The Year To Come In Online Data And Identity

2019 brought a tsunami of change to data-driven advertising. And those changes have overflowed into other part of businesses and the economy, as regulators scrutinize the world of digital advertising.

Facebook gave the boot to third-party data suppliers. And in 2020, Google says it will make good on a long-held promise to revoke its advertising ID, bringing to an end an era of targeting and measurement across the open web.

Meanwhile, Apple’s ITP and the potential anti-tracking upgrades to Google Chrome are impacting the world of data-driven online advertising perhaps as much as GDPR enforcement and California’s new consumer privacy law, which comes into effect in January.

Here’s how leaders in data and identity from across technology, media and brand marketing plan to evolve their strategies this year,

  • Travis Clinger, VP of Global Strategy and Partnerships, LiveRamp
  • Mathieu Roche, Co-founder and CEO, ID5
  • David Shim, CEO, Foursquare
  • Vinny Rinaldi, Head of Addressable Media and Tech, Hershey Company

AdExchanger: What are the important changes coming to identity-based advertising?

CLINGER: The ability to buy without the need for a third-party cookie will become the norm. Third-party cookies will still exist in 2020, but increasingly supplemented by alternate IDs, and for that ID to be in exposure logs.

The industry has been talking about not buying cookie-based identifiers for a long time, but 2020 is the year it starts to happen.

For more than a decade, ad tech has been built on the identity of the cookie. But walled gardens have gained huge advantages because they have addressable identity at scale. We see the ecosystem moving towards similar people-based identifiers.

ROCHE: People think of identity narrowly in terms of ad targeting. This past and next year I think that mentality is shifting, because identity has strong applications for frequency capping, performance measurement, cross-device and creating audience profiles.

The focus on “identification” of audiences is wrong. It’s more about the benefits of engaging on an individual level. In the world of apps, for instance, this exists already, because Google and Apple afford a solution with cross-domain IDs. The utility of that with privacy controls is well understood, and is why apps have such strong personalization and customer engagement. On the web we don’t have that.

The headlines haven’t been optimistic about third-party data. But where do you see potential data sales growth in 2020?

SHIM: We recently conducted a survey of hundreds of media and marketing managers. Nearly 75% of respondents purchased audience data in 2019, and of those, more than half plan to increase their spend in 2020.

People do plan to spend more on third party-data in 2020, and the ability to measure in-store visits is a key metric.  We plan to dedicate resources to enhancing our data solutions – visits, audiences, and places – because we believe the appetite will remain strong.

RINALDI: First-party data is something we’ve had lots and lots of discussions about. It’s a very challenging space for a chocolate, gum and candy company. The exchange of information for a chocolate bar doesn’t make sense. So we’re still heavily invested in partners like Oracle, IRI and Merkle’s M1.

We aren’t purchasing segments in a DSP, but have built out mapping to purchase data or customized data. I’d say we’ve seen a decent shift into more data as a percent of overall marketing.

CLINGER: We continue to see an increase of third-party data. Where we see exciting growth, though, is first-party and second-party data. Third-party data has a few years of growth ahead of it, but I think it will be eclipsed.

Second-party data will be a focus area in 2020. Brands will look at how they can leverage their data assets in controlled, anonymous ways. Retailers and CPGs is the main example – where you have one party with a huge first-party data asset and on the other side is very high demand. But there’s also airlines and the travel industry; data-sharing deals between publishers and select advertisers to merge and compare audiences.

What data partnerships would you like to see happen or take off this year?

SHIM: We made our Data Solutions and venues data available via the AWS Data Exchange as a preferred location data provider, and have seen great initial traction including an expanded use of our products across healthcare, real estate, and consulting.

We’ve seen our data use cases continue to expand on the advertising and measurement front, at the same time we see strong growth across consumer insights, investment strategies, and business intelligence use cases, just to name a few.

ROCHE: The big question, or theoretical data and identity partnership, is whether browser operators are open to integrating a shared ID like exists in the mobile ecosystem.

I know those overtures have happened. And that would be the best solution available right now for online identity. The important caveat is that the browsers you need to partner and integrate with are owned by Google and Apple. Which is to say, it probably isn’t going to happen.

RINALDI: One priority we’d like to see progress is retail media and ad tech. That’s probably the biggest opportunity to unlock value right now. The value of their data so incredible to a company like ours.

The downside is that the biggest retailers – Walmart Media Group, Target with Roundel, Kroger Precision Marketing and, of course, Amazon – have committed to or are creating their own walled gardens now. The fact that it can be closed-loop attributed to SKU-level, in-store sales (a SKU is the retail inventory term for a product carried on shelves) is something data-driven marketers are salivating for.

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