Could What’s Next In Identity In Ad Tech Actually Be ... Optimism?

"On TV & Video" is a column exploring opportunities and challenges in advanced TV and video. 

Today's column is by Swetha Basavaraj, Director of Product, Data at Samsung Ads. 

The endless discussion about the loss of identifiers for digital advertising really isn’t interesting anymore.

Everyone already knows their cookies will crumble sooner or later.

Everyone knows about Apple’s new privacy initiatives.

Everyone knows about the potential changes by Android.

Everyone knows that what’s coming will hinder most of what was created to enable everything from frequency capping to measurement and attribution to personalized targeting and beyond.

Another recitation of the challenges won’t help. There’s a lot the industry can – and should – do right now to prepare for the better future that lies ahead. So here’s a look at what’s next in identity – and why it’s better than what you might imagine.

Strengthen your first-party data

To start, streamlining and aligning offline and online data from different sources with common identifiers to recognize users by leveraging a good customer data platform (CDP) technology can help.

Making the most of consent-based data collection will be spurred by helping consumers understand what they can gain in exchange for their data. If there’s real value beyond simply “more relevant ads,” make that value clear to the consumer. Bringing transparency to data collection builds trust with the customer.

Enhance your first-party data with “collabs”

In modern creative culture, “collabs” are a major driver of fresh ideas. The same applies in ad tech.

However, it is critical to keep privacy at the center of all these efforts. Solutions like data clean rooms or use of matching agents can help. These let media companies who have proprietary data make it available to advertising partners in a manner that respects consumer privacy preferences.   

And don’t forget to collaborate with ad tech partners. They can often deliver aggregated insights and measurement of your users. For example, seek product features that will help you understand not just individual campaign performance but help you get a sharper 360-degree view of your customers to plan your spend.

 Diversify your ad spending

Once, smart advertisers worked with fewer media partners to gain clout. There’s still a place for that, but without reliable identifiers it’s impossible to know whether those “efficiencies” are delivering as promised. 

Some media buys offer the ability to understand behavior across every connected device – giving you sharper attribution, cross-channel optimization and measurement. Advertisers should do their due diligence and explore other avenues where more reliable identifiers can be used. Relying on the old channels may no longer be the most efficient game plan.

Invest in AI

As the ability to have deterministic identifiers fades away, invest in artificial intelligence to predict consumer behavior based on other parameters. AI can also help connect dots and fill in the gaps left by data tracking limitations. 

Applying AI and machine learning on consumer data in a privacy-compliant manner can help both analyze ad campaigns and enhance return on ad spend using data for bidding the right price. Also, these technologies leverage aggregated data insights or modeled reporting to enhance campaign performance. 

Finally, as media audience’s sizes shrink, think harder about discovery – especially within a context

The cliché of the first wave of ad tech was the ad that followed you everywhere. If you were debating whether to give a friend a shoe, a socket wrench or a silver tray for their birthday, that debate would follow you everywhere. When you’d go to sleep at night, you’d be counting socket wrenches instead of sheep.

What’s important now is discovery – reaching customers at the moment when they’re already looking for what’s next. At that moment, their attention is up for grabs, and it’s powerful.

 Native ad placements on key screens on a smart TV or a mobile device are an ideal place to find potential customers who are in “discovery mode.” This is even more powerful when consumers are in a very specific context. For example, if a consumer is in the game console launcher, an ad about the next game they might like can be a very smart buy.

Wherever you start, start now

There are lots of ways the industry can start preparing for what’s next in identity, and now is the perfect time to start.

One day, all the opportunities discussed here might be common knowledge and used by every major advertiser and agency. But those who start now can gain competitive advantage by getting to the future faster. Now is a good time to be optimistic and look ahead.

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