Industry Outlook: Data Trends in 2022

January 31, 2022
2022 Data Trends

While brands and publishers went into 2021 preparing for a new cookieless reality, Google’s decision to delay the deprecation of third-party cookies to 2023 has bought more time for marketers to explore privacy-safe targeting alternatives and take stock of their data assets. As we kick off 2022, we’ve asked our own internal thought leaders plus experts across the industry to reflect on their learnings from this period of experimentation and share their data trends and predictions for the year ahead.  

In this post you’ll find: 

Meet the Data Experts  

Morgan Rigsbee, VP of Product & Strategy at Fluent, and our friends at LiveRamp, Truthset, and Cadent weigh in on their key takeaways from the past year and provide tips for navigating the evolving data privacy landscape in 2022. 

Meet the Data Experts - Morgan Rigsbee Headshot
Fluent Logo

Morgan Rigsbee

VP, Product & Strategy

Meet the Data Experts - Jason Brenner Headshot

Jason Brenner

Managing Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences

Meet the Data Experts - Kelly Barrett
Truthset Logo

Kelly Barrett

SVP, Data Partnerships

Meet the Data Experts - Mari Tangredi Headshot
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Mari Tangredi

SVP, Global Partnerships

Q&A: Data Trends & Predictions

What was your biggest learning from 2021?   

Morgan Rigsbee, VP of Product & Strategy, Fluent 

“The landscape is continuing to evolve at such a rapid pace that marketers must ensure their data is portable and accessible across the board – whether it’s via clean rooms, CDPs, or Advanced TV platforms. And while most companies took a collective sigh of relief when Google delayed the cookie-pocalypse to 2023, we still need to be prepared, as addressable IDs are moving away from cookies and MAIDs regardless.” 

Kelly Barrett, SVP Data Partnerships, Truthset 

“Our biggest learning is that marketers and their agencies are ridiculously busy (we all knew that) and that it takes a special kind of ad tech platform player to step up and say, ‘We’re going to integrate this solution, even before demand is screaming at us, because we know it is the right thing to do.’ Like data accuracy, which has for too long in this industry been known to be suspect but overlooked due to lack of bandwidth or misaligned incentives to address the issues. In 2021, we’ve seen platforms that brands and agencies use daily lean in on cleaning up the data ecosystem without being prompted. It creates a first-mover advantage for those platforms and results in what we all want – better, more accurate outcomes.” 

Mari Tangredi, SVP Global Partnerships, Cadent 

“From adversity, good things can come. Even with the global supply chain challenges that brands faced, we saw tremendous growth in the ad industry.  More brands and agencies are looking to platforms that can leverage first-party data and streamline data-driven advertising overall, from planning through execution.” 

What are some of your predictions for the future of ad targeting in 2022? 

Morgan Rigsbee, VP of Product & Strategy, Fluent 

“I think 2022 will be the year connected TV really becomes a channel all marketers activate in. It’s still such a complicated landscape that is just starting to consolidate, but as the inventory gets more organized and data becomes more usable, brands and agencies will really start to take advantage of this emerging channel.”

Jason Brenner, Managing Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences, LiveRamp

“In speaking with our clients, we are finding that they are trying to take a diversified approach to connecting with their customers. Building first-party audiences is still the number one priority for most marketers. Alongside that, a greater emphasis on data collaboration with the acknowledgment that with or without third party cookie deprecation, no organization ever possesses all the data in their four walls that will help them best meet their customer expectations from a CX and ROI point of view.”

Kelly Barrett, SVP Data Partnerships, Truthset 

“The acceleration to new mediums and the current state of fragmentation isn’t going to slow down. This means that identity resolution will get harder to accomplish effectively, measurement for comparison and learnings will continue to be critical, and some parts of the ecosystem will lean into cleaning themselves up. Let’s take demos – how does one align various measurement partners’ results when they are all built off different sources with no checks on the quality of that data? If we start to clean up these foundational differences, we can get back to determining what really moves the needle for customers.” 

Mari Tangredi, SVP Global Partnerships, Cadent 

“It will be an even better year than 2021! Due to the spectacular results of targeted campaigns that leveraged a combination of first-party and third-party data, brands and advertisers will look to refine their strategies in the coming year. Additionally, with so much media spend moving into the advanced TV space, partnering with a TV-first platform will be even more critical in 2022.” 

