Guest comment: The future is bright, the future is cookieless

Guest comment: The future is bright, the future is cookieless

As Google prepares to switch off cookies, mobile data is emerging as a privacy-safe alternative for marketers looking to segment audeinces. Freddie Turner, UK Head of Strategy at MiQ, outlines the challenges of privacy-first, cookieless advertising, and how mobile data capabilities can be used to deliver insights-driven, high-performance programmatic campaigns without relying on cookie data.

A Brave New Cookieless World

It was in January that Google announced it would phase out third-party cookies from its Chrome browser. Ten months on and with developments and solutions being launched and delivered almost daily, advertising in a privacy world is filled with opportunities for advertisers. Undoubtedly, the way digital advertising has worked for the last ten years isn’t going to work for the next ten. Working out how to navigate the cookieless world – getting the right place, right time, right audience benefits of programmatic advertising, – whilst ensuring ultimate privacy is one of the big questions of the next few years.

For those still questioning the new cookieless world order, the predicament remains: how can advertisers understand consumer behaviour and target their audience in an addressable way, without breaching privacy? Without third-party data to provide key user information, it becomes a two-fold challenge of not only knowing your audience, but finding them.

Cookieless solutions need to support the opportunities that digital solutions have given us, beyond first party data assets, whilst being privacy conscious. It’s a demanding challenge, but one that the industry is tackling and we are focussing on as a programmatic business.

Beyond first-party data

First-party data is by no means a simple solution. Data needs to be properly collected, cleaned, normalised, stored, analysed and deployed through tech platforms. Not only is it notoriously hard to collect in the first place, but users are increasingly cautious of what they perceive as invasive data practices. So what other options are there?

There are actually a plethora of solutions out there, and to really take advantage of the opportunities presented by the cookieless future, we advocate four main solutions that are currently in discussion within the industry:

1. Recognised identity – Semi-persistent identifiers such as the cookie, MAIDs and IPs
2. Anonymous / contextual identity – This is not user level data, but instead signals which could infer identity and behaviour such as weather, social media trends or current events
3. Authenticated identity – Data that has been obtained by getting explicit consent from the user
4. Aggregated identity – This is data that is not linked to just one user, but a group of users

That fourth solution, aggregated identity, is one solution that we find most interesting, and the reason why we chose Skyrise Intelligence as a partner. By analysing their data, we gain the ability to provide a clear view of our clients’ audiences in a way that protects privacy and ensures precise targeting capabilities. This really is one of the most elegant cookieless solutions we’re excited to see how it develops.

Mobile data is vast and has a lot of potential

Mobile data presents a huge opportunity with many spending 3 hours and 19 minutes per day on their mobile devices in the UK (Source: eMarketer 2020). Consumers always have their devices with them, using apps to help them navigate their daily lives, and access the open web to search for the things they care about all from one device.

By harnessing the wealth of information available through mobile devices, marketers are able to get a detailed picture of what their consumer looks like without the aid of a cookie. Data from mobile can build high-value segments based on demo, geo, app usage, and mobile web usage.

But what about privacy? Well, all of this data is pseudo anonymised. MiQ’s decision to partner with Skyrise Intelligence means customer PI is protected, but advertisers can still drive high-performance outcomes through programmatic, using aggregated behavioural trend data. We’re heading to a privacy-first world, and that doesn’t have to be an obstacle for advertisers.

But data is not enough on its own, it needs to be harnessed correctly

Data is precious, and we are always working to find new ways to build on our capabilities, and add to our datasets to the benefit of our clients. Our privacy-first, cookieless approach to customer data analysis based on UK mobile network data was enhanced through our work with Skyrise Intelligence, leading to stronger outcomes for clients. Marketers are able to access data signals derived from 20m handsets — nearly ⅓ of the UK’s population — to drive high-performance programmatic campaigns without relying on cookie data.

The vast mobile data segments — which are anonymised and privacy compliant by design — programmatic partners can use their own advanced data capabilities to enable more granular, customised data that will inform planning, activation, and measurement of outcomes that matter to marketers. So, in short, the data is fascinating and needed, but the most vital aspect is the application of deep industry knowledge based analysis. For us, this analysis comes in the form of data science techniques and custom budding algorithms that ensure every impression is addressable and relevant.

Omnichannel possibilities with mobile

By utilising mobile data, advertisers are able to strengthen their approach to delivering omnichannel programmatic campaigns to meet business goals specific to each brand because they can tap into a wealth of mobile behavioural data. Reach and awareness, performance, or footfall, are all attainable by understanding what clients need to achieve to set them up for success before a single impression fires.

Mobile behavioural data allows better reach to the most valuable audiences through understanding important customer details such as what mobile web domains they visit online, the locations they work, live, and travel to, the best times of day and the best days of the week for engagement, and the apps they use each day.

By connecting that to your existing data streams, you are able to build powerful custom bidding strategies that deliver outcomes across whatever channel is going to hit the goals our clients care about: Video, mobile, desktop, DOOH and so on. These measurement solutions allow traders to understand just where and what are driving outcomes and then continue to optimise the bidding strategy to go even further.

We see the cookieless world as an amazing opportunity, rather than anything to be concerned about. And as we head into 2021, we can all be excited about the decade of programmatic everything.

By Freddie Turner

UK Director of Strategy