Find out how Skimlinks, a Taboola company, can help with your affiliate marketing strategy. Learn more here.

Another year, another time for reflection. And for many, it’s a time for goal-setting and planning. This is especially true for businesses, as they look back at the year’s performance and strategize how they can do even better next year.

Are you setting a New Year’s resolution for your brand? Something like:

  • Create better, more effective branded content and messaging
  • Scale up and reach new audiences and opportunities
  • And everyone’s favorite: get more revenue!

No matter what your goals are, we’re here to help you make more strategic advertising and marketing decisions — which in turn impact virtually every other aspect of the business.

And the key to doing that is harnessing the power of data to illuminate what works and optimize what doesn’t.

In this article, we’ll look at 2021 trends data, then use that data to make actionable 2022 predictions to apply to your brand and bring your New Year’s resolution to life. We’ll look through the lens of a few key verticals: health and fitness, entertainment, lifestyle, and dating.

Since 2022 is expected to have a lot of parallels to 2021, experts predict that many trends will stick around. Use these as a baseline for your planning.

Skimlinks has rounded up detailed data from their network on Q1 2021 consumer trends. They found that on New Years Day, top-performing merchants included Brooklinen, lululemon, Spanx, Walmart, and Wayfair.

And top-selling home and lifestyle products came from brands like The Container Store, Etsy, Le Cruset, Our Place, and Walmart.

Skimlinks also drilled down into specific categories to find top-performing content on their in terms of commission and click volume, as well as best-selling products on their network. Let’s look at this data in the areas of fitness and health, meal delivery, agendas and planners, and streaming.

Health and Fitness

The pandemic has meant much more time inside, which has naturally led to more consumers self-educating on health and fitness and shopping for indoor fitness equipment. Top-performing content on the Skimlinks’ network included athleisure, fitness equipment, and health supplements.

Among the best-selling products were hand weights from Gaiam, foam sneakers from New Balance, and a sportsmask from Under Armour.

According to late 2020 data from Taboola, fitness consumers were reading about:

Meal Delivery

With many aiming to be more health-conscious no matter their cooking skill level, Skimlinks saw a boost in meal delivery services. Top content included roundup articles on best meal delivery services, diet-specific guides, and meal delivery reviews. Top-selling brands included Blue Apron, Daily Harvest, EveryPlate, Factor, and Fresh n’ Lean.

Agendas and Planners

Many consumers look to a new year as an opportunity to boost their wellness and be more organized. Items like calendars, journals, and planners help them do so.

Top-performing content on the Skimlinks network included roundup articles on personal calendars, wall calendars, and student planners.

Best-selling items included’s Wellness Planner, Society6’s Artist 2021 Wall Calendar, and Rifle Paper Co.’s Wild Garden 2021 17-Month Planner.


Top-performing “how to stream” Skimlinks content included sports, movies and shows, and roundups on the best streaming services.

When on the prowl for entertainment, consumers on the Taboola network were reading about:

Predictions for 2022

Skimlinks predicts that 2022 will be the first-ever trillion-dollar year for e-commerce. As consumer spending grows, so too will the marketing budgets of B2C and B2B brands, especially in the area of affiliate marketing.

Here are a few brands and experiences Skimlinks predicts consumers will prioritize in 2022:

  • Ethical and sustainable brands: 65% of US consumers say they want to buy products from purpose-driven brands, and 56% stop buying from companies that they believe are unethical
  • Retailers offering fast delivery: 30% of online consumers prefer buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) over standard delivery options
  • Retailers offering personalized services: 70% of consumers shop exclusively with brands that personally understand them, and personalized content and promotions bring a 20% conversion rate uplift

More research from eMarketer shows that retail media will become a $41 billion market — up $10 billion from 2021. Retail media marks a transition from performance-based ads to brand-building ads, using strategic placements and strategies like native advertising to grow awareness and build trust with consumers.

And, with the death of the third-party cookie, more and more brands are seeking to create more relevant, contextual, and personalized user experiences.

That’s where brands like you benefit from partnering with Taboola, especially for High Impact placements. More on that later.