What positive outcomes do you expect to stem from the shift away from third-party cookies?  

Morgan Rigsbee, VP of Product & Strategy, Fluent 

“When done correctly, shifting to authenticated, identity-based IDs, can lead to not only better targeting, but a more positive consumer experience in which consent choices can be easily managed.” 

Jason Brenner, Managing Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences, LiveRamp

“I think data collaborations will continue to explode in 2022. Look at the growth of retail media, the heart of this growth is around data collaboration for an omnichannel understanding of the customer. I think this is leading to a rethinking of the relationship between partners. As long as the proper security and privacy controls are in place, I think collaboration will become the norm and hopefully will continue to power an open internet.”

Kelly Barrett, SVP Data Partnerships, Truthset 

“Without third-party cookies, advertisers will have to get back to basics, building messaging that appeals to their target audience and finding that desired audience, (using demographics and context) to create an engaging combination that drives consumer action. We also hope that the cookie debates bring about a sense of responsibility for our consumers (who are us, in the end). After all, it wasn’t the actual little text file on your devices that was causing all the demand for change, but what was being done with that information. Where we go from here has to keep not only the tech in mind, but also the real reason we are exploring new options for responsible marketing.” 

Mari Tangredi, SVP Global Partnerships, Cadent 

“Data-driven advertising will rise above some of the challenges that an over-reliance on cookies has caused in the past. With a greater focus on first-party data, plus the ability to decorate with deterministic data sources and/or validated datasets, the end result will be a net benefit to advertisers. Since the cookie was never relevant for TV-first platforms to begin with, these platforms are well ahead of the game, even as the cookie deprecates ever-so-slowly.” 

When it comes to building a strong data strategy, what will separate the winners and losers in the new year? 

Morgan Rigsbee, VP of Product & Strategy, Fluent 

“Data validation, addressability, and portability will be the most important thing to consider for any data provider. For brands, building out a robust foundation of first-party data and getting a solid tech stack in place for internal use and external activation will be paramount.” 

Jason Brenner, Managing Director, Healthcare & Life Sciences, LiveRamp

“Collaboration across key partners within your martech and adtech stack, including and perhaps especially, collaboration with premium publishers will be the winning strategy. To use an analogy from an old fable: I think the organizations that are taking the changing privacy and regulatory landscape seriously and not delaying their planning until winter, will continue to feast in terms of delivering value to customers and shareholders, whereas those who are taking a more reactive approach, basically until the day Google pulls the plug on cookies, will be fighting for the remaining acorns. I for one would rather be the critter who gathers my acorns during harvest time, since we know what’s coming.”

Kelly Barrett, SVP Data Partnerships, Truthset 

“Data accuracy. If your foundation is weak, your house will crumble. A data strategy built on inaccurate data can never work and continues to cost companies millions of dollars in missed revenue, confusing results, and wasted time. Winners build their data strategies thoughtfully, don’t solely focus on mastering scale, and are careful about the inputs. Whether it’s first-party data, third-party data, data found in a clean room, etc., data owners and users need to ensure their data is accurate by testing, iterating, and measuring via an independent third party (like Truthset).” 

Mari Tangredi, SVP Global Partnerships, Cadent 

“The winners have already partnered with TV-first platforms for their data-driven, cross-screen media strategies. They will leverage their own first-party data and decorate with high-quality third-party data – matched at the highest levels. Campaigns run against those audiences will be able to drive measurable success, based on business outcomes. Overall, the winners have leaned into their partnerships with TV-first platforms and will continue to do so in 2022.” 

Looking Ahead: Data Trends for a Cookieless Future

From the rising importance of first-party data to the need for more privacy-centric consumer experiences, many of the same themes that the dominated data conversation in 2021 will continue to be top of mind for brands, publishers, and platforms in the year ahead. While the impending loss of third-party cookies has presented many challenges, it continues to motivate the industry to come together and work towards new solutions that better serve the needs of advertisers and help deliver value to consumers.    

If you’re a digital marketer interested in scaling your first-party database and keeping up with the latest data trends, connect with us here or fill out the form below!