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IAB ALM 2022: From the Pivot to Privacy

24 March 2022

In February took place the 2022 IAB Annual Leadership Meeting (ALM), where industry leaders debated on the most important adtech trends and challenges. Market players were focused on programmatic trends, addressability solutions portfolio, consumer privacy frameworks and technologies. Also were taken into account the talent crisis in the digital industry, the growth of Connected TV, a vision for Identity in 2022, ad fraud, supply chain transparency and security, influencer marketing and much more. 

Our Director of Programmatic Operations, Yaroslav Kholod, attended this event and brought us the background of the meeting and insights.

Changes in Measurement and Addressability

There is less and less time left until Google withdraws support of third-party cookies in Chrome, so 2022 is promising to be the year publishers, tech vendors and marketers will continue to test solutions for audience targeting and ad delivery. 

We observe the updates to privacy and compliance regulations, the emergence of new business and technical requirements, platform upgrades, and the evolution of rules and mandates by technology companies such as Apple, Facebook, and Google. Al this requires industry leaders to implement new standards and look for new solutions. 

The most resonant topics of discussion at the event were privacy and addressability, the same as global regulations of data usage. Although privacy and addressability contradict each other, the industry doesn’t have an answer to find a balance between them. As a result, such uncertainty doesn’t push industry players to do something and according to IAB State of Data Report 2022:

  • Less than half of industry leaders (46%) consider themselves knowledgeable about Google’s Privacy Sandbox. This suggests an overall lack of attention that’s needed to fully understand future open web opportunities that will affect addressability and measurement,
  • Despite the wide adoption and integration of the OM SDK, only 15% of the sell-side have adopted it and are leveraging its ability to enable standardized privacy-compliant measurement of their client’s video and mobile app viewability and verification.

We may expect the same awareness about other addressability initiatives. The future of addressability should be consumer-centric. That means all cookie replacement tools won’t resolve main privacy concerns as they work based on machine-to-machine transactions and without direct interaction with consumers. On the other hand, there are no ideas for making consumers interact with all hundreds of market players without harming their UX.

In 2021, IAB Tech Lab created a framework for a portfolio approach to privacy and addressability. In 2022 they are planning the launch of the Global Privacy Platform, the Accountability Platform, which is designed to ensure consumer consent and privacy is enforced, finalizing seller-defined audience specifications, and an ongoing evaluation of other consumer privacy and addressability initiatives. However, nothing will work without cooperation with other global companies and uniform legislation for countries and even more so for states.

Over the past year, there has been no significant progress in creating a unified federal law in the United States, that could become a benchmark for privacy legislation in other countries.

In addition, this situation is complicated because, according to the Belgian Data Protection Authority, the IAB Europe’s Transparency and Consent Framework (TCF) fails to comply with a number of provisions of the GDPR, the European Union’s comprehensive data privacy law. If the TCF won’t be corrected, the framework will be considered illegitimate and penalties will follow.

The Talent Crunch 

What does it take to find, inspire, and retain top talent in a world where typical workplace dynamics have been rewritten? There’s a talent crisis bearing down on America’s digital advertising ecosystem. The forecast is based on a series of candid and anonymous interviews with roughly 20 CMOs, CIOs, CROs and other industry executives across the buy-side and the sell-side led by IAB and PwC.

Interviewed executives identified three main challenges: fierce competition to attract and retain talent, in concert with the promotion of DEI corporate policy, a growing consumer trust gap, and looming federal scrutiny in the advertising industry. According to a PwC US pulse survey on the future of work released in August, 88% of executives face higher-than-average turnover, and 65% of employees say they’re looking for a new job. This is a real challenge because the industry needs a competent, engaged workforce to grow.

In July 2020, the IAB launched an umbrella program called The Inclusive Institute to improve industry diversity standards through education, outreach and leadership development. As part of this effort, the IAB is also launching an apprenticeship program to help member companies offer on-the-job mentoring and training to attract more diverse ad tech, digital media and marketing candidates. But still, the imbalance between labor demand and supply remains.

Streaming and Connected TV

CTV digital advertising spend is experiencing phenomenal growth. Media consumption reached an all-time high, and the continued rise of streaming and connected TV created more opportunities for advertisers to reach their consumers.

To support this growth in demand, many CTV providers power it with new shows and channels that appeal to multiple audience segments. Both free ad-supported streaming (FAST) channels and ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) can attract viewers with entertaining content, such as major blockbuster films, without the need to start a paid subscription. Therefore, this year, the ad inventory available on these platforms will be hot property.

Moreover, 2022 can become a year when ad agencies and their DSPs get control of their CTV supply strategies with the help of SPO and start to forge strategic relationships with SSPs. They can offer secure supply paths underpinned by all IAB Tech Lab protocols. This includes support for the new parameters being introduced into the OpenRTB spec to ensure brands, their agencies and DSPs can take full advantage of the privacy-compliant targeting opportunities that now exist in CTV.

Nevertheless, the industry needs to overcome some blocks to unleash its full power, including fragmentation, accessibility, measurement, and a lack of standardization. Indeed, all of these will need to be addressed in 2022 and beyond.

The importance of first-party data

First-party data is becoming increasingly valuable. Third-party targeting options are shrinking, and the tightening of government legislation means third-party information isn’t as helpful as it was. Additionally, users are becoming privacy-conscious and want their privacy preferences honored.

In this regard, many retailers and data companies attended the conference, as they understand their relevance in the era of third-party cookie rejection. Large retailers shared cases on using their customers’ data, which they are ready to sell on the ad market. For example, Kroger, the supermarket giant, shared an advertising tool that lets marketers use its first-party shopper data in their programmatic ad buying. The Kroger Private Marketplace gives access to shopper data from the grocery chain’s sales and loyalty programs. Advertisers can apply that data to the demand-side platform and use it to target people across the web instead of on Kroger’s websites.

Other big retailers are also investing in ways to collect high-quality data by creating tools that provide a value exchange to deliver personalized experiences, thereby increasing the value of their data.

In this manner, first-party data is becoming a sanctuary in the new privacy-aware consumer environment.

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