What’s trending right now, and how can you build on those trends?

Data pulled from Taboola’s US publisher network shows clear news trends in various health and lifestyle categories, and there are tons of articles on top publisher sites to back up that data.

Here’s an overview of data pulled from Taboola on December 17, 2021 showing the number of pageviews in the past 90 days, as well as some of those top-performing publisher articles.

Health and Fitness

Top health and fitness topic trends include:

  • Weight loss: 14,669,120 pageviews
  • Exercise: 2,669,630 pageviews
  • Health: 76,937,830 pageviews

You’ll never find a shortage of content on these topics on sites like Women’s Day:



Food and Wellness

Here are some top-performing food and wellness trends:

  • Grocery delivery: 76,450 pageviews
  • Keto: 186,370 pageviews
  • Food & drink vegan: 22,390 pageviews

Vegan recipes are taking a huge slice of the (non-dairy) viewership pie on popular recipe sites like Tasty:




Top news trends in the dating vertical include:

  • Dating: 3,771,530 pageviews
  • Marriage: 39,138,940 pageviews
  • Fall in love: 245,080 pageviews

Dating and love are hot topics on Shape Magazine:




Top trends include:

  • Streaming service: 24,170 pageviews
  • New movie: 86,420 pageviews
  • Live television: 373,520 pageviews

Publishers like E! Online are a go-to for entertainment news and insights:


Targeting Best Practices: Right People, Right Place, Right Time

What can you do to maximize your brand’s performance in 2022 — and smash those business resolutions? Let’s look at some general recommendations, as well as category-specific tips.

General Targeting Recommendations for All Brands

1. Automate with SmartBid

SmartBid uses deep learning to constantly analyze your campaigns’ performance. Using this data, the tool adjusts your bids to minimize spend and maximize conversions. In addition to reliable, data-backed optimizations, SmartBid lets you scale fast.

2. Leverage High Impact Placements

Taboola High Impact ensures your brand is surrounded by premium content from the world’s most trusted publishers. It was designed to maximize your reach while keeping your brand reputation safe — you’ll still have control over ad placement, context, and verification.

3. Capture Attention with Motion Ads

By adding short videos or GIFs to your ads with Motion Ads, you’ll be able to unlock higher click-through rates (CTRs) and conversion rates. This can in turn lower your cost per action (CPA). And, just like typical image ads, you’ll be able to A/B test your strategy for performance.

Now, let’s drill down by vertical. All of the following vertical-specific data examines the performance of Taboola’s US advertisers. The data was pulled December 12, 2021.

Health Targeting Strategies

Here’s where health brands saw a higher calibrated CTR and lower spend:

  • Content type: Photo performed better than Video and Text
  • Platform – Brand Awareness: Mobile and Tablet performed better than Desktop
  • Platform – Purchases: Mobile and Tablet performed better than Desktop

Fitness Targeting Strategies

Fitness brands saw a higher calibrated CTR and lower spend in each of these categories:

  • Content type: Video performed better than Photo and Text
  • Platform – Leads: Mobile and Tablet performed better than Desktop
  • Platform – Purchases: Tablet performed better than Desktop and Mobile

Home and Lifestyle Targeting Strategies

Home and lifestyle brands saw a higher calibrated and CTR and lower spend here:

  • Platform – Brand Awareness: Tablet performed better than Desktop and Mobile
  • Platform – Leads: Tablet performed better than Desktop and Mobile
  • Platform – Purchases: Tablet and Mobile performed better than Desktop

Dating Targeting Strategies

These categories generated a higher calibrated and CTR and lower spend for dating brands:

  • Content type: Photo performed better than Video and Text
  • Platform – Leads: Mobile performed better than Tablet and Desktop
  • Platform – Purchases: Mobile performed better than Desktop and Tablet

Entertainment Targeting Strategies

For entertainment brands, these categories brought a higher calibrated and CTR and lower spend:

  • Content type: Video performed better than Photo and Text
  • Platform – Leads: Desktop and Tablet performed better than Mobile
  • Platform – Purchases: Mobile performed better than Desktop and Tablet

Creative Best Practices: Make Your Ads Shine

Now, we’ll turn our sights to how brands can create killer content that grabs attention and converts viewers to customers. We’ve pulled US data from Taboola Trends and Taboola’s Title Analyzer on December 23, 2021.

