Creative representation of humans cut from paper. In the background paper flowers emerge from behind "Homegrown audiences"

2022: The year of owning your audience in a cookieless world

A new year signals new beginnings. And, for many marketers and business leaders, it presents an opportunity to reassess your marketing strategy to ensure you’re pushing forward, vibrant as-ever into the new year.

That’s why we’re dedicating this month’s blog post to our 2022 marketing insights. We’ll be giving you

  • the lowdown on anything ‘new’ you need to know
  • a round-up of 2022 marketing trends
  • advice from our content, digital and brand leads on how to apply this to your 2022 marketing strategy


Remember, this advice is generalised – there are lots of key things you can take away and adapt to your own business. However, you may need a more personalised approach if you want to really smash your marketing out the park in 2022. Get in touch to discuss how we can help you or learn more about our brand & marketing strategy workshops here.

Creative representation of a rocket taking off. behind it are paper cut outs revealing

The cookieless world, that’s what’s new. Or relatively new. In fact, if you cast your mind back to 2017, it was GDPR legislation that started a new era of data privacy. Then, Firefox led the way with ‘cookie rejection’ and Google Chrome will follow this year to remove third-party cookies.

But let’s be clear, it is third-party cookies that are retiring. First-party data is here to stay and if you successfully collect it, you can be stronger than ever.

Jargon buster: what’s the difference between first-party and third-party cookies?

First-party cookies are created and owned by a website you’re visiting. These are things such as sign-in details and remembering what’s in your basket.

Third-party cookies are created by someone else – and are added to a website by a script of tag. Online advertisers use them to learn about you.

This is why in 2022, we will see companies shift their focus back onto knowing their audience. As marketers, we cannot rely on third-party data for audience profiling. Instead, we must be smarter and look at everything from behaviour to customer experience.

Creative representation of 2 people sitting under a sky of paper balloons and a twinkling sky. Within the clouds is written

In Deloitte’s 2022 Global Marketing Trends Survey, this is simply defined as,

“better understand[ing] the balance between people finding the use of their data helpful and, well, creepy.”

Overall, this means not simply thinking of how best to learn about your audience via data collection, but doing it sensitively. Doing it in a way that builds trust, rather than breaks it down. Doing it in a way that remembers each individual is human. And doing it in a way that champions consent and intent. In 2022, put each person in the driving seat and let them control exactly what data they share – the theory is that you will receive more authentic and rich data while also building a robust brand-consumer relationship.

“…when brands demonstrate transparency and humanity, customers are 2.5 times more likely to provide personal information that helps improve the product, and 1.7 times more likely to feel they have a received more value than expected.”

Deloitte’s 2022 Global Marketing Trends Survey
Creative representation of a shoal of fish following behind a lead fish. Within the water is written

Now that we’ve understood the importance of this technical shift, what trends do we need to consider? Our 2022 marketing insights that we predict will be big in 2022…

1.     Audio

2.     Video

3.     Conversational marketing

4.     The hybrid experience

5.     Increased individualisation

What are the key takeaways?

Here are the important things we think you need to remember in 2022 – and advice from our content, digital, and brand teams on how to implement.

Owning your audience has never been so important

Have you got a strategy in place that ensures you are learning more and more about your audience? Do you have a strategy to gather first-party data? Have you got a strategy on how best to segment this data to provide a better, curated and individual experience to your audience?

There are so many things to consider when it comes to data collection and audience profiling. So, our top 2022 tip would be to understand how you will create your own data, rather than rely on third-party data. One way to do this would be to go through your website with a fine-toothed comb and understand where data is inputted – and, most importantly, why data is inputted. Ask yourself what incentivises your audience to input data? And if you’re coming up with a blank, it’s time to get to the drawing board and think of innovative ways to capture more rich data.

Mostly, be transparent and honest with data collection. Make sure it wholly benefits your audience – and never be ‘creepy’ in your tactics, in the words of Deloitte.

More specialised content

In line with the above, if you want to smash your 2022 marketing, it’s about delivering content that is one step ahead of the rest. To be clear, this is thought leadership – but not as much in the traditional sense where we think of lengthy articles and detailed whitepapers.

Yes, be informative first before you sell. But this year, think about delivering value in the most efficient way possible that meets the ever-developing needs of your audience before they even realise they have these needs.

So how does this look practically? It means research. It means budgeting time and resources to the thinking as much as the doing. Or perhaps even more thinking than doing. It’s also about using your data to drive everything from your media choice to your content topics. It’s about asking for feedback, audience input and filtering this back into your content strategy. Above all, it’s asking yourself how you can offer specialisms in your content that other competitors don’t – so you represent better value to your audience, over the competition.

Distribute simple messages

‘Specialised’ doesn’t mean complex – it means very right for your audience. In 2022, we urge you to simplify your messaging in a way that’s right for your audience. You may be creating an informative short-form vertical video, but you need to ensure the message behind that video is simple to understand.

For example, a sleep consultant wants to create content that offers advice on a night time routine for overworked and anxious parents. She wants to do this because she wants to convey her expertise in this area and, therefore, build trust that works towards people buying her online course or booking a private 1:1 session. The message is simple, “I can help you achieve great sleep as an overworked and anxious parent.”. So, her challenge is that this message speaks loud and clear to the right people in each piece of content – and any way she distributes this content.

