Outlook 2022: 3 key insights for the year ahead

Posted on Tuesday 25 January 2022 | IAB UK

Working with PwC, we’ve created a UK-focused addendum to The Digital Advertising Ecosystem Planning Report by IAB US, drawing on the views of five UK-based industry leaders

Read on for an Executive Summary by Sam Tomlinson, Partner at PwC, and download both the US report and the UK addendum below, exclusively for IAB UK members. 

Executive Summary

Despite numerous challenges, UK digital advertising spend grew by almost 50% in H1 2021 vs H1 2020. The full year report in April 2022 will reveal whether this momentum was maintained in H1 2021 or if it was affected by factors such as COVID, Brexit, privacy, and the gradual emergence of cookie-free environments.

In a Q4 2021 report by IAB US and PwC US, industry leaders shared their concerns about the future of digital ad growth, with a clear need for the industry to focus on “consumer expectations, regulatory reforms and talent issues - or risk not only growth, but relevancy”.

IAB UK and PwC UK have collaborated on a UK addendum to this US report, with interviews of five UK ad industry leaders across a range of roles. The messages are clear - the key areas to watch for 2022 are:

  1. The consumer is king: there are growing concerns that consumers are becoming increasingly disengaged and frustrated with ad-supported media, meaning advertisers need to develop a more consumer-centric approach, with tailored ads to meet individual needs.
  2. The great data debate: further education is needed to help consumers understand the value exchange between consuming content online for free and ensuring that publishers can prosper online.
  3. A shift in culture: to retain staff, companies need to focus on pay, benefits including hybrid and flexible working, and tackle areas such as diversity, inclusion and sustainability, or risk missing out on top talent.

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