Dstillery, a leading custom audience solutions company, gives their industry predictions for 2022.
A Balancing Act in Our Last Year With Cookies
2022 will be an interesting year for advertisers because they know there’s a big problem to solve in post-cookie targeting, but they also know that they don’t have to solve it — yet. I think most advertisers will struggle to dedicate the necessary time and attention to 2023 problems while delivering on their immediate priority of 2022 results. But the smartest will spend next year determining how cookieless solutions can set them up for success in a future without third-party cookies and improve campaign results now.
Different Scenarios, Same Conclusion
We’re heading toward a time when the challenge for advertisers won’t be having too much data; it’ll be having too little. And what’s interesting is that both scenarios are leading companies to use artificial intelligence — either to distill the massive amount of user-targeting data that exists today or to draw conclusions about audiences based on a proportionately much smaller first-party data set. Either way, it can’t be done effectively without AI. The cookie retirement will greatly reduce the available data, and AI will become the single most important piece of technology moving forward to help build the audiences that brands need to reach. Even those collecting massive amounts of first-party data today can only take their business so far by marketing back to their existing customers.
Agencies Are Going to Be Overwhelmed
Next year — and until the cookie retirement happens — adtech companies are going to clamor for attention for whatever they see as the solution to this ultimate challenge of cookie deprecation. There’s going to be a lot of trial and experimentation. Every vendor is going to at least say that they have a solution, and agencies will be overwhelmed by a barrage of claims. They are already cynical about the ad tech industry, so many of them are going to stick with cookies until the last possible moment, spending the bulk of their media budgets against user-based targeting next year. But the experimentation is happening, and some agencies will be better positioned than others by the time third-party cookies are gone.
Judgment Calls Take a Back Seat — Finally
As cookie volumes diminish and sharing data becomes more difficult, there will be fewer companies that can deliver targeting. With this contraction in the marketplace, I believe every campaign will need to deploy a custom targeting strategy, leveraging first-party data to derive insights to help deliver what brands need. More custom targeting means more reliance on artificial intelligence and less on human judgment — which there’s too much of in audience selection today. Consider the detailed, almost scientific effort that goes into building a campaign, only to have someone make an intuitive judgment call at what I call the “last mile” by selecting prebuilt audiences from a marketplace using a search box. It’s a terrible idea. Taking prebuilt, cookie-based audiences out of the equation and increasing customization and automation helps fulfill the promise of programmatic advertising. 2022 is when brands and their agencies need to decide how they’re going to face the coming changes.