Over the last 12 months, we have seen a move from third-party cookies acting as a proxy to identity, to authenticated identity. This is true both for brands which are looking to optimise their ad spend, while delivering more accurate and personalised advertising and for media owners who are working to offer greater targeting capabilities to their advertisers.
By bringing these two worlds together in a privacy-safe way, advertisers and media owners can reap the benefits.
Brands onboarding first-party customer data
For brands, data onboarding is an important step in establishing a 360-degree view of their current and prospective customers. With brands collecting more first-party data than ever, the data onboarding process takes offline CRM data, such as purchase history, loyalty card data and demographic data and matches it against online data such as website behaviour, email, and social media engagement.
This process enables brands, and their media agencies, to understand customers and prospects in a way that unlocks improved digital marketing capabilities. These new opportunities include greater targeting and suppression accuracy, as well as the ability to retarget high-value customers.
But to truly activate this customer knowledge and achieve marketing that delivers greater engagement and ROI, a brand needs to be able to plan, segment and activate against an equally rich understanding of an audience - such as those available through authenticated or ‘known’ audiences on publisher websites.
Media owners building addressable audiences
As we covered in a previous blog, media owners are on a journey from ‘unknown’ audiences underpinned by the eroding third-party cookie, to ‘known’ addressable audiences based on authenticated data such as user registration.
This move is predominantly motivated by the identity opacity being created by browsers. Prior to 2017, third-party cookies worked as a proxy for declared identity, powering much of the adtech industry. Specifically, third-party cookies were the most common method for publishers to make their audience available to be targeted by advertisers.
In 2017, Apple introduced the first iteration of Intelligent Tracking Protection to their Safari browser, designed to limit the tracking capabilities of third-party cookies. This has become stricter over the last couple of years and we’ve also seen similar restrictions on cross-site tracking being deployed on other browsers, such as Mozilla’s Firefox and Microsoft’s Edge. This will culminate in 2022 when Google will block third-party cookies in its Chrome browser.
With a deadline set, and the clock ticking, for when these ‘unknown’ audiences will no longer be effective for publishers, many are working to increase the size of their ‘known’ addressable audiences, using strategies such as putting premium content behind a login. We’ve seen these strategies already prove effective, with The Times seeing their registered user base grow by 19% in 2019. We have also seen publishers setting aggressive targets to increase their addressable audience, with The Telegraph setting a target of achieving 10 million registered users and 1 million subscribers by 2023.
These moves are a concerted strategy by media owners to both future-proof their advertising revenue as third-party cookies become redundant in the adtech ecosystem, and to offer advertisers a greater level of targeting, similar to what is already available from the walled gardens.
Data onboarding and addressable audiences deliver engagement
With brands onboarding their first-party data, and media owners building their addressable audiences, an opportunity to bring these two worlds together is emerging.
Through privacy-first solutions, such as InfoSum’s data clean room, a brand's first-party data can be matched directly with a media owner’s addressable audience. Identities can be matched deterministically using the personally identifiable information (PII) already existing in each data set, often email, MAID or phone number.
Relevant advertising can then be served to segments of the overlapping customer bases, for example, specific messaging for current vs. lapsed customers, or suppressing current customers entirely if the campaign is to generate growth rather than retention.
This direct relationship between media owner and advertiser creates more relevant, and lucrative advertising opportunity. Media owners are able to fill their ad inventory with content that delivers greater ROI, which in turn brings more advertisers to the table as they look to optimise their ad spend.
In our next blog, we will look at why addressability should not be limited to display advertising and why an omnichannel approach is needed. If you haven’t already, register now to find out first when this new blog lands.