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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

The real big 3 to watch in adtech: CTV, publishers, and identity    

March 7, 2022 | By Mike Woosley, COO – Lotame @Lotame

The digital advertising world is no stranger to innovation and agility. As we know, the ecosystem has evolved significantly over the past year, highlighting opportunities for the future as well as challenges that need to be addressed. As the big tech players inch closer to their deadlines to address privacy concerns, here are some trends that advertisers and publishers should keep an eye out for in 2022.

2022: The year of CTV. And 2023, 2024, 2025, etc.

We all remember the “year of mobile” in the ad tech world – since it lasted more than a decade. Well, we can expect Connected TV (CTV) to continue to dominate the headlines for the foreseeable future. And why not? After getting a considerable boost in adoption thanks to consumers’ pandemic behavior, it is predicted to grow quite a bit more over the next five years.

More companies are seeing the value of one of the fastest-growing channels in digital advertising. Therefore, we are likely to see even more innovation in the space. More CTV inventory will become available to marketers as identity resolution and connectivity solutions come to the forefront to address the fragmentation in the channel.

And praise be, there are no third-party cookies to battle over in CTV. The explosive growth of CTV will only continue to eat away at linear TV’s share. This year, brands will refine their strategies and unlock incremental linear reach with CTV spend.

Small and independent publishers will finally be heard

Even though third-party cookies will disappear, that doesn’t mean third-party data will. The reality is that third-party data will stick around because the alternatives that will crop up in its absence aren’t feasible options for smaller publishers.

There is a misunderstanding about third-party data in the industry where people believe that it can’t be privacy-compliant. It absolutely can: it just requires checking the source of the data. As my colleague said: “advertisers should hold [third-party data] providers accountable by asking whether they use and how they use privacy by design.”

Simply put, first-party data or contextual targeting can’t be the solution for publishers who don’t have enough data to scale. Contextual data works only inside one’s own domain, which for small publishers is, well, too small. Plus, marketers are less willing to engage with sites that don’t have as many monthly visitors as the larger ones. Context remains a useful tool — as it has always been. Lotame findings show that 52% of publishers and marketers are testing or planning to test contextual solutions. But can it stand alone once again?

The industry as a whole needs to come up with solutions that will work for everyone, especially for publishers as they build their post-cookie strategies. Publishers will need a plan B for the billions in lost programmatic ad revenue. McKinsey estimates $10 billion is at risk for U.S. publishers alone In 2022, the screams of these smaller publishers will be better heard and addressed.

Dear identity partners: Stop the infighting!

With 80 identity solutions in the market today (and counting), industry professionals may very rightly feel overwhelmed and confused. A multitude of tech vendors and more are throwing their hat in the identity ring — from media companies to DSPs, agency holding companies to TV manufacturers. And their interest is justified: Identity is big business for digital advertising. Research and Markets reports that the global market for digital identity solutions is projected to grow to $49.5 Billion by 2026, up from $23.3 Billion in 2021.

ID solutions for the open web are going to be invaluable for publisher monetization. So, we’re going to see collaboration will dramatically increase. ID partners in 2021 operated in the identity arena like a circular firing squad. Everyone claims their privacy is better than others, and everyone who has a solution wants to say theirs is the only one that works. In reality, all have to work together. Our global survey, “Beyond the Cookie: The Future of Advertising for Marketers and Publishers,” reports that both marketers and publishers overwhelmingly agree that digital advertising relies on a connected ecosystem that supports the open web and diverse, ad-supported content.

Put down your arms, identity vendors, publishers, and marketers. Instead, let’s focus on our common goal of giving the consumer transparency and control while making everything more efficient. The end result will be better for everyone involved.

Consumers are forever changed by the global pandemic but have proven resilient in adopting new habits the world over. Marketers and publishers, too, have proven flexible in the face of enormous change in their personal and professional lives. The major industry changes afoot present us with two options: we can either work together to ensure the ecosystem thrives or we can just look out for ourselves in silo. I believe that working collectively this coming year will bear the most fruit for all involved. And I hope you agree.

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