Roundtable Event: Navigating a Privacy-First World

While third-party cookies (3PC) have allowed marketers to deliver personalized marketing across the digital ecosystem for years, their ability to track individuals has raised consumer privacy concerns from government regulators and tech giants alike. With Google’s announcement that 3PCs will be phased out on Chrome browsers by February 2022 and Apple’s corresponding introduction of opt-in tracking on iOS mobile devices, advertisers face new challenges in connecting with their target audiences and measuring performance. When 3PCs are fully deprecated next year, the addressability of online ad inventory may fall from 56% to just 10%, according to one estimate by audience solutions provider Dstillery.

To address the impact of these new privacy directives, Scott Marsden, EVP Media & Analytics, sat down with a panel of industry veterans, including Emmy Grunseich, Director of Platform Strategy at Verizon Media, Bryce Poll, Director of Trading at The Trade Desk, Ayash Basu, Head of E-Commerce and Digital Marketing at Canidae Pet Food, and moderator Katie Kempner, Founder of Kempner Communications. They reviewed emerging targeting and measurement solutions and offered an optimistic view of improved brand-consumer realtionships in the cookie-less future.

Scott framed the move away from 3PCs as an opportunity for marketers to get smarter. “We talk about right place, right moment, right message, and I think part of the challenge that we’ve had in the industry is that we’ve forgotten about the word ‘right’ and we’ve just focused on repetition. If we think about context and about the content that we’re trying to get out there, and we think about the relationship that we’re building with our consumers—the core thing for me about advertising is that it’s about discovery. We want consumers to discover our brand, we want them to understand it, we want them to get excited about it and ultimately purchase, so if we can build a better mousetrap for discovery, for those elements, the trust that we’ll build with the customers will last longer.”

While 3PCs have enabled 1:1 marketing by facilitating audience targeting, conversion tracking, and frequency management, they also have significant tracking limitations. They aren’t directly people-based, as 3PCs follow browsing sessions rather than individuals, and they’re not inoperable between devices—leading to significant data loss when consumers switch screens. They’re also temporary for the informed consumers who regularly delete their browser history. Algorithms that lean more on signals like context, time of day, and geography may ultimately allow for greater efficiencies in targeting.

“Using those signals to inform our messaging, we’ll be smarter with our messaging and better off. I’m optimistic that we’ll build a better trust-value exchange for customers, and I think the data that we’ll get will still be powerful. It’ll still be useful. We’ll still be able to be informed and, over time, we’ll get back to that efficiency while our effectiveness will be higher. Those are the two things we’ve been chasing in marketing and advertising since the beginning.” As the industry works to develop privacy-compliant identity solutions before full 3PC elimination next year, digital marketers should focus on centering the consumer experience by prioritizing their own first-party data while offering transparency into its collection and usage.

Check out the full roundtable below:

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