Member Q&A Series: Agencies reflect on 2021 and what is to come for 2022

On February 02, 2022 Research & Resources

In December 2020 we asked our agency groups to let us know what they were looking forward to in 2021 with responses including the evolution of data partnerships, merging of online and offline teams, and further understanding and monetising the ‘new world’ of digital consumption. They are definitely worth checking out here. As we once again reflect on the year that was with the coming back of events, longer lockdowns and finally some holiday catch ups we ask our agency groups again to let us know what they think was the highlight of 2021. Then as we are coming into 2022, what should we be on the lookout for in terms of trends and predictions for the year? 

Thank you to those who contributed from Loud Days, The Media Store, Hearts & Science and Involved Media


Mat Fagan, General Manager, Loud Days

Tell us a little bit more about 2021, what developments in the market were you personally happy with? What do you feel like was achieved across the industry?

As a data-driven agency we were happy that clients took more time to understand their business metrics and use data to develop and guide their marketing strategies. Clients were more open to the use of data to understand their market environment – as industry performance changed or became volatile. Clients will continue to invest despite volatile markets – but there must be a focus on test & learn, data analysis and agility to achieve ROI on marketing/advertising spend.

Within the work environment, what did your organisation do differently in 2021 that will be carried over into 2022?

Provide agility in an unpredictable climate. In a continuous pandemic world, agencies should be able to react to ever changing needs of clients. Agencies should be multi-skilled to be able to do on the spot recommendations and changes with clients.

Process is still important as with managing client expectations, however 2-3 day turnover is no longer realistic in an ever-changing world. 

This is similar to organisation structures. Too often “this is the way we have done it” doesn’t cut it anymore. Agencies needs to be able to react to client needs and restructure teams quickly to provide continuous exceptional client service.


Daniel Molyneux, Head of Digital Performance, The Media Store

Biggest prediction for 2022 – what will it be the year of?

2022 will be the year of Hyper-Personalisation & Real Time Media Mix Modelling. This year we will see hyper personalisation take centre stage, creating unique user experiences at scale. As the prolonged demise of the cookie enters its penultimate year, first and zero party data will be key to the future-proofing of businesses. Advertisers need to invest in the right technology and develop a robust data strategy, sooner rather than later. This will ensure the right tools are in place to enable the effective capture of this data and turn it into actionable insights that support the user experience.

There is a growing awareness from the consumer surrounding data & privacy and with that, comes an even greater expectation for personalisation. With a combination of owned data maturity and new technologies coming into market, the industry will move further away from audience segments and interact with users on a personal level, tapping into real time micro moments throughout the digital journey.

Another prediction for 2022 will be an increased focus on Media Mix Modelling. However, this will not be the traditional Media Mix Modelling as we know it today, rather an MMM 2.0 if you will – Real time MMM.

A typical Media Mix Model is usually viewed as a macro level business tool, analysed and updated infrequently by today’s standards. Historically, it has been an industry wide challenge to determine the effect of digital marketing channels with Multi-Touch Attribution leading the way in recent times. However, this method is also becoming increasingly compromised as we see Apples iOS intelligent tracking updates enter the market and the previously mentioned crumbling cookie, edging ever closer to the end of its shelf life.

A potential solution for this is Real time MMM, taking the traditional model and integrating robust data sets which are continuously updated and calibrated through API feeds, advertisers now have a model that can be used much more frequently providing insights, sales forecasting, digital channel planning, optimisations and much more. This will allow advertisers to continue measuring and optimising their media strategy unabated (and more effectively) despite changes to cookie measurement, privacy laws and Apple iOS updates.

Throughout the latter end of 2021, we created and implemented these models for some of our clients and recorded some fantastic results. We look forward to continuously improving our offering in this space and are excited to see how this area progresses.

It may sound obvious, but if there is one thing this past year has confirmed to us, it’s that the only thing that is constant, is change. Many businesses claim to be and believe that they are nimble, agile, and adaptable and 2021 certainly tested the reality of this, unfortunately pushing some businesses to breaking-point. Being pro-active, rather than reactive by monitoring market conditions, thinking critically and planning for problems is certainly a sure-fire way to safeguard ourselves as we navigate throughout 2022.


Wendy Gower, Managing Director and Ollie Fifoot, Chief Digital Officer, Hearts and Science

Within the work environment, what did your organisation do differently in 2021 that will be carried over into 2022?

Reporting for clients has always been an important part of a media team’s day to day operations, particularly for planners, execs and assistants. But these reports can be onerous, typically tailored to a client’s nuanced needs and over time can become less meaningful. Reporting is also an element of this cohort’s role that can be dry and regarded as a chore, rather than something providing meaningful insights. Across 2021 we standardised and automated all our weekly and monthly client media reports. Using API tools to auto-populate sheets combined with predefined formulas to calculate KPIs, we have saved significant time (and frustration) for the teams in compiling reports, with time allocated to reports now focussing on gleaning insights. More broadly, this time saving sees the teams focus on more planning, strategy and ideation for their clients.

Biggest prediction for 2022 – what will it be the year of?

Attention as a viable KPI for campaigns.

With the further demise of cookies and ID solutions lacking scale, we believe attention will finally make its mark as a viable metric to track campaign user engagement and campaign performance. Seven has recently announced a significant partnership with A.I. to launch a market-leading research project examining consumer attention with television and BVOD content. We expect to see many vendors following suit and introducing attention metrics into their offering. This will involve significant investment in terms of data collection but will enable planners to optimise campaigns to maximise attention and engagement. This will require an education programme across the buy and sell side to ensure the attention metric is incorporated effectively and with confidence.


Chris Thomas, Head of Digital, Involved Media

How do you think the industry will deal with the talent shortage in 2022?

The talent shortage and resulting costs involved in hiring the right talent have been well discussed in all fields of the industry. In particular for digital, Covid has resulted in an understandably tight labour market – especially around skills such as e-commerce, search, content and data analytics to highlight a few.

As limitations on immigration are not dissipating in the immediate future, I see a meaningful way to deal with this is expanding the existing workforce and university students digital knowledge.

Accelerated learning courses are a key vehicle here, ones that go into the necessary detail to give a stable foundation and then can expand out into more applicational and practical learning so that the skill gap can be easily filled with as little downtime as possible.

There are some great ones already in market through both industry bodies and technology companies which I think will develop further in 2022.