if you have any questions you’d like to see answered by any of our featured experts, comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.