Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Duncan McCrum, MD and Co-Founder, Fifty on building a new adtech ecosystem

As we look ahead to NDA’s flagship networking Trinity Lunch event in November, we’re talking to some of our partners and VIP guests to hear their thoughts on the industry the event will be celebrating. Next up is  Duncan McCrum, MD and Co-Founder, Fifty.

What is the biggest opportunity for advertisers or publishers in digital marketing in the next 6 months and why?

The deprecation of the cookie and mobile IDs represent a massive destabilisation of measurement, targeting and optimisation, which were highly flawed methodologies. The opportunity lies in the fresh slate that the industry has been presented to build a new, more future-proofed, multi-channel and privacy-based identity ecosystem.

Advertisers have the opportunity to build marketing stacks that combine both new innovations not limited to IDs and value-exchange based relationships with their consumers. Publishers have the opportunity to absolve a decade of data leakage and abuse by the industry to protect and fully monetise their consumer relationships by coming together and creating co-operative, identity ecosystems that can compete with any of the existing walled gardens as an attractive space for advertisers.

What is the biggest challenge for advertisers or publishers and how will this be overcome?

For advertisers, the biggest challenges will be creating a reliable balance of ID and non-ID targeting without appearing to return to the image of “creepy tracking” that prompted the privacy changes of today, as well as finding new ways to measure digital metrics.

Some will struggle to recognise when it becomes economically unviable to attempt the value-exchange to obtain first-party data. Publishers need to find a way to recognise that they must work together as a united group, something that has been traditionally difficult or near impossible, or they will fall into the same trap of having part of their value extracted and monetised by upstream technologies. They need to build shared ID ecosystems of their own – this doesn’t mean sharing data, just managing identity across the group.

What technology are you most excited about at the moment and why?

I’m not sure it’s possible to be any more excited and proud of Fifty’s award winning, ID-free audience targeting solution FiftyAurora. FiftyAurora provides an ethical audience solution to advertisers with or without access to first-party data, without being impeded by the scale or privacy issues of UID 2.0 (and that’s without even considering the cutting-edge insights platform that powers it!).

What industry individual or company have you been most impressed by this year and why?

I think it would have to be Robert Webster and the team at Canton. They are consistently ahead of the game on the many issues and changes happening in the industry. Not only in terms of identity, but also attribution, clean rooms, data platforms, planning techniques and more. Rob provides a clear and independent perspective that helps companies and individuals find tangible solutions.

What has been your or your company’s most impressive achievement this year and why?

Fifty’s client base was predominantly focused on live entertainment and travel before lockdown – we not only managed to augment our client list with digital-first brands, but we had also already brought revenue up to well above pre-lockdown levels by this time last year. On top of all of this, we built a future-ready platform that won the Drum Digital Advertising Awards for Best Overall Technology for Programmatic Trading.