Data will play a central role in shaping the adtech industry in 2022—it is the common thread that unites all of the predictions made by Asia-Pacific programmatic experts this year.
The deprecation of data available to advertisers brought about by Apple's ATT framework and Google Chrome's upcoming abolition of third-party cookies will trigger a surge in investments in data-management and identity-resolution solutions, more creative approaches to deploying first-party data, and new measurement approaches. But these solutions will need to be tailored better this year to mobile-heavy APAC, according to one expert, who said existing ID solutions fall short on attribution and measurement.
A greater emphasis on first-party data is expected to benefit two media channels in particular: connected TV and digital out-of-home. While more advertisers are predicted to use these channels to precisely target their messaging, more standards will need to be defined and adopted to address a lack of clear transparency in the supply chain, one expert suggests. A desire for advertisers to reclaim control in a murky supply chain will see continued investment in supply path optimisation too, another leader offers.
Meanwhile, leaders forecast a greater emphasis on creativity in programmatic, both when it comes to performance-driven creative campaigns, and adopting more creative ways to reach mobile consumers.
Continued investment in privacy-centric technologies and strategies
Ronen Mense, president APAC, AppsFlyer
Safeguarding privacy and enhancing users’ experiences will continue to be priorities in the adtech industry in 2022. As rapid digitalisation takes centre stage in Southeast Asia, mobile advertisers in industries like finance and ecommerce are presented with endless opportunities to capitalise on paid and owned channels. The industry is likely to see a distinct shift as brands invest heavily in new privacy-centric technologies and strategies such as 'privacy cloud'. This technology would allow platforms, media networks, tech partners, app developers to collaborate in a privacy-preserving data clean room, thus enabling a better and safer digital experience for customers. Brands can also stand out in the crowded adtech space by adopting a return-on-experience-centred (RoX) approach, creating meaningful interactions and personalised experiences to drive business growth in this new era of privacy.
Identity resolution will need to address more than just targeting
Vasuta Agarwal, SVP and managing director APAC, InMobi
In my view, 2022 is likely to see a major shift with universal IDs as they try to solve for attribution and measurement alongside targeting in the in-app world. Our industry has long spent years working on browser-first identity workarounds and yet the majority of media consumption is on mobile apps. Advertisers could have gotten by with the existing web-first solutions five years ago, but that is increasingly not an option and needs to be app-first. At the same time, the approach towards building for identity resolution has been limited to targeting alone. And somehow the need to effectively measure and attribute just isn’t getting its due attention. Add to this, the complexity of the in-app ecosystem and Apple’s own ATT rollout; the challenges are more urgent than most buyers presently realise. Let us, therefore, start thinking of universal IDs end-to-end with an emphasis on attribution and measurement as well. That remains a uniquely bad miss for our industry to have not come up with an acceptable solution.
Adapting data strategies for data deprecation continues
Xiaofeng Wang, principal analyst, Forrester
Alternative (not based on third-party cookies) audience and targeting solutions (such as identity-based targeting solutions and AI-powered audience solutions) will be a major theme in adtech in APAC in 2022. Even with the third-party cookie apocalypse delayed until 2023, it’s still marketers’ key concern and they are trying to find a replacement. In the Campaign/WFA/Forrester 'The Price Of Privacy' survey, conducted in May 2021, 43% of marketers said their current marketing practices rely on third-party cookies; the same amount said they’re concerned about the elimination of third-party cookies. Adapting data strategies for data deprecation will be a priority next year. Forrester’s 2021 global marketing survey shows that the top three advertising technologies or services marketers in APAC plan to use in the next 12 months are all data-related: data management platforms (40%), cross-channel identity resolution (35%) and customer data onboarders (35%). Marketers should invest in relevant advertising technologies to find a balance between privacy and personalisation.
An expansion of first-party data-based solutions
Vincent Niou, VP of data and technology APAC, Essence
The importance of effective first-party data management and deployment will only grow in importance as legacy digital identifiers continue to erode and regulation increases. In 2022, however, there should be an expansion in the variety and creativity of first-party data-based solutions being deployed by forward-thinking marketers and publishers with robust customer data stores.
Marketers should leverage the growing integrations between managed cloud applications and adtech platforms, to create pipelines combining declared data from customer relationship management systems with observed site, app and campaign signals from adtech platforms. Doing so not only unlocks the ability to address known customers via media channels, but also enables data enrichment and insight generation by mapping the customers against the native audience graphs of the adtech systems.
Publishers should endeavour to create data products beyond standard behavioural segments packaged with inventory. This could include custom audiences created from metacontextual signals or predictive analytics, partnerships with advertisers facilitated by data clean rooms for audience enrichment, and curated data recommendations rooted in aggregated audience performance analyses for different brand verticals.
Reassessing measurement approaches
Samantha Pearlson, GM of client service Southeast Asia, The Trade Desk
Marketers have traditionally relied on KPIs such as CPMs, CPAs and clickthrough rates to measure campaign performance. But these traditional KPIs don’t adequately reflect business growth goals. The pandemic has sharpened the focus on advertising measurement and underlined the importance of connecting campaign performance to real-world outcomes. This will accelerate as more marketers expect clearer ROI in the form of in-store and online sales to footfall and brand perception. Expect brands to reassess their measurement approach in an increasingly “phygital” environment as consumers move between online and offline.
Merging of brand and performance will collapse the funnel
Robert Leach, general manager APAC, Kargo
One of the most significant changes in digital advertising is likely to be the ‘collapsing of the funnel’. In 2021 we started to see brand campaigns and performance campaigns merge and evolve to become ‘performance’ creatives.
