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What Will Advertising and Ad-Blocking Look Like in 2022?

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Following the events of 2020, this year began with a mix of uncertainty and concern within the advertising industry, and for good reason. As 2021 progressed, the ad tech industry was pushed to its limits to get back on track and work through the challenges of the pandemic. The last 12 months saw a number of changes within the industry, with a key focus around how advertisers can respond to user expectations and how to deliver a satisfactory online experience.

Research reveals that 88 percent of online users would not return to a website after suffering a poor user experience. This could be due to ad interactions as many users are no longer accepting being shown intrusive ads that ruin their browsing experience. However, with this still being the case, it is no surprise that ad-blocking rates have increased by 8 percent in 2021. As we enter into a new year, it’s vital that advertisers, publishers, and brands share the same vision as their users to ensure the internet experience is beneficial to everyone.

As we anticipate changes in the industry in 2022, here are our seven key predictions on what will shape the future of ad blocking in the coming year and beyond.

Regeneration of the Advertising Industry in 2022

The ad industry focused much of its resources on recovery in 2021, and as we enter the end of the year, digital ad spending is predicted to reach $691.50 billion globally. However, this expenditure is unlikely to accumulate mass profit but instead to steady the ship. Experts are speculating that the recovery for the ad sector will only begin in 2022 as ad spending is expected to rise by 12% in the new year.

The Rise of Mobile Ad Blocking

This year, reports show that 40 percent of U.S. adults block ads on their phone. This number is anticipated to increase due to more mobile users choosing ad blocking as the default option. As these users call for advances in their browsing experience, browsers including Opera and UC Browser have chosen to embrace a calm and non-intrusive approach to ad filtering on mobile, helping them to distinguish themselves in the congested mobile browsing marketplace. However, it will be no surprise if more browsers follow the same path to ensure they remain competitive.

Utilizing Podcasts

In 2021, just under half of Americans said they’d listened to a podcast in the past month, with a quarter saying they listened to podcasts every week. We should see a rise in advertisers turning to podcast advertisements to reach an audience base of millions; 60 percent of podcast listeners have bought something from a podcast ad, showing that podcasts play a role in the future of advertising.

One company that has already made the leap to podcast advertising is Spotify. Earlier in the year, the music streaming platform introduced Streaming Ad Insertion (SAI), an innovative podcast ad technology that enables digital planning, reporting, and measurement for advertisers. Only time will tell whether this new advertising method, which would replace host reads with programmatically served ads, will encourage a rise in the use of ad-blocking software moving forward.

Demise of Third-Party Cookies

The ongoing debate around the demise of third-party cookies has been at the fore of the ad industry for years. An Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) report revealed that publishers could lose up to $10 billion in ad revenue due to shrinking personalization options when third-party cookies render ineffective. As a result, 2022 could see further investment of ad funding into websites that already collect and process user data, driving a significant change in the way advertisers track data by forcing them to become more intrusive. Some may choose to disregard browser rules intended to boost privacy by building workarounds for third-party cookies.

Transparency Is Key

With stories hitting the press on a regular occurrence around data and privacy breaches, the issue of transparency around the collection and use of online users’ data is still at the forefront of many advertisers’ minds. Although significant and contested, GDPR and the CCPA California laws are a much-needed regulatory revolution to the world of digital advertising.

94 percent of consumers would remain loyal to a brand that provides transparency and authenticity. Therefore, it is vital that advertisers understand the online experience that users want, as failure to do so will force users to look elsewhere. Let us take Gen Z for example, who will account for approximately 40 percent of the population in 2021. This generation takes privacy very seriously and makes their purchase decisions based on transparency.

One social media platform that addressed this issue is TikTok, having recently partnered with MediaSmart to provide resources to teenagers that will help them understand how advertising works on the platform and how to stay safe. By taking notice of its advertising flaws, TikTok is helping to provide a safer, more transparent experience for users.

Enhanced Emphasis on Appropriate Advertising

Advertisers and marketers have changed tack to focus on creating relevant ads without relying on data personalization tactics. One example of this is contextual marketing. This advertising method is targeted and controlled by the content of the site that hosts the ads. Experts see contextual marketing as a means of focusing on ad relevance and gaining conversions without invading and exploiting users' personal information for profits.

Developing a Sustainable Future

There are no means to forecast what the future of advertising may bring; however, one factor remains true, and that is the critical role that advertisements play to ensure content remains free and accessible to users. Advertisers and marketers must work together to accommodate the value-focused behaviours of online users today--over which are 225 million ad-aware, ad-filtering users who consent to some, but not all forms of advertising.

[Editor's note: This is a contributed article from Trestle. Streaming Media accepts vendor bylines based solely on their value to our readers.]

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