October 16, 2021

Six months after its first study, PwC and IAB, the digital media and marketing trade association, have partnered again with industry thought leaders across the digital ad-supported ecosystem to discuss key challenges and opportunities facing this industry in a report titled "IAB Outlook: 2022 Digital Ad Ecosystem".

Source: PwC: Shows advertising attributes that are important to customers

While the US digital advertising industry is expected to remain a bright spot in an otherwise tough year (it defied expectations with double digit growth by end of 2021), the serious challenges looming require immediate attention from all facets of the industry. Of the concerns identified by the leaders interviewed for IAB's fall report, the increasing lack of consumer tolerance for advertising–particularly within digital video–requires immediate focus and change. With more choices to obtain content via ad-free and ad-light environments than ever before, consumers require different advertising that express different values through different types of formats.

Advertising's Value Proposition Must Change

"This report makes it crystal clear that we must acknowledge that consumer expectations are rapidly changing. Irrelevant and increased ad loads are not the solution. They want better, more useful ad experiences," said David Cohen, CEO, IAB. "They want us to re-focus on their needs, reimagine ad formats, and reinvent what advertising can be. The next creative revolution needs to be about utility, not just cleverness."

The study shows that what consumers value most are 'convenience', 'knowledgeable and friendly service', and 'efficiency'. Four times as many consumers wanted 'efficiency' (60%) as 'fun' or 'brand image' (15%).

Commenting on this, Sue Hogan, SVP Research & Analytics, IAB, said, "The data is a clarion call to accelerate shoppable and other formats that will allow the consumer to experience, explore, query and purchase. Advertisers and their agencies would be wise to look at the innovations in publishing that focus on anticipating consumer needs and shrinking the number of clicks to provide what consumers want. Digital advertising needs that same kind of intent and reinvention to thrive – or risk losing scale."

Employee Value Proposition Must Change, Too

The urgent need to shift to what consumers value is mirrored by a need to shift to what employees value. PwC and IAB reveal that industry leaders are concerned that there could be a weakening of focus on DEI as HR organizations scramble to fill open positions. There's a deep desire for flexibility in how and where US employees work is impacting the acquisition, development, and retention of top talent. There is an urgent need to identify, attract and grow talent in the face of steep competition.

Additional Study Findings:

  •     Both Federal government attention–as well as keen focus from the advertising industry is needed to help brands prepare for regulatory changes in privacy policies and actions by walled gardens. US brands, agencies, publishers, and ad tech companies are not nearly as ready as they need to be to deal with these critical data privacy issues that can derail growth.
  •     To best ensure all consumers are considered, we need perspectives from every angle. The next creative revolution needs to be inclusive and must start right now.

To download report, CLICK HERE.



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