Mergers and acquisitions, the slow moving away from the third-party data industry, and expanding business activities dominated the media and sell-side advertising technology headlines in 2021.
What is the industry predicting for 2022? Much the same as these trends continue to play out in the coming year.
Part one first
In 2022 and beyond, platforms with dedicated opt-in audiences will be well positioned to monetize their first-party datasets. And publishers who have been slow to switch to first-party data will scramble to meet Google’s final deadline for stopping third-party cookies in Chrome at the end of 2023.
“Those who advertise in early cookie-free environments can enjoy the competitive advantage of accessing new audiences, more inventory, and larger-scale advertising results,” said Konrad Feldman , co-founder and CEO of Quantcast.
The same goes for publishers, who can use their proprietary datasets to create ads with more dynamic messages for different subsections of their audience.
Ziff Davis uses his first-party customer data for modeling to make sure he reaches the right customers and matches them with the right ads, said Kim Oscarson, director of email marketing for Ziff Media Group. “Prospects see ads with lead messages, existing customers see ads with language that speaks to them, and expired customers see language that tries to win them back.”
But with third-party data obsolescence in about two years, third-party data-based activities will continue as usual until the rug is ripped off.
“As long as there’s a product that you can sell for a price that makes sense and people want to buy it, then go for it,” said Carl Leskinen, CEO of Burt Intelligence. “It’s business as usual until the lights go out. “
Content worth signing up for
Obtaining first-party data should be easier for publishers. Consumers are opting for multiple subscription services, which makes the opportunity ripe for first-party data collection, Leskinen said. “Anyone who isn’t thinking about how they could build a subscription business out of their products should probably start,” he said.
On-demand formats like podcasts and CTV are on the rise for a reason. Publishers need to respond to changing audience demands, like creating a podcast or video content, to make sure they’re delivering the best possible product.
“We’ve all changed our behaviors over the past 18 months to not be in such a programmed environment,” said Kevin Hartbarger, DTC strategist for Publicis Health Media, making it important for traditional media platforms to find opportunities in video or audio. content of the request.
The continued influence of e-commerce
The influence of e-commerce is so strong that it will become more difficult to distinguish between publishers and retailers in the years to come.
“More traditional publishers are trying to implement the e-commerce method to track user behavior,” said DanAds CTO Johan Liljelund. “When we look in two years, what kind of editors will we have? Companies like Walmart with the most customer data will want to capture more of the supply chain, and they will take control of much of the advertising industry. “
Marketers also borrow from media companies. “The line between buyers and sellers has been blurring for years,” said Leskinen of Burt Intelligence. “It’s going to be difficult to tell a marketer from a publisher. Both have Instagram accounts that they create content for. Best Buy runs Samsung ads on its web page. Every business becomes a media business.
Consolidation and IPOs
High-profile mergers and acquisitions have revolutionized the digital media sphere in 2021.
Some examples include Dotdash’s $ 2.7 billion purchase of National Media Group of Meredith, Axel Springer buying Politico for $ 1 billion, the acquisition of Complex by BuzzFeed before its IPO, Group Nine and Vox Media. meeting, and Future plc adding Mozo, Marie Claire US and Dennis Publishing to its portfolio.
Will the consolidation trend continue in 2022? All signs indicate yes. Several digital media giants, including Forbes, Vox Media and Reddit, are targeting IPOs in the near future. Acquisitions present an interesting option to increase the valuation of a company upstream of a public offer. Consolidation also tends to create more profitable publishing platforms that have money to invest in improving their content and the ad buying experience.
“This [consolidation] will help solve a structural problem that has been overlooked for the past decade: quality digital advertising cannot exist without quality media environments, ”said Alessandro De Zanche, Audience and Monetization Consultant. Quality media environments prioritize “superior content and user experience, which requires media owners to be autonomous in order to afford the investment,” he added.
As publishers seek to maximize profitability, they may put pressure on intermediaries in the advertising supply chain or consider purchasing or building their own bespoke solution. Publishers who can afford it could develop their own in-house ad serving technology or acquire outside ad technology companies.
Building internal technology stacks allows publishers to monetize user data without resorting to external service providers to link KPIs to specific user IDs through third-party cookies. Anyway, this way of doing things will soon be obsolete.
“The desire to remove middlemen and the tax from the advertising ecosystem is at the forefront of creating efficiency,” said Chad Engelgau, CEO of Acxiom, with the caveat that it must be done. with respect for private life.
The Washington Post’s Zeus technology has been proven successful and has been adopted by a wider network of publishers.
However, publishers have always been more successful in developing their own bespoke in-house technology rather than acquiring outside companies.
For example, after AT&T acquired Xandr in 2016, its content arm, WarnerMedia, was never closely tied to Xandr, and Xandr was eventually sold to Microsoft. News Corp sold Unruly after dipping its toes into ad tech, and Meredith sold Time Inc.’s ad tech ambitions with Viant. Businesses have survived – but not married to a content business.
However, when media brands partner up, they can reach out to more audience niches and reach a scale that advertisers can take notice.
“A strong future for media brands lies in two scenarios,” said De Zanche. One is to have huge reach in a given country. The other prerequisite for success is strong execution: “consistency of standards, formats, practices, data, processes and ease of doing business”.
Here are bigger, better, and results-driven media companies in 2022.