Why 2022 is the 12 months to discover advertising throughout the open web

Why 2022 is the year to explore marketing across the open internet

The past few years have not been easy for digital marketers. To cope with both threatened third-party cookie changes and new privacy regulations, concerned marketers have increased their spending on social media platforms and other “walled gardens”. This shift is due to their perception that these environments will continue to provide them with optimized, real-time, large-scale targeting.

The problem is that many marketers have the exact same idea, which leads to increased auction density and increased costs. For the first time, US social media ad spend is expected to hit $ 50 billion in revenue in 2021.

Aside from higher prices, marketers also have to rely on the various data targeting and measurement methods used by walled gardens, making it difficult to apply and analyze insights across all channels. With fewer opportunities to optimize their campaigns and learn from them, many marketers are desperate to look to the future.

The credit is up

While advertising through Walled Gardens has been a popular option for many years, it’s an open secret that many marketers have mixed feelings.

The big problem is that it’s out of balance. There is a difference between where people spend their time online and where advertisers invest their money. Currently, the open internet – outside of Walled Gardens – accounts for 66% of the time spent online, but it only accounts for 40% of ad spend.

In addition, the inability to easily control delivery across each walled garden leads to an overexposure that not only wastes spending but, most importantly, annoys those interested in targeting marketers. As a result, when marketers are getting nothing back in actionable data from their media investments, they are struggling to achieve programmatic advertising effectiveness.

Media owners are also becoming increasingly frustrated with the way Internet gatekeepers use their B2C consumer software to prefer their B2B advertising solutions themselves in order to wrongly secure even more market share. The same grumbling publishers have about pooling Google search rankings with their Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is likely to follow after the launch of Apple’s News + app and Google’s News Showcase.

Clearly, a better balance is needed – an approach that gives everyone more choice rather than just centralizing more control in the hands of even fewer players.

From scarcity to freedom of choice

While marketers should use walled gardens as part of their media mix, attracting potential customers on the open internet is also important – especially considering that 73% of online shopping is done on the open internet.

This is where first-party data partnerships come in. Marketers and media owners need to come together to enrich their view of their own customers (with permission) and create campaigns based on incremental results. Campaigns based on these fundamentals can run seamlessly across the open internet and walled gardens and find the right audience without compromise.

The open internet also provides a level playing field between marketers and media owners. The real-time automated feedback that generates positive results in walled gardens can move budgets more freely to where the best results are being achieved via the open internet. Contrary to the competition in Walled Gardens, those looking to fund independent publishers will enjoy a relative cornucopia of opportunities to excite and captivate their audiences.

Marketers who pursue these data partnerships are not alone. The industry is going all out to find new developments in the open source community. One such example is Prebid’s addressable media identification project. This project aims not only to reduce the annoying pop-ups that people are seeing increasingly, but also to provide improved transparency, verifiability and accountability related to accessing ad-supported digital experiences.

Larger media owners also ask people to provide their email or phone number when registering. With appropriate de-identification, this surely replaces the interoperable data that Internet gatekeepers reserve for their own solutions. By relying on consent to use this information, marketers can deliver a better consumer experience, which not only translates into improved engagement, but also more holistic audience strategies with even better measurable commerce outcomes.

Advertising on the open internet is beneficial not only for marketers and media owners, but also for end users. The greater the resources available to niche publishers, the more choice people have to capitalize on the wealth of information and innovation that the open internet offers. While handing budgets back to this channel can be motivated by cost savings on behalf of marketers – especially at a time as we are living it – it benefits all gamblers in the long run.

The next year is likely to be crucial for the future of the open internet. For my part, I’m optimistic that regulators, media owners, marketers, and consumers will have even more choices in the future than they do today.

Joshua Koran is EVP, Data and Policies at Criteo.