Predictions 2022: Adtech, privacy reforms, telcos become the marketplace

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 17 December 2021

The advertising industry can expect to see increased privacy reforms in 2022, say industry experts.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of how their data is being used over recent years. This has coincided with changes from tech companies, such as the phasing out of third-party cookies.

The Trade Desk general manager James Bayes says regulators will start to act and implement reforms to protect people’s privacy.

“2022 will see a re-thinking of our industry shaped by growing consumer understanding of the value of their online data and right to privacy and regulatory reform in the areas of privacy, transparency and anti competitive oversight,” Bayes says.

Updated technology will also shake things up, with InMobi’s Richard O’Sullivan predicting that 5G will allow telcos to become the marketplace.

“Once fixed 5G is available in households, telcos will have the opportunity to move from being simply the ‘pipe’ that powers the digital marketplace, to being the marketplace itself,” O’Sullivan says.

“They have the breadth across their networks and devices to become a one-stop shop for everything from mobile phones, television provider, home security system provider, smart cars and more. This will have an exponential impact on the proliferation of data from IoT and bring an increased number of users into the digital universe.”

Dan Richardson, Yahoo AUNZ head of data
Brands are desperate to connect with younger audiences and immersive technology is the key to doing that in 2022. Next year we'll see the sustained growth and mainstreaming of object placement-based AR across multiple verticals and alongside metaverse-based experiences. For the ultimate success, these experiences will need to be grounded in robust sales and footfall measurements and incorporated into omnichannel marketing strategies. But what's adtech without data? In 2022 the relationship between a marketer's first-party data and a publisher's first-party audiences will grow even stronger. Especially when founded on a basis of direct to consumer relationships and consent. I believe more marketers will look outside of walled gardens for privacy solutions that put preference on their own tech and inventory, and provide transparency.

James Bayes, The Trade Desk general manager
The past 18 months have seen an acceleration in data driven marketing as brands search for ways to capitalise on consumer swings toward digital channels and the efficiency and measurability they bring. Lockdown fuelled uncertainty and global supply chain issues have compounded the shift towards programmatic advertising as marketing teams become more accountable than ever for their investment decisions and seek out channels that give flexibility to respond quickly to changing dynamics. While parts of the industry felt a reprieve when Google pushed out the deadline for cookie deprecation this year, 2022 will see a re-thinking of our industry shaped by three forces:
Growing consumer understanding of the value of their online data and right to privacy.
Regulatory reform in the areas of privacy, transparency and anti competitive oversight .
Advertiser’s continued demand for targeted and measurable media at scale.
These issues need to be carefully balanced to ensure a vibrant, open internet supported by a robust ad funded business model. At the same time, publishers should be careful not to build an internet filled with ‘mini walled gardens’ that impact brands’ability to market effectively across the open web, handing even greater control to global platforms. We have a chance to create a better ecosystem for brands, publishers and consumers…. 2022 will see us take giant leaps in that direction.

Minsun Collier, MediaCom Australia national head of data and technology acceleration
The open web will be challenged, which will hurt this sector in three ways:

  • More publishers are opting to develop their own walled gardens and ecosystems. The impact for the sector is that most advertising technology is built for the open web. Every DSP is designed for the open web. With walled gardens, you access their owned platform (ie. Business Manager, Yahoo/ Amazon DSP).
  • The death of cookies is going to be troublesome for the open web, too. Cookies were designed for the open web for measurement, attribution, data collection/aggregation and targeting. It’s all going to struggle because the privacy reform may impact solutions like UID 2.0 – is the consent framework they offer going to work from a regulatory perspective?
  • The way people are accessing the internet challenges the open web, as more and more of us are consuming content through platforms like TV and mobile, and Apple is reforming privacy their own way.

Gai Le Roy, IAB Australia CEO
The digital advertising market will continue to flourish in 2022, but our collective focus will be standards, codes, regulation, and reviewing and introducing new areas of industry governance. As an industry we’ll be working hard on the local Privacy Act review, ACCC Digital Ad Services Inquiry recommendations and a raft of other local and global reviews on a range of industry topics, so those in our industry with legal and commercial understanding and experience will be in high demand. The IAB will be working alongside industry, helping to develop frameworks and ways of operating that help the digital economy thrive, while also meeting the expectations of consumers and Government. As we close out 2022, I think collectively we’ll have a sense of renewed focus and optimism for the way we operate and how we engage with consumers.

