How One Behind-the-Scenes Shift in Digital Advertising Creates Massive Opportunities for Content Writers

You may know there’s been a growing demand for content writers, especially over the past two years. The pandemic accelerated the need for businesses to shift their customer communications to digital at an unprecedented pace.

This move has created huge opportunities for digital content writers, as businesses try their best to be profitable or simply to survive.

There is another major change contributing to the increasing demand for content writers.

This one isn’t as widely known as the pandemic because it’s happening behind the scenes in the digital advertising industry.

And this change will greatly increase the need for well-written digital content long after the pandemic ends.

So, what is this change in digital advertising? And what does it mean for content writers and copywriters?

This change has been triggered by a myriad of growing privacy concerns. Consumers have long been troubled by how they are tracked online and what advertisers do with this data once they get it.

At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.”

It still gives me chills every time I hear it.

On an intuitive level, we may know this quote is spot on. But here’s some actual proof.

Consumer Privacy Concerns Send Marketers “Back to the Drawing Board”

Over the past few years, consumer privacy has been one of the most talked-about topics in the world of digital advertising. For nearly three decades, many brands have heavily relied upon the use of 3rd party data to target and retarget consumers who displayed certain desired behavioral traits in their digital advertising.

What’s 3rd Party Data?

3rd party data is collected using digital tracking mechanisms called cookies that follow customer web surfing behavior online.

For example, imagine you view a pair of shoes on one website. Then shortly after this, you visit another website and are shown an ad displaying that exact same shoe.

The diagram below further illustrates how 3rd party cookie retargeting works.

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You’ve also likely noticed when you visit websites nowadays, you must opt-in if you want to allow cookies to track your visit. This is due to recent legislation such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). These laws state consumers must give their consent to be tracked.

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Currently, 3rd party cookies are being phased out. Google, which owns the largest web browser Chrome, said they will do so by the end of 2023. (We’ll see if this timing holds because Google has already postponed it once).

As the 3rd Party Cookie Crumbles…

This demise of 3rd party cookies is forcing marketers to rethink how they can best reach consumers moving ahead. Brands must reevaluate their digital advertising and content creation strategies considering this.

According to Consumer Reports, Apple started requiring permission from users last year when they debuted the iOS 14.5 version of their software. This allows users to opt out of being tracked as they visit various apps. If they opt-out, they would no longer be retargeted with ads.

The focus has shifted from using 3rd party data for digital ad targeting to using more 1st party data in campaigns whenever possible.

1st party data is collected directly from customer activities such as website visits, email sign-ups, online seminar registration forms, polls, phone calls, purchase history, and customer feedback and reviews.

One problem is that many brands do not have enough 1st party data that can fully replace the 3rd party data they soon won’t be able to use in their ad campaigns.

And the brands with decent amounts of 1st party data are constantly looking for ways to add more.

So how do brands increase their 1st party data?

One primary way is by creating compelling content. Marketers must take the time to test out what kind of content their consumers actually want.

There are many ways marketers can use content to increase their amount of 1st party data. Having access to valuable data like this allows businesses to create stronger relationships with their customers. This, in turn, builds better reputations for brands over time.

Three content types that can provide writers with exceptional opportunities for paid work in the foreseeable future are email, video, and social media.

There are opportunities for writers with each of these.

Email Marketing

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Email marketing gives marketers valuable opportunities to collect data directly from their customers, aka 1st party data. In turn, they can use this data to target their customers with digital ads (if they get their consent).

Email marketing has been around for decades. However, there is likely to be even a greater emphasis placed on email as a marketing tactic as 3rd party cookies fade away, leaving marketers with fewer ad targeting options.

Email marketing is a reliable way of building 1st party data while having the opportunity to speak to customers directly in fun and meaningful ways. That’s a big reason the demand for writers is growing.

Digital ads have become increasingly expensive, which is another reason marketers will look to alternative communication vehicles like email to deliver their messages. Marketers also have the chance to analyze the email open rates, click data, etc., to get a sense of what content their customers respond to the most. Efforts to gain more email subscribers and to retain those subscribers will continue to grow in importance.

Video Scripts for Live Shopping Experiences

Image Credit: MIT Sloan Management Review

Live stream shopping experiences are the latest trend in e-commerce. Think of QVC or Home Shopping Network, except on mobile devices instead of traditional television.

Brands want to get into this space to sell their products using live stream videos across a variety of apps. Live Shopping is an integrated experience that allows consumers to watch a stream and socially interact with the host and the other viewers.

There will likely be intense competition for consumers’ time and attention as live shopping gains more steam in the U.S.

This is where the demand for great video scripts will come into play. These video scripts will need to have a fun, natural, and conversational tone. This takes a skilled content writer to do the job. The video scripts also need to be informative, persuasive, and entertaining. I suspect there will be no shortage of work for writers who are adept at scripted video.

Social Media/Social Commerce

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Related to live shopping, social commerce is catching steam in America. Social commerce is when consumers purchase products directly from social media platforms without actually leaving them.

According to eMarketer, social commerce is expected to grow in the U.S. to a nearly $80 billion business by 2025.

The three biggest platforms in the social commerce space are Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Social commerce presents another opportunity for content writers who know how to write succinctly to sell.

What’s Old is New Again

Marketers should continue to reconsider their strategies for effectively reaching their customers considering the upcoming restrictions in digital ad targeting.

New ad targeting tactics will undoubtedly emerge to replace the fading 3rd party cookies approach. But for now, the pendulum is swinging to more tried-and-true content-based mediums such as emails, video, and social media.

Customer acquisition through paid traditional digital advertising is increasingly expensive. Brands will be spending more time and effort into building a lasting relationship with their customers. From a longer-term perspective, it simply costs too much not to do this.

Digital marketing tactics like emails, videos, live shopping, and social commerce will continue to gain more steam over the next two years and beyond.

This will have a ripple effect on the demand for content writers. If you’re a content writer or copywriter, having at least a broad knowledge of these trends can give you a real advantage in the marketplace.

You can benefit from these behind-the-scenes industry changes as brands shift their marketing investments beyond traditional paid advertising.

If you’re a new or aspiring content writer or copywriter, you can acquire any skills you may need to thrive in this area. You can position yourself to take full advantage of this remarkable shift in the digital ad industry.

As an ad veteran myself, I’m excited to see how the traditional “workhorse” marketing tactics like email, video, and social media are being viewed through a different lens.

It’s going to be interesting to look at the creative solutions marketers find to reach their consumers in light of the impending ad targeting limitations. And the opportunity for writers who can create digital content that genuinely resonates with audiences is vast.

P.S. I didn’t address 2nd party data in this article because it is essentially another company’s 1st party data. For example, let’s say you own a high-end touring business in the travel industry. You purchase a certain airline’s 1st party data to use in your ad campaigns for more precise audience targeting – that’s 2nd party data.

Dina Marovich is a content marketer, copywriter, and advertising strategist from Santa Monica, California. She writes for the financial, advertising, and B2B industries. She is also an award-winning movie marketer with over two decades of experience and the Marketing Chair of the annual Infinity Festival in Hollywood.

Dina Marovich

Marketing Consultant, Direct Response Copywriter & Advertising Strategist. Meaningful results for your business.

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