In this exclusive Industry Voices interview, IAS spoke to Ed Pizey, Data Partner at Wavemaker, who shared his experience and gave insights into how the agency is transitioning away from cookies by June 2021.
Data privacy legislation is rapidly changing the way that advertisers are able to reach their audiences. With third-party cookies going away, how can advertisers and publishers trade in a completely compliant fashion today that is also scalable?
Firstly, the majority of publishers and advertisers have always and will continue to trade in a compliant fashion regardless of data type. However as 1st party data (1PD) is increasingly seen as a vital ingredient in replacing 3rd party cookies, compliance or in particular consent is now, rightly, a critical element of the digital marketing ecosystem. This obviously will bring its own challenges that advertisers and publishers will need to work through. Publishers are working extremely hard on building their own 1P data sets and have highly valued content to create smart value exchanges – while we’re seeing various states of 1PD volume and quality. This means that trading scalability is still an unknown which will in turn become a major focus as move into H2.
How the cookie-less world affects performance metrics and how best to inform clients of this change to their campaign results.
Early and honest communication is required about reporting – it’s still the biggest unknown. At Wavemaker we’re already in many client conversations on the subject of 3P cookie-less measurement & reporting. Our 3PC blueprint enables our teams to identify areas most affected by the changes as well as providing a roadmap to test new analytical techniques or technology that mitigates known risks. Clients have been extremely receptive to our approach and appreciate our pragmatism. We know that the level of granularity will be impacted so advertisers are exploring with our support some of traditional methodologies which have previously fallen out of favour due to the vast amount of accessible data in the digital marketing.
Google announced that it will not replace third-party cookies with alternative user-level identifiers for open web. How do you think this will impact targeted advertising practices?
Effective and efficient campaigns are the life blood of media agencies enabling clients to benefit from our expertise. Our expectation is future targeting strategies will be a combination of different techniques. Therefore, for the past 12 months, Wavemaker (alongside our sister agencies Mindshare & Mediacom as well as GroupM UK), have been running a RFI & testing programme across multiple technology partners. The programme is helping teams understand how these adtech solutions are evolving so that we can provide campaign management continuity across a number of areas, such as sequential messaging and frequency capping.
In reality, the announcement from Google wasn’t a surprise to us although it may hamper the roll out of alternative ID solutions from Liveramp, The Tradedesk and other players. We’ll be keeping a close eye out to see the uptake from publishers in the UK, and results from preliminary testing in the US.
What would you say has improved about contextual targeting since the early days of the internet?
Contextual advertising or even just digital advertising is radically different to the early days of the web. I was fortunate enough to be a media buyer in those days and still remember gaining digital advertising space on Ziff Davis & VNU websites for free when buying space in their print titles. This was probably the first form of digital proximity advertising. However, the technology that’s now available offers advertisers a plethora of precision based contextual advertising opportunities. Every aspect of contextual advertising has improved, however semantic contextual targeting is extremely interesting & I suspect can only grow smarter as the algorithms continue to learn.
Where do you see contextual going? Is it about highly scalable solutions?
Another interesting area of contextual is the ability to influence or create dynamic advertising such as the Google Nest campaign by WPP’s Essence. Project Pegasus is a fantastic example of contextual advertising and creative working is synergy to maximise relevance for the reader. The other incredibly smart aspect of this solution is that it didn’t use any personal data. This harmony between creative, advertiser and audience is what we strive for as marketeers and Wavemaker are working on a number of similar solutions that are scalable.
How can advertisers leverage contextual tactics to best reach their appropriate audiences?
The core of contextual is about understanding the audience alongside the environment where the creative will appear. Therefore, it is important for agency planners to deepen their knowledge of the advertiser’s audiences especially their behavioural and preference nuances. The audience remains at the heart of the campaign & subsequent strategy.
What excites you about the future of targeting in digital?
I think the continued evolution of the whole ecosystem is exciting, as a result of compliance & regulation changes, we have seen new technology solutions come to market, offering privacy safe methods to share data which is enabling companies to extract new insights from existing data sets. The changes happening at Google are also fascinating, as the birth of FLoCs requires the whole industry to recalibrate their understanding of audience, segments, and cohorts. The joy of working in this industry is that no day is ever boring.