By Chris Hogg, EMEA Managing Director, Lotame
The digital advertising industry is a space of constant evolution. From the emergence of smartphones to the adoption of Connected TV, to the laser-focus on data privacy, ongoing developments continue to transform online advertising.
With data being the oil of the digital ecosystem, the progression away from third-party cookies is the latest wave rocking the boat. Marketers and media owners are looking to futureproof their data practices, to ensure they can leverage the quality insights necessary for addressability in a post-cookie world. Every consumer action – and inaction – in the digital landscape offers useful data, so how can this be harnessed in advertising’s privacy-centric future?
By tackling current challenges and expanding on best practices, marketers and media owners can write a data quality playbook that sustains addressability in the years ahead.
The industry’s key data challenges
Keeping up with consumer behaviours – In the past year, the global pandemic has caused rapid shifts in digital-first buying patterns, making it challenging to connect with consumers at the optimal moment. Timely targeting is critical for maximising campaign effectiveness, but the data-driven capabilities to achieve this face an uncertain future.
Moving beyond third-party cookies – The phasing out of third-party cookies will mean the ad industry must develop compliant, sustainable and scalable alternatives to building addressable audiences, but there is no silver bullet solution to meet everyone’s needs.
Adopting first-party data – Although first-party data will play a part in digital’s future, 44% of marketers are unconvinced publisher first-party data will fill the void left by the removal of third-party cookies. Their primary concerns stem from a lack of accessibility to first-party data and, after the disruption of COVID-19, its accuracy. Supplemental information is, therefore, a necessity when finding new audiences and guaranteeing results.
Ensuring data enrichment – The need for multiple data sources is especially prevalent for media owners. They rely on a cocktail of data to successfully reach and engage audiences, with 44% using survey and panel data, 38% leveraging marketer data, and 19% tapping into second-party data from other publications. As a result, finding quality data partners is a challenge for over a quarter of publishers as they seek out better data enrichment.
How to write a data quality playbook
Underpinning these issues is the need to unlock the black box of data quality. In 2019, the IAB introduced its Data Transparency Label to support marketers in understanding the who, what, how and where of their data. This information is more important than ever, but the industry needs more than a label – it needs a playbook. Through the following steps, marketers and media owners can progress toward future-proofed addressability.
Work with trusted partners
Not all data is created equal. It’s the prerogative of marketers and media owners to know the details of their assets, and data providers should be willing to clarify this. To facilitate efficiently, optimised advertising, data partnerships need to operate with transparency. By asking the important questions, marketers and media owners can proactively forge relationships that help them make the most of quality data.
Ensure data is privacy compliant
Industry players now have a responsibility to ensure user privacy is upheld throughout their supply chains. Data partners must be able to show all their data is gathered in a compliant manner while providing consumers with a transparent, straightforward choice to consent and opt-out of data collection.
As privacy laws and regulations vary between countries, it is essential that marketers and publishers select knowledgeable, trustworthy vendors that can maintain compliance for regional operations. Furthermore, they should ask how their data partners are preparing for future updates, as innovation and adaptability will be necessary for building privacy-compliant advertising capabilities.
Demand audience segment transparency
A granular understanding of data is within reach for industry players. Knowing the segment type – whether demographic, psychographic, behavioural, geographical or a custom combination – is vital for achieving addressability. Alongside this, owning a view of where data is coming from creates a comprehensive picture of target audiences. Data can be tapped from second-and third-party sources, offline and online sources, and a widening range of user devices. Understanding data at this level supports marketers with activating audiences effectively.
Consider global, regional and local needs
To ensure advertising is tailored and relevant no matter where it’s deployed, marketers should break down their unique needs for each market they operate in. For both global campaigns and local activations, a valuable data partner should deliver quality for all regions. Having a single provider of high caliber data, which can be leveraged across markets, boosts efficiency and campaign success.
While it’s difficult to plan ahead in such a dynamic sector, a forward-thinking mentality is important for predicting future developments and upcoming regulations. Now is the time to ask data partners the tough questions – what’s possible in a post-cookie world? Will emerging addressability solutions be scalable and sustainable? What innovations are in the pipeline to maintain effective advertising? Setting a precedent for transparency and control will help industry players navigate the current ecosystem while creating a playbook that preserves data quality in 2022 and beyond.