By Karan Singh, Commercial Director, Northern Europe, Xandr
Change has been at the core of digital adland since its inception. Led by tech advancements and consumer behaviour, the programmatic space is fast-moving. Most recently, regulatory changes at both a global and local level has put a spotlight on how we operate, the transparency of our ecosystem and the standard of care we give consumers which is once again igniting a need to change.
As we head into a new year, we have a chance to reflect on the changes that have been, learn from past challenges and build ourselves back up for a better, more sustainable, long-term future. And what will help us get there? Here’s what I think.
Enable action through transparent partnerships
With consumers rightfully back at the centre of what we do, marketers have spent much of 2021 exploring partnerships that will help them drive forward towards a privacy-first future. From addressable to non-addressable identity solutions, brands and agencies are looking hard at each solution in order to consider the longevity and effectiveness of each. With so much optionality, the decision over who to work with and why can feel overwhelming and the default option to retreat into the ‘security’ of the walled gardens can seem appealing. Yes, there is a need for gardens, they offer control and stability, but the key to building a sustainable future, for your business and our industry, will be in ensuring transparency within them.
It is expected that a new set of ‘challenger gardens’ will appear in the new year, where players adopt a ‘walled garden’ go-to-market strategy but built in collaboration with players across the open web means that key stakeholders will have the flexibility to adapt these spaces and to have a say about what goes on within them. Alternatively, at Xandr, we have seen a significant rise in curated marketplaces, affording buyers control over their supply and business operations from the outset, as they work directly with the supplier or suppliers of their own choosing. Whatever direction you choose, whether you build your own ecosystem or take more control over your supply decisioning, transparency will be essential.
Investment across new formats will accelerate
By following consumer habits, brands will need to broaden their investments across multiple formats to meet their audience where they are most engaged. Creative, strategy and activation have been getting closer and closer in recent years. New formats, such as digital-out-of-home, audio as well as digital video and CTV, are increasing in popularity among marketers who must now look to offer consumers the same creative and relevant experience they are currently accustomed to across these different channels and formats.
2022 will be a good year for the creative agency in helping brands achieve a seamless story-telling omnichannel experience. Forward-thinking brands have already seen the opportunity to connect with consumers on a level that goes beyond the simple functionalities of a product. As Patrick Zinga, Automated Media, Data & Technology Lead at Heineken UK wrote in this recent predictions piece, “experiential needs to make a comeback, people want more experiences and they value the brands that give good experiences to them.”
At a time where new partnerships and solutions are being tested thanks to the changing identity landscape, this could be a chance to ring-fence some budget and explore new avenues with creative partners who can help you create an experience that really matters to your end consumer.
Buyers need more than ‘just’ a DSP
Brands have taken huge steps in increasing their knowledge on the technology behind the advertising they’re paying for and as a result, have increased control over their supply decision-making process. Simply put, buyers need more than a DSP and as such, working with a tech partner who can provide clarity across both sides of the ecosystem will result in a more operationally efficient and transparent environment than working across multiple point solutions. Here, buyers can work with their partner to control the quality of the inventory they purchase, optimise the supply path and ensure end to end transparency into fees. The outcome of this is more efficient buying, reduced costs and greater differentiation. A big win for CMOs looking to maximise their return on ad spend.
2022 is set to be an exciting year. As always, our industry will move quickly, new players will come to market, new technologies will be released, and consumer preferences will continue to evolve as a result. We have a lot of work to do, the question is are you ready?
For more predictions, take a look at the Xandr Predictions Hub