Brandon Lee, PubMatic data and audience director
2022 will see a more efficient and mutually beneficial dynamic emerge for advertisers, publishers and consumers as the open internet comes together to develop scalable solutions for addressability. The ecosystem will continue to rethink data-driven advertising, placing consumer privacy and consent at the centre and adopting a portfolio approach that encompasses deterministic and probabilistic alternative identifiers, revived and rebooted contextual targeting and first party data.
As the industry tries out new ways of working, SSPs will have an increasingly important role to play in bringing publishers, data providers and advertisers together to solve for identity and addressability. Their proximity to publishers, and thus consumers, means fewer hops around the ecosystem, making SSPs uniquely positioned to help solve for data control and data privacy protection.

Richard O’Sullivan, InMobi vice president and general manager
When our industry talks about the impact of 5G, we tend to focus on how increased speeds will transform streaming content, gaming, live-events, and ‘meta’ type immersive experiences. What is less talked about is how it has the potential to transform how telco companies operate – and the effect this will have on the media and advertising landscape. Once fixed 5G is available in households, telcos will have the opportunity to move from being simply the ‘pipe’ that powers the digital marketplace, to being the marketplace itself. They have the breadth across their networks and devices to become a one-stop shop for everything from mobile phones, television provider, home security system provider, smart cars and more. This will have an exponential impact on the proliferation of data from IoT and bring an increased number of users into the digital universe. Over time (we expect to see the first moves by telcos in 2022) this will have significant impact on how brands reach and interact with their consumers and pave the way for new types of marketing opportunities and alliances.

Josif Zanich, Amobee managing director
Since the early 2000s, digital media has been laser-focused on understanding impressions, unique reach, viewability and frequency. While the evolution of digital has paved the way for greater measurement, the status quo is being challenged. Apple, Google and Safari have taken a position on privacy, which has left the future of measurement somewhat uncertain. However, all is not lost. With change comes opportunity, and a shift in our approach to data and measurement is guaranteed. Using TV measurement as an example, I see there being an increase in the importance of using panels, samples and surveys to inform total TV viewership. The desire to find a true 1-to-1 view of a customer could eventually be outdated, and making sense of multiple data points to tell a story will become common practice.

Juliette Stead, Magnite senior vice president and head of JAPAC
Live sports will be the absolute success story of 2022 both in terms of digital consumption and increased programmatic monetisaton. The success of the Tokyo Olympics this year unequivocally showed that consumers are hungry for live sports content and 2022 will be filled with the Winter Olympics and Super Bowl with SevenWest Media, Australian Open and NRL on 9, World Cup Football on SBS, and the EPL with Optus Sports. We can expect to see tremendous investments from broadcasters in solid tech infrastructure to create the best possible audience and advertising experiences which will enable live sport to be watched uninterrupted. Get ready – it’s going to be a cracking year for live sports consumed through connected devices.

Tiffany Foxwell, Flashtalking by Mediaocean head of client services
Marketing forecasts remain optimistic as we move into 2022, despite the ongoing uncertainties around COVID-19. Going forward, advertisers will be looking to increase their range of digital marketing channels in line with the audiences they are trying to reach; harnessing new opportunities in DOOH, social commerce, and CTV. To keep pace with rapidly evolving consumer habits and any future consequences of the pandemic, marketers must put sufficient emphasis on creative development and formatting, which will allow ad campaigns to successfully span multiple channels. Those who have not yet adopted an omnichannel approach in their advertising risk falling behind, not just in their targeting, but also in measurement terms. An increased choice in media platforms will challenge the industry to ditch traditional metrics such as CTR and instead develop a single, persistent form of measurement to demonstrate success.”

Luke Dickens, Lotame managing director
ID solutions for the open web are going to be invaluable for publisher monetization, so in 2022 collaboration will dramatically increase. ID partners in 2021 operated in the identity arena like a circular firing squad. Everyone claims their privacy is better than others, and everyone who has a solution wants to say theirs is the only one that works. In reality, all have to work together. Put down your arms, identity vendors, publishers and marketers. Instead, let’s focus on our common goal of giving the consumer transparency and control while making everything more efficient. The end result will be better for everyone involved.

