Comment: IPA Bellwether ad industry report 2022

Adtech industry on the ipa bellwether 2022 report - Image by Ronald Carreño from Pixabay

The latest IPA Bellwether Report shows a clear return to growth for the marketing and advertising industry.

Although hugely welcome after two very tough years for many, it certainly doesn’t mean plain sailing ahead for the marketing industry, with lingering issues around the pandemic, geopolitical tensions such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the return to global economics of a rather ugly phenomenon – inflation.

So we’ve been asking the great and the good from the adtech world for their take on the latest IPA Bellwether and what it means for an industry that’s only just on the up again…

Matt White, VP EMEA at Quantcast

“The industry has experienced quite a rollercoaster ride recently, with the pandemic causing budgets to seesaw dramatically.

“Last quarter saw an increase in marketing spending despite the Omicron variant causing restrictions to be reintroduced, and this quarter follows the same trajectory with marketing budgets increasing yet again.

“This is hugely positive for the industry after what has been a difficult two years.

“March saw the total removal of all Covid restrictions in England, with consumers once again ready to spend on purchases and experiences that were disrupted by lockdown.

“Advertisers and marketers are jumping on this trend, creating campaigns that capture the feeling of freedom.

“However, this doesn’t show the whole picture for the UK. Inflation and the cost of living crisis mean that the economic situation is precarious, and many consumers will find themselves altering their everyday spending habits.

“In this instance, an increase in marketing spend is necessary to keep the economy moving; consumers will be less likely to spend money, so campaigns need to be more compelling than ever to attract attention.

“This economic turbulence may mean that marketing budgets could once again experience many unprecedented peaks and troughs as we continue through the year.”

Sarah Rew, Senior Director, Global Marketing, LoopMe

“The reported growth in ad spend, while good news, won’t mean anything if advertisers aren’t adaptable in where they place budget. Brands are contending with challenges around inflation and supply chains, on top of unpredictable consumer behaviour. 

“For example, our most recent study into FMCG trends highlighted discrepancies in how males and females shop for groceries – with men opting for more premium supermarkets. 

“To ensure campaigns hit the right note, with the right audience, advertisers must draw on insights from granular measurement to track how activity is faring and adjust it in real-time. 

“That way, marketing efforts don’t just rely on assumptions, but on confirmed consumer preferences; meaning ad budget is versatile and assigned to the areas that will produce the best ROI.”

Hannah Thompson, Group Media Director, Tug

“As ad spend for audio continues to decline, it’s clear there is a disconnect somewhere. 

“Consumers are tuning in to podcasts in their millions, simulating friendship with their favourite influencers or celebrities as they seek an antidote to zoom fatigue. 

“Yet, despite the huge opportunity this presents brands with reaching audiences, ad spend just isn’t matching up to consumer enthusiasm for the medium. 

“Challenges around measurement might come into play here, with some advertisers finding the fragmented nature of audio environments daunting. 

“But I’d suggest audio is worth the trouble of getting to grips with voucher codes, post-campaign brand lift studies, and machine learning tech to track performance. After all, research shows that podcast advertising commands the highest levels of attention.”

Harriet Durnford-Smith, Chief Marketing Officer at Adverity

“With adspend forecasts lowered, and consumers feeling the bite of the cost of living crisis, marketers are going to have to work much harder and much smarter to stand out from the crowd. 

“Having the ability to build more meaningful relationships with consumers by understanding their needs and predicting future behaviour should be the top priority of every marketer. 

“Personalisation will be fundamental to achieving this, but without fingertip access to data, marketers will lack the agility to deliver highly relevant messages in a timely fashion. 

“In times such as these where every decision counts, having better access to data is going to be critical to better decision making.”

Mari Kim Novak, Chief Marketing Officer, Yieldmo

“As growth towards video continues, marketers need partners who can help them create differentiated, high-quality video ad experiences that consumers want to pay attention to, and find those audiences that will be essential to the success of their campaigns. 

“With changing market conditions, inflation, consumer spending and supply chain pressures, marketers need to be agile and recognise that we’re never going back to “the way things used to be”. 

“Consumers expect brands to provide integrated seamless advertising experiences and therefore the marketers that are able to provide these will win the lion’s share of sales. 

“This can only be achieved by utilising intelligent predictive data and unique, shoppable ad formats.”

Alison Harding, VP of Data Solutions, EMEA, Lotame

“The increase in online spend shows that marketers and publishers are now in a better position for the retirement of third-party cookies. 

“This is due to the introduction of more identity testing and maybe even having the adoption of identity solutions as part of the marketing mix. 

“There is also an argument to be made that businesses may be pivoting spend into online advertising as they are being boxed out of the Apple mobile universe, and are moving budgets to fill this gap. 

