The advertising ecosystem continues to evolve. It’s a challenging new world for advertisers, and it can be difficult to keep up with the latest trends and technology. We sat down with a4’s head of business development, Bill Chambers, to discuss what the industry encountered in 2022 and what advertisers can expect in 2023.
What were some of the top products and trends in 2022? Were any of these surprises to the industry?
Bill Chambers: 2022 is, in our industry, referred to as a tipping point year for television.
The streaming television experience is the reason for that. Changes in offerings in this landscape have driven that growth, and platforms like Netflix and entities like HBO Max and Disney+, which previously were just subscription-based, are now getting ready to release ad-supported content. FAST or free ad-supported streaming platforms or options have also been a big factor in that tipping point. There’s definitely been some shift from linear or traditional television viewing towards more of a digital and programmatic buying experience because of its ability to be more targeted and precise in delivering reach in that environment.
Some of the surprises of 2022 are the growth of the time people spend in streaming environments in such a short time frame, the adaptation to these free ad-supported streaming opportunities, and how quickly ad-supported offerings are being created for consumers. I can remember when cable was the disruptor to the world of television. It originally started as a promise: pay for a subscription and get commercial-free content on television. But that lasted only a short time. And we’re starting to see that again. The fact that consumers do not have an aversion to ads, especially if they’re able to get their content at a more affordable price, has surprised many people in our industry.
I don’t know if this last topic is necessarily a surprise, but we need to keep an eye on it because it directly relates to streaming opportunities and churn. With all the choices and options entering the marketplace, consumers have more opportunities to try new things, stick with what works, and eliminate what doesn’t fit their lifestyles.
Looking ahead into the new year, what products will take the spotlight?
Bill Chambers: The spotlight will be on connected TV and streaming, especially as free ad-supported platforms grow. This growth will be driven by consumer demand, the onslaught of new programming, new platform options, and the need to drive return on investment as marketers face economic uncertainty.
CTV and streaming contain all the benefits of digital media on the big screen. Planning and strategy, targeting opportunities, programmatic ad buying, and reporting insights will be growing opportunities for advertisers, and data-driven marketers will lead the charge for success in that area.
I think we’ll also see many more branding opportunities on social media, especially as influencer marketing grows and short-form video and the creative execution of quality content and videos will continue to be important.
Lastly, focusing on consumer behavior will be the key to success in the new year. Reach, frequency, strong and engaging creative, and data and technology all need to work together for advertisers to achieve most of the marketing KPIs that will lead to the return on investments clients expect.
Should all advertisers lean into the projected trends and do what is trendy? What are your thoughts?
Bill Chambers: While it’s always important to keep an eye on the latest trends in technology, advertisers should lean into their own overall marketing strategies. Advertisers must look for strategic partnerships with those who invest in multiple data sources and the latest technology. They must work with experienced people and teams in the industry who can help them identify problems, find solutions, and achieve their goals. Each business in our different markets is unique in its advertising needs. As geographies or target areas become narrower on a hyperlocal basis, it becomes increasingly difficult to reach or achieve that specific need based on some of the complexities the technology brings into play.
As technologies continue to grow, consumer behavior changes. Our job is to stay on top of that change for our partners — to ensure that we provide all the data, technology, reporting, and consultative advice they may need throughout their ad campaigns.
You touched on targeting capabilities and data. What can advertisers expect in the new year around targeting and data?
Bill Chambers: More, more, and more.
Data and technology will continue to grow in the digital world. People will become more familiar with these technologies, and advertising opportunities will continue to evolve.
Cookies are going away. Privacy regulations, accuracy, efficiency, effectiveness, and the ability to optimize campaigns based on those learnings are the future of this industry.
Data and expertise will lead the charge, and programmatic will continue to be a big part of that charge. As a trusted advertising partner, it’s our responsibility to find customers who are ready to engage with your brand, reach them when they are most receptive, and be able to convert them. Leveraging data and technology: that’s going to be the key to success.
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