Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My 2022 Predictions: Jon Mew, Chief Executive, IAB UK

NDA, in partnership with Xandr, is collecting the views of some of our industry’s leading figures for their predictions on 2022 and beyond. Next up is Jon Mew, Chief Executive, IAB UK.

How will diversity in media planning evolve in 2022?

Brands are increasingly aware of the ethical impact of their media planning. We’ve seen that many are now asking how they can proactively invest in niche, minority-owned media owners and – as a result – reach often underrepresented but highly valuable audiences.

This is great on many levels – for the smaller publications that need ad support, for the audiences that enjoy their content, for the brands that gain traction with hard-to-reach consumers and, overall, for our digital ecosystem that thrives on diversity. As demand grows, we hope to see investment in smaller sites continue, allowing these publications to further develop the amount of content they produce and their ad offerings.

To help support this, we’ve worked with Wavemaker and Nationwide to create an introduction to digital display advertising aimed at helping smaller media owners – which often don’t have specialist teams – to get to grips with standard practice and expectations from the industry. 

And how will it evolve within the industry itself?

Our industry needs different perspectives in order to do things differently and to create work that truly resonates with people. Our shared focus in 2022 should be on making sure we’re attracting a diverse range of new starters, as well as continuing to challenge the status quo to ensure we’re holding on to and nurturing the talent we have. Consider the stats.

According to the All In Census, 1 in 3 black people in our industry don’t feel like they belong in advertising, and 1 in 5 people with a disability are likely to leave their company. Meanwhile, reports show that women over 30 leave the industry in droves. By sharing, copying and building on initiatives that work, we can all do more to create a truly inclusive industry. You can find ideas from IAB members here.

What are the biggest challenges for the digital advertising industry when it comes to sustainability and how will they be overcome?

There has been a lot of buzz around sustainability in the past year. This is brilliant, but the reality is that achieving net zero by 2030 (as the IAB and many of our members have committed to do) is a massive challenge – particularly when consumerism is so fundamental to the industry’s commercial success.

And yet I do believe that advertising and digital technology are both vital to help combat climate change. As an industry, we have the ability to spur people into action and the skills to develop green alternatives. Nevertheless, it’s going to take a huge amount of work, and cooperation to achieve net zero, along with some difficult decisions.

This isn’t only about cutting back on flights or putting on vegan catering at events, although that does of course help. It’s about all of us actively questioning established processes across the digital supply chain and prioritising sustainability even more than profit. 

What technology or innovation are you most excited about for 2022?

2022 is going to be a really exciting and interesting year for digital innovation. It feels as though we are on the cusp of a new chapter of the pandemic and, for our industry, that will be about navigating people’s digital behaviours as they shift once more. We know from our Real Living research that more and increasingly diverse audiences are embracing online channels – from gaming to audio – and a growing suite of solutions is providing advertisers with ways to seamlessly integrate into these highly engaged environments.

Building on this, it’s impossible not to mention the metaverse. While for many it remains a much discussed yet abstract concept, the metaverse stands to redraw the barrier between our real and virtual worlds. We will see brands pioneer new ways of communicating with people, yet it will be those that can marry vast innovation with the age-old principles of successful marketing that will win out.