Online advertising needs to move from tracking to smarter context

We all know what is happening with third-party cookies, among other changes in the world of online advertising. Now, the challenge for marketers is to move from recognizing their demise to planning for a smooth transition.

Google may have delayed phasing out third-party cookies on its Chrome browser until 2023, but that’s not stopping the industry from making changes and preparing now, especially given the size of the market for digital ads that are already cookie-free – on Safari, Firefox and other browsers – and of course with the changes to app advertising on Apple devices that comes with iOS 14.5.

GDPR data regulations have taught us that it pays to plan ahead, rather than relying on it until the last moment. This is why the digital marketing industry needs to view this current time as a time of education, evaluation, and action. You have to show brands what is available to them. They need to be assured that while cookies will no longer support the way we have planned and measured digital campaigns in the past, with emerging technology solutions they will still be able to reach the right audiences and drive sales without affect confidentiality.

There will still be plenty of advertisers who will lament the disappearance of cookies, because that’s how things are done and that’s how they can continue to deliver the campaigns they’re used to. The message to these brands should be that while they may continue to use cookies for the short term, it will only work for a short time; they are really short of track.

There are already new and effective ways to reach digital audiences without the need for cookies, and which require no effort to make the switch. But a shift in mindset is needed for brands and marketers, away from the old ways of targeting and measuring with cookies, with new conversations to be had around the future of measuring and achieving overall goals. of business and marketing.

A boost for privacy

The good news for digital marketing is that consumers see better privacy protection as a huge benefit. This is a major opportunity to restore trust in advertising by moving away from tracking people across the web, which they sometimes found a little scary. Just look at the vast majority who turned off tracking in apps when the option became available with the release of iOS 14.5. We’ve all been to one of those dinner parties where people swap stories about mentioning a brand or looking at their page and then opening their phone, just to see that brand right in front of them on their social feed.

Internet users know they are going to be advertised, but being tracked has always been intrusive. And marketers have always seen the value of one-to-many communications when audiences are relevant to their goals, engaged with the content they consume, and campaigns can demonstrate effective advertising ROI: it just look at how television has been reserved for decades.

This is a unique opportunity to stop practices that Internet users have found offensive. The era of micro-targeting and what used to be the myth of “individual advertising” is coming to an end. This does not mean that digital advertising is less effective. The industry needs solutions that bridge the identity gap, deliver meaningful results, and respect users’ privacy preferences.

Thus, there will be two distinct pillars of opportunity to reach digital audiences in the future: those with consented first-party data and those without. Given the opt-out rates, it’s likely that the first pillar will become much smaller (and more expensive) and the second will likely become a much larger proportion of advertising opportunities in the future.

Contextual Revolution

So it’s very clear that digital marketing is about to see a contextual renaissance where advertisers can pick up real-time signals from consumers based on the content they consume. At its core, this has traditionally meant understanding that someone on a golf site is clearly interested in that category – as digital advertising has offered as a targeting solution for decades, dating back to the early days of the internet.

But the technology has evolved. Our Verizon Media Next-Gen solutions, for example, take this to another level – allowing brands to continue to reach audiences in the categories they’re used to, but without the need for third-party identifiers like cookies, logins, and more. application or any other user. level profiles. We can use a combination of this traditional context around consumed content and other real-time data signals like weather, location, and device types to feed machine learning algorithms, which can infer an audience likely based on the same or similar categories that advertisers are used to being able to reach them through their digital campaigns.

With hundreds of millions of people around the world using our ecosystem of trusted content brands and services like Yahoo News, Finance, Mail, Search or TechCrunch and Engadget, we process approximately 200 billion data signals daily. We can help our algorithms understand the likely behaviors of different audiences by aggregating the different data signals and projecting what they are likely to be interested in and how they are likely to interact with the ad, based on previous experience of lookalike audiences.

The “back to the 90s” myth with contextual advertising really misses the point.

But what about when people are happy to accept and consent to having their data help them receive more targeted and relevant advertising experiences from brands?

Well, we make sure to provide efficient and privacy-centric solutions here too. Our Verizon Media ConnectID allows users to choose to share information and continue to receive personalized content, as well as relevant branded marketing experiences, through our Verizon Media advertising platforms, without the need for cookies.

A new era

It’s time to start the next era of digital marketing. Time is running out for cookies. But this new era doesn’t have to be scary or mean the end of relevant or effective digital advertising. This new era, however, must be planned and prepared. It cannot be overemphasized that now is the time for brands to assess what is available and start immersing themselves in new solutions.

Working with partners like Verizon Media means it doesn’t have to be a painful process: we strive to help our advertising clients make a seamless transition, allowing them to continue to get the most out of their digital marketing campaigns, on any screen, with privacy-centric solutions.

We want to work together to ensure that users can continue to enjoy relevant advertising content and experiences on a free and open Internet, and that advertisers can reach the right audiences on every screen, while respecting privacy preferences at every step. Smarter solutions mean change can start now.

You can also learn more about the future of identity in digital advertising by watching our webinar series, “Sorry, Did I Know You? “.