What’s trending in programmatic this year?

Programmatic advertising has firmly planted itself at the centre of the digital advertising ecosystem. So what trends will shape it over 2022 and what results can we expect? StopPress speaks to industry professionals to glean some insight.

There is no doubt programmatic advertising has changed the marketing landscape, possibly forever, and just like with any new development there is a period of learning and growth that looks different for everyone involved.

For one of New Zealand’s largest news organisations, Stuff, growth is the operative word.

“We believe the biggest trend will be the continuous growth of this channel. Programmatic is definitely here to stay and it’s a channel that needs attention (across all media channels),” Albi Pecora, Stuff’s Head of Digital Revenue Products, says.

Albi Pecora.

Contextual targeting

Along with this growth he believes there will be a bigger focus on Supply Path Optimisation (SPO) “as it allows buyers to access publishers’ inventory more efficiently”.

“This requires publishers to offer their inventory through multiple channels in order to support a buyer’s SPO.”

Programmatic is also set to continue to grow in areas such as audio, CTV, and Out-of-Home (OOH) says Pecora. Third-party cookies being phased out will bring with it the need for more emphasis on contextual targeting.

“The buying world is putting more emphasis back into this type of targeting,” he adds.

Of course, these developments are only possible with support from the ad-tech landscape, and Pecora says “all programmatic and other advertising technologies have started offering (improved) solutions to all of the points above”.

When it comes to challenges faced by the industry when learning to operate within these new frameworks, privacy, personalisation and data management are expected to come up.

“With the expected depreciation of third-party cookies in Chrome, addressability of users will definitely change. Even the simple ‘re-targeting of specific users’ will therefore become a major challenge without the use of new and improved technologies, a good knowledge base, the right staffing as well as the overall alignment of the company/-ies.

“The focus will have to shift from third-party cookies to publishers’ first-party cookies, based on declared information given by the audience members.

“While the industry is working on addressability, and new ways to target audiences with privacy in mind – one big challenge will be getting people to opt in to share their data for advertising purposes. This requires a strong level of trust between publisher and audience to ensure that data is being used as intended.”

 So what do these trends mean for Stuff?

“We will need to remain flexible with the solutions we work with to ensure we’re not just meeting one buyer’s needs, but many (different identity providers, different ad exchanges etc),” says Pecora.

“We are very confident that we are geared up in terms of our technologies to allow the continued growth of this channel. This does not mean that we are leaning back; we will continue to monitor what’s going on in the landscape locally as well as globally. And furthermore, we need to work closely with our buyers to get the best outcomes for our clients.”

Connected TV

CTV is one of the fastest growing channels in digital advertising in the US so it’s no surprise TVNZ working to make the most of the opportunities presented in this area.

Rob Hutchinson, General Manager Digital at TVNZ, says as the TVNZ OnDemand free online streaming service works on a “vast majority” of CTV’s in the market, programmatic advertising in this environment has a “native application”.

Rob Hutchinson.

“It’s a very important part of what TVNZ is doing. It’s the fastest growing [area]of our digital end point – digital television. The majority of viewers on TVNZ are viewing through a CTV either through a native app or a dongle [such as a Google Chromecast attachment].

He also believes that because OnDemand ad breaks are substantially shorter than broadcast television, the ad load on viewers is much less, making them more receptive.

Skipper Lomiwes, Programmatic Lead at TVNZ says this is a key part of what makes CTV such a unique platform.

Skipper Lomiwes.

“We know that [ads]played across our platforms have a 98 percent completion rate. CTV is 100 percent viewable, people aren’t going to be scrolling away or dragging another article on top and ads on TVNZ OnDemand are not skippable. We can do this because it’s an environment where people are accepting of it.”

However this unique environment means it’s also difficult to isolate exact results of campaigns as it lends itself more to things like recall and brand affinity says Lomiwes.

During a year filled with pandemic uncertainty there is no doubt that advertisers needed more flexibility and this resulted in massive growth and shift to programmatic advertising from advertisers and agencies.

“[Programmatic advertising] meant they could turn things on and off and shift advertising budgets. There was no one outside, so outdoor revenue was not needed as much. The environment wasn’t the same for everyone either so the ability for advertisers to shift revenue to where the audiences was something that was really attractive,” Lomiwes adds.

In terms of what they expect to change over the coming months, Hutchinson says there is lots of work being done on making the user experience of the TVNZ OnDemand app “just fly” along with creating more content ensuring there is “an improved user experience and a great variety of high quality programming”.

