In 2021, alternative impression-based currencies started to gain traction with broadcasters, as evidenced by moves such as CBSViacom partnering with VideoAmp. In addition, other capable measurement upstarts including iSpot and TVSquared are making noise and grabbing headlines. It’s time for the old guard to get disrupted and replaced. It’s time for GRP to die. This won’t happen overnight but look for GRP to at least fall deathly ill in 2022.
Retail media will break out of retail jail
Retail Media is no longer the OGs of Amazon, Walmart, Target’s Roundel and Kroger’s 84.51°. Instead, players such as Walgreens, CVS, Sam’s Club, and in October, Lowe’s, joined the game. For years, the conventional wisdom said the best use of these networks was for lower funnel-oriented campaigns. After all, they can simply retarget likely purchasers to nudge them to convert. As a result, they weren’t top of mind for brand-building campaigns.
That mindset undersells the value brought by these retail media platforms, whose data has been used successfully for top-of-funnel campaigns. And some of them operate quality owned-and-operated video platforms (e.g., Amazon Fire) and can offer targeting data and quality brand-safe video inventory.
When these companies talk about “breaking out of retail jail,” they mean losing the perception they can be useful only at the bottom of the funnel. This jailbreak is already happening and it will accelerate in 2022.
Multicultural campaigns will be the norm
For years, brands and agencies have talked about “multicultural marketing” as a distinct initiative—as if there’s marketing and there’s multicultural marketing. We now see how odd that was.
The intention was not for creative and media to ignore certain populations, or even have that creative or media be an afterthought or siloed effort. That clearly wasn’t a revenue-maximizing move, and change-making efforts to launch campaigns catering to specific demographics were properly hailed as progress.
Now, what used to be multicultural marketing is “DEI media”—and some siloed efforts still exist. But, broadly speaking, marketers now talk about one inclusive campaign for a brand and how different targeting strategies within that campaign will ensure they reach diverse audiences. This is easily doable, especially in programmatic digital and programmatic CTV.
In 2022, we’ll see the decline of siloed multicultural marketing and the rise of marketing with proper targeting strategies to reach all audiences. Brands see this as the right moral response to demands for inclusion and the right business answer to expand reach.
Micro cohorts will rise as a privacy solution
Micro cohorts—a household, a region on the map, an encrypted aggregate of people in a clean room or any collection of up to a few hundred people—are measured as privacy-safe surrogates for the underlying individuals. As cookies eventually die, mobile ad identifiers disappear and walled gardens increasingly disallow external measurement tags, tracking user-level exposure becomes quite difficult. Micro cohorts are a clever solution favored by privacy advocates and measurement professionals alike. The media partner shares no user-level data so consumer privacy is fully respected. Yet accurate incrementality measurement is still possible, provided the cohorts are processed by a measurement partner adequately sophisticated in statistics.
Many different forms of micro cohorts are being tested by walled gardens, by publishers, by clean rooms and even by browsers. In 2020, we saw them develop but mainly remain in beta. In 2021 we saw them build momentum. In 2022, this trend will reach a tipping point as micro cohorts will finally be ready for their close-up.
CTV-centric agencies will emerge
For years, TV and digital agencies fought over brands’ emerging CTV budgets. TV agencies argued it’s still television, usually even with the same creative. Digital agencies argued that the buying, targeting and measurement process resembled digital, so CTV was their turf. Industry observers wondered for years who would eventually win those dollars. The answer: Maybe neither.
It takes the best of both disciplines—the granular targeting of digital with the full-screen storytelling of TV—to do CTV right. So a new breed of experts is starting to emerge—CTV agencies—a specialization that marries the two skill sets to realize CTV’s true potential.
A couple of years ago, this would have sounded crazy. But look at the growth of CTV. It barely existed a decade ago, but in 2022, CTV ad spend will outpace both OOH ad spend (around $7 billion) and newspaper ad spend (also around $7billion) ... combined. So if OOH-focused agencies can exist, why not CTV-focused agencies?
Here’s to hoping 2022 gives us some return to “normalcy”—as if we even can predict what that means. Perhaps packed offices, agency lunch-and-learns and daily business lunches are gone forever. Let’s just hope the advertising gods don’t take away Cannes from us permanently. We all need a rosé break between all this Zooming.
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