This goes for simplifying long-form content too. Perhaps the sleep consultant has created a downloadable sleep diary that her audience will love. But how will she distribute this? Firstly, we’re going to hope she has a great first-party data set, and then we are going to encourage her to find the most efficient way of getting this message across while demonstrating that significant value her audience needs on a very personal level.

Finally… think big

Even though the removal of third-party data can seem like a bad thing for marketers, we’re here to tell you it is not. In fact, we think it’s an opportunity. An opportunity to do better marketing that is better for everyone – the brand and the consumer.

As well as a shift in cookie collection impacting how our online world works, 2022 has a lot of exciting trends to get your teeth into. But we get it. It can be overwhelming to know which way to go… so we’re here to say THINK BIG. Don’t be afraid. You can do it.

Various marketing tools unlock so many avenues for businesses, and a solid strategy that can adapt and grow with your business keeps you on track, in sight of your goals and marching ahead. At Starbots, we love that new year feeling – and there’s nothing better than firing up our thinking caps (is that a phrase!?) and thinking of the next BIG thing we can do for our clients. And although we get excited about new shiny things (anyone envisioned their metaverse avatar yet!?), we will never jump on a trend because it’s cool – it’s got to be right for you, your business and most importantly that audience of yours.

Creative representation of a person that is clear and calm. The person is made from multiple shades and layers of green paper.

We hope this blog has provided you with the important insight you need to kickstart your 2022 marketing plans. If you would like a more tailored vision or simply want to chat over some ideas in more detail, get in touch with us today.

Creative representation of a shoal of fish following behind a lead fish. Within the water is written


1.    Audio

As of 2020, there were over 15 million podcast listeners in the UK, with forecasts predicting close to 20 million listeners by 2024 (source: Statista). Audio marketing is becoming extremely popular – with even large established big brands entering this space and establishing a unique way to connect with their audience.

Big brands and their big podcasts:

  • The Sauce, McDonalds
  • #LIPSERVICE, Sephora
  • .future, Microsoft
  • Open for Business, Ebay

But what’s more, audio is entering the social field. With Facebook launching an audio hub, and brands realising the potential of snippet-form podcasts in audiograms, 2022 is set to be an exciting year for powerful voices.

At Starbots, we love audio. So much so we wrote a blog post about how it’s booming on social media – read it here for more detail.

Return to the blog

2.    Video

Video is nothing new. But the way audiences consume video is changing. The most significant movement is the popularity of short-form vertical video. From TikTok to Instagram and even Facebook stories, the simplicity of consuming content via quickly tapping or swiping through has proved hugely engaging for multiple audiences with waning attention spans – especially younger ones.

Reflecting the popularity of this video format is the new social media features, such as Instagram adding Reels to its Marketing API.

“Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri says that Reels is now the fastest-growing surface in the app, which presents major potential for reach and growth. Given this, you can bet that a growing number of brands will, at the least, be considering Reels ad placement, and the expansion of the API will help to cater to this, and expand the usage of Reels placement for campaigns.” Source: Social Media Today

Return to the blog

3.    Conversational marketing

In March 2021, Forbes coined conversational marketing as ‘the new direct marketing’. Instead of talking at your audience, it invited brands to talk with their audience – opening up the opportunity to engage more, learn more and ‘befriend’ more on a human level.

Again, it’s about honing in on this ‘human’ element that’s important in 2022 – for both b2c and b2b brands. Conversational means realistic. And realistic means more emotion. And often, emotion is a major driver for a positive (or negative if done incorrectly!) experience with a brand – resulting in conversation or transaction.

Want to know more about chatbots and how we can 2022-proof your website? Get in touch with our digital team to find out more.

Return to the blog

4.    The hybrid experience

Online and virtual experiences were big in 2020 and the first half of 2021. Then everything opened up, and ‘in-person’ was this huge novelty again. So, if there is one thing we can celebrate about the pandemic, it’s that we’ve learnt that our digital and online experiences can truly enhance the real world. But we cannot fully replicate it.

In 2022, we expect to see more digital touchpoints, journeys and experiences augmenting any real-life experience. In a specific sense, we expect in-person physical events to include online webinars and virtual workshops. And in a more generic sense, we expect to see any offline customer experience have an online counterpart. Essentially, this flexibility of jumping between the virtual and the real world is the future. You only have to look to Facebook and the metaverse to see the direction we’re going in.

Return to the blog

5.    Increased individualisation

Personalisation. A marketing staple that never goes away. And for a good reason. However, individualisation is one step further – and is vital if you want to be on top of your 2022 marketing game. In fact, we’d argue personalisation is your ‘basics’ now. People expect personalisation now. Because let’s face it, if you got an email that didn’t address you by name, it would be the exception rather than the rule.

So what is individualisation? Individualisation requires a much richer data set and a much better understanding of how to break this down effectively to market to your different audience sets – right down to the individual. This is why the ownership of your audience is vital. As we discussed before, as marketers, we cannot rely on third-party data, so knowing how to create your own rich first-party data is critical. In many cases, this means capitalising on your own channels (your website and email) for deeper direct engagement and safekeeping (retention) of your audience.

Return to the blog


Sign up

Get a monthly dose of inspiration
Straight to your inbox

Before you go…

Get a monthly dose of inspiration straight to your inbox. No sales bits, just 100% creative juice.

  • Inspirational brands
  • Our ideas brought to life
  • Marketing tips, trends & insights
  • Stuff we’re doing, growing & winning