Outlook 2023 - Adtechs prioritise privacy, programmatic and personalisation

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 29 November 2022
Fabio via Unsplash.

Privacy will be at the top of the list of key issues for advertisers in 2023, according to adtech players.

With the retirement of third-party cookies creeping closer, legislation being introduced around data regulation and high-profile hacks taking over the headlines, consumers will demand more stringent privacy laws, which advertisers will in turn have to respond and adapt to.

Elsewhere for 2023, AdNews heard from adtechs around the country that personalisation in advertising will be key to reconnect with consumers following the worst of the ‘pandemic years’.

James Young, MD of Australia for Magnite

“Significant changes to the streaming ecosystem lie ahead as major industry SVOD players begin to scale their ad-supported tiers. 

“As the streaming landscape expands and competition for viewers increases, understanding and delivering on a high-quality viewer experience will be key for publishers to retain viewers on their platforms for longer periods of time, leading to reduced churn and increased scale, and thereby providing advertisers with greater reach and monetisation of their supply.

“The expected tightening of Australia’s data regulation and privacy laws in the coming year will also play a significant role in how the digital advertising industry responds, as the need to protect the end user is paramount. 

“Collaboration and cooperation within the industry will be key as publishers will need to consider how to incorporate these changes into their strategies while ensuring they will still deliver a high-quality, personalised viewer experience.”

Richard O’Sullivan, VP & GM for Australia & New Zealand and VP for agency partnerships APAC at InMobi

“In the world of mobile marketing, 2023 is going to be shaped by all things privacy – and its close relation, identity. 

“The precarious balance of a consumer’s desire for both privacy and personalisation will be put to the test with heightened awareness of an individual's right to privacy - galvanised by recent cyber-attacks and the imminent ACCC review of the Privacy Act recommendations.

“This, along with the continued loss of online identifiers and yet to mature universal IDs, will accelerate the adoption of seller-defined audiences (SDA’s). We also expect the introduction of Apple’s SKAN 4.0 to fuel digital native app growth and drive enablement and investment in ecommerce performance marketing. 

“This is because SKAN 4.0 means marketers can now more effectively measure ROI and attribution. In the expected bearish market to come, it's easy to imagine a shift to mobile app marketing because of its immediate measurability as marketers come under more pressure to make every dollar of their budget count.”

Sonal Patel, MD of Asia at Quantcast

"I don’t think anyone disagrees that 2022 has been one of the most challenging years to date. COVID was ostensibly one of the biggest drivers of change this year, and at the same time the economy has gone through some painful volatility. For example, a slew of ad tech and data businesses that either went through an IPO, reverse merger, or special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), in 2022 have seen sharp declines and the advertising market has mirrored this.

"Volatility has also been the name of the game when it comes to consumer behaviour, demand and even things like workplace practices, which have cumulatively caused constant friction and affected business growth.

"Amidst all the ups and downs however, there has been a cacophony of interest in sustainable advertising, data clean rooms, buyer path optimisation and of course cookieless, the latter of which has been given a two-year reprieve by Google. And whilst the demise of third-party cookies heavily steered the direction of the ad tech industry from 2020-2021, it’s no longer dominating the list of challenges that companies are facing. More and more, businesses are moving on from being at the mercy of the tech giants and becoming better equipped for life after cookies, and that’s a good thing.

"Connected TV (CTV) is slated to show enormous growth with the news of more ad supply from the likes of Netflix and Disney, which has stirred strong interest among advertisers. I predict that 2023 is when we may see the largest push into CTV buys, especially if there is a recession looming globally and spending in other market segments dwindle."

Rob Reynolds, commercial director at AdCore

“Commerce changed dramatically in 2022 from its previous two years, and these same challenges are only going to exacerbate for many in 2023. 

“New challenges surfaced for business owners, with pressures on pricing and margins coming from everywhere. Whether it was staff/logistics shortages, or staff/logistics costs going up, then there is the cost of living increasing dramatically. So previously where revenue at all costs was the business' “MO”, now the eyes are casting back down to focus on the P&L across all channels.

