Identity in advertising is evolving rapidly with deprecation of third-party cookies, meaning content producers and distributors must find a balance between connecting identity mechanisms across platforms to offer relevant advertising, and ensuring consumers feel comfortable about how their data is processed. Emmanuel Josserand, Brand, Agency and Industry Relations at FreeWheel, believes broadcasters and premium video publishers are well placed to find this balance for a number of reasons.
“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” So states the much-used quote – often attributed to the late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. And following this reasoning, with the identity landscape changing rapidly, the media industry must act to sustain effective delivery of digital advertising experiences.
The ongoing deprecation of third-party cookies is limiting data-driven marketing capabilities in browser environments, with Chrome expected to ultimately withdraw support for the perpetually crumbling cookie over the next year. At the same time, the changes in devices IDs – as announced recently by Apple and the evolving legislation around data privacy, is driving technological developments and changing the relationship between media companies, advertisers and consumers. To offer value in the form of relevant advertising, content providers must find a balance between connecting identity mechanisms across platforms and ensuring consumers feel comfortable about how their data is processed.
Rise of cookieless environments
TV and premium video platforms have scaled beyond the browser, with Connected TV (CTV) and mobile ad impressions delivered through applications that don’t use third-party cookies. The use of these platforms has accelerated during the pandemic, with a surge in TV and premium content consumption in all forms, and advertisers are increasingly embracing these channels which lie at the intersection of TV and digital convergence.
In premium environments, identity is often authenticated when users log in, whether through a subscription service or an advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) platform. In addition, multiple ID solutions, both deterministic and probabilistic, have emerged alongside the rapid expansion of app-based premium content platforms. The challenge remains for programmers and advertisers to efficiently manage and consolidate these often overlapping solutions.
The direct audience relationship
Broadcasters and premium publishers are in a privileged position holding a direct relationship with audiences. This relationship allows them to build trust, one of the most valuable assets media companies can own.
By deploying appropriate consent solutions and listening to consumer preferences premium video providers are engendering trust while also gaining access to rich first-party data. Moving forward into the post-cookie world, the focus will need to be on maintaining this consumer trust throughout the entire value chain, from device manufacturers and content providers to advertisers and tech partners.
The value exchange
Unlike other forms of online content such as news or editorial, which are traditionally seen as ‘free’, consumers are used to a trade-off for access to premium video, whether that is through a monthly cable or satellite subscription, a la carte over-the-top (OTT) video services, or advertising-supported offerings.
For consumers to consent to sharing data in exchange for premium content a value exchange needs to be clearly established. This implies that certain conditions are met, for instance: have a clear understanding of how their data will be used and who has access to their data. Media companies can leverage this wealth of first-party data to provide a premium advertising experience aligned with consumer preferences and drive trust and loyalty.
Moving ahead with collaboration and interoperability
The combination of authenticated first-party data, direct audience relationships and an established value exchange may give broadcasters and premium video providers the edge in a post-cookie world, but there are still important areas to address. The challenge for the media industry as a whole lies in achieving an omnichannel view of the consumer across different touchpoints, while safeguarding privacy and providing accurate measurement of the effectiveness of cross-channel campaigns.
With this in mind, interoperability as well as collaboration between media companies are critical to align data across platforms. From the media buyer’s perspective, this alignment will be necessary for all advertising activities, from planning, activation and frequency management, to reporting, measurement and attribution. Some broadcasters are already taking strides in leveraging their first-party data and deploying strategic partnerships to deliver advanced advertising capabilities, and there is urgency for this trend to become universal across the premium video landscape.
There is a complex but an exciting future ahead with an opportunity to create an ecosystem rooted in trust and transparency. Collaboration and an interoperable ecosystem will be vital to ensure data integrity and privacy is maintained alongside effective ad delivery, as the industry adapts intelligently to the post-cookie world.
By Emmanuel Josserand
Brand, Agency and Industry Relations