Health and Fitness

For images in the health and fitness vertical, follow these guidelines:

  • Without animals instead of with animals increases CTR by 21%
  • Indoor instead of outdoor increases CTR by 14%
  • Food images over images without food increases CTR by 13%
  • Color instead of black and white increases CTR by 12%


When it comes to headline ideas, use Taboola’s Title Analyzer to predict if your ideas might have a high or low CTR. Here are a few options we tried using the “weight loss” keyword:


The analyzer predicts that the “best kept secret” title will perform better than the others. Consider titles that pique people’s curiosity and give them FOMO (fear of missing out).


Here’s how to choose images in the dating vertical:

  • People instead of without people increases CTR by 67%
  • Distance instead of close up increases CTR by 53%
  • Focus on a woman instead of a man increases CTR by 46%
  • Outdoor instead of indoor increases CTR by 37%


When we ran a few Valentine’s Day gift and date headlines through Taboola’s Title Analyzer, here’s what we saw:


The title with the highest predicted CTR mentioned married couples, in line with the news trends we covered earlier. As we saw in the health and fitness example, the superlative “the best” also helps to draw readers’ attention.


In the entertainment vertical, consider these image choices:

  • No text instead of with text increases CTR by 78%
  • Photo instead of illustration increases CTR by 45%
  • Person instead of no person increases CTR by 15%
  • Food instead of no food increases CTR by 15%


Here’s what the Title Analyzer had to say about a few ideas using the “streaming services” keyword:


The predicted highest-performer was “With This New Streaming Service, You’ll Never Watch Cable Again.” Like the other winners, it sparks curiosity and a sense of FOMO. The title mentioning celebrities wasn’t too far behind, but the listicle was lowest.

Videos in All Verticals

Videos featuring eating, water sports, and singing action types have higher completion rates.


Video characteristics including winter season, color, no text, and no person have higher completion rates than their counterparts.


Case Studies

Health & Fitness: VAHA

VAHA, a smart fitness mirror company, was looking to drive more sales by reaching new audiences outside of social and search channels. The company teamed up with Taboola to promote 30-day free trials via sponsored content campaigns and retargeting through social and search.

Here’s what they saw:

  • 112% reduction in CPC over their social and search channels
  • 338% more engaged site visits in just nine months
  • 2x boost in conversion rates with Taboola Attentive Audiences

Food Delivery Service: Plated

New York-based meal box startup Plated wanted to expand its reach outside its typical channels. They leveraged Taboola to A/B test and analyze hundreds of different content iterations in their advertising campaigns, giving them the ability to massively optimize their efforts.

The partnership resulted in:

  • 75% decrease in acquisition cost
  • 1 billion impressions generated
  • 12% boost in new member signups

Dating: Parship

Founded in 2001, Parship is Germany and Europe’s first online dating service. The company wanted to grow at scale, reaching new audiences and showcasing the unique benefits of the platform.

With Taboola, Parship earned thousands of new users, seeing a 113% increase in conversions year over year (YoY) and an 80% jump in CTR.

Entertainment: Sony Pictures

Sony Pictures Entertainment Thailand wanted to drive awareness and ticket sales upcoming Spider-Man, Goosebumps, and Venom movies. The company was unsatisfied with promoting the movies’ trailers on social media sites alone, which raised awareness but didn’t impact sales.

So they used Taboola Video, garnering 194,000 completed video views and more than 411,000 impressions. In addition to this awareness boost came an uptick in sales.

Welcome the New Year with New Growth

There are a lot of decisions to make when choosing the best advertising and marketing strategies to grow your business and turn your New Year’s resolution into a New Year’s reality. When you choose proven, data-backed strategies to guide the way, you’re set up for success.

Team up with Taboola to supercharge your 2022 strategy and harness powerful technology, a comprehensive database, and billions of content recommendations sent around the globe.

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