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The State of the State: TEGNA’s Dave Neway’s 2022 Marketing Industry Predictions Revisited 

Back in January, TEGNA’s Dave Neway predicted that 2022 would usher in a new era in advertising, typified by increased consumer control and privacy, new habits and routines, continued collaboration between man and machine, and boundless opportunities to delight consumers at every turn. With 2022 more than halfway over, was he right? Read on as he follows up on his predictions and details the lessons learned so far.

Meredith Cunningham Published: August 11, 2022

Approximately seven months ago, whilst licking my tasteless wounds from an uninvited experience with the Omicron variant, I was also hard at work making a series of predictions about what 2022 would portend for the advertising industry. These speculations then came to life in a blog post I shared earlier in the year. In the spirit of accountability, I felt it was high time to revisit these prognostications and assess whether my Spidey sense was spot on, or an exercise in futility.   

Below, I’ve provided a quick recap of what I predicted along with what is transpiring to see how I’m faring:  

 1. Lean-In to Local 

What did I predict? A continued embrace of personalized delivery through local news, along with increasing popularity of local news as an impartial source of news. 

What is happening? This headline from NAB pretty much says it all:  Viewers enjoy more local TV news than ever before, with continued increases in both the number of local news telecasts AND the number of hours of local TV news content aired. In addition, as per the 2022 Media Comparisons Study (via TVB), local broadcast television consistently ranks as the most-trusted news source compared to other media – an especially important finding given the proliferation of mis and disinformation.  

2. Cuckoo for Content 

What did I predict? Given the halt in production for many of our favorite shows in 2021, I foresaw 2022 as a banner year for the entertainment industry as pent-up demand is addressed with a plethora of fresh, new content!  

What is happening? While there hasn’t been any quantitative study just yet on the number of new shows launched in 2022 versus 2021, anecdotal evidence suggests that 2022 has indeed been an outstanding year for new content across every medium imaginable, from a host of new Broadway shows and the resumption of touring productions, to the return of blockbuster movie theatre releases (I.e.: Top Gun: Maverick, Nope, etc.), and a seemingly never-ending list of new shows coming to both cable TV and streaming services alike.  2022 has even been dubbed” the year of the sequel” given the preponderance of second or third chapter blockbusters that are set to release this year.   

3. Power of the Podcast 

What did I predict? We should anticipate even greater audience affinity for podcasting in 2022 as lapsed listeners increasingly return to the office and resume their daily commutes. 

What is happening? Bullseye! Podcast listenership reached an all-time high while we leaned into quarantining and social distancing in 2021 with nearly 83M users in the U.S. alone, and is presently tracking to reach a new all-time high of nearly 90M in 2022. What’s more: podcasting continues to prove its efficacy as an advertising medium; indeed, nearly 38% of listeners today report purchasing items they first heard about on a podcast.  

4. Privacy, Please 

What did I predict? Consumer privacy would remain of critical import to brands and publishers as permission-based marketing becomes standard operating procedure. 

What is happening? As predicted, while California was the first state with an omnibus privacy law, known as CCPA, it has recently updated its law, and four additional states have joined The Golden State in passing privacy legislation: Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia. By this logic, we should expect to see omnibus privacy laws from most states within the next 2-3 years.  

5. The Safety Dance 

What did I predict? Brand safety will play a pivotal role in 2022 as emerging channels present new opportunities to render the advertising supply chain more transparent and give marketers better visibility into where their ads will appear. 

What is happening As expected, brand safety has become such a hot topic that there are now entire conferences and summits dedicated to the cause, such as the Brand Safety Summit. Brand safety was also a central focus at Cannes Lions this year, with multiple sessions and interviews on the topic. In addition, keyword research corroborates that brand safety is an increasingly searched term, as per this graph below that shows searches for brand safety in the last year: 

6. AOK with OTT 

What did I predict? We should anticipate the widespread adoption of OTT by brands of all shapes and sizes in 2022 as it becomes an essential component of media buys. 

What is happening At the risk of saying, “I told you so,” local OTT ad spending is set to hit $2B by the end of this year, representing a 43% CAGR since 2020. In addition, more than half of advertisers using connected TV/OTT say they will increase spending, with an average increase of 22%, according to a new 2022 CTV/OTT Advertiser Survey released by Advertiser Perceptions and Premion 

7. Targeting Transformation 

What did I predict? We should expect to see continued ingenuity in audience targeting as 1st (or zero) party data (and the CDPs that store them) become the gold standard for the unification and activation of first-party data. At the same time, targeting based on particular demographic categories, especially gender, will also begin to evolve in 2022 as these classifications become increasingly less defined and/or perceived in a binary fashion.   

What is happening? First-party and contextual targeting solutions have proliferated the market this year from nearly all corners of the advertising ecosystem, from SiriusXM to NBCU, and we should expect more to follow as the deprecation of third-party cookies looms, even with additional delays. Moreover, we’ve begun to see a change to the attributes and dimensions against which we target, as predicted. Meta, for example, kicked off the year with some important changes to its audience targeting capabilities, removing detailed targeting options “referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.” 

8. Man & Machine 

What did I predict? AI would continue to permeate all facets of the advertising industry and face new questions about mitigating bias.  

What is happening? I may have over-projected a bit on this one in that there hasn’t been nearly as much coverage of AI innovation in advertising this year as I anticipated. However, we HAVE seen the industry collectively double-click on the topic of AI and bias, including articles from Forbes on how to use AI to eliminate bias, as well as research from the Brookings Institute about the areas where we’d do well to reduce algorithmic bias in a manner that prioritizes equity for all.   

Despite the world’s many continued ambiguities, I find some personal solace in seeing so many predictions actually come to pass. It validates that so many of the trends we saw materialize during the pandemic (aka unprecedented times) were not ephemeral but rather a harbinger of (better) things to come. In the humble opinion of this marketer, the net-net for our industry is decisively positive. To make the most of the remainder of 2022 and beyond, just visit us at TEGNA.com/Advertise.

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