Attention will become the new advertising currency and drive outcomes for brands

In 2022, we’ll likely see a greater focus on making gaming inventory easier to buy

The shift to attention as the industry’s new currency isn’t only reactive, it’s organic, an extension of existing verification solution, says Jordan Khoo, the managing director for Asia Pacific at DoubleVerify.

Over the last two years, brands and marketers have been nimble as they weathered pandemic-induced swings in consumer behavior as working from home and staying indoors with their digital devices has become the norm while practicing social distancing.

Looking ahead to 2022, advertisers and publishers will continue to seek new and innovative ways to reach their audience as they ease into what comes next. Here are some trends brands and marketers should watch out for:

Attention will become the new advertising currency, driving outcomes for brands

We believe that 2022 will be the year attention becomes a critical advertising currency.

Disruption, from tighter privacy controls to cookie deprecation, is impacting how brands target consumers and measure performance in their digital campaigns. We believe there will be even more demand for privacy-friendly attention metrics that go beyond traditional KPIs such as viewability and clicks to provide granular insights into user presence, user engagement, and ad presentation.

In the new year, brands will want to continue to drive outcomes from spending. Put it another way, if you are advertising a new product, the goal isn’t to drive a specific number of impressions, ultimately, it’s to drive an outcome like a sale. Attention metrics – such as audibility, quartile completion, screen touches, screen real estate, and more – provide powerful new sets of data that are more predictive of an outcome and allow brands to optimize their campaigns. Brands can achieve this without tracking or targeting personal information about consumers.

The shift to attention as the industry’s new currency isn’t only reactive, it’s organic - an extension of existing verification solutions. Advances in verification in recent years have improved the baseline quality for campaigns by tackling fraudsters, boosting safety, and providing brands with clarity into their ad performance. This makes for a valuable jumping-off point for attention metrics, which can be strong predictors of performance.

As spending on gaming goes up, advertisers will demand verification

In-game advertising is, arguably, the next frontier of digital advertising. According to eMarketer, in Q2 2021, people spent 9.0 billion hours watching live streaming video game content around the world (excluding China). This is a significant increase from 3.8 billion hours in Q2 2019. This new high follows a 56.9% quarter-over-quarter jump in Q2 2020.

Advertisers know that getting in front of gaming audiences represents a huge opportunity, but gaming is a complex, fragmented ecosystem. Users pick and choose their preferred environments and marketers will want to understand how they can measure campaigns in those spaces.

We’re likely to see more gaming companies adopt open measurement standards to help advertisers spend dollars with confidence. As advertisers invest in the gaming space, third-party verification providers will also need to partner with inventory holders and buying platforms to bring new measurement solutions to the category.

Additionally, in 2022, we’ll likely see a greater focus on making gaming inventory easier to buy. We could see console games, for example, embrace more dynamic ad insertion as casual games do on the web. This is typically where we see most ads spend in gaming occurring because it's easier for smaller advertisers to get involved and allows for better measurement. Thinking about how these buys get executed from an agency and advertiser standpoint, introducing greater simplicity will help shift dollars into the channel.

Metaverse interoperability will be key

The metaverse will continue to have a moment with Facebook – now Meta – leading the charge. The metaverse allows you to share fully immersive online experiences and is powered by extended reality technology. Mark Zuckerberg has staked his company’s future on this new ecosystem, calling it a “Northstar” and his mission “to bring the metaverse to life.” However, the metaverse remains mostly conceptual as it is still early days for both the hardware and software technology and the content required to meet the meta-opportunity.

Interoperability is also key. For the metaverse to function as the physical world, virtual environments must be interconnected. It can’t be a series of individual walled gardens. While the metaverse will take years to realize its full potential, it’s not as far away as we might think given rapid advancements in virtual and augmented reality amid the pandemic.

We expect continued progress in 2022 and as that occurs, like with any new channel, advertisers will demand better measurement to invest with confidence.

Jordan Khoo is the managing director for APAC at DoubleVerify