Consumers’ attitudes toward digital advertising are changing. While the U.S. digital advertising industry is expected to remain a bright spot in 2021—it’s projected to post double-digit growth by the end of 2021—there is a growing consumer intolerance for advertising, particularly with digital video.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s “IAB Outlook: 2022 Digital Ad Ecosystem” report found the qualities consumers value most are “convenience,” “knowledgeable and friendly service” and “efficiency.” Four times as many consumers wanted “efficiency” (60 percent) as “fun” or “brand image” (15 percent).

"This report makes it crystal clear that we must acknowledge that consumer expectations are rapidly changing. Irrelevant and increased ad loads are not the solution. They want better, more useful ad experiences," says David Cohen, CEO, IAB. "They want us to re-focus on their needs, reimagine ad formats and reinvent what advertising can be. The next creative revolution needs to be about utility, not just cleverness."

The report also notes that the industry must prepare for federal government regulatory attention affecting privacy policies and walled gardens. It notes that U.S. brands, agencies, publishers and ad tech companies are not nearly as ready as they need to be to deal with these critical data privacy issues that can derail growth.

Additionally, employers need to shift to what employees value. The report found that industry leaders are concerned that there could be a weakening of focus on diversity, equity and inclusion as HR organizations scramble to fill open positions. The deep desire for flexibility in how and where U.S. employees work is impacting the acquisition, development and retention of top talent, and there is an urgent need to identify, attract and grow talent in the face of steep competition.