Another year in the books. 2021 is a year many of us happily put in the rear-view mirror – it came with its fair share of ups and down. Now, we’re looking forward to better things in 2022. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s off to a better start and that includes seeing higher CPMS in January than we have in past years. 

Time is flying by and since we’re through with January, we thought we’d share what our experts think are the crucial trends to watch for in 2022. 

On Identity:

  • “Identity continues to be a hot topic going into 2022. The deadline on Chrome may have been pushed out but the ad tech industry is clearly still attacking the problem. While in the past year or two there have been many vendors/solutions in the space, most have been addressing specific pieces of identity rather than solving for the actual impact of the loss of third party cookies.

    Through the combination of M&A and further iterations of existing solutions, I believe we will start to see more end-to-end solutions. It’s important that we do more than simply provide a secure identifier, or ability to store data consent but provide a solution that utilizes alternative identifiers with a rich consented data set (combined with contextual). The solution we’re looking for should drive enough revenue that it replaces the use of third party cookies.” – Premesh Purayil, Chief Technology Officer
  • “At first glance, it may seem like we’re in a holding pattern just waiting for Chrome’s 3rd party cookies to disappear. In the meantime, there are a proliferation of vendors and strategies promising to secure revenue against this uncertain future. But the future is now, web environments like Safari and Firefox already provide sufficient scale for testing and driving alternative solutions. Publishers can test vendor ID platforms to see how they stand up against privacy developments like Safari’s Private Relay, but first party and contextual data strategies will also be key in increasing monetization without cookies.” – Mark Dixon, Senior Product Manager

On Mergers and Acquisitions:

  • “Whether via M&A or expanded capabilities developed in-house at DSPs, the supply chain will begin to become more vertically integrated with DSPs doing more publisher direct integrations. As a result, the traditional roles of DSPs and SSPs will begin to blur.” – Kurt Donnell, President and CEO
  • “As expected, 2021 was another big year for M&A in our space, and there may be more consolidation to come in 2022. I’m particularly curious to watch how successful some of the acquisitions prove to be over time though — will all of the big splashes pay off? I know at least one will, as Freestar’s own exciting news from the past year has us positioned to do great things for our publishers in 2022 and beyond!.” – Mark Dixon, Senior Product Manager


  • “CTV will continue to dominate headlines but is garnering more attention than it probably deserves as it is a relatively fixed pool of inventory due to its time-bounded nature and there can only be so many minutes per hour of advertising. Accordingly, advertisers should of course incorporate CTV into their plans but should avoid over indexing in that medium as rates will not accurately reflect the value of the inventory due to the mismatch of supply and demand. ” – Kurt Donnell, President and CEO

On Retail Media

  • “Retail media advertising will be one of the fastest-growing segments of digital advertising over the next few years. We will see more retailers building networks and partnering with DSPs or building their own for media buying outside their platform. Data will be at the heart of these retailer advertising platforms, giving marketers the targeting capabilities they are looking for with the deprecation of third-party cookies. 

    Besides retailers and brands, a growing number of third-party vendors are helping retailers set up their networks and help brands buy more efficiently from those retailers.  I envision seeing a category of clearly defined players in this space emerging.” – Laura Gaffney, Chief Growth Officer

On Sustainability:

  • “Get ready for sustainable advertising. Consumers will push adtech to do their part in reducing their carbon footprint, and vendors who can help brands show evidence of their impact to reduce carbon footprint will play a key role in their overall brand strategy. We already see developments in this space with companies like Good-Loop, who recently developed a tracking tool in the form of a pixel called Green Ad Tag. This tag provides a link between the transmission of data that triggers ads and local energy consumption, allowing the company to measure the carbon footprint of digital campaigns. Watch out for more green products and sustainable practices in adtech.” – Laura Gaffney, Chief Growth Officer