“With that in mind, all industries from E-commerce to Lead Gen to Travel have had to shine a light on their tech stack and understand if it supports these profit-focused goals. For media buying, one clear way to do this is using Feed Management technologies like Feeditor (owned by Adcore.com) to incorporate your product margins into your product feeds and dynamically bid on these different product margins that are layered into different campaigns accordingly i.e. 4-6 ROAS (return on ad spend), 6-8 ROAS and so on.  

“To give you an example: if your agency is getting a blended ROAS of 10, but your product margins are less than 10% when you factor in all costs, you are loss-making! Even if a ROAS of 10 ‘sounds good'. The inverse is also true if you are getting a 5:1 ROAS but your net profits are 40-50%. Money is being wasted or left on the table if you're not looking at margins in your ROAS.

“Building in margin into all your marketing efforts ensures that when seasonal promotions are cutting into your profit margins, you are future-proofing your target ROAS bidding accordingly to your profit margins, thereby mitigating any potential losses caused by a combination of your media buying, cost of goods and any other tech or servicing fees.

“The same can be done by removing any under-performing products from any ad campaigns which are loss-making or not meeting the ROAS goals. Another very cool function is to sweep up the longtail products you’re selling that aren’t being picked up by your channel algorithms. 

“By this, you may want to bundle all these “forgotten” products into a new feed (again using something like Feeditor) to ‘growth hack’ these zombie (unloved) products and give them new life. This tactic ensures you are casting the net as wide, but as efficiently as possible across your many products that you have available to sell to your customers!

“As we say in Adcore - 'not all ROAS’ are equal!'"

James Sawyer, MD for AUNZ at TotallyAwesome

"No doubt 2023 is going to be interesting with an accelerated focus on safety, trust and attention related technology. It’s going to be interesting to see if and how approaches to measurement are impacted by the heightened concerns about data. Given looming privacy and regulatory reforms, not to mention the jitters post this year’s high profile security breaches, will the availability of human interaction data need to diminish also? I think so.

"I’d expect to see consumers continue to force business into more innovative tech solutions to facilitate safer online experiences, and that will lead to better ways to measure ‘zero-interaction attention-based metrics’. Look no further than TikTok who can already decide within a milli second whether content is viral without consumers needing to click, like or even engage. For those that get it right the upside will be considerable."

Richard Knott, GM for ANZ at InfoSum

“An increased focus on privacy versus trust will see the industry rethink its current data sharing practices. 

“New privacy legislation and the inherent new risks mean marketers must look closely at exactly how they collaborate on data. They will need a much better idea of where their data is at any moment and who can do exactly what with it. 

“Anywhere that trust is required in the process of data partnerships will be regarded as a point of possible failure. This means data collaboration will have to be managed without moving consumer data out of your environment. 

“The idea of a privacy-safe Identifier will give way to simply keeping identity privacy-safe. Every publisher has a presentation floating around right now that says, “how to build our own walled garden”. Every brand is thinking about private data networks. The connectivity of these two things will be delivered by data clean rooms and accelerated with solutions like Google PAIR.”

Ben Baker, MD for APAC at Vistar Media

"Looking back at 2022, we saw marketers lean in on behavioural audience data to better understand how consumers move in today’s world. These marketers also faced unique opportunities to support brands looking to re-engage with audiences in innovative and measurable ways. 

"As we enter a new phase of change, with the prospect of further uncertainty, it will become increasingly important for brands to follow their investments more closely and carefully. 

"In 2023, marketers will be under increased pressure to deliver results. Brands will need to advertise to retain brand loyalty during these times of uncertainty, but, will want the flexibility to do so without long-term commitments and the ability to pivot at short notice. Speed, agility, the best insights and measurable impact will be critical factors for every marketer to consider.

"It’s important that advertisers continue to consider these factors when selecting the appropriate media to meet brand and consumer needs. No matter the objective, investment in the DOOH media channel will help you reach audiences at scale within premium, affordable brand safe environments. Programmatic DOOH goes one step further as it offers the ability to shift, pause or even cancel activity on a moment's notice. This is a key opportunity for advertisers looking to shift campaign messaging based on real-world conditions and allocate budgets across various advertising mediums.

"Marketers in 2023 will need to know that their dollars are working hard for them. Measurement such as footfall analysis and web conversion tracking will increasingly be used to guide campaigns giving marketers the ability to shift course mid-campaign and ensure every dollar invested is optimised.

