Leading Digital Transformation

Key takeaways from IAB's Audience Connect 2022

Last week, the best and brightest in the world of agency strategists, buyers, planners and marketers met to discuss how to find and address new customers in a fragmented and rapidly changing media landscape. Attendees at the event faced the same reality – we are preparing to lose identifiers and third-party cookies and we need to change the way we target, collect first-party data and the way we measure our campaigns. The two-day event featured a combination of keynote speakers, panelists and interactive workshops from leading content creators, publishers, AdTech providers and leading industry voices.

In the end, attendees were able to walk away with solutions to future-proof their business. How did they get there? Let’s explore some of the themes, challenges and highlights of the event.

First things first – Privacy Laws

Privacy and compliance laws, regulations and guidelines were the biggest topic at the event. Current business practices have mostly been shaped by Europe’s pioneering guidance, GDPR alongside California’s CCPA. However, the industry is watching Japan, Australia, Brazil, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, Nevada and Virginia, who all have their own bills in the works to protect consumer privacy over the world-wide-web, the metaverse and beyond.

While currently there is no industry standard for protecting consumer privacy, several organizations, including the IAB are working on coming up with guidelines to standardize best practices.

What will work the best over the long term? Fostering consumer trust. Consumer trust to hand over their data, aka ‘consumer opt-ed in consent,’ is the key to the long-term success of addressability and measurement.

It’s important to note that compliance laws affect B2B as well as B2C companies.

The future of the internet will be a dichotomy, and we need to think of new ways to measure campaigns

Addressable and non-addressable. Authenticated and non-authenticated. Panelists Jason Crawford, Head of Media and Performance, U.S. Bank, Phillip Lomax, Executive Vice President, Business Development, MediaScience, Ram Padmanabhan, SVP, Head of Decision Sciences, Havas, Jeff Ratner, Vice President, Digital Marketing, Kaplan North America and Allison Schulte, Global Head of Data and Audience, Bloomberg Media kicked off the event by estimating that 30% of inventory will be nonaddressable in the near future. However, there is opportunity in adversity. The panelists agreed that to be successful, taking a risk and becoming an early adopter was worth the trouble of charting new waters. Some next steps bandied around by the panel included:

  • Preserving addressability through investing in enhanced first-party data strategies
  • Exploring new formats: from mobile to immersive virtual reality, video game branding, social media filters and CTV digital billboards, to name a few.
  • Incentivize logins and registrations to collect crucial email and phone data.
  • Get into nonaddressable inventory now – before prices and competition go up.

How do you address the nonaddressable?

Yahoo’s Gio Gardelli, VP Ads Data Products, has a few ideas. The first – to invest in enhanced first-party data. Contextual solutions, placing your ads next to relevant content for your audience, is a great strategy as we look at addressing the nonaddressable.

Get your data house in order

An easy place to start is eliminating data silos within your own organization. The internet’s walled gardens are tricky enough to navigate. Advertisers need to make sure their internal data governance process is up to snuff.

Identity resolution is crucial and without solid data, advertisers won’t be able to reach the right audience, at the right time, with the right message. James Purtle, Senior Director, Data Axle, stressed the importance of enhancing your first-party data. Poor first-party data quality impacts advertisers’ ability to address customers and personalize content, but broader industry trends are telling us that a sound first-party data foundation will be table stakes for success in an increasingly authenticated and privacy-focused media landscape.

There are also limits to identity resolution without including third-party data. Incomplete first-party data dulls the signal fed to your onboarder and online ID graph provider. Appending consumer and business emails to first-party data increases match rates by up to 60%. Offline channels and consumer opted-in data are the new value exchange in the marketplace, and are making data more wholistic. Marrying first and third-party data will allow advertisers to continue to be able to maintain accuracy, scale and addressability.

La Colombe Coffee Roasters implores attendees to test…now

La Colombe Coffee Roasters shared a case study of a recent cookie-less campaign, put together on first-party data, cohorts, contextual, and more, using an AI-driven ensemble. The campaign was successful, but speaker Marykate Byrnes, Director of Media and Growth Marketing, admitted they are still in the weeds as they figure out reporting. However, it was a necessary test. Byrnes polled the audience to find out why they haven’t tested this strategy yet. Several attendees cited privacy and compliance and several stated that they just hadn’t found the time – especially as Google continues to delay the deprecation of the cookie. However, the consensus was that it’s smarter to start testing cookie-resistant channels sooner rather than later.

Buzzfeed answers the tough questions

Social media, IPOs and NFTs, media giant, Buzzfeed, answered the tough questions about their current advertising strategy, the gains they have seen from it, and left behind some nuggets of wisdom for other publishers.

The key takeaways

  • Study up on privacy laws and compliance. And only work with partners who are on top of the latest in legislation.
  • Enhance your first-party data to preserve addressability and ID resolution as we enter a post-cookie world.
  • Diversify your channels and start testing cookie-resilient campaigns now. Don’t wait until it’s December of 2024 and it’s too late.

Missed the event? Contact us to discuss these key findings and more.