2022 Martech Predictions on Retail Media, CTV/OTT, and Messaging

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Each month, Street Fight sources expert insights from the businesses in our ecosystem on our theme. This month’s theme is 2022 predictions, and our experts share their takes on the growth of retail media and CTV/OTT, the attention recession, and the increasing centrality of messaging to marketing.

Sean Turner, CTO, Swiftly

The fastest-growing digital advertisers will be brick-and-mortar grocery retailers in 2022. Consumers still prefer to shop in physical grocery stores, creating a massive opportunity for grocers to unlock revenue through in-store advertising in a digital format. And more so than e-commerce leaders like Amazon, brick-and-mortar grocers have all the ingredients to succeed, as the grocery industry has far greater transaction volume and distribution points. With those advantages, brick-and-mortar retailers need to implement retail media networks that capture incremental advertising revenue.

There will also be more pressure on brick-and-mortar retailers to develop true omnichannel capabilities as factors like inflation, inventory shortages, and shipping challenges make e-commerce more costly and elevate the importance of the in-store shopping experience. As Amazon and Instacart expand further into the physical retail space, retailers will need to deploy omnichannel shopping that augments the strengths of retail store locations with an engaging digital experience to get ahead of e-commerce players.

Chris Beer, Trends Manager, GWI

The pandemic has been a boon for the media industry, bringing more people online and driving more interest in news consumption in 2020. The introduction of a global lockdown gave entertainment, cable, and streaming brands a prime opportunity to push new and valuable content in front of media-hungry consumers. However, as more consumers get vaccinated and pick up out-of-home activities again, we may see them begin to divert their attention away from the screen, pushing us into what some are calling the “attention recession.” 

As the options for entertainment are more fragmented than ever, the battle for consumer attention has reached new heights in this post-lockdown and post-remote environment. To further compete for both attention and market share, brands need to reimagine the content, the technology, and the distribution channels, making sure to meet consumers where they are. And at a time when gaming has captured more of Gen Z’s attention than TV, it’s clear that what once may have worked really well simply won’t do the trick anymore.

Gijsbert Pols, Lead Product Strategist, Adjust

CTV/OTT subscription overload will create opportunities for more free channels, inviting a lot more advertising.  

The difference from 2021 to 2022 in CTV and OTT streaming is that we’re going to see a lot more options for free channels that are ad-supported — and so a lot more advertising inventory will surface that hadn’t before. There is a limit to the number of subscriptions people are willing to take on for streaming services. To get their content, people are moving to AVOD. A recent Hub Research survey already shows that 41% of respondents prefer to watch free content with ads in every show. We expect to see this increase next year.

This additional inventory will not only give advertisers more opportunities to advertise on CTV, it will also have a profound effect on how they relate to advertising. The ‘C’ in CTV is allowing TV advertising to shift from branding into a key performance marketing channel. The analytics that advertisers are now being offered through channels like OneView with Roku are going to allow them to have a much different level of insight and bend their campaigns from brand awareness to brand experience and increasingly also direct response.

Matt Ramerman, President of Sinch for Marketing

Here are three predictions for digital advertising and the online customer experience.

1. Conversational advertising takes hold: In 2022, the lines between the different stages of the buyer’s journey will continue to blur with conversational advertising. Conversational advertising, the process of activating messaging channels to enhance the customer experience of an advertisement, enables brands to take customers directly from a clickable ad to a live conversation on the customer’s preferred messaging channels. This improved customer experience helps to boost engagement and loyalty earlier in the buyer’s journey.

2. E-commerce is moving from dot-com to messaging: Customers are indicating that they want to be able to shop a catalog in real-time within their messaging channels, either with a live agent or an AI-powered chatbot. Walmart has shown progress in this area with its Text to Shop offering, and I anticipate that other leading ecommerce brands will transition to conversational ecommerce as well in 2022. Whereas web shopping is static and sometimes clunky, conversational e-commerce will fuse the personality and connection of browsing in-store with the convenience of online shopping.

3. Chatbots continue to evolve beyond customer service: Thanks to natural language understanding (NLU), the smartest chatbots are capable of comprehending (and matching) the tone and dialect of a customer. In 2022, brands will take this a step further by enhancing their chatbots with branded personalities. For example, if a brand has an iconic mascot, they’ll be able to bring them into the messaging channel via a chatbot, adding depth to the customer’s brand experience and differentiating them from competitors.