"Another key opportunity for 2023 is for media planning and creative teams to better align their strategies to tap into DOOH’s full dynamic creative capabilities. But, with a heightened focus on budget and ROI, brands can drive stronger results with data-driven advertising creative - particularly leveraging dynamic creative capabilities.

"Overall, leveraging advancements in technology, the flexible nature of programmatic buying and keeping the ever-changing audience behaviour at the forefront will ultimately guide marketers’ advertising approach in 2023 and beyond. Despite the economic outlook, the stage is set for OOH to have its best year to date. OOH’s unique ability to clearly communicate a brand message, quickly and at scale, coupled with advancements in targeting, automation and measurability means it will play a vital role in any media mix."

Brandon Lee, director of audience and identity for APAC at PubMatic

"We expect 2022 trends to continue into 2023, and that we will see the continued rise of commerce media owners entering the advertising space.

"As more and more brands (especially Direct to Consumer (DTC) brands) become commerce media owners, they will explore and launch various revenue channels, which could include the monetisation of data on and off net in response to a poor economic outlook (for example), as they look to diversify beyond a straight margin game.

"These commerce media owners will seek to address the lack of first party data ownership and the personalisation capability advertisers encounter with marketplaces like Amazon or Facebook, by acquiring and activating their data themselves or across trusted networks on the sell side. Of these new commerce media owners, we expect to see an uptick in re-commerce sites, as consumers seek affordable purpose driven purchases and sustainability."

Adam Furness, MD for APAC at impact.com

“It may sound odd to be talking about human connection in an adtech/martech feature, but I believe businesses which tap into our greater desire for human connection will get ahead of their competitors in 2023. 

“We all know that the last few years have been tough with loneliness on the rise and Zoom fatigue taking its toll. We want to laugh, we want to get outdoors, we want to embrace each other; in short, we want to live again. 

“This means an uptick in intimate events, the creation of communities and real-world experiences. It also means leveraging advertising and marketing technology to drive emotive advertising campaigns and foster a sense of trust and belonging. 

“A contributory factor to this renewed desire for human connection is the erosion of trust in media, institutions and brands. We’re moving to a world where we will only buy brands, products and services that we trust, so establishing a human connection through partnerships will be vital to both B2B and B2C brands.” 

Kate Musgrove, MD for APAC at Bazaarvoice

"We are seeing a shift in the way companies and brands are connecting with their customers within the advertising space and I expect that to continue into 2023 and beyond. Consumers are more comfortable than ever with using new technologies throughout their shopping experience. In 2023 will see advertising continue to evolve to span a wider range of channels and platforms such as e-commerce platforms, social media, live shopping, augmented reality, virtual reality, and traditional advertising.

"As Adtech continues to evolve, marketers will have to operate across a multitude of channels and platforms. This presents an exciting opportunity to develop campaigns that transcend boundaries between advertising forms to more efficiently target consumers. However, utilising different channels and forms won’t simply be enough. To enable a seamless experience brands and businesses need easily and readily accessible information at all touchpoints. Brands must be available at every stage of the customer journey. The key here is to be present. However the experience must feel connected, there’s a difference between being available on every platform, and providing the same great experience across every platform.

"Another increasingly sought-after form of advertising occurs through gamification. Gamification continues to go from strength to strength, yearly growing in popularity and effectiveness. In 2022 more than two-thirds (68%) of Australian shoppers said that they would enjoy gaming elements while shopping online. 72% said they would spend longer in an app or on a website if they received points that converted into a discount in return. With the rise of VR, the metaverse and even digital out of home capabilities, gamifying adds to capture and sustain customer interest has the potential to be a necessary form of advertising.

"Personally, I believe that 2023 presents a really exciting opportunity to take the lessons and changes that we have learnt over the past three years and apply them to our new world. People are moving differently, behaving differently and shopping differently, so as advertisers we need to use our technology to target differently to avoid being left behind."

June Cheung, head of JAPAC at Scope3

“2022 was a pivotal year of discovery and education for the media industry when it comes to sustainable digital advertising practices. 

