Heightened Uncertainty May Bring On Ad Tech’s Golden Age

By Taejin In, VP of Product Management, Dstillery

Panic about advertising technology has been in oversupply. Government regulations, Apple’s IDFA changes, and Chrome’s third-party cookie deprecation all loom over a digital advertising ecosystem that faces heightened uncertainty. Amid another COVID resurgence, there’s absolutely no sense of what the future holds for ad tech.

But harkening back to our history classes, it would be good to remember that periods of chaos have often gone on to produce ages of advancement: the Dark Ages ended with the Renaissance, after all.

The catastrophic conditions shouldn’t be viewed as a death sentence for digital advertising and ad tech solutions. Rather, this period should be viewed as a rare opportunity to take a step back and build beautiful, purpose-driven products that delight our customers.

Focus on the why 

Throughout the digital advertising supply chain, product development teams are all trying to figure out what comes next, and then develop solutions and a roadmap for a very unclear future. It’s easy to get bogged down by the “what” and the “how.” When the answer is not obvious, and the stakes are so high, it feels good to come up with the answer to those questions.

But during this time of uncertainty, it is more important than ever to stop focusing on concocting the perfect solution, and start focusing on the more important question of “why?” Why, after decades of third-party cookies, are they finally going away right now? Why do consumers seem to care more about their privacy than ever before? Why have things always been done this way?

Answering the “why?” questions help develop a solution that is rooted in a clear purpose. Purpose-driven products and solutions help embed clarity and alignment as your teams move into build mode.

Handcraft the perfect experience 

Working in digital advertising, we all love large distributed systems, massive data sets, and infinitely scalable services that work perfectly with 99.9% uptime. However, in this time of heightened uncertainty, we have a rare opportunity to take a step back and focus on handcrafting a perfect experience for our customers.

When designing Airbnb, CEO Brian Chesky and co-founder Joe Gebbia would personally take photographs of listings to ensure they were beautifully photographed and described just right. In Stripe’s early days, founder Patrick Collison would get paged every single time a customer posted a question that didn’t get a response in 30 seconds. These are just two examples where a perfect experience was painstakingly (and manually) designed first, and only later was that experience scaled to millions of customers.

When it comes to next-gen ad tech products, the pandemic has made marketers more open to innovation and new ways of doing things than I’ve seen before. Now is the time to handcraft the perfect experience for our customers. Only when we’ve nailed that can we focus on scaling that experience to millions of people.

Ad tech’s Golden Age

By focusing on why and handcrafting the perfect experience for our customers, we have the opportunity to emerge from this period of uncertainty and unrelenting anxiety into a period of ad tech purpose and enlightenment. A bright future where advertisers, publishers, consumers, agencies and technology companies all work together to deliver value throughout the entire supply chain.

A golden age where unsavory third-party tracking and consumer privacy concerns are stamped out and all players in the digital advertising ecosystem contribute to seamlessly deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time.