By Geoffroy Martin, COO, Ogury
It is undeniable: personalised advertising based on third-party cookies and advertising IDs is bound to disappear. While some will carry on and try to push back, waiting for Google to finally deprecate third-party cookies, others are racing to find possible solutions for sustainable online advertising. The question everybody will ask however is who will come ahead and who will be left behind?
Digital advertising stakeholders are facing a number of challenges, be they regulatory, technological or ethical. At a time when GDPR is taking centre stage, third-party cookies are being phased out and more and more users are rejecting online tracking, an industry overhaul was unavoidable. So, how will the industry evolve in the coming years? AdTech players can be broken down into three distinct categories, reflecting their state of acceptance, or denial, of these new expectations.
The first category is made of the walled gardens (think Facebook or Google) and well-established retailers such as Sainsbury’s. To no one’s surprise, they will continue to grow as they have access to 1st party data, keeping themselves sustainable.
The second category encompasses traditional digital advertising players, who continue to deliver campaigns based on cookies and advertising IDs. They represent a significant part of the market’s ad spend, even if only based on a short-term approach since it is still possible to leverage user IDs today. However, this form of exploitative advertising will become obsolete in the near future – it is a matter of “when”, not “if”. And should they not adapt, these actors will end up disappearing, this is inevitable. Additionally, brands who continue to run these campaigns are facing mounting pressure regarding the use of consumers’ personal data. One can very well imagine a leading decision-maker for a major brand demanding that their media agencies stop all campaigns relying on IDs in the very near future. The Unified ID players are also part of this second category, as they replicate ID-based technologies within non-scalable ecosystems that are not only siloed but also cannot be interoperable. Imagine an international advertiser and its agency needing to sign an agreement with each of these players to deliver campaigns to a target of over a quarter of a million users…
The third and final category is made up of open internet players who have understood that a new generation of technology is needed. A technology that is respectful of users’ privacy and independent of cookies and IDs – an essential evolution for a future-proof advertising ecosystem. The widely known alternatives, such as contextual and semantic targeting, may seem like an easy substitute, but do not go far enough in truly understanding users’ interests. They don’t offer the differentiation that brands and advertisers need, and finding a more advanced solution is now crucial.
One thing is for sure: personalised advertising has come to an end. A less intrusive alternative is needed and already exists in the form of personified advertising. This technology respects users’ privacy by targeting personas instead of the users themselves, and the destinations where they consume content, instead of an individual’s own identity. Ultra-personalised advertising tactics distort the true purpose of the internet. For instance, a sports brand promoting a new bike doesn’t need to target specific individuals interested in cycling and living within a certain distance of its catchment area. What it wants is to show this new model to 100,000 people who are likely to buy a bike, and reach them on their most visited platforms – effectively more varied than just cycling-specific websites. These are the foundations personified advertising is built on.
It is based on historical data and a comprehensive understanding of how users behave on the internet, including what online habits they tend to follow. This makes it possible to define millions of personas and assets without having to intrude upon the privacy of an individual. To ensure that historical data stays relevant, it is constantly updated and validated through surveys taken by large user panels. These insights are then refined on a rolling basis through delivery and performance data from ongoing campaigns. This means that personification is the only true guaranteed method for future-proof advertising, targeting a large number of users in a precise and mindful manner.
Online advertisers are facing a defining dilemma: cling to old methods and face extinction, or look for different and more sustainable alternatives to survive. It is much preferable to look to a future that will bring balance to both brands’ and users’ expectations, and personified advertising will play a pivotal role in this new era.