By Nadia Gonzalez, CMO, Scibids
Lingering economic uncertainty, privacy regulation, and the ongoing fragmentation of the media landscape are forcing marketers to achieve business outcomes within tighter parameters than ever before.
Faced with these challenges, including a smaller pool of online targeting data from which to optimize their media campaigns, many brands may be tempted to direct their ad spend towards walled gardens or reduce their programmatic spend altogether. This is based on the belief that walled gardens offer measurability and attribution or that marketers look skeptically on the open web without the assurances they need to scale with control and insights. However, while this may be the case for now, access to walled garden environments continues to be restricted and privacy regulation has become a challenging patchwork of global and local laws that are impacting how marketers attribute spend. Leaving them without the control and ad spend transparency they need at a time when performance and efficiency matter more than ever.
While, historically, brands may have struggled to recreate the same spend accountability on the open web, times have changed. Thanks to the pace of technological development, there are now solutions that can help to redress the balance. Ensuring marketers are making the spend they have available the most accountable and performant it can be.
Unlocking data potential
The biggest advantage walled gardens previously had was the amount of information they had about users, whether that was information provided directly or otherwise. However, access to swathes of data is no longer a differentiator between the walled gardens and the open web.
The digitization of almost every aspect of our lives has meant that advertisers have more data signals to make sense of than ever before. Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is a critical component of the modern ad stack, can analyze these large datasets necessary to help marketers to create the most effective ad campaigns, supporting them in analyzing their media planning, buying, and measurement.
So, as the walled gardens increasingly remove control from advertisers and restrict their access to reporting, AI is making investment in the open web not just a viable route for brands, but a future-proofed marketing strategy. At the same time, the major Demand Side Platforms (DSPs) have increasingly opened up their APIs to enable brands to bring their own intelligence in to leverage their most advanced features and capabilities – a task for which ad decisioning AI is uniquely suited and which can make this data as effective as possible.
Moreover, the technology addresses the privacy landscape, as it harnesses plentiful, harmless, non-user-specific semantic and contextual metadata, enabling advertisers to respect the increasing focus on privacy among consumers, regulators, and big tech companies alike.
Made to measure
AI technology is well-placed to help brands navigate the measurement challenges they face as they seek more transparency and understanding around the performance of their ad campaigns.
This is because advertisers are no longer looking to optimize towards clicks, visits, or other ‘traditional’ KPIs, but are instead interested in leveraging campaigns towards their own objectives, including return on ad spend (ROAS), qualitative CPMs (qCPMs), attention or Brand Lift. Those which aren’t available as standard metrics within the DSPs.
AI solutions can deliver powerful ad decisioning that helps advertisers to delve into the metrics that matter, driving business-specific KPIs and outcomes in real-time to ensure that media waste is limited and viewable reach is increased. Best of all, this can all happen without any reliance on the use of “dirty fuel”, including invasive user tracking or profiling.
Brands also have the option, thanks to customizable algorithms, of bringing into the media buying process their own first-party data and measurement data. The algorithm can combine and ingest these data sets to create a unique strategic advantage, giving brands more efficient reach than ever.
With the power to completely transform the industry’s approach to all aspects of digital marketing, AI holds the key to the future of privacy-first, advertising on the open web. Utilizing customizable algorithms can dramatically improve KPI performance, creating spend growth, and other business opportunities for brands through optimizations which are based on their unique and complex business requirements.
At a time when brands are asking for more transparency in their media buys and understanding the data and objectives behind ad decisioning, being able to unlock data from their own ad stack, and make it actionable will be critical. Not only in reducing marketers’ dependence on the walled gardens and making their ad spend work harder for them, but ensuring it is towards the KPIs that matter most, while supporting an open, independent and free internet.