Campaign Planning: Rolling With The Punches

Connie Del Bono headshotData-Driven Thinking” is written by members of the media community and contains fresh ideas on the digital revolution in media.

Today’s column is written by Connie Del Bono, programmatic associate director at Croud.

The industry was already contending with changing privacy regulations and the hunt for a cookie alternative when COVID-19 added another array of challenges to campaign planning.

Luckily, the fact that we are no strangers to change in the ad industry is an asset, and while there will always be pressure points associated with planning a campaign, it’s still possible to create something both robust and adaptable.

It’s impossible to predict what’s lurking around every corner, but there are a few common pressure points to always be mindful of when planning privacy-compliant campaigns.

Concerns for the consumer

We hear time and time again that privacy is paramount. This sentiment, alongside localized legal regulations such as the California Consumer Privacy Act, mean that campaigns must be planned with consumer privacy front of mind. Even businesses that don’t operate in certain regions need to adopt localized regulation from the offset to ensure that campaigns are future-proofed.

To eliminate concerns about privacy, brands must work closely with all partners to ensure that they collect a minimal amount of personally identifiable information from consumers and only what is completely relevant. All active data collection should have visible, easily understandable opt-in and, most importantly, opt-out features to significantly increase the safety of consumers and their data.

Businesses operating in privacy regulated markets should adapt personalization approaches based on segmentation of users who may be more receptive to personalization. This not only respects consumer privacy but harvests far more impactful results.


So many companies are privy to really sensitive consumer data, and there’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed. Brands should be building trusting relationships with consumers, which must be considered when planning a campaign. Marketing communication and targeting should help individuals move through the consideration funnel to booking or buying what a brand is selling, and so there needs to be general principles in place for responsible data usage, especially across the more sensitive verticals such as finance or healthcare.

This notion, however, creates retargeting pain points, especially during these times of pandemic. Spending more time in the household on the same IP address as loved ones can make retargeting risky, especially for those with closely held health or business needs.

As a result, frequency management is key. A recency frequency strategy – building different line items based on recency to site – is a good way to implement frequency management across all plans to create campaigns that foster trust and enhance relations.

The cookie crash

It’s impossible to write about campaign pressure points without touching on the death of the cookie. It’s a question I’m sure we’ve all been asked a million times, and there’s still yet to be a definitive answer as to how the industry will look once cookies are no longer at our disposal. But cookies aren’t the be-all and end-all, and there’s so much existing data that can help us to think more contextually in our targeting efforts. First-party data can be leveraged for insights into existing customers and to identify patterns to find potential consumers. Contextual targeting can be far more subtle and actually lead to more interested potential prospects that find these ad strategies less direct and invasive.

With no cookies, there are also other areas of marketing that work hand in hand with programmatic that many advertisers tend to forget about but contribute to campaigns’ longevity and effectiveness. Brands seem to be showing an interest in improving other marketing areas such as SEO in the planning stages, which can amplify reach and pull traffic to a brand’s page long term. A well-rounded, robust campaign should see all channels work in tandem so that businesses can reap the rewards.

Changing with the times 

New queries arise all the time, and the only way to truly create a robust campaign is by taking a fluid and agile approach. Pulling things that aren’t working or testing new methods can produce great results. Changing times mean shifting priorities and, with that, shifting budgets.

Despite rigorous planning, there will always be campaign changes and optimizations once in flight. It’s impossible to prepare for every potential pressure point that may arise, but the past few months have shown that necessity is the mother of invention. As we continue to navigate new challenges, new opportunities arise, making a creative approach crucial to success.

Follow Croud (@CroudMarketing) and AdExchanger (@adexchanger) on Twitter.

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