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3 Programmatic Trends in 2022 - That Didn't Happen in 2021


January 17, 2022


We entered 2021 with the intention of leaving the pandemic behind us, but despite mass efforts we couldn’t quite shake its grip. This same holds true for the developments in online advertising rules and standards.

As we transition to a new year you’ll find countless surveys and blogs on the next wave of advertising trends—it’s hard to miss the obsession of yearly predictions posts. Many cite the same trends that we all know  are going to happen—but the question that remains is when. 

Change in online advertising has been brewing for some time, and much like we also hope to pass from pandemic to endemic, I am hopeful that we’ll finally see online advertising and privacy change decisively in 2022 to get ready for milestone dates in 2023.

There are three reasons I predict 2022 will be the transition 2021 wasn’t:  

  1. Data privacy regulations will speed up 
  2. Third party cookies will begin phase out (for real this time)
  3. CTV ad quality will continue to improve

Let’s explore these three reasons in more depth—and what you can do about it as a publisher or brand.

1. Use of Data Privacy Solutions will Accelerate

Let’s be honest: achieving and maintaining data privacy isn’t always a piece of cake, and it can be daunting for AdOps and Compliance teams who already have very full plates. But the reality is that the data privacy movement is showing no signs of slowing down. Record high ad spend that’s only continuing to grow is going to leave brands and publishers at risk. So now is the time to tackle your data privacy solutions head on.

Over the last few years, consumers have become increasingly concerned by how their data is being stored and used, particularly when it comes to advertising purposes. Many fear that marketing has become too intrusive and worry that their data is being shared without their knowledge or consent. According to a study by KPMG, consumers are more worried about their data being sold by 3rd parties than being hacked. To put it simply, they want control back.

Continuing to ignore this shift will have dire consequences for brands and websites. Just because you check the box of compliance through consent doesn’t mean you’re actually compliant. This can lead to increased scrutiny from regulators and plaintiff firms as they set their targets on advertisers and publishers. 

Perkins Coie has already logged over 170 lawsuits from alleged CCPA violations and we anticipate this trend to accelerate and increase. Some cases have linked data sharing to data breaches, such as the class action suit that led Zoom to settle for $85 million last summer. But it’s going to go from bad to worse as we reach 2023 as more states implement new rules and regulations following the first movers such as Virginia’s VCDPA and Colorado’s CPA.


In the EU, the stakes are higher. IAB Europe (the European-level association for advertising and digital marketing) is likely to be ruled in violation of GDPR by the Belgian data protection authority. This would upend cookie banners that allow users to opt out of tracking cookies and require a replacement within six months. It also begs the question, if they've breached the rules, how many others have, intentionally or not?

So what can publishers do to protect themselves? Consent management platforms are a start and will be a new must-have. But it’s important to note that these solutions are not a silver bullet. Nearly 20% of consent strings fail—leaving brands and publishers on the hook with fines for breaches they were unaware of.

Luckily, this is where Boltive Privacy Guard can help. Identify consent failures, unlawful retargeting, and unauthorized data collectors in the bid stream to halt breaches in their tracks and identify the root of the problem. Moreover, you can rest easy in the knowledge that we stay ahead of changes in regulations for you so you can comply with the plethora of new rules scheduled to take effect over the next two years.  

2. The number of Cookieless Solutions will accelerate

We’ll finally wave farewell as Chrome deprecates third party cookies in 2023 and forces adoption of cookieless targeting. Although a shock to many at first, we’ve had plenty of time to adjust to the news. Brands and publishers have ample opportunity to find a solution and trial universal IDs, clean rooms, Google Privacy Sandbox, and contextual targeting. As Eric Wheeler, CEO of publisher monetization company 33Across, says: 

“It will take effort for the industry to re-engineer cookie-dependent systems to be agnostic, but in the long run, it will improve operational margins.” 

Cookieless solutions allow brands to recover the loss of addressability from  low quality audiences identified using cookies and publishers to transition to new targeting methods to offset revenue losses from the sunset of cross-context behavioral advertising.

There are currently four major cookieless technologies:

Universal IDs - Often in the form of hashed emails, these are the closest replacement to third party cookies because they are active across Web properties. They require agreement between publishers and properties but are viable with scale.   


Clean rooms - Sometimes called data pools, these are operated by trusted middlemen that accept campaign data from publishers and conversion data from advertisers. Identifiable information is omitted so users are represented by codes or strings and can only be queried in groups.  


Google’s Privacy Sandbox - These are subject of privacy debate, particularly in the UK and EU.  Google’s latest timeline suggests FLoC will be replaced by Topics and and FLEDGE (retargeting) will be available for testing in early 2022.


Contextual Targeting - An advantage of contextual targeting is that it’s proprietary to every publisher and accessible by media buyers. Another advantage is the delivery of messages to visitors when they are most receptive. It can be augmented with algorithms and machine learning such as NLP (Natural Language Processing).   

These cookieless technologies introduce revenue impacting obstacles for crucial initiatives like attribution and tracking. 

Boltive enables brands and publishers to benchmark cookie versus cookieless targeting. You can measure KPIs such as reach, frequency and spend pacing and evaluate strategies such as hyper-targeting and audience extension. You can measure your own campaigns and those of your competitors and also classify contextual inventory. All of this will be crucial for publishers as understanding consumer interaction, particularly in the context of their consumer journey, is key to surviving in a post-cookie world.

3. CTV (Connected TV) Ad Quality will look the part in 2022 


There are many reasons to get on the Connected TV ad train in 2022. Firstly, 80% of advertisers are going to increase their CTV spend across 2022. Secondly, the medium is devouring spend from linear TV and social media. There is also a huge market available as 70% of individuals in the United States have access to a smart TV in their household in 2020. This number will only increase over time. 

Unfortunately, despite these votes of confidence, most CTV ad creative is mediocre at best. A comment by Joe Hirsch, GM of SpringServe, best sums up the current stage of the game: 


“Amid the fierce competition to win over engaged audiences and convince viewers to keep tuning in, CTV publishers will be more focused on providing an impeccable and quality experience rather than maximizing ad revenue in the short term. Ad quality will take priority over monetization.” 


CTV ad quality is extremely important to content owners. It is also one aspect where CTV lags linear TV advertising. Linear TV has smoothed out the transitions over six decades, while streaming media is only one decade old. 

Interruptions in sound, bitrate, creative, repetition, and other attributes intrude on the viewing experience and can cause viewers to leave, resulting in lost revenue and often wasted budget. The balkanized nature of CTV platforms, content providers, and OEMs makes disjointed ad pods commonplace.  

With Ad Lightning, our video QA tools, you can streamline workflow and audit over 20 dimensions to eliminate jarring ads and create a harmonious flow between content and ads. With an eye-watering number of variables there are so many ways a video can be out of spec. Making sure your videos are in compliance can be a mammoth task. With Ad Lightning you can also quickly and easily send batch compliance reports to an agency, providing a list of failed tags and why we flagged them, so they can be fixed faster.

How Boltive is Solving for the Future

The ad tech industry is going to look a lot different by the end of 2022 as data regulations and traditional targeting gets phased out. Between media companies, technology providers, and brands, trillions of ad auctions happen every day.

A single ad request can turn into dozens across the ecosystem of partners. To help keep teams in compliance and ahead of fraudsters you’ll need solutions like Boltive’s Privacy Guard or Ad Lightning.

We protect 100B impressions per month. Our customers worry less and invest more in growing their customers and revenues. We clean up toxic media so you can focus on higher value areas of your business, trouble free.

Request your free trial today to see how you can stop ad violations in their tracks before they impact your bottom line.

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