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The Big Story: Identity Earthquake

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It’s the dog days of summer. The afternoons are sultry and the pace is slow. Ice cubes melt and tinkle in glasses, cats nap under porches … and it’s easy to forget that the earth is shifting and splitting under the ad industry’s feet.

As managing editor Ryan Joe notes in this week’s episode, the advertising industry is being buffeted from all angles. Privacy laws are coming into effect around the world, third-party cookies are in the midst of shuffling off this mortal coil and there’s just about a month left until Apple’s IDFA changes take effect in iOS 14.

“It’s like these two tectonic plates beginning to collide and digital advertising is right on the fault line,” Ryan says. “And is it enough to reinforce your house with new identifiers or technologies that may or may not exist – or are you going to have to tear it down and build something totally new somewhere else?”

This is the question that advertisers, publishers, agencies and ad tech vendors are grappling with: how to invest in solutions for the future when the rules are constantly changing in the present.

One thing is clear, though. Workarounds and hacks aren’t the answer. But here’s a crazy thought: Consider whether the products you’re developing would pass the sniff test with average consumers.

“This industry has a history of not really thinking about the consumer,” says senior editor Alison Weissbrot. “Even if [companies] just start to try to make it more understandable, it’s a step in the right direction.”

Also in this episode: first-party data for the win, how agencies can prove their worth and the team gets a little meta on consent, notice and choice.

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