One of the ad industry’s great soothsayers expects digital spending to be the ad industry’s major driver in 2022, as economic growth tails off.

But Sir Martin Sorrell thinks the industry could be growing faster if companies got their marketing data fit for purpose.

Former WPP CEO Sorrell’s S4 Capital this month completed its latest M&A activity, merging its Media.Monks with 4 Mile Analytics to create what it’s calling a “data and digital media practice”.

In this video interview with Jon Watts for Beet.TV, Sorrell explains where data fits into the year ahead.

Growth forecast

“I remain extremely bullish – if not a raging bull, certainly close to one,” Sorrell says of growth prospects.

“Digital will, again, dominate just like it did in 2021 and indeed in 2020.

“(I expect) a strong 2022. The difference will be that digital transformation will become the major driving force or the driving force, as opposed to the extra force from GDP growth.”

In November, Sorrell’s own S4 Capital reported quarterly profit up 92% year-on-year as it expanded through ten mergers or acquisitions in the prior year, 42% on a like-for-like basis.

The company is targeting organic growth of 25% per year up to 2024.

Digital driver

But Sorrell thinks anyone not currently exploiting data is going to be challenged.

“The traditional part of the industry will continue to be under pressure – probably more pressure than last year, where there was a bounce-back because of the fiscal and monetary stimulus,” he says.

He says traditional media companies must be “agile” to compete with digital platforms for ad spend.

Pedal to the floor

“They have to take back control in a 24/7, always on digital world,” Sorell says.

“Using the first-party data, plus signals from the platforms … is going to become even more important. Putting the data together … is absolutely critical … bringing it all together in one discreet operation.

“Traditional media companies – newspapers, magazines, outdoor, radio, et cetera – will have to move even faster.

“The velocity of their transformation has to accelerate, just like it does in any industry that has underestimate the power of technological change.”

You’re watching “Advertising Transformation: What’s Next for Converged TV + Video,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series and Summit presented by Mediaocean, produced virtually during CES 2022. For more videos from this program, please visit this page.