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Digital leading ladies - The top women in adtech tell us what to expect in 2022

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Just when you thought all of the year’s trends had been discussed, dissected and digested, here’s one final piece of insight from some of the leading female voices in advertising. 

Pulled from a report by Digital Leading Ladies (the organisation for women in the digital advertising and technology sectors), these voices over everything from the metaverse and 5G to NFTs and the societal influence of Gen Z.

Mary Keane-Dawson, Global CEO at Time Out

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My predictions for 2022 are that we will continue to see the growth of social media as a consumer experiential immersion, but that as we reopen and the endemic becomes the norm, there will be a greater emphasis on quality content that goes beyond the digital and starts to appear in the physical world.

I see these developments as essential to our human creative expression and experience, and I am excited to be leading the iconic Time Out media brand in such an extraordinary era. We will also see an explosion in dating apps/experiences, as people want human contact and physical enjoyment through these experiences. 

Gen Z have so much pent-up energy and lust for life, I see them leading the charge in terms of the cultural and live entertainment explosion and the reopening of our cities and cultural centres. I also think we will see new forms of slow tourism and entrepreneurial innovation in this space in particular. 

In addition to 2022 trends, everyone will be banging on about the metaverse, which I think will become the new 'year of mobile' mantra for the media industry in the next 5 to 10 years!  The biggest challenge will be finding experienced talent that wants to innovate rather than just seek stability and no longer wants to commute!

Joanna Burton, Chief Strategy Officer at ID5 

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As we near the deadline for the deprecation of third-party cookies in Chrome, we expect more digital companies to take action. Many publishers and ad tech platforms have their strategy in place already. In 2022, we expect more brands to prepare for the ‘cookieless’ future.

Brands should begin by evaluating their current reliance on third-party cookies for targeting, optimisation, and measurement. We see identity as part of the infrastructure provided by ad tech platforms and encourage brands and agencies to reach out to their technology partners to understand the solutions, they are planning to ensure they can operate in cookie-less environments.

Cadi Jones, Commercial Director at Beeswax

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We expect growth of connected TV buying in Europe. Consumer behaviour has changed: the pandemic has driven us to watch more video and accelerated the adoption of consuming digitally delivered content via a television.

Connected TV is top of mind for everyone involved in programmatic advertising. While digital video has driven high CPMs for publishers and effective results for brands, CTV - a digitally delivered ad on an actual TV set - offers something really special: the possibility of targeted advertising on a device previously only available for broadcast.

Claire Leon – Co-Founder at Acorn Intelligence Ltd

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The sharp rise in eCommerce over the past 2 years, coupled with the issues surrounding cookies and 3P data has meant that 1st party data and how brands use this route to market, has never been so important.

The acceleration of Retail Media opportunities across multiple channels also means brands can now leverage these 1P insights to drive better customer experience and increase loyalty, not just with their DTC platform but across different marketplaces.

This focus requires brands to build a unified view of their shoppers across all channels. Marketing technologies will focus more on omnichannel analytics to permit brands to develop a stronger understanding of attribution, ROI and the dynamic all channels play in supporting each other. 

Lauren Ogúndèkó, Chief Digital Officer (CDO) & Co-Founder at Bicycle London

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It goes without saying that the last couple of years have forced change and acceleration in many ways. Digital is now on the agenda for everyone, and I mean everyone. Cloud infrastructure is giving many companies the ability to be leaner, I predict more companies will evolve their organisational technical structure to become more cloud reliant, which is great news for the likes of AWS. 

From a technological evolution standpoint, cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream thanks to the various trading apps that now exist and are starting to proliferate the space, however the growth of NFTs (predominantly in art, music and gaming) I predict we will see a more balance democratisation of crypto and even blockchain based technology. 

Lastly from a media standpoint, connected TV will draw a closer line between what is deemed traditional and what is deemed digital.

Emma Jackson, Producer at the5gs.co.uk

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4G made your phone a bit quicker. 5G changed the landscape. Without 5G's ability to move large amounts of data with low latency, our agency wouldn't have been able to have two concert pianists play a duet in different countries or live-stream DJ's in remote locations to each other playing back-to-back.

5G coupled with Fibre to The Premises offerings from telcos will also enable employees and employers to be much more flexible in approaching when and where jobs can or should be accomplished. No longer being limited by direct ethernet access to your file server for sending large files back and forth opens up remote roles or role flexibility that previously just wasn't available.

The 5gs demonstration of a fully remote air traffic control tower for EE establishes that multiple high bandwidth 4k video feeds and telemetry can be run over a single connection; just think how good your video conferencing could be!

On this more subtle but vital note, lower latency will ultimately reduce cognitive load and user distraction, meaning less stress and more authentic connection on your interactive projects.

Karen Eccles, MD, Digital & Innovation at The Telegraph

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Last year saw a huge increase in demand for first-party data, and this growth is set to continue in 2022 as it remains the most robust, accessible and effective solution to cookie- blocking and privacy concerns. I also predict the rise of personalised and emotional marketing, as media owners and brands pioneer more creative ways of using advanced contextual targeting.

Strong brand, trust, sustainability and CSR credentials will also continue to grow in importance, as well as the greater adoption of attention and brand- effectiveness metrics, as we all look to better prove the value that digital can deliver for campaigns

Following the push-back of the demise of the third-party cookie, it is important the industry doesn’t lose momentum or the focus on finding solutions. With the ongoing challenges around supply chains, there should be wins for brands that can offer reassurance or even guarantees to customers around deliveries.

Blockchain feels like it is starting to mature as a technology and with the announcement of the first metaverse marriage – could this finally be the year when VR gets serious? 

