Happy New Year. I find it fascinating to look back at the most-read articles of the prior year. It provides insights on what to expect in 2022.
Let’s face it -- 2021 was a difficult year for the industry as companies, brands, and consumers adapted to changes in browsing and buying habits online and in stores.
The best way to predict the future is to look back at the past. Here are the most-read articles for Inside Performance and Search and Performance Marketing Daily in 2021.
The most-read Inside Performance articles for 2021 were as follows:
No. 1: Apple Maps
Apple finally realized the company needed to up its game for mapping and navigation. During its WWDC 2021 developer's conference in June, the company announced major changes in Apple Maps to compete with Google Maps.
Apple integrated several new features and services for its Maps app in iOS 15, including augmented reality (AR) features that makes its navigation app.
Data from the Nextdoor app has become a valuable tool for marketers looking to track real-time, local changes in consumer behavior among neighborhoods. That also means neighborhood stores. The data reveals consumers' spending habits and media-consumption preferences as well as environmental issues.
No. 3: Data Blind Spots
Marketers faced blind spots in the transition to first-party and zero-party data, although analysts did their best to improve customer protections and projections. These methods have one fatal flaw, and can create serious implications for businesses and brands. They are often based on attribution and optimization for what happens on a brand’s website, not the activities that occur on competitors’ sites — search or ecommerce sites, according to research from DISQO, an audience insights platform.
No. 4: Amazon’s Ad Business
Amazon experienced a surge in advertising revenue -- up 80% -- likely fueled by many products and brands jumping on board in the past year to capitalize on the consumer shift to digital retail. Wall Street analysts estimated shareholder value of Amazon's advertising business at nearly five times as much as its retail business, and in July at the time the article was written, it was poised to overtake its Amazon Web Services business as the most valuable part of the company.
No. 5: Google’s Design Language
Google, at its 2021 I/O developer event, introduced what it described as a radical new way to think about design. The company called it “Material You.” The concept represents a shift away from the one-size-fits-all design on phones, tablets, and computers, putting the user of these devices in control of how the software looks and feels.
The Most-Read Search And Performance Marketing Daily Topics:
No. 1: Instacart Raises Millions
Instacart in March secured a $265 million funding round to help accelerate its advertising and marketing services this year. The round was led by its existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital. The company said the funding would go toward accelerating Instacart Advertising aimed at consumer packaged goods marketers and Instacart Marketplace targeting retailer promotion spending, as well as increasing its overall corporate headcount by 50% during 2021.
No. 2: YouTube Erases ‘Dislikes’
Zach Vorhies, former senior software engineer at Google and YouTube and a self-proclaimed whistleblower, started his own investigation into disappearing dislikes for a Joe Biden video. The "dislikes" or thumbs-down icon shows the video with 1.9K "likes" and 11K "dislikes," while the same video shortly after shows 2.4K Likes vs. 4.8K Dislikes, dropping the original number of Dislikes by more than half.
Dentsu international research in October released findings that shows human attention is not the same as viewability, which is why the agency believes advertisers must plan and buy media using a new metric it calls Attention.
No. 4: Microsoft’s Nuance Deal
Microsoft in December was set to secure antitrust approval from the European Union for its bid to buy artificial intelligence and speech technology firm Nuance Communications. The company announced the $16 billion buy in April, saying it would boost its presence in cloud solutions for healthcare customers. The deal is Microsoft's second biggest after its $26.2 billion purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.
No. 5: Verizon Media Sold
Apollo Global Management paid about $5 billion to acquire Verizon Media, which includes Yahoo and AOL, from Verizon Communications. The new company changed its name to Yahoo.