However, the metaverse remains mostly conceptual. It’s early days for both the hardware, software, and content required to fulfill the meta opportunity. Interoperability is the key to long-term success. For the metaverse to function like the physical world, virtual environments must be interconnected. Single garden series cannot be fenced. Solving interoperability challenges is like sharing characters between the Marvel universe and DC. Both require a significant investment in defining rights and ownership of content and technology.
While it will take years to achieve the metaverse, expect progress in 2022 to be driven by advances in augmented and virtual reality. As with any new channel, advertisers will demand a better measure of investment with confidence.
Brand relevance concerns in digital audio
Programmatic implementation of digital audio media purchases is increasing, but it still represents a relatively small percentage of the total dollars spent. The impressions available are in low odd numbers in podcasts, for example. In 2022, more audio stock will be handled programmatically, putting pressure on the need to measure quality and performance. Whether the ad is actually shown will be key, but brand relevance will also be a major concern. There are tens of thousands of podcast and podcast episodes, but there is no simple way to look at each of them across all distribution points to determine if they are a good fit for the campaign. Much of the voice infrastructure still requires manual intervention from advertisers. We expect there will be more progress in this area in the new year as agencies and advertisers strive for better measurement.
As spending on games rises, advertisers will demand verification
According to eMarketer, consumers spent 9 billion hours in the second quarter of 2021 watching live video game content around the world, excluding China. This is a significant increase from the 3.8 billion hours in the second quarter of 2019. This new rise follows a quarterly jump of 56.9% in the second quarter of 2020.
Advertisers know there is a great opportunity to stand out from the gaming audience. But games are a complex and fragmented ecosystem. Users pick and choose their preferred environments, and marketers will want to understand how campaigns measure in those spaces. We’ll likely see more game 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 stock holders and buy platforms to bring new metric solutions to this category.
We’ll also see greater focus in 2022 from brand advertisers at large on making in- and around-game advertising a more standard part of their media purchases. At the same time, publishers will facilitate the purchase of game inventory. We should see console games, for example, move closer to the web and the CTV model for the inclusion of dynamic ads and scaling. When this happens, advertisers will be able to more easily join casual, console, and other game genres together and align them with broader campaign goals.
The jobs of advertisers and agencies continue to increase in complexity. Easier implementation for operational teams, alignment with standard campaign and performance measurement for analytics teams, and a more comprehensive look at gaming’s contribution to the media plan will help investment teams, agencies and advertisers justify shifting dollars to the channel.
Our industry is evolving every year and we must continue to embrace emerging channels, ensuring advertisers and publishers the ability to meet consumers wherever they are through safe, measurable and verifiable platforms. Now is the time to develop such technologies to ensure that advertisers can carry out strategic campaigns in the new year and beyond.
Subscribe to Ad Age now for award-winning news and insights.