eMpower Digital Event Recap: Top Online Advertising Trends for 2022

Rebecca Ackers , MD, UK & Nordics

June 15, 2022 | 4 min read

In the last two years, the world has moved into a more digitally connected paradigm: hybrid work, e-commerce shopping and streaming digital media are the new normal. The UK’s consumption habits have fundamentally shifted, presenting new challenges and opportunities for online advertising in a more fully connected world.

From our clients and partners at Magnite’s eMpower digital event, here are some key trends to note for 2022 and how the industry is adjusting to our new paradigm. 

1. Quality over quantity.

The world looks to the UK for some of the best and most authoritative media. Be it digital newspaper subscriptions or BBC broadcasts, we’ve seen a flight to quality in both consumer purchasing power and advertiser investment. 

Top earners in the UK are particularly invested in quality media channels and prepared to pay for them. To meet demand, media providers have extended their broadcast offering in digital spaces — be it ITV Hub or BBC iPlayer with much success. 

This has presented an opportunity for brands to reach engaged, actionable audiences in a trusted environment. A recent IPA study found that brands that run ads alongside quality media such as digital news channels drive pricing power and profits. The study found that with the rise of fake news and misinformation, brands that advertise on news channels are perceived as more trustworthy and of higher quality — two factors driving brand growth.

Significantly, premium content is also driving viewership. Audiences are going wherever their favourite programs are streamed — be it a Pluto app or subscription service. 

With quality top of mind, there’s been a rethink of how to run ad campaigns. Here, the goal of the supply path is to provide the best possible route to the most meaningful media.

2. Overcoming fragmentation for omnichannel impact.

With the explosion of platforms and varied viewing habits, there is quite a lot of fragmentation across digital media. One challenge for buyers is how to prioritise different formats. Marketers are now working backwards from their target audience and focusing on the channels that attract specific segments. A central access point to all online video inventory (OLV) can reduce waste and bring more transparency to ad planning and performance. 

Meanwhile, categorising content has become more efficient so publishers can serve ads in their best context. Once a laborious, manual process, a creative review is now becoming automated with the ability to efficiently attribute volume, quality and even language to ad creatives.

However, these tools and advancements have yet to reach critical mass, with many publishers and media suppliers still struggling to understand the nature of the ads they’re serving. Here, consolidation of CTV tech infrastructure and more industry standardisation would make publisher operations more efficient to focus on optimising yield. 

Overall, as greater consolidation streamlines supply, the adoption of open solutions will better serve the ecosystem at large. Programmatic will flourish if the industry cooperates to build common standards across formats to improve technical efficiencies.

3. Data is being future-proofed for a cookieless world. 

With a cookieless environment on the horizon, finding new ways to reach audiences and addressable groups is a priority. Media platforms will need to future-proof data and monetise audiences differently. 

The focus will need to be on transparency from an operational perspective to deliver for brands. Fewer brands are throwing budgets into closed programmatic systems. They want to make informed bidding decisions, see inventory’s true value and access insights to drive campaign outcomes. 

Here, new solutions are evolving to pass meaningful data to brands while keeping it privacy safe. Features that are evolving allow publishers to pass valuable content parameters such as genre, series title, language and network to DSPs via Open Real Time Bidding (ORTB) content fields. This helps leverage contextual data to maximise reach and increases inventory value by sharing content metadata with buyers.

Publishers are preparing for an identity overhaul by building a first-party relationship with users and becoming more selective about demand sources. Advertisers are judging their spend more holistically. Sales are the result of smart planning, creativity, and branding, all of which can boost ROI even when brands can’t track every impression.

An omnichannel future.

Post-pandemic, brands are buying in both linear and nonlinear environments and looking to reach consumers across touchpoints to chart a path to purchase and raise visibility. High user engagement across channels — be it display, mobile, CTV and audio — has given marketers a chance to win incremental reach on their campaigns by diversifying their media mix. Here, the UK is at the forefront of leadership with growth and investment in meeting challenges of nonlinear. As the industry adapts, the goal for SSPs is to provide the highest quality choices for brands — delivering access to quality media with efficiency and scale.

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