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Thought Leadership - Op-Ed - Industry Discussion

Our Remarkable Year in Review reveals what 2022 will bring

As we wrap our gifts and get ready to go home for the Holidays, let’s take a look back at 2021 and look forward to 2022.
By Scibids Team - December 2021

Wrapping up 2021

In the last weeks, we heard a lot about the new COVID variant, supply chain issues in the economy, inflation… But is everything really that bad?

The Privacy Era

As expected following Google’s announcements, Privacy and the end of cookies has been the main conversation of the year within the advertising industry, materialized by Google’s future deprecation of 3rd party cookies on its browser Chrome, followed by other similar announcements by Apple and leading tech infrastructure owners. As we wrote in a previous blog post, this is actually good news. As a technology, cookies don’t even work very well. They are the cause of discrepancies and data loss between platforms, headaches for operators and procurement leads, and ultimately an unreliable and costly signal for marketers.

We do believe the coming end of cookies and the rise of the privacy era is a real opportunity for the industry. Old ways are always challenged and new, more efficient and technology-powered practices will take over. A more privacy-respecting web will help rebuild trust and create better alignment between brands and consumers.

Pandemic: Year 2

2021 was also the 2nd year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking at its impact, it created a rapid and dramatic change in consumer behaviour, which has led marketers to strengthen their reliance on accountable and addressable marketing channels. Despite the overall slowdown in economic activity, we saw continued growth at Scibids, meaning the channels we’re focused on are measurable, the impact is understandable, and spending is accountable.

With the global economy becoming more digitized, increased internet usage also creates new opportunities around retail media for 2022.

While this sounds reassuring, the end of cookies could change this reality – an industry left with no way to measure performance and other vital digital advertising use-cases such as targeting audiences, establishing attribution, and enabling frequency capping would lead to decreased investments on the open web. Making it no surprise that measurement in a cookieless environment is the biggest focus of the ad tech world in 2022!

A moving ad tech world

The end of 2021 was also marked with big moves in the adtech world, with the acquisition of Iponweb by Criteo and Xandr’s sale to Microsoft. We look forward to seeing how these materialize, but we are convinced they’ll help provide robust solutions for the independent, ad-funded open web.

Scibids’ 2021

Strategic partnerships

As a global leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for digital marketing, Scibids is an independent technology company that thrives in the open web and partners with smart players in the space to enable an efficient and connected ecosystem. And with the big waves of 2021, doing so is crucial from our point of view.

Scibids more than doubled its headcount this year, opening several new markets. This allowed us to develop partnerships that we see as strategic for our future and the one of the industry. An industry that needs to be reinvented by platform agnostic technologies that can target without cookies or PII and optimize against unique measurement & attribution sources.

To do so, we partner with the smartest companies of the market, for instance, to integrate privacy-respecting data sources in our ad decisioning engine, allowing our customers to get the most from their proprietary assets. As an example, we were shortlisted at Drum Awards for Digital Advertising 2021 for an ambitious collaboration with Nielsen Measurement on behalf of Dell, where we managed to directly ingest Nielsen measurement data to inform Dell programmatic buys.

Stay tuned as we are about to unveil more ambitious and innovative ad tech partnerships in 2022!

Industry contributions

The ad tech world moves fast, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up. We at Scibids are very well placed in the supply chain to observe and analyze those changes, at least on the buy-side. We feel that it’s important to share this knowledge with our counterparts.

In July, we released our Reference Guide “AI, Privacy and the Future of Digital Marketing" which describes how AI resolves mounting tensions between Ad ROI and consumer privacy, if you haven’t read it yet, we strongly advise you to take a look at it!

Scibids also contributed to several IAB and W3C initiatives to help shape the future of optimization in a cookieless world and educate on the challenges imposed by the privacy era. As explained, we see it as vital for the open-web economy and are ready to dedicate extensive resources in order to help build the post-cookie world.

Looking forward to a bright 2022

There is no denying, the digital advertising industry is alive and vibrant. 2022 is set to be a bright year, according to multiple forecasts.

Here’s our take on the fields to look at in 2022.


The team here at Scibids believes this is the one crucial point for the survival of the open web. The channel needs to be measurable, and the spend accountable, to keep growing. With the demise of cookies, attribution and measurement models built on the analysis of personal information will no longer work.

However, there are many routes to measurement. The use case of attribution measurement can be performed without third-party cookies; various tools and techniques are now available or being developed. For instance, consortiums of adtech publishers are building new identifiers based on hashed emails, and Google Chrome is building the “Privacy Sandbox API” which redefines a way for marketers to interact with users without the cross-site tracking information ever leaving the browser.

We are optimistic because the ad tech economy is diversified and technology abundant. For example, developments in AI are here, and their methods rise above the need to invade user privacy to create performance and scale for advertisers. Instead, AI will use the plentiful, harmless, non-user-specific metadata from bid requests on websites to create better alignment between brands and consumers. The technology is poised not simply to remedy the limitations of the cookie and personal identifiers, but also to untangle the unfortunate relationship between privacy and performance in marketing!

On this front, it is interesting to note the 2021 acquisitions of attention measurement and optimization company Playground XYZ by GumGum and the one of cookieless measurement firm Flashtalking by Mediaocean.


CTV has been a hot space for some time now, but legal and technological developments allow us to think that the significant shift in advertising budget from linear TV to connected TV is happening. The pandemic might have accelerated this shift, with big players like Amazon, Disney, and Netflix enriching their offers. For example, big moves have started to happen with IAS’s recent acquisition of CTV advertising leader, Publica.

In line with our views on marketing in the Privacy Era, we believe AI will be critical to make the most of the available audience and contextual data in a privacy-friendly manner and allow the channel to grow in line with consumer expectations.

Retail Media

As a consequence of the pandemic, online retail sales have exploded in the past couple of years, and with it the amount of data generated by those operations. This trend is now here to stay and it brings new opportunities for the ad tech world.

Brands will be able to combine their first-party data, which is now more valuable than ever in the context of the Privacy Era, with retailers' insights on consumer behaviours, in an open-web context. This might level the playing field with Walled Gardens and the companies that will be able to make the most of these new data possibilities will thrive.

The recent ad tech acquisitions of Iponweb by Criteo and Xandr by Microsoft both resonate as strategic in the face of a rising Retail Media space. For the first one, acquiring Iponweb, “turbocharges the execution” of Criteo’s Commerce Media Platform strategy, as Criteo CEO, Megan Clarken, said in a release about the deal. For Microsoft, Xandr should, “accelerate the delivery of its digital advertising and retail media solutions,” according to Mikhail Parakhin, President of Web Experiences at Microsoft.


2021 has been a pivotal year for ad tech and media in general, expect no less from 2022. From the development of privacy-first solutions to the rise of new channels, we look forward to another year of growth and innovation, for both our flourishing industry and here at Scibids!

The team at Scibids wishes everyone happy holidays and a prosperous new year!