Ad Verticals to Watch for Fresh Strategies in 2022

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By Michael Minardi, VP, Regional Sales at New York Interconnect

Despite the economic disruptions brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, the global TV advertising market grew exponentially in the last two years, with CTV ad spend alone surging from $12.9 billion in 2020 to $16.6 billion in 2021, according to GroupM. However, recovery across all verticals has been uneven, pushing different brand categories to devise new strategies to succeed in the post-pandemic era.

2022 will see yet more shifting approaches as advertisers in large categories such as auto, travel, health and sports embrace new trends, adopt new technologies and adapt their messaging to pandemic conditions such as supply chain constraints. Here’s what brands, publishers and technology partners can expect from major TV advertising verticals in the upcoming year.

Automotive Gets Crafty With Supply Chain Issues

Automotive brands are among the largest consumer-facing advertisers and the pandemic dealt the industry a tough hand in 2021. A chip shortage led to soaring car prices and half-empty lots, forcing brands to pull back on spend to prevent driving demand that dealerships would be unable to fulfill.

With some supply chain constraints persisting, expect the auto industry to get creative about advertising in 2022 by doubling down on ancillary revenue drivers such as service.

With less merchandise to move, national and global brands will invest more in regional service ads, which can drive customer acquisition and revenue even with fewer new vehicles in house.

As manufacturers increasingly return to normal levels of activity and the risk from COVID decreases due to vaccinations, allowing more people to get back to work, we can also expect an increase in auto advertising in the latter half of 2022. Auto holiday ads are especially likely to see a boost.

Travel Reinvents Itself and Embraces Tech

No industry was harder hit by the pandemic than travel and tourism — and it’s obvious that some degree of uncertainty will remain. At the outset, COVID all but eliminated discretionary travel and advertisers were forced to slash spend to avoid incentivizing trips customers could not take.

But a phoenix (even if somewhat cautiously) is rising from the ashes in this category.

Forced to get creative to reach audiences and assure consumers it is once again safe to get away, travel brands are utilizing ad targeting tech to reach ideal audiences across channels and programs. Understanding that they’ll need to be visible and front of mind with travel enthusiasts  at any given time, as the pandemic continues to play out.

In the meantime, to keep things measured, they will also increasingly partner with data providers to enable attribution, as there is no room for wasted spend. Therefore greater demand for solutions that prove advertising is moving the needle.

In the long run, travel advertisers will, will likely become much more aggressive about using technologies that make advertising more measurable and effective allowing them to continue to track and target their audiences to successfully prove their ROI.

Healthcare Advertising Remains Aggressive

Unlike most industries, the healthcare industry had a reason to boost advertising during the pandemic. Public health authorities, hospitals and health insurance providers will continue to spend robustly in 2022 as they seek to educate the market about the safety and availability of vaccines and other COVID-related products and protocols.

One notable development in this category will be communications about newly available boosters, vaccines for kids and mandates. Advertisers are likely to spend aggressively to get the public comfortable with additional shots, vaccinations for children and new rules.

This will also give publishers and tech providers the opportunity to make the case that they offer the inventory and tools required to reach crucial audiences for these messages.

Sports Betting Gets a Seal of Approval

Independent from COVID, another trend to look out for in 2022 is an increase in sports betting advertising. Historically, the professional sports leagues, such as the NBA, NHL and NFL, had been reluctant to work with betting companies. Not allowing them to place ads against games. But the leagues have increasingly accepted the category’s popularity and have taken the scarlet letter off it.

As a result, we surely will see online gambling and gaming companies double down in 2022 with the professional leagues’ blessing — as long as regulators do not crack down on the practice.

Adtech Sees More Adoption Across Verticals

Advertising broadly recovered in 2021 but some channels and categories have not yet returned to 2019’s volume and many brands are still watching their finances more tightly than in the pre-COVID days.

This pressure to maximize return on ad spend and plunge into the increasing digitization of all channels, including TV is leading many traditional advertisers to mix conventional scheduling with addressable audiences and add data-driven targeting and measurement to their media plans. Sustainability as a guiding principle is key.

2022, then, will not just be a year of continued creativity as advertisers aim to make the most of an economy still recovering from COVID’s impact. It will also be a year that lays the foundation for keeping nimble and playing the long game. Certainly for long-term, tech-driven sustainable innovation in major consumer-facing advertising verticals.

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