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Programmatic advertising | 08 min read

Programmatic Advertising Trends: 5 Key Trends to Know About in 2022

Programmatic advertising is experiencing a period of change and if there ever was a time to be aware of the latest programmatic advertising trends in this ad space, it’s now.

With third-party cookies on the way out, there’s a scramble to establish what a ‘cookie-less world’ will look like. This will see evolution within programmatic advertising, but its position as an integral digital marketing tool will remain strong.

In fact, programmatic ad spend is positioned to move past $150 billion globally by the end of 2021 after hitting heights of around $129 billion during 2020, according to Statista.

And with tech capabilities advancing every year, the combination of enhanced software and algorithms continues to make programmatic advertising an exciting space. But what will progress look like in a post-cookie landscape?

In this guide, we’ll discuss the latest programmatic advertising trends, including the slow death of the cookie, the possibilities for connected TV and the re-emergence of creativity. Read on to find out more.

The programmatic advertising trends you need to know about in 2022:

  1. Slow death of the cookie
    – Post-cookie solutions
  2. Connected TV (CTV) and post-pandemic programmatic growth
  3. Growth of mobile gaming for programmatic display
  4. The re-emergence of creativity to reach customers within display
  5. Next-level campaign management

1. Slow death of the cookie

The depreciation of third-party cookies has been dragging on for some time – the so-called ‘death’ of the cookie has been postponed over and over again. But when Google’s plan to remove third-party cookies finally arrives, there will be alternatives for programmatic marketing.

Although cookies have been heavily relied on within the industry (as of July 2021, 83% of US marketers said they were reliant on third-party cookies), solutions are being sought.

Post-cookie solutions

Google is still going to allow first-party data, so regulated first-party cookies are a focus in programmatic advertising trends. Harnessed with precise detail, first-party data can provide incredible value for advertisers – from browsing behaviour to preferences.

According to Digiday, there are three key methods for getting the most out of first-party data:

  • Launching registration walls
  • Widening your user data pool
  • Segmenting your audience and the use of contextual targeting

In fact, their data shows that 51% of marketing professionals are investing more in contextual targeting, while 43% of advertisers say they’re optimistic about the future of this method.

There are multiple identification methods in the offing too, with advertisers seeking solutions that allow them to target users when they visit apps or sites. Unified ID 2.0 is a current front-runner. The open-source system will give users a login that they can use to identify their preferences for the ads they wish to see – this will then create an ID.

It’s expected that spending on identity solutions from will reach $8.2 billion by 2024 in the US, and $4.1 billion in Europe.

However, Statista found that 60% of marketers across the US think having multiple solutions is the answer – 74% are also in collaboration for first-party data sharing purposes.

2. Connected TV (CTV) and post-pandemic programmatic growth

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, TV watching and online streaming soared. According to Ofcom research highlighted by BBC News, UK media habits were transformed by the pandemic restrictions. And we believe it to be among the programmatic advertising trends worth exploring in 2022.

Nearly 40% of waking hours were spent in front of a screen, with the public spending double the amount of time per day watching streaming services compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Viewing figures for video streaming was also up 71% on figures recorded in 2019 and adults spent over six hours per day watching TV and online video.

Not only that, but an Unruly CTV survey found that 82% of the UK can access a connected TV. Plus, 77% of consumers would rather watch their favourite shows for free with ads rather than pay for ad-free content. This makes CTV growth one of the biggest programmatic ad trends for 2022.

While this development has occurred over a short period of time, the opportunity for further growth within programmatic advertising is wide-ranging. The buying process, tactics and measurement all require reassessment for this space.

Traditional practices within TV advertising will not apply to programmatic for CTV. This surge in CTV access will spell a reinvention of the whole process of TV advertising – from planning to measurement and optimisation. As it’s in its infancy, the advertisers who make the right tweaks and stay ahead of the curve will be the ones who capitalise.

3. Growth of mobile gaming for programmatic display

In our summary of the shifts online advertising may experience in 2022, we look at gaming platforms as advertising channels and unearth some eye-opening statistics.

In 2021, there’s an estimated 3.24 billion gamers globally – unsurprisingly, this translates into a gaming turnover of $159 billion. Plus, Adjust data insights found that gaming makes up 50% of total industry ad spend. The gaming industry as a whole is experiencing a purple patch, which has transformed these spaces into effective advertising platforms.

