January 2022 Publisher Trends: Use These Insights to Captivate and Engage US Readers

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What articles are capturing readers’ attention one month into 2022?

Of course, you guessed right: pandemic-related content is still drawing more clicks than any other topic.

The good news is we are starting to move past being inundated with coronavirus statistics. This year’s articles are focused more on the tools helping us cope with the current Omicron variant, like masks (especially for kiddos) and at-home COVID tests.

A look at data from Skimlinks, a Taboola company, showed even better news.

Some interesting and positive trends emerged once we filtered out COVID-specific articles and merchants. Publishers can leverage them for their content strategy and revenue-generating ad campaigns. After all, leftover gift cards and holiday cash is just waiting to be spent, and I’m here to tell you what consumers want to buy!

In a nutshell:

  • People are still ‘nesting’ and focused on creating the most comfortable and convenient home ever.
  • They are looking to make good on their health-oriented New Year’s resolutions.
  • Despite Omicron still giving many people pause about social gatherings and parties, wedding plans are back.

Below we’ll dig into the US Skimlinks data (from January 1-10) for each trend so you can super-charge your content plans and launch irresistible, revenue-driving campaigns.

The Omicron Variant Tells a Specific Story: At-home Tests, KN95 Masks

Omicron is still making its way through communities, schools, and workplaces in the US, leading to three trends for consumers.

First, with more people vaccinated and boosted, the symptoms and severity for most require no more than testing and recovering at home. That means at-home tests are in high demand, and consumers are searching for places that can deliver a box (or several) of tests.

Second, parents are especially concerned about their unvaccinated under-five kiddos or older children who are at school around others who might not be fully vaccinated.

Finally, medical professionals have raised the flag, noting that because Omicron is much more transmissible, cloth masks aren’t cutting it anymore. Instead, they recommend higher-quality KN95 masks.

Publisher content on the Skimlinks network with links to purchase at-home COVID-19 tests and KN95 masks is driving the greatest product sales volume in 2022. URLs that contain the word “COVID” saw a mind-boggling 814% uplift in traffic in January 1-10 month-over-month.

The Takeaway: Practice implementing affiliate links to companies that sell at-home COVID test kits and KN95 masks and create content that features these products for adults and kids. Include tips to help people spot fake products, and your readers will thank you!

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Home is Where the Heart, Bed, and TV Are

Although we’re no longer under strict stay-at-home orders, dropping winter temperatures and increasing infection rates are keeping people indoors. The desire to transform homes into comfortable paradises remains strong. People are paying extra attention to guides highlighting the best mattresses, toppers, and bedsheets because nothing sounds more appealing after a stressful day than a good night’s sleep.

Skimlinks data revealed that publisher content with the word “mattress” in the URL drove 48.5% more sales from January 1-10 when compared to the same period in December 2021.

Speaking of unwinding, most of us try to tune out the day’s stress by getting lost in a captivating TV show. There has been a substantial increase in searches for guides on how to stream 2022’s top episodes and shows, including the Yellowstone Season 4 finale, Season 14 of Ru Paul’s Drag Race, and Jersey Shore Family Vacation Season 5.

The Takeaway: Guides, guides, and guides! Create articles and ad campaigns about home furnishings and goods, especially since many brands are currently offering clearance sales. Content around popular series or genres will earn you clicks and revenue if you’re using affiliate programs for top services like Netflix, Sling TV, and Fubo.

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New Year, New (Year’s) Resolutions: Fitness and Wellness

After indulging over the holidays, the one thing publishers and advertisers can count on is consumers creating health-focused New Year’s resolutions. Undoubtedly, the pandemic thrust at-home fitness into the spotlight, a trend that’s continuing as consumers aren’t yet confident returning to the gym with Omicron flying through the air.

That situation and a trend for ‘dry January’ have led to an uptick in sales of at-home fitness equipment, including adjustable dumbbells for weight training. During the first ten days of January, clicks on products that fall into the fitness equipment vertical were up 20.5% compared to the same period in December 2021.

The Takeaway: Increase readership and revenue by promoting a wide range of fitness items. That can include yoga mats, tech-enabled water bottles, fitness subscription services, Peloton bikes, and the Mirror.

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Here Comes the Bride

Omicron may be shutting down some schools and workplaces, but nothing can stop love or plans to celebrate it. Engagement season, which runs from Thanksgiving to just after Valentine’s Day, returned to normal this year, and brides-to-be are wasting no time when it comes to online shopping.

Data shows the newly engaged are searching for wedding and bridesmaids’ dresses. URLs containing the word “wedding” have generated 138% more order value from January 1-10 year-over-year (YoY), resulting in an astounding +168% uplift in publisher commission during that time.

As we mentioned in our Valentine’s Day marketing guide, consumer interest in ethical and sustainable products and brands is growing, aligning with the increase we saw for searches for ethical, lab-grown diamond jewelry this year.

The Takeaway: Develop content around anything wedding-related. The entire bridal party will be looking for fashionable finds and accessories. With the pandemic and unpredictable economy, consumers might be looking for DIY decorations for at-home celebrations and beauty products to help them look great on their big day.

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Start the Year Off Right

Using a data-backed strategy to plan advertising campaigns and content plans is always the smart thing to do. Now that you know which trends are compelling consumer actions, you can do just that!

Implement the following three strategies, and you’ll be on your way to a profitable year:

  • Implement affiliate links with in-demand products.
  • Create guides that speak to consumer wants and mindsets.
  • Use the right keyword in your URL to increase traffic.

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