New Year, Fresh Start? Nope, More Of The Same

Welcome to 2022. The year is exactly one week old, and just as I experienced in early 2021, it already feels like this year is super-old.

Just like last year, we are in the midst of a new installment of the most predictable story franchise of COVID, this time called Omicron. Politics are still dividing us, and parties are here only to maintain the status quo.

And in media? Well, that, too is highly predictable and mostly a rerun of 2021. I have perused the 2022 forecasts of Ebiquity, the self-proclaimed “World Leader in Media Investment Analysis” and Integral Ad Science, or IAS, the “global leader in digital media quality.” Leaving their claimed global dominance to one side, both companies provide an independent view of what will matter over the next 12 months.

From a “show me the money” point of view, Ebiquity has a good understanding of where the ad dollars will flow in 2022. It reveals that yes, in 2022 cost of media will further increase, especially for “quality” digital content (whatever that might be). Ebiquity predicts digital ad spend will increase by 89%, and that connected TV ad spend will double.



Meanwhile, IAS provide insight into the challenges as perceived by advertisers for a multitude of growing media investment platforms (based on 230 experts surveyed). It reveals a continuation of the rock and the hard place that is digital media investment. You can’t not do it -- but if you do, you’re knowingly setting yourself up for a lot of risk.

In general, advertisers are worried about viewability (or the lack thereof), data & privacy legislation (or, again, the lack thereof and resulting continued uncertainty) followed by fake news and misinformation. Sadly, I don’t think 2022 will deliver any meaningful changes to mitigate these issues.

So let’s take a look at some of the individual ad spend categories that drive  continued growth.

First of all, mobile “everything” will continue its meteoric rise in terms of ad spend, and the ad fraudsters will -- as always -- follow the money. Advertisers expect ad fraud, increased brand risk and brand safety issues to be front and center in mobile digital, says IAS.

The same is true for social media advertising. Viewability (and the lack of decent measurement) is the number-one issue, and the remainder of the top-five issues all have to do with ad fraud and brand risk.

One interesting finding is that 60% of advertisers fear consumer trust in social media will erode, per IAS. That is a worrying statistic for social media platforms because, if true, you would expect consumers to walk away from some. Personally, I think consumer brains are too addicted for it to matter.

Finally, IAS also predicts further growth in connected TV and digital audio (formerly known as TV and radio advertising). Yes, it will accelerate; and yes, advertisers will continue to shift dollars from linear to digital (addressable) video and audio. And yes, they are worried about the expected increase in ad fraud and brand risk.

Programmatic remains a cesspool of “badvertising.” And that segment will continue to grow. In 2022 we will see the outcomes of the ANA partnership with PwC, Kroll, and the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), promising an in-depth study of the “programmatic buying ecosystem.” It will be bad. It will not drive meaningful change.

So that’s 2022 for you. Are you excited yet?

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