Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

The trends that will shape marketing in 2022

By Phil Duffield, UK VP at The Trade Desk

Last year, the flexibility and precision offered by digital advertising saw the industry bounce back bigger and better than ever. Recent data from the IAB’s 2021 H1 Adspend report put UK spending on digital advertising at £10.5 billion, up 49% compared to 2020. With a new year upon us, these three key trends in particular will define the digital advertising landscape in 2022…

The year to get identity right 

The ability to accurately measure across different marketing channels has never been more important. An increasingly large part of everyone’s lives is experienced online and that means brands have multiple opportunities to interact with current and prospective customers in so many different ways throughout the day. Whether on your smart TV, a display board or on your favourite mobile app – getting these interactions right can make the difference between ‘buy’ and ‘bye’.

Regardless of what happens with cookies in the future, they’re an archaic technology that were never intended to do the work they do today – marketers need something that works harder, better and smarter. This transition period should be viewed as a watershed moment, where the advertising industry can seize this opportunity to become more transparent with its audience.

Consumers are waking up to the quid pro-quo of how the internet pays for itself and with that, comes an increased openness to ads. But, at the same time, consumer trust shouldn’t be taken for granted. The Trade Desk’s own research last year found that 79% of Brits are worried about the collection and use of their data on the internet, so it’s vital that any identity solution puts consumers in the driving seat, allowing them to control how and where their data is used. 

As third-party cookies are phased out, a successful new approach to identity – which protects consumer privacy and simultaneously allows the digital advertising industry to flourish – will depend on collaboration. Now is especially the time for the industry to come together and create a level playing field that protects free access to quality content for consumers – and it’s crucial that any solution is industry-wide.

Retailers put digital at the top of their shopping lists

Retail giant Walmart set the pace for retail advertising innovation in 2021 by launching its own demand side platform (DSP) – something we were proud to support them with. This move heralds a shift which will see retail become a core channel for advertisers in the same way that search, Connected TV (CTV) and social are.

Retailers sit on a huge amount of valuable data. With 150 million customers shopping via the company’s website, app and 4,700 stores, Walmart, for example, has an immense volume of unique insight into shopper behaviour. In the UK, retailers have been using loyalty cards – like Tesco’s Clubcard – to develop their customer data for a number of years. These insights provide a huge opportunity for advertisers to activate their data alongside the retailers’ – allowing them to identify and reach important new customers. They also offer the elusive ability to join online with offline – the holy grail for many marketers.

The next step for many retailers is to understand how their data can be harnessed to boost digital advertising. 2022 is the year that retailers of all sizes will embrace the advertising opportunity that their data and insights present.

Meteoric rise of DOOH

After a challenging year, Digital Out of Home (DOOH) is back and bigger than ever. Increasing numbers of screens are digital and available to be purchased programmatically and this digitisation is boosting popularity and spend, with the recent AA/Warc adspend report finding that DOOH will grow by a colossal 53.6% this year.

Long gone are the days of advertisement billboards peeling in the rain. DOOH provides data-driven, targeted advertisements which can be changed by a click of a button. We tip DOOH to be the ‘next’ Connected TV, which has equally seen a huge boom in advertiser popularity, similarly combining the flexibility and data-driven nature of digital with the ability to reach a wide range of audiences at once.

Innovations such as DOOH trigger advertising – where external data can be used to influence which ads are shown when and where – only solidify DOOH as a channel to watch. From showing allergy tablet ads when pollen counts are high, to showing taxi services when trains are delayed, there are growing numbers of data sources that can be used to inform when, where and how DOOH ads are shown.

But whilst the success of DOOH is clear to see, there are still a few things that remain misunderstood. Both measurement and pricing require a unique approach due to its one-to-many nature. Using an impression multiplier helps to both understand the true reach and give a more accurate picture of the cost. This year, DOOH will continue to grow as advertisers grasp the benefits of a data-driven approach to outdoor ads combined with the nuances of communicating through this exciting channel.

As marketers enter this inspiring new year, digital advertising has once again proved the jewel in the communications crown – valued for its advanced targeting and flexibility. Spend has grown and will keep on growing. As we look forward, identity, retail data and DOOH are the hot trends that will shape the digital advertising landscape in 2022 and beyond.