Lighting the way through the omnichannel labyrinth
By Phil Acton, UK Country Manager, Adform
Putting aside the fresh batch of rumours of yet another delay, the inevitable deprecation of cookies underscores a lingering challenge for the industry. Indeed, despite the years that digital advertisers have had to prepare, the majority still lack the necessary solutions to accurately measure the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns without the assistance of third-party signals.
In fact, our recent research revealed that as few as 36% of UK marketers are fully aware of the solutions available to replace third-party cookies. Couple this with budget cuts, generally poor guidance from publishers, and a lack of in-house resources, there is good reason for advertisers to be losing sleep right now.
This predicament is further exacerbated by the dynamic nature of the ecosystem, which is in a perpetual state of transformation. With established channels changing or disappearing, and new opportunities as well as challenges emerging on a regular basis, this has created a continually shifting omnichannel landscape that continues to confound many players.
The concern for advertisers has always been that without the third-party cookie, they would struggle to get enough data to know exactly which users to target and how to get to them. However, the reality is that in the new cookie-free landscape, defined by fragmentation amongst the walled gardens and amongst newcomers, there will be even more data points, as every publisher, retailer, and media owner now has the ability to create their own ID solution based on their first-party data.
Navigating this labyrinth demands a dedicated omnichannel strategy from advertisers – which is the first step. More importantly, and especially if brands want to change the game and squeeze more out of their ad spend, they need to consider three crucial things:
- Identifying individuals and target groups across multiple channels can be a challenging task. The unique standards of each channel create complications in linking data points seamlessly.
- Media owners seldom prioritise offering standardised access, hindering advertisers from obtaining the comprehensive overview necessary for result comparison, optimisation, and effective utilisation of all available opportunities.
- The integration of all channels into the programmatic ecosystem is still an ongoing process. While this landscape is expected to evolve over time, the existing lack of integration poses a significant obstacle for advertisers at present.
Ultimately, the solution lies in having a system that seamlessly threads through this fragmented advertising ecosystem, compatible with every ID solution. This solution must be data-driven, prioritise privacy, and be specifically designed to address the numerous challenges of the multi-ID world while providing access to addressable audiences across all browsers and advertising environments. It’s a tall order, indeed, but it’s a win-win for both parties: publishers can leverage available resources such as big data pools, frequency capping or retargeting opportunities in a privacy-friendly manner within their own environment. Meanwhile, advertisers gain desired data to navigate the omnichannel maze and transition from the cookies era to the era of multi-IDs.
The ultimate challenge lies in the data across multiple devices and channels. Evolving consumer behaviour, spurred by new devices and technologies, demands swift adaptability from the advertising industry to keep pace with these changes.
Although new data points are emerging not only for TV but also for gaming and audio formats, the establishment of new standards across these channels will require time. Advertisers venturing into these novel channels can anticipate rapid audience expansions, although they may eventually find themselves engaging with the same individuals. Nevertheless, the campaign’s impact can be amplified by reaching identical people through multiple avenues.
For advertisers, the key to creating successful omnichannel campaigns lies in seizing the available opportunities and utilising existing data whenever and wherever possible. It’s important to remember that the target audience should always remain the central focus and should not be compromised in favour of the prestige or perceived popularity of a specific channel.
Even if data is limited, it helps to broadly understand audience behaviour and where they are most likely to be found. Following this comprehension, it’s simply a matter of taking action. The reality is that, even if not every aspect unfolds as planned initially, activities can be adjusted, and improvements made. To navigate the omnichannel maze successfully, it is important for advertisers not to foreclose any avenues of possibility and remain open to learning and growth. Only then will they truly have their ad spend working the hardest it can.