It has been a busy conference season and we are just getting started. With AdExachanger’s Programmatic I/O in Las Vegas, Digiday in Palm Springs, Admonsters and Cannes, we’ve already seen half of the year pass by. We’ve had a chance to review some of the key talking points for 2022.

The Cookieless Future Isn’t Near: It’s Here!

More than three-quarters of advertisers rely on third-party cookies to reach their target markets while 69% believe the upcoming deadline will have a more significant impact on the advertising and marketing sectors than GDPR.  But in reality, a quarter of internet users are already unavailable to advertisers who rely on third-party cookies due to browsers such as Safari and Firefox banning them. This adds up to 1.23 billion people worldwide. So what can advertisers and marketers do to prepare?

Advertisers and marketers need to re-build relationships with their key publishers. Advertisers are already only talking to around 40-70% of their audience effectively, or in other words, they are predominantly talking to their audience in Chrome. Efforts are being made to work with their agency and technology partners to engage with those publishers in order to discuss and align their goals and objectives to forge an identity and data strategy that will work within the right context to deliver on the outcomes they are looking to achieve.

The time to act is now.  If you haven’t already made a plan for cookieless environments there is no better time to start. Relationships matter and you will need a flexible contextual, identity, and data strategy to work across your publishers and formats.

Finding the Right Creative Approach: Customized or Templated?

A regular topic at ad tech conferences for a few years now, the ad tech sector has routinely focused on technology and overlooked the importance advertising creative. 

“Unique creative formats have been around for quite some time in programmatic and it makes sense why.”, notes Rohan Lala, Vice President of Global Partnerships at YieldMo.  “Standard ad units only give you so much ability to capture a user’s attention so higher impact ads can make a huge difference in ad performance. The problem with high impact ads is the process to set them up is labor intensive. A new wave of dynamic high impact creatives will be the future of creative giving advertisers the ability to make better ads without needing custom set up in advance.”

2022 is set to be a year where advertisers look to strike the right balance between custom and standardized creatives.

Emerging Platforms and Formats

While many of the ad tech giants doubled down on the growth of CTV, others found new and emerging areas to focus on. 

  • In-game advertising: “In-game advertising allows brands to programmatically serve ads within video games that complement the experience by appearing in ad placements that are strategically positioned within the gaming environment to ensure they do not disrupt the play,” said Aditi Ramesh, Director of Programmatic at Anzu, the world’s most advanced in-game advertising platform. “This form of advertising allows brands to reach a highly engaged and extremely diverse audience while respecting the player and generating revenue for the game developer. “With more and more brands discovering the impact that in-game advertising has on campaign performance, industry giants like Xbox and Sony making moves towards ad-funded titles, and with the gaming audience continuing to grow (currently, there are over 3.2 billion players worldwide), it’s hard to overstate the importance that in-game advertising is going to have in transforming the face of digital advertising.”
  • Digital Audio: Make no mistake about it, in 2020 and 2021 the ad tech world was heavily focused on CTV. While we don’t expect that focus to change any time soon, we continue to see parallels between where CTV was 3 years ago and where digital audio is today. There is a lot of demand on the advertiser side and a relatively limited supply footprint. As digital audio continues to evolve, mature and grow, we expect to see ad dollars follow accordingly. In the UK, for example, during Q1 2022, digital audio saw the strongest growth yet, increasing by 500% when compared to Q1 2021. Digital audio has evolved to include a wide variety of supply formats ranging from podcasts, digital radio, text-to-audio, streaming music and much more.

App Mediation

“Mediation is the cornerstone of successful in-app advertising monetization, and recent times have seen major changes in the space.”, notes Matthew Feadler, CTO at IQ Zone.  “ 2021 capped a period of significant consolidation with AppLovin’s billion-dollar acquisition of MoPub, leaving many publishers with difficult questions to answer.”

“So what makes for a quality mediation platform?  Flexibility, reporting, and level of service.  Effective yield optimization requires the ability to experiment with many different partners (both SDK and programmatic), powerful and easy-to-use reporting capabilities, and targeted expertise when things don’t work as expected.  The dominant players such as AppLovin and ironSource possess many of these qualities, and new players such as Aequus and Meson accentuate these core competencies with a focus on customization and neutrality.”

At the end of the day, app developers need to be asking themselves “does my mediation platform let me work with who I want to and in the way I want to, while providing transparency around things like buyers and hidden fees.”

Context Is Key: A New Frontier to Drive Performance

While contextual targeting has been around for over a decade, contextual creative is now getting smarter, more creative and adaptive. Contextual dynamic creative optimization (DCO) can learn from the content around it and adapt to change the content of the ad unit itself to deliver a native and seamless user experience.

Incorporating contextual creative can provide a better advertising experience for users and help entertainment brands gain and keep high-value fans.

The number of subscriptions to online video streaming services around the world reached 1.1 billion in 2020, and that number has only increased since the start of the pandemic. We need to meet our customers where they are, which is on their streaming platforms. 

Brands should use advanced technology that align content more specifically to preferences and the surrounding editorial. Ads tailored to the specific context ensures that the ads are relevant to what specific customers’ want, rather than just airing an ad in the hopes that it will wind up on someone’s screen who is interested. With such a wide variety of content available today and the advancement of data products, advertisers have more options than ever before to understand user interests. With the demise of the cookie, contextual advertising will play an increasingly important role for advertisers looking to connect with their target consumers.  

We look forward to tracking all of these developments and hope to see you all in person in the near future!

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