“Data-driven thinking‘ is written by members of the media community and offers fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.
Today’s column was written by Nitin Rabadia, Commercial Director. Kepler group.
As an industry, we are guilty of procrastination. Only a few months until third-party cookies become obsolete, so many advertisers are still twiddling their thumbs. Some marketers intentionally do nothing to prepare. They’re betting on further delays, similar to Google’s reluctance to remove Chrome cookies.
But procrastination is an odd and dangerous approach.
The idea that advertisers don’t have to do much because Big Tech fixes this problem for them is a fallacy. Likewise the idea that there will be a universal solution that works in all markets.
For any advertiser who hasn’t yet committed the necessary time and resources to prepare for the cookie’s death, there is still a window of opportunity. But it’s closing fast. Here are the top actions advertisers should take while there’s still time.
Conduct a risk and opportunity assessment
Check first. advertisers – especially those who are reluctant to embrace change – should start with a poll or SWOT analysis before considering alternatives.
By mapping their reliance on third-party cookies, a brand can quickly see how exposed they are. Areas to be evaluated include: advertiser-managed ad servers, DMPs, and shopping platforms; tracking, targeting and measurement functions; and what percentage of sales are associated with the use of third-party cookies.
Advertisers should also evaluate how much they rely on Facebook and Google marketing, how much they invest in each channel, and how much second- and third-party data is driving their efforts.
After an internal audit, it is also important to audit the market – Platforms, ad tech, measurement agencies, publishers – to evaluate available solutions. Since many cookieless solutions are open source, there is also an opportunity to test them and work together on improvements.
Invest in a customer data platform
Almost everywhere, audits will show that first-party data underpins the entire advertising ecosystem.
No matter what alternative to third-party tracking the industry is adopting – be it contextual advertising and “clean rooms”, Google’s “Topics” or Unified ID 2.0 – it’s the shift to first-party data that advertisers should prioritize. Enter customer data platforms.
Well-prepared advertisers have already either invested in an Enterprise Customer Data Platform (CDP) or built their own. These platforms unify records of all customers, their data and their consented attributes. Third-party tools and platforms are then integrated into this software to run advertisements and analyze performance.
A good CDP should be able to navigate platforms of all kinds, not just media buying. It’s also a good idea to map and understand the current limitations of CDPs in areas such as creative formats and targeting.
Build publisher relationships
Brands need to focus on building relationships with individual publishers to understand how their first-party data can be used without tracking cookies through a third party. Delaying this is risky. Publishers have a lot to offer, but partnering with them requires a certain amount of experimentation for brands.
Talk to publishers and explore the shift toward segment-based or group-based data sharing, predictive AI modeling, and contextual advertising that audience proxies can offer as safe replacements for cookies.
Watch the macro trends
For any hesitant yet to be convinced, just look at what the world’s most successful advertisers have already done. Recognize that digital advertising is at the foot of a new revolution, driven by a different kind of data and a new philosophical approach.
Gone are the happy days of low Facebook CPMs and high performance. The online advertising market is now much more complicated. New channels, opportunities and technologies are making the status quo obsolete.
Advertisers must adapt to this reality. The future will require brands to adopt a single data strategy across the enterprise, and that requires a holistic approach from the marketing function.
The most ambitious companies have already done this. You will hit the ground running while the digital procrastinators are left in the dust.