Pre-pandemic, to drive sales the traditional model was to build your brand at the top of the funnel with powerful creative and then buy bottom funnel DR/media to drive clicks. In a post-pandemic world with such an increase in ecommerce, we increasingly see that the customer journey has changed. A combination of such high demand for the most commoditised consumer products along with huge advances in click-to-cart technology means that brands may only need to buy upper funnel quality creative and provide frictionless check-out experiences to see the same level of ‘performance’ as bottom funnel media.
To ride the wave brands will need to focus on creative, understand the signals that drive awareness, revisit the media mix modeling and, perhaps most importantly, select single adtech partners that can deliver on all these elements and help the brand through the new customer journey to purchase.
Bringing standards to connected TV
Adele Wieser, regional managing director APAC, Index Exchange
In 2022, the APAC ecosystem will come together to collectively protect the OTT programmatic supply chain. Whilst connected TV (CTV) has been embraced in the West, it remains relatively nascent in APAC. With over a billion subscriptions and a third of home entertainment and box office revenue, CTV is the media industry’s latest success story. However, there are several factors including challenges with standards being defined and adopted, and a lack of clear transparency in the supply chain, that is inhibiting the growth rate in APAC. And the impact is real. Global CTV ad spend amounts to a few billions, and the industry needs to come together in adopting common frameworks that will allow safe transactions and create an efficient supply chain. Adopting these frameworks will help deliver an enhanced experience for consumers and build more trust. A dynamic CTV marketplace can replace inefficient inventory reserves, increase transparency, and drive transaction costs down.
Programmatic CTV will become mainstream
Rob Kay, senior director of customer success APAC, Integral Ad Science
During the pandemic, connected TV (CTV) became the go-to video source for millions of homebound viewers. According to the Financial Times, streaming wars will drive media groups to spend more than $100 billion on new content to attract new viewers in 2022. Premium content will be well rewarded, as eMarketer estimates that advertisers will invest over US$13.4 billion into CTV this year and will surpass US$24.7 billion by 2024.
CTV growth across APAC is also being driven by the accessibility of CTV devices. Smart TVs, which were once a luxury, are more affordable than ever, along with the innovation and access to plug and play smart TV devices like Google’s Chromecast and the Amazon Firestick. A recent report forecasts an annual compound growth rate (CAGR) of 20.8% from 2021-2028. As connected hardware increases, it fuels more CTV ad supply for the advertising ecosystem. And in several markets in APAC, consumers prefer the AVOD model where they view ads in exchange for free streaming video.
I expect CTV consumption to grow in 2022. But since there’s a limit to the number of services people are willing to pay for, ad-supported services like YouTube will increase. As video consumption increases, the control and scale provided by programmatic will become even more essential. It will not only facilitate investment into high-quality impressions but also drive value beyond verification with privacy-compliant, contextual avoidance, and targeting combined with channel-level insights.
Supply path optimisation will drive more large-scale partnerships
Brittany Lefave, senior manager of ad solutions ANZ, PubMatic
Supply path optimisation (SPO) is not a new topic, but one that continues to be highly relevant today. The implementation of header bidding and the flattening of the waterfall made all inventory broadly available through multiple SSPs simultaneously, giving buyers a choice about how to access that supply. By choosing the tech partners they want to work with, buyers have begun to reclaim control of the supply chain.
As programmatic continues to become a larger share of media spend, advertisers are taking more ownership of the programmatic buying process. In conjunction with the agencies that work on their behalf, they’ve worked together towards bespoke supply path optimisation strategies to drive greater campaign performance, improved ROI and more economic control.
The process of advertisers and agencies implementing SPO strategies isn’t going away, and we anticipate seeing more, larger-scale partnerships as we enter 2022.
Digital out-of-home will pick up steam
Aileen Ku, general manager China, Hivestack
Many brands and advertisers will have engaged with programmatic digital out of home (DOOH) for the first time through 2021, such as running campaigns for Singles Day and other seasonal shopping events to cut through ‘ad-noise’ during these competitive periods. As the return to communal spaces continues throughout Greater China, we can expect to see advertisers increasingly taking advantage of DOOH as part of their omnichannel strategies. This will couple with global ad spend growth and the return of consumer confidence to advance the DOOH sector in China, which is expected to reach an estimated market size of US$6.1 billion in the year 2027. Increasing scrutiny around how data is handled and legislated is a trend that will continue through 2022. More brands in Greater China are leveraging their first party data, and choosing programmatic DOOH technology will allow them to target audiences at scale with precision.
More creative ways to reach mobile consumers
Emre Atalay, cofounder and CEO, BCN Monetize
The big difference between APAC and other major regions is that consumers here are more likely to be mobile-first, evidenced by the fact that in-app advertising impressions overtook Europe and the Middle East two years ago. This has had a major effect on consumer purchasing habits—not only are most buying decisions made in social, but also purchases as well. For example, influencer Li Jiaqi was able to sell $1.7 billion worth of goods in one day for Singles Day in 2021. In 2022 I expect social commerce to continue to grow across APAC as more brands look to jump on this trend and as the platforms become more immersive.
Linked to the expansion of entertainment formats, greater numbers of consumers are being drawn to play-to-earn games, which marketers can make use of to reward players with tokens for engaging with ads. Vietnam-based Axie Infinity has pioneered this approach through blockchain technology and has inspired over 50 other companies to develop their own play-to-earn games off the back of this success. The lesson for marketers in 2022 should be that there is a huge array of opportunities available to make ads more creative and more engaging to APAC’s mobile-first consumers.