“Collectively, there is a much deeper understanding of how changes to our media buying actions can play a role in fighting climate change. In 2023 I expect to see a step change in the number of agencies, brands and publishers turning this knowledge into action – not only implementing robust measurement but also measures to reduce emissions via green premiums or green media products. 

“The step change will occur because it is the right thing to do for the planet, but also the necessary thing to do for continued business success as stakeholders and investors move to demand transparency and tangible reductions of emissions.”

Sanjaya Molligoda, co-founder of iion

"With the demise of the third party cookie and shifts in consumer behaviour is on advertisers to be future-fit in order to engage with audiences in more personalised ways, The ways audiences engage with advertising campaigns is also now rapidly shifting in a booming gaming economy.’

"According to In-Game Advertising (IGA): Global Market Report 2022, video game usage has increased by 75% and demand for interactive games has also soared since the pandemic. Valued at AU$296 billion in 2021, the Gaming Market is expected to reach a value of AU$507.5 billion by 2027, registering a CAGR of 8.94% over 2022-2027, according to a new report.

"Latest research also shows that gamers spend twice as much time watching intrinsic in-game ads than on other digital channels. Gaming viewers are in front of the screen with 100% attention on the screen. You won’t find that opportunity anywhere else in today’s digital environment.

"Brands need new innovative ways to connect with their target audience, beyond traditional media. Gaming is that new channel that helps advertisers and consumers to connect while that target audience is wearing the ‘gamers hat’.

"For advertisers, this exponential rise in the gaming community represents a massive opportunity  to get extremely close to the end consumer – an engaged and entertained audience – with contextually relevant, personalised and authentic messaging. In order to engage this growing audience, brands in 2023 will need to find more innovative ways to provide better advertising experiences in the game, around the game, and away from the game, across all digital worlds.

"But what does this mean? Let’s take a look:

  • In-game: Non-intrusive advertising solutions that blend in-game for an optimal gaming experience.
  • Around the game: Ads appear in the lower area of the game. Alternatively, banners, interstitials or rewarded videos appear in the middle of the gaming experience.
  • Away from the game: Reaching gamers in the omnipresent ecosystem outside of gameplay where they consume gaming news, streaming and content marketing.

"The end result needs to be a fun experience for the brand’s audience to engage with advertising campaigns, without disrupting the gaming journey."

Imran Masood, country manager for AUNZ at DoubleVerify 

“Value-based consumers (that is, people who buy goods or services from brands which align with their values) are on the rise and set to accelerate. 

“In fact, a recent DoubleVerify research report revealed the majority of Australian consumers are less likely to purchase from or use a brand if the values of the company don’t align with their own, or if they see the brand advertised next to content that they determined to be mis-/disinformation. As the fall-out from Kanye West’s most recent scandal illustrates, brands must be able to act swiftly and decisively to avoid reputational risk.

“It’s no longer enough for advertisers to just ‘show up’ in the myriad of digital touchpoints, channels and devices at a consumer’s fingertips. Instead, brands must grab consumer’s attention through relevance, appropriate positioning, and shared values. 

“Being able to do this at scale and in real-time is no small task, so it will be imperative for brands and their agencies to utilise quality data and solutions in order to protect their brand values and align themselves with kindred spirits.”

Eric Fan, CEO and co-founder of Lumos

"Echoing what Essie Wake (JCDecaux CMO) shared, 2023 will be the year of OOH advertising. I also think the growth in Out-of-Home will accelerate the need for digital and data-centric OOH infrastructure to help advertisers and media buyers to realise the true potential of what they are getting in return. 

"We have seen more and more advertisers asking the million-dollar questions - "how do I know my OOH campaigns are working and how can I validate it like the digital channel?" The truth is that it requires more than just one data source to prove. Unlike the digital channel, which can be measured by digital touch points and conversions, OOH needs to capture more data points and context to validate a meaningful engagement in a non-digital environment.

"Fortunately, with the progressive development of 5G, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and advanced data analytics, we can now build and scale an infrastructure that can seamlessly measure and analyse the interaction between an audience and an OOH asset. The other exciting opportunity is to leverage this data-led OOH infrastructure to bridge the physical OOH environment with digital retargeting, allowing advertisers to set up more sales funnels and measure ad impact.