“It will be worth brands and advertisers keeping a close eye on how the ongoing situation in Ukraine may begin to affect their budgets, and their planning, from Q2 onwards.”

Charlie Johnson (she/her), Vice President, Intl, Digital Element

“While it’s extremely positive to see marketing budgets are increasing, especially after the last two years, it’s worth remembering that the marketing landscape can quickly shift. 

“Despite the immediate concerns in the headlines, online privacy continues to be a hot topic and we know online targeting will continue to get harder in 2022. 

“There’s a need for more innovative tools, such as those helping to adapt post-cookie targeting strategies through location intelligence. 

“These will support advertisers as they attempt to navigate an environment that’s always evolving and stay ahead in a privacy-conscious way.”

Mike Gordon, Chief Commercial Officer at Global

“The easing of pandemic restrictions does not mean marketers should take their foot off the pedal. 

“As advertisers continue to increase their spend, competition for consumer attention will be high, meaning brands must maximise the potential of their budgets by experimenting with new channels to meet consumers’ changing needs and habits.

“The return of larger-scale gatherings and exhibitions means marketing strategies can no longer rely on reaching consumers at home. 

“Instead, brands should look at channels, like outdoor and audio, that enable them to reach consumers multiple times throughout the day, at home or on-the-go, with strong, consistent narratives.”

Tony Ayaz, CEO, Scuba Analytics

“The continued growth of online ad spend means an increasingly complex web of data for marketers to grapple with. In order to ensure return on that spend, marketers need a 360 view of the customer. 

“This means it’s vital that marketers step away from the stale data and delayed reports created by legacy analytic systems, and toward real-time analytics. 

“By capturing, analysing, and leveraging insights in real-time they can manage their campaigns and rapidly respond to customers’ needs.”

Pierce Cook-Anderson, MD N Europe, Smart Adserver

“As budgets continue to grow, the industry needs to channel them into tools that continue to drive value path optimisation, rather than convolute the supply chain further. 

“Curated marketplaces, for example, deliver better efficiency and more streamlined workflows by packaging up ready-made audiences with high-quality inventory. 

“This saves time and resources, meaning ad budgets can be better allocated – even more important considering current challenges around inflation. 

“At the same time, curation gives publishers back control over their data and increases demand for their inventory.”

Jacopo Gerini, Chief Commercial Officer, Clickio 

“While there’s reason to be optimistic about adspend forecasts, it’s clear economic uncertainty and rising living costs will continue to fuel uncertainty. 

“That’s not to mention the countless data regulations and evolving tools and platforms; all of which leave publishers struggling to keep on top of changes and protect their bottom line. 

“Moving forward, publishers should channel their efforts into optimising their sites for the user experience, focusing on features that increase loading speeds, boost engagement, and drive advertising revenue. 

“Working with Consent Management Platforms will also be key – helping publishers stay abreast of industry initiatives while optimising site design to boost consent rates.”

Paul Smith, VP Sales, Adtonos 

“Of course it’s a shame to see audio budgets fall in Q1 2022, but it is understandable considering the circumstances. 

“Despite the fact the audio industry is booming, it makes sense that marketers are turning to what they know rather than risking something new – however exciting it might be. 

“This reflects the reality that we are a society slowly re-emerging from the pandemic, only just exiting an extended period of economic uncertainty, and to top it off, find ourselves in the midst of geopolitical turmoil.

“The decrease in home audio consumption correlates with a population that’s back on the move which implies that access to audio through connected devices remains high. 

“Combined with a greater thirst for personalised content, this represents a shift in the way audio is being consumed and advertisers should pay attention. 

“Audio advertising through podcasts for example, which account for nearly a third (27%) of digital audio content consumed in the UK, offers this personalised approach and is also on the rise with 66% of listeners actually having increased their consumption since the end of the pandemic.”

Paul Wright, Managing Director (UK / FR / MENA / TR), AppsFlyer

‘’As the advertising industry continues to witness ongoing signs of recovery, the journey towards digital transformation should be a key consideration for businesses who are excited by the prospects of the budget expansion across different channels including events, online and video. 

“Whilst many companies are currently undergoing this transformation to harness multi-channel opportunities, to be successful, it will require marketing and product teams to work closely together to get rich behavioural data to attract new customers, measure accurately the impact of their ad spend on KPIs such as mobile user retention and provide meaningful personalised experience in a privacy-compliant way.‘’

Ronny Golan, CEO and Co-Founder at ViewersLogic

With many powerful market factors in flux – post pandemic, supply chain, job security, energy cost issues and the Ukraine crisis; it’s hard for brands to estimate consumer demand and budget accordingly. 

