Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

My 2022 Predictions: Tom Harrison, Executive Director, Head of Programmatic & Display, MG OMD

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 Tom Harrison, Executive Director, Head of Programmatic & Display, MG OMD.

What channels provide the most exciting opportunities for digital advertising in 2022?

Ongoing regulatory change and investment in ad tech innovation means that 2022 is an exciting time in digital advertising. I’ll avoid the temptation to herald the growth of CTV opportunity here, despite the clear prospect for brands to leverage data driven, large screen messaging at the heart of the home. 

OOH and the opportunity to scale location-based, data-informed audiences tops the list for me.  The continued digitisation of OOH panels, along with the ability to integrate real-world contextual signals (location, weather, stock availability, pollution levels etc) provides scope for brands to maximise smart creative dynamism across what is an eye catching, impactful media.

What buying challenges are there in delivering a seamless experience across all formats in digital advertising and what do you see happening in 2022 to help overcome this??

Inconsistency in targeting, buying currencies and measurement have meant that a true seamless cross-channel, multi-format approach to digital advertising has always been a challenge to achieve. 

In today’s market, the positive movement towards great user privacy regulation brings with it a further challenge in delivering on this.  I’d argue that our responsibility as an industry to respect user anonymity far outweighs the need to deliver on full consistency here.  Where we will start to see solutions is through the smart use of publisher logged in, first party data. 

The key UK broadcaster and news publisher businesses are in a strong position to offer the closest thing to a seamless experience here, providing a means to target consented audiences with a unified ad experience across their portfolio of commercial products. 

What new formats will deliver better results for advertisers and better experiences for consumers in 2022?

We work in a fast-paced industry where market evolution gives rise to a plethora of new and progressive opportunity for brands. In terms of format innovation, we’ve long been blessed with broad choice to deliver on brand objectives from meaningful reach through to sales and customer life time value. 

The rise of conversational ad units offers an opportunity for further interaction between brand and consumer In 2022.  Rather than a push message, conversational formats provide scope for a two way dialogue, enabling brands to gather real-time insight, direct from the consumer.  The native nature of these formats also allows for a non-intrusive and contextually relevant integration into a user’s given browsing environment.  In a market where we’ll see an increased shift to measuring attention, conversational ads offer a smart route to delivering on this.

How will the distinctions between brand and performance advertising evolve?

There will continue to be less of a distinction between so-called brand and performance advertising.  The reality is all advertising is expected to “perform” against a given objective, be that a short-term sales goal or long term brand ambition.  Advances in measurement and the proliferation of real-time data signals, both user based and contextual, have meant we’ve shifted to an approach of constant advertising optimisation. 

This in turn has contributed towards erosion of the delineation between brand and performance advertising.  Parallel to this is the realisation that a traditional purchase funnel isn’t always representative of human behaviour, with a consumer journey rarely being that linear.