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Picture: KANTAR
Picture: KANTAR

The world is ready to shift its focus from mere survival and stagnation to innovation and transformation, and there has already been some rebalancing of investment across media channels. 

More growth is forecast for the year to come, particularly under these five key themes: the complex and ever-evolving video streaming market; the expanding performance media and marketing playground for brands; remodelling the commercial internet; what life in a pandemic means for brands and media; and how advertisers are taking a different approach to data in a cookie-less world. 

Kantar’s Media Trends and Predictions 2022 report offers a definitive view of the forces at play in the industry. It explores the trends shaping consumers’ attitudes and behaviour in the pandemic recovery, and how marketers should approach them. 

Nuala Harris-Morele, MD: sub-Saharan Africa in the media division at Kantar, says: “The pandemic has caused a viewing revolution. With screen time at an all-time high, we all must adapt to stay ahead of the changes in media consumption and ensure we offer South Africans the content they want to see, in the format that best suits the context of 2022. 

“While we’re living in the time of digital diversity, remember that it complements TV beautifully – so avoid duplicating content across channels as they’re likely to have seen it before. Online video, display and Facebook all win with synergy effects in SA.” 

In a market where video streaming rules the roost and audiences are more likely to be lured by premium content bundles as subscription fatigue sets in, five key themes are emerging in the media sphere:

1. Local to global: the ‘fast forward’ view on video streaming

The rise in short-form video – as evidenced through TikTok’s incredible growth – shows audiences are surprisingly happy to engage with different formats, video lengths and degrees of quality. At the very least, for video-on-demand platforms seeking diversification, this offers a route for experimentation in the quest for new audiences. Global streaming platforms are seeing fast growth in decentralised production and the biggest hit for Netflix to date is a Korean series with controversial subtitles, so the most interesting new trend might just be local-to-global – proving that the video streaming market will continue to surprise and evolve.

2. The big question: how will brands and media owners navigate the remodelled commercial internet?

The answer? No single solution will replace third-party tracking cookies, with a portfolio approach likely to be taken by most advertisers, alongside a continual reappraisal of data sources. Over the past three decades, tracking cookies have helped facilitate the growth of an online advertising market now worth $478bn (R7.6-trillion), so it’s little wonder that 59% of advertisers are concerned about the inability to track online media via cookies. Expect a period of experimentation with everything from unified IDs to cohorts, contextual ad tech, privacy-enhancing technologies, clean rooms, decentralised data storage models and “edge” processing.

3. Marketers need to take direct control of their data in a cookie-less world

The delay to the deprecation of third-party tracking cookies has resulted in more time to test, learn and plan, but marketers taking more direct control of their data, planning and buying operations will need to go even deeper as no one technique will replace cookies. Most advertisers are likely to take a portfolio approach while continuously reappraising data sources. As more technologies and techniques will enter the market in 2022, expect a move towards contextual advertising. Panel-based data will also be reappraised as third-party data will still hold its value provided it is privacy compliant, consented and trustworthy. Panel-based data will therefore be increasingly used in a balanced, hybrid approach to support owned first-party data.

4. The expanding playground for brands in performance media and marketing

During the pandemic, many brands turned to performance-based strategies to survive, but after stunning growth come a host of challenges – in worlds both real and invented. Many brands adopted performance-based strategies to survive the pandemic, with online video (+71%), influencer content (+64%) and social newsfeed ads (+63%) benefiting the most. But with a growing number of touchpoints – and the removal of third-party cookies – marketers face the challenge of effectively profiling their audience across all media touchpoints.

5. Reshaping brand expectations for Covid-era behaviours

The changed realities of consumer behaviour and new needs for convenience, value, sustainability and innovation mean the most successful brands will be those that embrace the differences, diversity and complexity of the audiences they’re seeking to reach. This presents a great opportunity for brands to develop in this recovery period: explore deeper segmentation and engage communities beyond their existing audience.


Find out more in Kantar’s Media Trends and Predictions report, the go-to reference for media owners, advertisers and agencies, for an unparalleled view of industry trends based on Kantar’s gold standard data sources.

This article was paid for by Kantar.

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