Four digital media takeaways from 2022

Switchboard Dec 14

Digital media round-up 2022
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    This has been a pivotal year for digital publishing and advertising. Google’s third-party cookie extinction looms ever closer. Shifting consumer attitudes towards data privacy continue to put pressure on businesses. And of course, the economic downturn is forcing advertisers and publishers to think more strategically about how they target and engage customers and measure the effectiveness of their efforts.

    Here’s our round-up of the top four data and digital media trends to take away from 2022 – a year that has laid the foundations for an industry-wide move away from ‘quick-and-easy’ solutions and towards a more considered, customer-focused and data-driven approach.

    1. A shift from behavioral targeting to contextual targeting

    Since the birth of the cookie, behavioral targeting has been a key part of the marketing agenda, enabling publishers and advertisers to serve more targeted content based on their recent online activity. However, this year we’ve seen a noticeable move away from this approach.

    Not only does behavioral targeting now have an expiry date, thanks to Google’s plans to sunset third-party cookies, but it’s also widely believed to be an overly intrusive method that can alienate customers; 66% of consumers feel uncomfortable with businesses and brands tracking their browsing history to show them personalized ads.

    The answer? For many, it’s contextual targeting. Rather than using consumer data to design ads, this method analyzes on-page content to place ads that are contextually relevant. It’s an approach that has a lot of potential, with reports showing that consumers who view contextually relevant ads are 32% more likely to act on the ad than those targeted based on their demographics.

    But for contextual targeting to really work, publishers and advertisers should be prepared to partner with a platform that can accurately process page content (not just text, but image, audio, and video) to generate real, actionable insights.

    2. A heightened focus on first-party data, despite the reprieve

    For many, Google’s delay came as a welcome deadline extension, giving businesses more time to work on their first-party data strategies, which will be crucial to ensuring success and minimal disruption in the coming years. But if anything, it has made them more focussed on the task in hand.

    The customers we’ve spoken to this year are committed to future-proofing their marketing strategies by building a more authentic value exchange with customers, focusing on growing relationships not databases, and giving the customer control over their data through full transparency. First-party data, as we’ve seen this year, is the way forward for brands that want to develop long-lasting and profitable connections with their customers.

    3. The rise of data clean rooms

    But first-party data doesn’t need to exist in isolation. In fact, it’s much more powerful when it’s supplemented, in order to avoid data silos that could be restricting growth. To achieve this, a number of brands are using second-party data transactions, in which two or more parties share aggregated data for their mutual benefit. This transaction takes place in a ‘data clean room’ to ensure it adheres to strict privacy regulations.

    READ MORE: Understanding data clean rooms

    Data clean rooms have risen in popularity in 2022, giving advertisers a ‘safe space’ to see how different data sets match up and to identify whether they’re over-serving ads to the same audiences. These environments are key to measuring advertising effectiveness in a soon-to-be cookieless world, and right now, publishers are leading the way, with a third being more likely to use data clean rooms than marketers.

    4. A growing interest in attention metrics

    In recent years, viewable impressions have been the primary path to understanding how effectively an ad performs. This year, however, we have seen a vast uptick in emphasis on attention metrics, which go one step further, reporting not just how many times an ad was viewable or even viewed, but how much attention it was given.

    In a recent report, researchers found that attention is 3x better at predicting outcomes than view-ability, and some drivers of high view-ability, such as format size and position on the page, can have a negative impact on attention level.

    Attention metrics, therefore, can give advertisers and publishers a much more accurate idea of how users are interacting with their content, which is crucial when working with valuable first- and second-party data and testing new targeting strategies.

    What’s in store for 2023?

    What’s clear to us – through the hot topics of 2022 – is that these are not momentary fads, but trends that will lay the foundations for a new way of advertising in 2023. Data privacy and consumer expectations are changing, and those who succeed will be the ones who commit to carving a new path.

    If you need help unifying your first or second-party data, we can help. Contact us to learn how.

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