Which media trends will be shaping the industry’s future? At Qualifio we have a rich history of working with leading European media groups. Vocento, Funke, RTL and Unidad Editorial are just a few of the groups who are using interactivity and engagement in their marketing campaigns to reach their online communitites and to fuel their data collection strategies with Qualifio.

Like many other industries who have skin in the digital marketing game, the media and publishing industry have gone through significant changes in the past few years, and there are still more to come!

We’re going to be taking a look at the four main media trends in 2022 that we can expect to see dominating headlines in the coming months and impacting the future of the industry.

Read our media ebook if you’re interested to find out more about how the industry is changing.


#1 What alternatives are we going to use instead of third-party data? 🍪

With Google recently announcing that they’re pushing the end of third-party cookies out by another year, to the second half of 2024, the cookieless world is still a topic on everyone’s mind. And Cannes LIONS recently highlighted it as one of the main media trends and takeaways from their 2022 event.

So this is obviously the million dollar question for pretty much everyone at the moment! Out of all the alternatives currently available or being worked on, first- and zero-party data collection looks to be one of the most reliable, efficient and compliant ways forward.  

Combining interactive marketing and data collection strategies will become a necessity for publishers and media groups in the pursuit of first- and zero-party data gold as they try to reach their target audience. Not only will collecting this valuable and insightful data from their readers mean that they can base their content and marketing strategy on it, they’ll also be able to leverage the demographic data collected to engage with their audience and provide them with an improved and personalised brand experience.

Another trend that seems to be emerging in the quest for high quality and actionable first-and zero-party data, is rival publishers joining forces and pooling their resources to combine their data and offer data-driven advertising solutions.

automotive industry

The most recent example of this being that of UK’s leading automotive publishers, Autovia and Haymarket Automotive. This move highlights the need for publishers to put differences aside in a bid to claw back revenue opportunities from the tech giants.

Consumer brands are also jumping on the bandwagon, with Marriott Hotels and Yahoo recently striking a similar deal. 

#2 The biggest buzzwords are engagement and loyalty 👑

Due to the pandemic, 2020 saw a huge boom in subscriptions, engagement levels and traffic for digital publishers worldwide. Those levels weren’t achieved again in 2021, as life returned to ‘normal’, so publishers will be exploring new strategies and techniques in the coming years to retain their audiences and reach, once again, the dizzying heights of 2020.

These efforts will mainly revolve around 3 media trends in the next few years: 

  • 💪 Building a sense of community
  • 🎮 Interactive and gamified content
  • 🗣️ Gaining a better understanding of what matters to readers

The industry is going to evolve significantly in the coming years, as media groups and publishers adapt their marketing strategy to the preferences of their users, and their consumption patterns and behaviour. They will need to adopt a more user-centric approach, by placing their readers’ needs at the centre of their operations.

It is becoming increasingly clear that readers want more personalised content and experiences, so by moving with the times and adopting new practices and strategies, media groups will be able to adapt and thrive.

Traditional media like The New York Times and The Washington Post have already been experimenting with more personalisation on their homepages to tailor their content to their readers’ interests, in an attempt to get them to engage more with their content. 

With the diversification of media outlets and the increasing number of news sources available, readers are looking for the most reliable information sources that they can depend on. So if a media group can work on building a strong relationship with their audience, based on trust and consistency, this will go a long way in comforting readers that they’re in the right place. 

media outlets

This means that the marketing department of publishers will have to invest in engaging, getting to know and retaining their reader base, by improving and consolidating their social media presence and branding for example. But also by ensuring that their audience is retained long-term, and will keep coming back to them. 

Gen Z is the new target audience

Appealing to younger audiences also comes into play here, as they have different expectations and consumer habits, and a different relationship with digital technologies.

Reuters have reported that 57% of Gen Z get their news from social media, so the use of interactivity and sharing content on a range of different channels need to be a priority, as well as using more short form and visual formats.

washington post

Just one example of this is The Washington Post who has recently launched their ‘Next Generation’ initiative as they try to reach younger audiences and acquire a more diverse audience.

#3 How much is your personal data worth? 💰

The next media trend is intrinsically entangled with the cookieless world, as the concepts of data protection and privacy are on every consumer’s mind and are shaping media groups’ marketing strategy. As Apple brilliantly illustrated in their recent iPhone privacy video, our data is becoming an increasingly highly priced commodity.

value exchange

As a business leader put it recently:

in a world where third-party data is disappearing, first-party data is the new media currency”

So do you have a value exchange with your audience? What are they getting in exchange for their data?

One of the central questions in today’s media industry is how to effectively monetise audiences and user engagement. For some of the biggest publishers, who have managed to optimise their subscription strategies and advertising revenues, by knowing and engaging their audience, and improving their paywalls and membership structures, the hard work is clearly paying off!

The New York Times reported reaching the milestone of 5 million paid subscribers, The Financial Times have over 1 million paying users, and last year The Guardian, who famously don’t use a paywall, announced they’ve broken even thanks to reader-supported contributions.  

#4 The aftermath of the pandemic 😷


The global pandemic has had both positive and negative impacts on consumers. And in both cases, it has led to many new opportunities for increased monetisation and a different way of approaching marketing and business.

On one hand it has meant that people are spending more time online, thus increasing their digital content consumption. So the opportunity to monetise this and increase advertising revenue is there for the taking. But on the other hand, with people’s offline lives being tougher than usual, they’re increasingly looking online for a sense of community.

So by engaging with their audience, getting to know them better and building a true sense of community amongst their readers, publishers can leverage this sentiment and provide their readers with what they’re looking for.

According to research by McKinsey, 2021 was the year of transition, as it saw a significant rebound in consumer confidence and it looks like the crisis of 2020 has caused a wave of innovation, of digitisation and of tremendous growth in the online world.

So looking forward, the industry is set to continue on this positive and innovative up-trend, with interactivity and first- and zero-party data collection set to be key areas of development.  

Read our media ebook and find out more!

Have you read our read our media ebook yet? Make sure you do! We’ll tell you all about how the latest technological developments in digital marketing are shaping the media and publishing industries in 2022 and beyond. It’s a great read!

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