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Programmatic Predictions: What Viant’s Thought Leaders See in Store for 2022


2021 was as dynamic a year as programmatic advertising has ever seen.

Ecommerce continued to surge, bringing retail media spending along for the ride. Similarly, CTV viewership showed no signs of slowing down, causing advertisers and ad tech companies to scramble to lay claim to this sector.

And amidst all this, the fabric of the industry – how advertisers identity and target consumers – went through tectonic changes.

2022 promises to be just as lively. To help marketers wrap their heads around this moment and strategize for what’s ahead, Viant has tapped a cross section of experts for their predictions for the new year.

We hope you find this range of perspectives valuable.

Increased Need for Simplicity in Programmatic Workflows

Greg Schaffer, Head of Enterprise Partnerships:
This year, simplicity will be of high value. Programmatic was once siloed and left to the experts. Now, more and more, people are leaning in across organizations as it grows. That has the potential to slow things down, so the companies and partners who can address the need for more simplicity in workflows and more access to data will prove to be winners.

Bigger Spends and New Categories

Jon Schulz, Chief Marketing Officer:
2021 was a year of growth as well as disruption for advertising. However, 2022 will see an easing of some of the bottlenecks, and with that ease, marketers will release pent-up media budgets to regain momentum and market share. This momentum – coupled with midterm election spending and the emergence of new categories like cannabis and sports betting – could surpass anything we’ve seen in the last decade with the emphasis on investments in CTV and app-based media consumption.

Increased Demand for Proactive Programmatic Insights

Ricky Bellows, Sr. Director of Client Services:
Given how ubiquitous programmatic tech and data are becoming, clients are going to be demanding more proactive insights from tech partners. The more that data and software becomes democratized, and work becomes more automated, CMOs are going to be looking for the human aspect. They need to find needles in a haystack, and they need to be able to understand more than just those clicks and conversions. I’d expect more of an emphasis on advanced reporting and multitouch attribution.

Battling Fraud in CTV

Fabrizio Blanco, Chief Technology Officer:
Where there is money, there are almost always fraudsters. And unfortunately, the problem is getting worse in CTV. So, look for more brands to seek out not only fraud detection services, but also more sophisticated prevention productions. This is a problem that requires large, specialized data sets and true machine learning solutions.

Agile and Portable Formats like Digital Audio Will be Marketers’ Best Friends

Rasika Narang, SVP of Marketing:
We are seeing more and more how brands need to be agile and increase relevance by taking advantage of opportunity moments like those in pop culture. “Fastvertising,” as it was recently called, is upon us. Couple with that screen time overload and the “rise of the voice” as another sensory touchpoint to drive brand experience, and we will see a surge in the use of programmatic digital audio. We’ve seen high-speed, culture-shaping type of creative execution work really well on social channels but we haven’t really seen this kind of work in programmatic and the open web – yet. And as marketers need to become more nimble, the open web becomes larger and brands looks to diversify outside the walled gardens, this will provide a tremendous opportunity to deliver messages and content in a relevant, personalized way.

Consent Management Alliances

Jon Ahuna, SVP of Operations:
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see continued M&A, even among publishers. They are going to need help with the consent piece. They have great first party data, and will be looking for different ways to activate it – but they need to nail consent management, and figure out: how do you communicate value exchange? So I’d look for more investment there and more alliances.

Increase in Walled Gardens Increases Need for Interoperability

David Fahey, Head of Agency Partnerships:
With the continued proliferation of walled gardens, and publishers looking to own their data, true interoperability is going to become paramount. Whether that becomes a universal identifier or technology that acts as translator, it is key that something emerges. First-party data is gold, and companies that have it are going to monetize, but that doesn’t necessarily benefit advertisers. You see this in CTV, which is continuing to explode. We think that households are going to be even more key to unlocking all the new walled gardens.

Leveraging Data Lakes to Make Connections and Improve Measurement

Steven Ohrnstein, SVP of Platform Automation and Analytics:
Changes in the ecosystem regarding third party tracking, the thing that most people don’t realize is how much this impacts not just targeting, but closed-loop for measurement doesn’t work. Brands and publishers literally can’t connect conversions without some help. They need bridges. That’s why this year will finally be the year of mass adoption of data lakes. It’s maybe not as simple, but this will give brands and publishers more ownership of their data and more control over who they pass or don’t pass it to.


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