Tis the season for announcing new year predictions, and we can’t get enough of them. Experts from all different areas of tech, business and the creator economy have been staring into their crystal balls, looking to predict the trends we’ll all be obsessing over this year. If these start-of-year projections are correct, it sounds like we’re all going to spend a lot of time in 2022 talking about cookies.
Here are some of the top predictions that put the cookie-less future as a central focus of the year ahead (collected via the ThoughtLeaders platform.)
The Daily Carnage put it best in their 2022 predictions, with data in the top spot on their list:
"The buzz of podcasting has finally caught the attention of companies successfully building tools in greater digital advertising. Podcast adtech started and continues to thrive without ever receiving third-party cookies or mobile device ID’s directly from listeners, allowing our industry to be the hands-on experts for advertisers and buyers in this cookieless future. The use of these solutions will be led by major brands looking to implement the same core analytics, targeting, and tracking they utilize across all digital campaigns. Publishers, networks, marketplaces, and agencies that stay knowledgeable on these emerging solutions will benefit the most, as these new partners will need a guide to make their campaigns successful."
Benedict Evans framed one of his “Tech questions for 2022” around the issue of Privacy:
"Advertising & marketing is a $1tr industry, a third of it is now online, and it’s the single most important lever for ecommerce on one hand and the growth of new brands and new competitors on the other. Most of this has been based on cookies, and privacy concerns mean that cookies are now going away, in the ‘Great Cookie Apocalypse’, but we don’t know what will replace that. The industry is trying to create ways to show ads that are both relevant and private, and there’s no barrier to that in principle. Advertisers almost never actually want or need any personal information - they just want to show diapers ads to people who have babies, not show them to people who don’t, and have some idea of which ads work better. Data isn’t oil - it’s sand. But building ‘private relevance’ is hard if we don’t agree what privacy means - tech people might argue that ‘first party’ is private and ‘on-device’ is private, but it’s not clear anyone else will go for that."
TechCrunch focused on “3 disruptive trends that will shape marketing in 2022”, with a prediction that boils down to “Less data, more privacy and the return of growth hacking”.
"No longer armed with user-level data or access to robust platform attribution, marketers will have to roll up their sleeves and do it themselves. Top performers will embrace the roots of marketing measurement and media mix modeling, which involves comparing sales with marketing spend and using regression analysis to draw correlations and assign weightings to your marketing channels.
Brands will also need to experiment by evaluating advertising effectiveness by using incrementality tests, such as turning channels on and off for select periods of time and using geographic holdouts (selecting control cities with no ad spend). Growth marketers will also need to collaborate more with their internal data science teams to construct bespoke attribution models, as one size will not fit all."
In their 2022 Social Media Trends Report, HubSpot predicted “Social ads will develop, as cookies get crunched”
As Google works to phase out cookie tracking by 2023, the future of social advertising remains to be defined. For brands, this means learning to balance the need for personalized services and the need for consent and compliance. While the “cookieless future” seems bright for advertisers, good publishers, and consumers, those that have been profiting off of privacy-invasive data collection from users will need to rethink their strategy.
The report also looked at how the use of influencer marketing will develop over the coming year:
"Influencer marketing is now a dominant marketing methodology. As the impact of social media continues to grow, so too does the weight and influence of influencers. New rules have resulted in increased influencer regulation and responsibility, while many influencers have thrived with drastic audience and engagement growth. Influencer marketing now offers better results, with fewer risks. The brands that make the most of these opportunities are those that dig into what makes consumers tick and identify the influencers that will drive the most impact. If you’re not considering influencer marketing moving into 2022, you’re at risk of missing out on expanding your customer base."
Of course, predictions are a dangerous game, as illustrated by Digiday in their review of their 2021 predictions: “No one could have predicted the realities that 2021 brought with it, including everything from Apple and Google’s privacy crackdown.”