How Agencies Can Future-proof Their Clients’ Marketing Strategies

This article is sponsored by Criteo.

The “Cookie-pocalypse” or the “Identity Revolution.” Whatever you call it, digital advertising is undergoing a massive transition as the deprecation of third-party cookies gets closer. With 2022 fast approaching, the question of what this means for personalized advertising still lingers. To help marketers successfully navigate this changing ecosystem, it’s clear the role of agencies must evolve.

After a challenging year, agencies are under increased pressure to prove ROI from every client dollar spent and drive increased performance at every stage of the marketing funnel. If that wasn’t enough, agencies are also responsible for future-proofing their clients’ marketing strategies and staying on top of the constantly changing updates.

As the post-cookie world nears, let’s take a look at three audience targeting approaches agencies can leverage to reach and convert their clients’ customers in this new environment:

  1. Addressable: Known visitors and customers who have opted in to receive personalized ads make up any brand or retailer’s addressable audience. While third-party cookies still exist, agencies must use all the signals they provide to create meaningful experiences that people want to opt-in to. The more consumers that opt-in today, the larger the addressable audience an agency’s clients will have tomorrow.
  2. Cohort: Cohort audiences are Google's solution for how ad targeting can work in Chrome without third-party cookies. They are groups of consumers with the same interests based on browsing behaviors and they are large enough to make sure individual users remain anonymous. This means cohorts deliver ads tailored to those interests being targeted rather than creating one-to-one personalized ads. However, if agencies truly understand the mindset of these cohorts, they can create one-to-many ads that still feel personalized.
  3. Contextual:  The spotlight is back on contextual targeting since it offers a cookieless solution. Contextual is much more sophisticated than it was in the early days of digital advertising and now delivers greater benefits to advertisers, publishers and consumers. By marrying contextual signals from a webpage and commerce signals from their clients’ first-party data, agencies can deliver impactful (and seemingly personalized) ads to consumers at the right place and time. Contextual also allows agencies to diversify marketing tactics across the open internet and away from walled gardens, which is a concern for some clients. In Criteo’s survey of 1,000 senior marketing executives from around the world, one-third say they think their campaigns are too dependent on Facebook, Google and Amazon.

3 Cookieless Solutions to Test Today

As the industry prepares for the future, now is the time to capture as much first-party data as as possible. It’s also the perfect time to begin testing new solutions, learning how these targeting tactics work, the results they drive and the budgets they require.

Here are three strategies to familiarize yourself with as this new reality approaches:

  1. Connected TV (CTV) Advertising: It’s no secret that screen time and stream time have increased over the past year. Agencies can leverage first-party data from both CTV providers and their clients directly to serve up the most relevant ads to consumers as they are watching their favorite content.
  2. Contextual Targeting: Getting a head start on testing contextual will give agencies a competitive edge and allow them time to build up their clients’ first-party data pool. At Criteo, we built our first-of-its-kind contextual targeting solution to retain the historical benefits while adapting it to be a viable solution in a post-cookie world. It doesn’t just rely on contextual signals but also uses our wide range of first-party commerce signals to reach people who are ready to buy.
  3. Retail Media: Retail Media has always been prepared for these changes, as it leverages deterministic retailer intent and purchase data, neither of which rely on third-party cookies. Through Retail Media, agencies can reach their clients’ consumers at the digital point of sale.

There are plenty of questions and uncertainties about what the future holds for advertising. While we’re all learning and adapting as the industry changes, these targeting techniques and strategies can help agencies and their clients begin to future-proof their marketing strategies and prepare for the cookieless world. With the right tech and media partners, agencies can feel confident as 2022 nears.

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