Cat Agostinho, Co-Founder at Imagen Insights

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2022 will be the year of ‘reframing’ for Gen Z. Like everyone else, they’ve been living through the pandemic, a period of uncertainty and change and this is impacting their views on work, relationships, finances and their general outlook. 

While they are optimistic and hopeful for opportunities, Gen Z will consider things carefully moving forward, weighing up priorities, reframing perspectives, and re-evaluating what they want from life. They want to be better considered by all realms of society - something that will only evolve over the year ahead.

The challenge now will be for brands, and marketers alike to match this energy - to ensure this demographic is listened to, represented and truly understood. We’ll definitely see a rise in the prevalence of co-collaboration between brands and young people, all the while Gen Z will continue to hold societal organisations to account.

Rachel  Barber-Mack, Director at Media Smart

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Young people speak to the point that they have a high frequency of ‘stay safe online’ content put in front of them in school and feel relatively well versed in the subject. However, when you get into more niche areas of focus such as body image, advertising, influencer content and more - they feel less well informed. This suggests to us that there is a need for more specific content on staying safe online over broader strokes content which seems pretty well covered already. 

School is a fantastic way to reach young people with safety messaging, but it isn’t the only way. Through projects with TikTok and Instagram, Media Smart has looked at other avenues to reach this audience and found that young people trust educational content from and on social channels highly (particularly when conveyed through Influencers and Creators that they respect.

Out of all the knowledge and skills we have spoken to young people, their parents and guardians about, the highest request for a skill set to teach is critical thinking around advertising messaging. They are generally strong at spotting whether a piece of content is an advert or not but are less experienced in being able to tell whether they should trust an advert or not, or even understand the impact that advertising may have on them. 

Young people and parents and guardians are asking for safety tools to control their online and online advertising experience. From being able to manage time online, to setting how their data is used or what kinds of adverts they might see on platforms. Many of these tools already exist, however knowledge of them is low and therefore so is usage – indicating that platforms and organisations need to spend money raising awareness of these educational tools.

Niki Stoker, a career adtech COO 

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Where to start, so much to say but I’ll focus on 3 main points: 

  1. Notably the death of 3rd party cookies; 2022 is time for the adtech industry to think differently concerning identity and personalisation. Personalisation still remains an important advertising strategy for brands and this year will see companies, if they haven't already done so, battle to provide the best cookieless solution possible. 
  2. Point no.1 leading to further monetisation of 1st party data and/or subscription- based content distribution on both web & mobile/app platforms. 
  3. The incredible rise of CTV during the pandemic has remained at this pace post pandemic, 2022 is perfect timing for more advanced targeting of audiences.

Joanna Lyall, UK CEO at Brainlabs 

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Emerging environments and platforms, like the metaverse, mean brands are
needing to evolve how they look and feel in these spaces. Planning becomes more complex and nuanced. Brands will need to shapeshift from ATL media to Instagram Reels, to AR experiences in-store to an NFT in the metaverse

Attributing performance across these will become all the more challenging; measurement solutions will need to become increasingly sophisticated, and we’ll rely on AI and machine learning to help us learn and manage this omni-channel world. 

Viral Commerce will be the ‘It’ Trend in Social Commerce. TikTok will use viral commerce to gain ground on Facebook and Instagram, the two most common destinations for social commerce right now. Brands and retailers will look to cash in on the #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt phenomenon by strategizing around viral commerce. 

Joy Dean, Group VP, Global Inventory & Data at Invibes

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Trends that are exciting me this year are the growth of addressable digital marketing, attention metrics, robust user privacy modules and the opportunity to break free of antiquated cookie targeting & retargeting wastage. 

This year sees the rise of various ID methodologies which aggregate existing consumer behaviour data and ad-targeting parameters, driving much better (more reliable) interactions and customer profiles. 

A user-centric anonymised fingerprint, targeting socio-demo data pools and passion points, with gorgeous infeed ad solutions in a brand safe, connected walled garden for brand uplift and guaranteed outcomes, yes please! 

Maria Cadbury, Director of Strategic Partnerships and Commercials at Say it Now

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2022 is paving the way for the ‘talking twenties’, a revolution and digital transformation of audio harnessing the power of smart speakers and voice assistants. The Smart Speaker tipping point will happen this year as we expect reports to show that more than 50% of UK homes have smart speakers, growing faster than the US which will this year pass the 40% mark. 

Houses of Brands and CPG clients are flocking to use this channel as audio campaigns can now be underpinned with the kind of metrics that are expected by other digital channels. What's more, the game changer for all, is that we’re seeing users make their first voice transaction within the smart speaker environment, as they realise it’s another easy, convenient method to pay. 

The trust gained by experience of paying, receiving a receipt and goods is accelerating the growth in the channel with consumers making repeat transactions as they find voice commands more frictionless than navigating ecommerce checkouts. 

Voice is a behaviour driven by consumers and having Actionable Ads where you use your voice to speak to an ad within the smart speaker environment will be prevalent across all channels by the end of the year, Audio, TV, OOH and digital. 

Last but not least, in light of the cookieless world we foresee a significant shift into the already growing digital audio channel and the uptake of Actionable Audio Ads due to the attribution data that’s cookieless! It’s a great time to be alive. 

Katie Atkinson, Founder at The Runway Media

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At The Runway Media, we are seeing an emphasis on Content Strategy to deliver online performance metrics such as sales, leads and bookings. 

Once the purview of restricted product categories such as Alcohol and Tobacco, Content Marketing is now fulfilling a role across all verticals where paid social advertising isn’t as accountable post ATT, and the front pages of the search engines are tied up by the Aggregators and Marketplaces. 

Broader touchpoints such as site content, reviews, influencer activity and publisher outreach result in measurable revenue via SEO and e-CRM and minimise on-site bounce rates aka the Leaky Bucket.

Header image by Nicola Thompson

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