Well, 2021 was another rollercoaster, wasn’t it? Filled with exciting wins but also internal shrieks (or outbursts, no judgment) of frustration, and the ad tech industry was no exception.
As we countdown the last days of the year and the Omnicron variant attempts to make us nosedive into 2022, we’re not going out like that. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s resilience and mastery of the pivot. So allow us to reflect on some of this year’s ad tech trends, where they took a turn, and how we expect them to play out in the new year.
Third-Party Cookies Are Out Of Here But First Another Bite
How It Started In 2021: The countdown to Chrome eliminating third-party cookies was on everyone’s minds as publishers and brands scrambled to develop a strategy around first-party data and reintroduce themselves to customers.
How It’s Going: In June, Google delayed their original plans and extended third-party cookie usage until the end of 2023, in response to industry opposition and further criticism. This soon morphed into an investigation of Google’s Privacy Sandbox and a potential need for federal regulation to fairly assess antitrust and privacy simultaneously.
Where It May End Up in 2022: A cookieless future is still on the horizon but the true timeline is still TBD. This is met with opposition as some brands are ready to get it over with and others welcome the extension. Either way, we can all attest to how fast time is flying so expect to see more brands take the reins and get innovative with their approach to first-party data.
First-Party Data…I Know It’s Been Awhile
How It Started In 2021: The cookies’ expected crumble forced publishers to set their intentions with first-party data as a new year’s resolution.
How It’s Going: From taking a closer look at data currently collected to adopting alternative ID solutions, a lot of publishers are doing the extra work and digging through the gold mine they may already be sitting on. This, in turn, introduced everyone to zero-party data which in its simplest form is information a consumer provides voluntarily to a publisher, brand, or company.
Where It May End Up In 2022: First-party data will continue to be a priority, with a focus on zero-party data. If publishers commit to rebuilding consumer trust, they will be able to gather personal information by just asking for it. And if they utilize that information to personalize the consumer experience, they’ll uncover more revenue streams thanks to a happy and loyal audience base.
Subscription-Based Apps – Set It and Forget It
How It Started In 2021: We should be in Subscriptions Anonymous for the addiction this pandemic bought out of all of us. Most industries and employees lost money in some way and yet consumer spending in the top 100 non-game subscription-based apps grew by 34% YoY. From food delivery to fitness and everything in between, the quarantine opened Pandora’s box to at least try every free trial.
How It’s Going: It’s still going. Our initial desperation and boredom quickly turned into convenience this year. And after the nearly two years we’ve all had, subscriptions brought a sense of normalcy to the unknown.
How It May End Up In 2022: It’ll keep going..seriously. But don’t take that luxury for granted. Consumers are smart and the market is saturated so if one brand isn’t providing the level of service expected, a competitor certainly will. And while admittedly consumers do forget about certain subscriptions, they never forget a less than favorable experience.
Boom, CTV Stepped In The Room
How It Started In 2021: Connected TV (CTV) was already on an upward trajectory but it exceeded expectations. With an undeniable lead in viewer attention, CTV quickly became the shiny new toy brands wanted a piece of.
How’s It Going: CTV is continuing to advance thanks to significant shifts in media budgets. After the upfront season, Disney saw a 40% commitment for streaming and digital, while NBC received a $500 million commitment for its streaming service, Peacock. And although ad fraud is still an uphill battle for CTV, automatic content recognition (ACR) data is becoming a major player not only in retargeting but also measurement.
How It May End Up In 2022: Even with consumers spending as much time out of the house as possible, CTV consumption is here to stay across all generations, and therefore, it’s a must-have on media buys. Plus with Nielsen recently losing its national and local accreditation from the MRC, ACR data will become a top measurement contender for both streaming and linear TV.
This is just the tip of the iceberg so to say a lot is going on as we enter 2022 is an understatement. But it’s also a really exciting time in ad tech as the industry is evolving and therefore, challenging everyone’s way of thinking. This is a pain right now, but we expect to see major strides in the right direction.