The move to digital television has also allowed TVNZ to do things that wouldn’t be possible on linear TV such as allowing viewers to interact with the ads. 

“The audience on CTV is an addressable audience. Your campaign is being directly shown to the target audience you have specified. You can build interactivity into that and what can be done creatively and what can be done in terms of brand communication just becomes more exciting,” says Hutchinson.

Another trend they expect to see grow is attracting more overseas clients.

“We are seeing a lot more overseas clients reaching out to little old New Zealand to buy ad spots for their brands. We are not limited to people we can meet, anyone in the world can technically buy TVNZ inventory,” says Lomiwes.

“A trend for us is that we need to be more engaged with a global programmatic network and the integration between platforms.

“We want to engage the whole programmatic eco system. We are not an island and we recognise that. It’s important for us to be part of the digital conversation,” he says.

Partner Lead at Google New Zealand Craig Whitaker also views CTV as an area that will continue to grow, and Google is working on bringing better digital ad capabilities to CTV’s to allow for consistent  planning and measurement as well as giving viewers a better experience and protecting their privacy. 

Craig Whitaker.

Privacy concerns

In an increasingly fragmented media landscape, Whitaker says a key challenge for brands and businesses is getting a clear picture of the customer journey as they interact via multiple platforms while still prioritising user privacy. This, he says, is where there will continue to be development in the privacy and events based management such as Google Analytics 4.

“We know that digital advertising is essential to keeping the web open and free, but at the same time people’s expectations of how digital advertising works – in particular when it comes to privacy – have changed.

“Google has believed from the start that there is a way to meet people’s expectations about protecting their identity while allowing for ads supported content. Through our work under the Privacy Sandbox and the intended deprecation of third party cookies, our commitment is to ensure thelong term health of the ads ecosystem. We believe that there is a path for our industry where privacy and advertising effectiveness can co-exist,” Whitaker says.

Automation will continue to be beneficial to advertisers as it means they can quickly tailor campaigns to respond to real time to changing circumstances, he adds.

Earlier in the year Android announced its vision of aligning to Chrome’s approach through a multi-year initiative to build the Privacy Sandbox on Android. The goal here being to introduce new, more private advertising solutions.

According to Whitaker these solutions will limit sharing of user data with third parties and operate without cross-app identifiers, including advertising ID.

Google is also exploring technologies that reduce the potential for covert data collection, including safer ways for apps to integrate with advertising Software Development Kits.

Marketers and brands will need to be aware that cross app and site identifiers will continue to diminish. There will be more uptake of anonymised targeting and first party data as well as increased scrutiny of user data and management practices from regulatory bodies.

How should marketers and brands respond to these changes? Whitaker says:

  • Build first-party data. First-party data, like email addresses and customer purchase history, is accurate and privacy-safe, since users provide you this information directly as part of a brand’s relationship with them.
  • Measure the data accurately. Proper tagging and measurement will help ensure that brands see a representative view of performance across channels.
  • Activate data with automation. Modelling and automation will help brands make the most of their first-party data by pairing it with other available signals to give them the most complete picture possible.

Dynamic outdoor

Programmatic advertising is even making its way onto the streets with OOH advertising being its most recent foray. 

Read more: Programmatic shaking up Out of Home

Kurt Malcolm Head of Programmatic and Trading Australia and New Zealand for the world’s largest OOH advertising company JCDecaux is expecting great things in this area including more use of data around dynamic and live feeds such as weather, events and social media posts.

Kurt Malcolm.

“Clients and agencies are requesting these capabilities so we must meet this demand,” he says 

As for tech development, Malcolm points to Demand-side Platform (DSP) competition as “really ramping up” over the next 1-2 years as more integrations take place. This, he believes could see more agencies developing omnichannel strategies for clients with a firm grasp on digital.

Video is another area where we can expect to see growth in pDOOH spaces such as airports or shopping malls. 

“I don’t foresee this happening through anyone’s roadside offering as the council restrictions are very clear on movement,” he says.

“I believe the key OOH media owners will continue to design industry standards for programmatic Out of Home that deliver a trusted marketplace for buyers. In my opinion standardising viewable corridors and viewability is critical for the industry.”

As for results it’s very much a watch this space situation for Malcolm who says we are already starting to see these trends take off.

“You just have to look globally to see that some of these trends have become the norm. Expect to see a range of local case studies come out this year in the New Zealand market,” he concludes. 

To read more on our Get with the Program(matic) series, click here.

About Author

Ayla Miller is a Feature Writer/Sub-editor for SCG Media Business titles, NZ Marketing, StopPress, Idealog and The Register.