66% Implement AI to Drive Personalization: Key Insights from WARC Publishers | What’s New in Publishing

65% of media owners rely on display advertising and 59% on video advertising to monetize their audience, according to the State of the Industry 2022: Modern Marketing in EMEA report from WARC and MMA. These categories, along with search, account for 69% of digital marketing budgets.

The report is based on a survey of over 700 marketing professionals in May and June this year. It examines how the region’s brands, agencies, media owners and technology providers are driving growth, the challenges of current trends and future opportunities.

“Battle for long-term and sustainable growth”

The survey also reveals an 11% increase in the number of media owners using sponsored content between 2021 (24%) and 2022 (35%). 33% use subscription/membership models – a slight increase from 2021 (31%).

As display and video advertising continue to be important revenue streams for publishers, revenue diversification is critical in the fight for long-term, sustainable growth.

State of the Industry 2022: Modern Marketing in EMEA

The search for diversification and direct income from readers also involves building a better user experience. This is reflected in the results – 68% of all respondents took a customer-centric approach to digital marketing. “Brands that take this approach place good service and customer experience at the heart of their culture and business strategy,” according to the report.

The survey also reveals that brand awareness (62%) and generating leads and sales (61%) are top priorities for digital marketing. Other priorities include using data more effectively (29%), increasing market share (27%) and creating more innovative and data-driven campaigns (27%).

“Key element of digital marketing strategies”

“Data is a key component of digital marketing strategies,” the authors write. It is “extensively leveraged to bring improvements to marketing.” Overall, 73% of respondents say their marketing strategy is driven by insights from consumer data. 68% of media owners report investing in audience data analytics, up from 38% in 2021. 42% have increased their investments in data capture, up from 25% last year.

“One explanation for this rise is the impending demise of third-party cookies,” the report said, “which is driving many publishers to focus on building quality, proprietary audience datasets, increasingly through models subscription-based revenue.” 65% of all respondents expressed concern that moving to a cookie-free world will negatively affect their audience targeting abilities.

“Although brand awareness and sales generation are two key digital marketing priorities, marketers don’t always use metrics that allow them to measure brand and business results,” note the authors. The most appropriate measures, ie behavioral and attitudinal, are used by 54% and 30% of respondents. The vast majority (68%) use engagement metrics to measure marketing effectiveness, which is “criticized for not properly capturing the role of advertising in driving brand and business results.”

“New revenue opportunities for publishers”

Looking ahead, 53% of respondents think artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will be important over the next five years. 66% are implementing AI and ML to drive personalization, followed by marketing automation (59%) and content optimization (55%).

44% of respondents expect the metaverse to have a significant impact on digital marketing and some brands are already experimenting with it. Web3 technologies also appear promising for the creation of new marketing opportunities. 38% of respondents say they are preparing for it. However, it is unclear “how decentralization will shape the next iteration of the Internet”.

51% of media owners say they have partnered with Facebook, followed by Instagram (45%) and Google (41%). However, 35% have not partnered with any of the platforms listed. This could be “due to privacy concerns or a desire for greater independence from major technology platforms as publishers seek to grow their own data and revenue.”

Data and content partnerships with platforms offer new revenue opportunities for publishers. However, this should not come at the expense of creating quality, privacy-compliant proprietary audience datasets.

State of the Industry 2022: Modern Marketing in EMEA


The full report is available here:
State of the Industry 2022: Modern Marketing in EMEA