Nicole Prior, Xandr managing director
As the industry marches towards a cookieless future, the conversation among buyers will shift from a fascination with a “one ring to rule them all” mentality to solving this sizeable challenge with a multi-pronged approach. The future will involve a mixture of first-party data activated safely, and at scale, leveraging robust industry identifier solutions and the ongoing refinement of contextual solutions. Each business will weight these options differently based on where they are in their programmatic advertising and customer data journey. The key is to be decisive and test the various solutions available. Media plan diversity will move from a nice-to-have conversation you have with your board, to a key part of how you plan and trade media. Brands are increasingly wanting to align their media and advertising practices with societal shifts and be more inclusive in terms of the consumers they engage with. Defining this and executing this can be challenging given just how fragmented the media ecosystem is. Curated marketplaces can go a long way towards helping brands bring in the right media partners into a single deal ID, overlaying it with business rules that matter and do so with a level of transparency that provides oversight of how much of your investment is making it into the hands of your diverse media partners. The confluence of ongoing COVID-related lockdowns and premium tentpole live viewing events such as the Tokyo Olympics, the EURO 2020 final and our favourite reality TV shows has driven record numbers of streams as Aussies embraced the convenience of AVOD and BVOD services. The stakes were high and programmatic advertising in live streaming environments delivered gold for advertisers, broadcasters and consumers. As technology continues to improve the customer experience and deliver more relevant advertising, more brands will have the confidence to invest in programmatic video, especially as the on-demand vs live streaming balance continues to evolve.

Ilda Jamison, Quantcast Australia managing director
It’s no surprise that COVID-19 has had the biggest impact on us all over the last 18 months. Due to the increase in home-based customers, businesses have had to focus on digital marketing to reach their consumers in an increasingly congested digital landscape. Quantcast's recent survey of media agencies and advertisers revealed that media budgets will grow to meet this highly digitised market with more than 56% of agencies and 45% of brands planning an increase in their digital advertising budgets in the new year.

As attribution becomes more complex to track across an abundance of media platforms and channels, measurement and what success looks like will remain difficult to navigate. The challenge will be for all parties to build their first-party data strategies and have a plan for ad targeting, activation and measurement in the post cookie world. Businesses that leverage the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning effectively are likely to find themselves in a very competitive position. Moreover, advertisers will need to embrace new technological solutions that reduce and eventually entirely remove reliance on third party cookies. The time has come to collaboratively work towards a future where a common identity solution is transparent and fair for everyone in the industry.

Damien Healy, MiQ digital operations officer
2022 will see ongoing adaptation to new ways to manage identity online and indeed lot of focus on advertising types that aren’t ID-dependent. Aside from the cookie continuing to crumble, mobile IDs are under threat and there’s a clear trend towards increased privacy regulation in Australia. 2022 is another key year for brands and advertising businesses to adapt towards the future of digital identity.

Gagan Batra, Insighten director
Digital ad spending will continue to grow in 2022 and we will see a shift towards brand-building campaigns, driving awareness and top of funnel marketing vs the performance campaigns which dominated the advertising world (thanks to cookies) over the past decade. Creative messaging over granular audience targeting will take the driver seat as brands would want their message to be conveyed and recalled by the target group so they consider the brand while making their next purchase. However, measuring the demand generated by the brand campaigns through simple website visits is not going to cut it. Marketers will have an increasingly complex job of proving the return of their brand campaigns to the business, and sophisticated and proven measurement solutions built for their business models would be required in the growing data and privacy-first world.

Imran Masood, DoubleVerify general manager
The industry has been talking about the rise of video over the last few years, but 2022 will see hockey stick growth in video everywhere. Australia is now at 75% of its 5G rollout and this, combined with the lockdown-induced upswing in e-commerce and digital acceleration, will turbo-charge all forms of video in advertising, particularly in things like shoppable interactive video ads across CTV and mobile. Measurement technology, which has previously left many video impressions either unmeasured or unprotected, will evolve to cover the total addressable marketplace. This will enable brands to more accurately measure the quality and performance of their video investments across the fragmented supply chain. We expect that this will create confidence for brands as they scale video investments across all channels which, in turn, will fuel further growth.

Magic, managing director Jordan Taylor-Bartels
And we thought 2021 would be different to 2020; that I could not predict.
Despite cookies allowing advertisers to get closer and closer to a single customer view, it still left non-digital performance in the dark. For 2022, as we creep closer to the final chapter of the cookie-saga, I expect to see businesses lean into the realm of mathematics and modelling to help better understand their customers and quantify the impact marketing has on bottom lines. And for agencies and businesses that have not yet recognised the benefits, this demand may also result in more mathematicians - who were typically destined for positions in risk and finance – snapped up by marketing teams.

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