Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

2021: Four things to be positive about

By Jack Stanbridge, Specialist Director – Performance Services at Zenith

Potentially the most challenging global socio-politico-environmento-health(io?) period in recorded history, let alone a challenging performance media ecosystem – the reputation of the industry in the toilet amidst privacy concerns and scandals, seismic changes to the way the industry measures success and targets consumers, what the ‘F’ do we have to look forward to this year? Short answer: loads!

In digital, the only constant we can be sure of is wholesale change, it’s the lifeblood of the industry, and next year will be a beauty. Roll on the carnage, roll on the fun!

1. Cookie killing an opportunity to pull the ladder up, but will also open the back door

While the big guys play around in the sandiest of sandboxes, the initial whirlwind of uncertainty will make way for new stuff – new technology, new plans, new voices.

While the industry builds its response to the death of the 3rd party cookie, the very bedrock upon which it has been built for the last two decades, companies who have tied advertisers down with full stack cookie-based solutions don’t have the same grip hold they once had, and the playing field is levelled (at least temporarily) – so cast off the emotional ties with the cookie as we know it and remain open-minded and reactive in approach – what a great warm up this year has been.

2. Proliferation – welcome the new kids with enthusiasm

As the ad tech stack becomes even more expansive and disparate in the wake of privacy evolution and general technological advancement, the client-agency turned client-agency-3rd party relationship continues to grow and morph so that day by day its resemblance is more akin to a family tree – as much in its unnavigable non-linear multi-hierarchical layout as its practical dysfunction.

It’s easy for this to turn into an ego-fest, but use this – use it to learn, use it to grow. Welcome each new kid with open arms (or at least don’t wedgie them on day one), we’re all in the same sinking ship, we’re just paling the water out of opposite ends.

3. Data tech back with a bang

Well, not that it really went anywhere. But if DMPs and CDPs were one of the mainstays of buzzword bingo through the teens (is that what we call the last decade?), having calmed down a bit over the last 24 months, they’ll be reignited with a vengeance.

Get those bingo cards out, the buzz is back. As we see reduced reliance on 3rd party, 1st party is where the real party is at. The strength of data management one of the keys to the messy middle. So, if it means upgrading or switching, get your tech battle ready.

4. The fallout

This could all be perceived or one giant clusterfunk of a headache, and new stuff is scary (that’s just part of our annoying sentience) but it keeps the industry revolving, gives us slide titles for our next QBR, and it’s mostly all building towards a more reputable industry – one that we can be proud of!