"We are super excited to be the newest member of the OMA to assist and support the development of this OOH revolution and work with other like-minded media innovators to drive this change!"

Ross Candido, VP for ANZ and South-East Asia at Meltwater

“Social media listening is old hat - if you aren’t on top of that, then you are really behind as we are moving into an era of social intelligence. 

“Leading marketers and communicators are focusing less on what is being said by social users at a granular level, but rather what the integrated social and customer data from the world’s largest focus group can tell us. From persona mapping, to community building and product development research, social intelligence has a world of possibilities you can tap into in real-time and at scale to inform brand strategies. 

“As we are moving into a cookie-less future and facing tighter data and privacy regulation, it will be critical for marketers to tap into this rich dataset to reach and provide a personalised experience to its customers and earn both their loyalty and trust.”

Josif Zanich, MD APAC for Amobee and David Haddad, MD ANZ for Unruly

"Advertising spend is set to slow down next year as brands tighten their belt buckles. Doing more with less will be critical as advertisers need to ensure every dollar spent works as hard as possible to reach the right audience. To achieve this, advertisers will need to spend more time planning and optimising campaigns using tools like Amobee’s Brand Intelligence, that provides unique insights into consumer behaviour and opportunities to activate and measure campaign performance across screens.

"2022 was when the streaming wars broke out globally. With the cost of living increasing in Australia, there could be a significant shift from SVOD to AVOD. While advertisers are excited for additional inventory from ad-funded video on demand platforms, there are still concerns around targeting, volume of viewers, measurement and understanding how to leverage this premium content source without negatively affecting consumer experience. With the rise of more AVOD players, tech providers are also gearing up to offer a combined buying solution for more efficiencies. 

"Another challenge that will have a significant impact on advertisers is access to broadcast data. With the trend of smart TV manufacturers, Connected TV platforms and other publishers pulling their user data in-house, it’s creating increased friction for brands looking to activate a unified campaign across TV and digital sources. The amount of data available today is unprecedented and it will continue to grow exponentially, making it increasingly difficult for marketers to keep up with the pace of change and adapt strategies accordingly. 

"While there was a lot of talk around Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) data in the last couple of months, there is still a lot of confusion around what it means and what it can unlock. Simply put, ACR technology can be applied to both audio and video content – Shazam uses ACR to recognise songs while Smart TVs incorporate ACR to recognise ads and shows that are being watched. It can be an extremely powerful tool for advertisers, however, they’ll need to find the right partner that has access to a large ACR dataset. In Australia, Amobee and Unruly have partnerships with leading ACR providers including VIDAA.

"In 2023, advertisers need to leverage a diversified blend of TV viewership data, including Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) data, and future-proofed cookieless solutions to effectively reach and measure audiences with precision and scale. Amobee and Unruly have recently come together to offer end-to-end market leading solutions for advertisers. With the constant slew of changes within the industry, having a tech partner that is solution-focused rather than product-based can help deliver greater success."

Adele Wieser, regional MD for APAC at Index Exchange

"2023 will see tighter governmental regulations that define and bolster consumer rights around the use of their digital data as large platforms move away from third-party cookies and mobile identifiers. 

"This is a positive step, as change often unlocks opportunities for innovation. Delivering a multichannel and multiscreen experience, whilst keeping privacy concerns at bay, is the biggest opportunity for marketers and is equally a chance to help put a greater emphasis on consumer trust in our industry. 

"TV finds itself at the centre of digital disruption, and marketers are funnelling their dollars to follow consumer consumption across the broad range of available formats and environments. They are constantly searching for flexible buying options, operational efficiency, and enhanced data targeting options that only programmatic has the opportunity to provide.

"CTV is all about marrying the engaging TV experience with the efficiency of digital, which can help marketers deliver on both brand and performance objectives. A report from the IAB found that 57% of media buyers feel CTV is more effective than linear TV at delivering website or sales actions, and 46% more effective at delivering brand perception. 

"The opportunity for programmatic to do for TV what it did for display is bigger than ever before. We predict that 2023 will introduce the implementation of secure standards into the CTV supply path, giving marketers full visibility into each transaction as CTV continues on its trajectory to deliver brand awareness and drive engagement."

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