But what about mobile gaming as its own entity? In the first quarter of 2021, there were approximately 477,877 mobile gaming apps available on Google Play – an increase of almost 12% from the previous quarter. A GlobalData report also found that after reaching an industry value of $98 billion in 2020, mobile gaming is predicted to reach $272 billion by 2030.

These figures show both sides of the coin – yes, there’s an incredible amount of opportunity, but the mobile space is overflowing, so targeting must be pinpoint. That’s where programmatic advertising steps in.

Increasing competition in mobile gaming advertising means your creative campaigns have to reach the right audience, at the right time and in the right place. Harnessing the power of programmatic marketing will offer an invaluable helping hand to scale appropriate ads to the users you want to target. This will be key for successful campaigns and can help achieve impressive ROI in 2022.

4. The re-emergence of creativity to reach customers within display

The next of programmatic advertising trends is easier said…than done. Marketing teams are poised to work smarter in a world without third-party data. Industry experts are also operating in competitive spaces where ad fatigue or ‘banner blindness’ is in play. The solution? Creative and impactful advertising supported by powerful programmatic capabilities to reach your audience.

Our four key strategies for overcoming advertising fatigue root themselves within creativity:

  1. Personalisation – the use of data feeds and dynamic creative can target your audiences on a wider scale and result in higher conversion rates.
  2. Using video – our display trends research this year found that ads using video during 2020 received an 85% better CTR.
  3. Mobile-first – more people are using smartphones, which means digital ad spend for mobile is increasing. Creating dynamic mobile ads could see you outsmart the competition.
  4. Test and optimise – this will be especially important in a world without third-party cookies. Test what you’ve done and optimise accordingly for better CTR.

Using creative marketing to provide your audience with an inspiring experience is key – programmatic advertising is all part of this. Once you understand what your audience needs from your brand to connect emotionally, programmatic tactics will help reach them where they want to be found.

Many elements feed into effective creative marketing, including:

  • Branding – make sure you branding fits your business.
  • Customer experience – prioritise at every stage of the consumer journey.
  • Content marketing – tell stories your audience wants to hear
  • Social media marketing – optimise your efforts to spread the word.
  • Team management – check your team has the appropriate skills and the right structure is in place. In-housing might be key, for instance.
  • Tech and tools – the right equipment can help you keep pace with what you want to achieve.

5. Next-level campaign management

Having the use of a powerful campaign management tool could be invaluable to your marketing team’s ability to heighten CTR and maximise ROI. This is definitely an essential programmatic advertising trend!

Being able to schedule ads, publish in real-time and use live data feeds for key dates in the calendar can be transformative for what you’re able to achieve.

For instance, according to our research, Black Friday has a 57% better CTR compared to the average shopping day. However, consumer and retail brands see massive increases on both Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In 2019, Black Friday saw a 93% better CTR while Cyber Monday experienced a 140% uplift – the same dates in 2020 saw 450% and 231% higher CTR respectively.

It’s not just sectors such as consumer and retail that stand to benefit from an agile campaign management platform. A competition such as the Euro 2020 football tournament has proven results for both display advertising impressions and CTR.

On Tuesday 29th June 2021, when England were playing Germany, there were 30% more impressions than the average day and iGaming was the industry that managed to benefit the most.

Being agile and adaptive is crucial on these dates. Scheduling is the first step to success –amending live listings and deals in real-time will then set you apart from your competitors. When it comes to events such as Euro 2020 – brands that combined tech were the most successful. Automated production created ads quickly, data feeds provided of-the-moment reactions and real-time campaign management was effective for scheduled ads. This is one of the key programmatic advertising trends.

Key takeaways for programmatic advertising trends

Programmatic advertising is going through a transformative period with the depreciation of third-party cookies at the forefront. However, there will be effective alternatives to turn to when the slow death of the cookie finally comes to pass.

First-party data will be crucial for brand success and tapping into exciting segments such as CTV and mobile gaming could be the key to programmatic marketing moving into 2022.

Being creative, staying on the pulse of programmatic ad trends and utilising the power of a next-level creative management platform will be essential.

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