“Not to mention the fact that past data sets give them little insight into current and future market movement.

“The right kind of data will be key to making more confident media investment decisions. Firstly a timely understanding of shifting consumer behaviour and changes in purchasing. 

“Secondly, insight on the impact a campaign has on influencing consumer behaviour and the ability to rapidly conduct A/B testing to avoid backing the wrong horse. 

“Finally, being able to understand competitive responses to this market and to better assess what works and doesn’t work before committing spend.

“Only through accurate, reliable and compliant data will marketers gain access to these insights and deliver ROAS.

Bridget Arik, COO at, Redmill Solutions

“While the report rightly highlights the socio-economic factors impacting brands from the war in Ukraine and COVID-19, the role of Brexit has been largely underplayed amongst analysis of the supply chain issues facing businesses. 

“Despite reported optimism, greater transparency and understanding is needed about the full breadth of pressures currently placed on brands and their advertising spend. 

“Likewise, the pressures media agencies are facing in terms of servicing their brand client – there is an ongoing talent leak and agencies are having to pay more to retain staff, which will impact profitability. 

“With these pressures in mind, the importance of better data visibility around brands’ media spend is more important than ever to maximise ROI and to give advertisers the agility to navigate these latest challenges.”

Andy Ashley, Global Marketing Director, SmartFrame Technologies

“Advertising budgets may be reaching new highs but it’s clear there are still many hurdles to overcome before confidence returns to pre-pandemic levels. 

“In an extended period of economic uncertainty, tech innovations can deliver reliable solutions despite the constant change. 

“Advertisers mustn’t lose sight of the recurring challenges they face as they work to adapt to the impact of more prominent concerns, such as the cost of living crisis and the conflict in Ukraine. 

“Selecting tools that empower flexibility – while also maintaining confidence that placements are brand-safe and highly relevant in the soon-to-be-cookieless world – will help advertisers navigate this challenging period and maintain progress towards a better, more informed industry altogether.”

Stefanie Briec, Director, Demand Sales UK and Intl, FreeWheel

“It’s really positive to see marketing budgets increasing, and in particular the 9% growth for video spend. 

“Video advertising’s rise is, as we know, a sign of the shift in consumers’ media consumption preferences, and seizing on its potential will continue to be a priority throughout 2022.

“Doing this effectively will involve marketers engaging with audiences across the whole spectrum of advanced TV formats and platforms to drive revenue growth. 

“With the increasing popularity of streaming, and the rise of ad-funded video on demand (AVOD) and free ad-supported platforms (FAST), for example, we can anticipate further spend will be allocated to connected TV (CTV) going forward.”

Emma Lacey, SVP EMEA, Zefr

Video ad spend has remained resilient throughout the pandemic, but despite its continued growth, marketers are facing some new challenges. 

“The rise of evolving capabilities from video platforms has left them questioning how to best make the most of them – take TikTok’s more recent positioning as an entertainment hub alongside its social status.

“Marketers need to see the shifts from these powerful platforms as opportunities and take advantage of their forward-thinking new features. 

“L’Oréal, for example, sponsored one of the largest trends on the app, ‘#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt’ that went viral and generated sales. 

“Sophisticated measurement and targeting on the platform is also available in-feed, meaning marketers get the transparency they need to analyse and understand the impact of campaigns that are safely running on the app – leaving little to no room for investment uncertainty.

Sivan Tafla, CEO Total Media Solutions

“The general feeling of optimism from UK marketers, reflected by the increase in budgets, affirms what we are seeing and hearing from our own clients about how ‘living with the virus’  has injected a great deal of confidence in the market.

“However, this isn’t the time to get comfortable. The persistence of supply chain issues, the cost of living crisis and war in Ukraine, serve as a reminder that the ecosystem is susceptible to shocks. 

“Publishers that can diversify their business models and product offerings to protect against fluctuations in audience income and varying interests based on the news agenda, will be best placed to retain audiences and offer continued advertising opportunities to brands.”

Anthony Lamy, VP EMEA Client Partners, VidMob

“In the context of increased pressure on advertising budgets for 2022-2023, marketers cannot run the risk anymore to launch a campaign that could fail. 

“Moreover, every pound invested will have to deliver a stronger impact than ever before; we can expect a rise in CPM costs to add even more pressure to marketers. 

“Everyone in the industry is looking for increased performance and the battle for consumer attention will be fierce. 

“Marketers are being smarter with their budgets, with many turning to AI-enabled measurement tools to provide real-time insights on which creative elements of their campaigns are driving performance and delivering ROI. 

“Intelligent creative is especially relevant for campaigns on popular and evolving platforms, where using authentic creative content – and understanding creative best practices at scale –  is becoming essential for success.”