Roundup: 2022 Adtech & Martech Predictions

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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 measurement and advertising optimization, consumer trust, contextual ads, and marketing with social good as a guiding principle.

Laura Manning, senior director of strategic partnerships, Lucid

Consumer sentiment is changing at a faster rate than ever before, and marketers must take notice of how this can impact their brand’s reputation and messaging. Running advertising campaigns for months, quarters, or even years without analyzing what’s working (or not) needs to finally become a practice of the past. It can be difficult for marketers to stay on top of what’s happening in the moment but those who aren’t leveraging real-time data to analyze performance and adjust campaigns in-flight may lose ground to those who are actively iterating on actionable data.
As measurement becomes more sophisticated, it needs to be incorporated throughout the full customer journey, not just as something that happens at a point in time or as data featured in a wrap-up report when the campaign ends. Brands should treat every campaign as a living experiment, using real-time data to go through an iterative process and making in-flight decisions to help hit their desired outcomes.

Jim Johnson, VP of account planning,

2022 will be the year that trust in digital media and advertising makes its comeback. The triumvirate of choice, content, and video will be key in tipping the value exchange between digital marketers and consumers back toward a state of equilibrium.

The current state of trust in media brands and digital advertising formats is dire, with an average trust rating across online channels of just 11% according to Kantar’s recent Media Reactions report. Social media was cited as the least trustworthy form of digital media — not surprising given recent press around data privacy and revelations of questionable practices. Marketers also have more trust in the ads and channels they buy compared to the consumers who view those ads.

This disconnect occurs when the goals of each respective side are misaligned, with marketers seeking media efficiency and reach, while consumers seek access to content with a low tolerance for repetitive or intrusive ad formats. Perhaps this is why linear and streaming TV ads were deemed the most trustworthy. Appearing alongside vetted, peer-reviewed, and self-selected or curated content is likely lifting these formats to the top of their respective rankings.

Bridging the trust gap requires marketers to approach the idea of value exchange differently. Replacing high-frequency, low-impact banners or pre-roll videos with user opt-in or self-selected video ads is one way to empower consumers with choice. Adding expert third-party content or reviews to your advertising is another way to add credibility versus self-promoting your product or service. But perhaps the surest way to evoke a sense of trust in consumers is to treat them like they are already customers.

Hersh Patel, Founder and CEO, Hindsight

2022 is the year of contextual. With cookies going away and cookieless identifiers proving to be less effective as a replacement, advertisers are going to need to make contextual strategies work for them. But traditional contextual targeting strategies won’t cut it. Advertisers will need to be able to leverage creative contextual strategies like dynamic content optimization (DCO) to be able to form creative around granular contextual signals.

Today, contextual targeting is typically executed against a fixed category-based taxonomy usually formatted around the IAB taxonomy. But a broad category-based strategy hasn’t been driving meaningful ROI for most advertisers. Instead, advertisers and their contextual tech stack will need to leverage custom taxonomies that matter to their brands and leverage DCO to change creative messaging around those granular custom contextual signals.

For example, instead of a sports betting brand contextually targeting ads so that football creatives run on football content or basketball creative on basketball content, the brand can use DCO to have ads showcase information relevant to a specific team or player that an article is about. That narrows the contextual scope from sports/leagues to teams/players. Or instead of music streaming platforms targeting ads around genres of music, they can use DCO to change messaging in the ads to be relevant to songs or artists mentioned in an article.

Contextual NLP technologies have come a long way to enable brands to leverage granular custom parameters instead of relying on bulky, broad fixed taxonomies that most contextual targeting companies offer. In 2022, brands will combine that with more sophisticated creative strategies like DCO to be able to drive optimization in a cookie-less world.

Amy Williams, Founder and CEO, Good-Loop

In 2022, there’s going to be an increased focus across the ad tech sector on addressing the negative impact the industry has on the environment, specifically Adland’s carbon output. The internet is responsible for around 4% of global CO2 emissions, which is the same as the airline industry. A staggering number when you think about it. A sizable chunk of that number is taken up by digital advertising, so there’s a real urgency across the industry to tackle this problem head on.

It’s a problem that’s only going to get worse, with digital ad spend expected to increase 17.5% next year. And with that, comes even more of an economic impact. It’s crucial companies step up and lead the way in the digital ad space, balancing social impact with commercial returns, providing a glimpse of what the future can be if we can follow the money to net-zero carbon emissions.

One company that’s leading the charge is Google. Google is on a journey to operate carbon-free by 2030 and is trying to get its users to do the same. Last month, they announced a series of features that allow people to make more sustainable choices while using their products, offering suggestions that allow users to plan greener travel. And this is just the start.

As more research and development goes into this idea, be on the lookout for how companies meet this new challenge. The technology is here — as well as the warnings of what will happen if we don’t reduce our CO2 emissions. 2022 is finally going to be the year the advertising tech industry starts to be proactive in fighting carbon output and reducing the negative effects they have had on the environment.