​DMPs in a post third-party cookie world

As third-party cookies disappear and first-party data strategies take centre stage, we explore the future of digital advertising-oriented data management platforms and targeting approaches

Fresh take on traditional audience ideas

A further development flowing from the loss of third-party cookies is the renewal of interest in older forms of audience building, such as contextual audience building, but using new technologies that provide opportunities for semantic targeting and even moving to predictive targeting.

“There’s a huge volume of solutions marketers haven’t really been forced to contend with, because they have this old notion of how audiences are built they rely so heavily on,” O’Connell says.

According to Oracle’s Collins, more advertisers are leveraging contextual intelligence solutions allowing for targeting by the content, page or video without need for third-party cookies or personal information.

Read more: Is contextual marketing the answer to the end of third-party cookies?

But despite the changes, the current approach for many appears to be one of business as usual. Programmatic marketing agency MiQ’s operations officer, Damian Healy, is surprised at how little demand there has been to get in front of the changes. Even for his own business, he says the changes have not been significant.

“You could think that [being programmatic] means we are entirely reliant on cookies,” Healy says. “But the beauty of programmatic these days is it is omnichannel. I am delivering huge amounts of overall volume in BVOD now, and all of that is based on set top box IDs and smart TV IDs. It’s not dependent on cookies at all. We can use that data to build out optimised reach for advertisers.

“When I was looking at this initially, it seemed an insurmountable mountain. But once we got into it, we saw there are lot of things we can do without cookies.”

Healy also noted a swing back to search, especially for acquisition for performance advertisers.

“Search is a click-based medium, and when you click on to an advertiser’s website you can use first-party cookies at that point,” Healy says. “You know the click came from Google, you know the keyword, you know it landed on your website. You’re then in first-party cookie territory to tell whether they bought something or not.”

In addition, Healy is keeping an eye on other initiatives coming out of Google, including its FLEDGE privacy sandbox proposal. This browser-based technology is being pitched for next-gen remarketing and custom audience use cases but will not be able to be used by third parties to track user browsing behaviour across sites.

Read more: Google’s plans to replace cookies with Topics API dubbed grossly insufficient

“There are some pretty strong reasons to believe there are going to be technology-based and potentially browser-based solutions that are going to get us past some of the sticking points,” Healy says.

For the short term at least, the job for marketers when it comes to campaign planning is likely to be more difficult than it once was.

“With cookies going away, your ability to use mobile IDs fragmented as well, and all the new channels like digital out-of-home and set to boxes and over-the-top devices, there are so many IDs and devices out there it has become a lot harder,” Healy says. “That is where our identity work comes from.”

With the emphasis inevitably swinging towards greater use of first-party data, Stubbs sees plenty of territory still to be explored around how data might be collected and utilised.

“There is a lot more innovation around how you might extend your first-party data, and brands are becoming significantly more commercially savvy around the value of their own data as well,” Stubbs says. “Pieces that start to become really interesting are things like micropayments and getting under the hood of what value exchange looks like.

“What might it look like to get them in the door without having to hand over all of their data at the start, and then build up that relationship through a value exchange? You will start to see massive convergence around content and data, and elements where it brings in commerce. That will be one of the interesting growth areas.”

So while the industry might be shaken up in terms of changes to data and the tools that manage it, O’Connell says it’s a good time to closely examine what consumers actually want.

“A first-party data strategy means you have to have something useful to the consumer they want to interact with,” O’Connell says. “It is really about customer experience and content strategy. You need to think all about those things.”

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