By Harvin Gupta, Senior Director, solutions engineering, Xandr
Advancements in technology and social changes brought about by the pandemic have transformed consumer behaviour. Privacy has always been a pertinent point of concern for consumers, but now more than ever, the pressure is on companies to ensure consumer data is kept secure and used as minimally as possible
Following the loss of third-party cookies, the industry has been adapting to ensure privacy is front of mind. However these changes are ongoing, and consumer expectations for advertising remain high, making 2022 one of the most important years for the industry. Relevance, context and timing are key – providing tailored advertising experiences that meet consumer needs at the most convenient time and on the correct communication channel is a necessity in 2022. Below I outline the key areas the industry needs to focus on for a successful 2022.
1 – Omnichannel buying
There are now so many different media channels available for consumers to view content both in and outside of the home, targeted advertising has become harder than it was before. And this only grew during the pandemic when viewing habits changed considerably. With the industry unlikely to go back to where it was in 2019, advertisers need to adapt. This is where an omnichannel approach comes into play, integrating multiple channels of communication into one place for ease of use and oversight.
Each communication channel will have its own unique flavour, whether it’s CTV, social, or in-store advertisement. These unique features need to be considered ahead of time to ensure the advertising fits the consumer experience. For advertisers willing to explore out of home and new digital channels, it’s important to work within the framework of those channels to discover what works and what doesn’t. There are significant technical differences, and in many cases, new technologies have been developed to actively target and measure campaigns for CTV and out of home channels. CTV, in particular, has grown rapidly in the past year due to shifts in consumer behaviour and being naturally cookieless, it requires an entirely unique approach.
To be successful, an omnichannel approach should include planning, execution, analytics, measurement and attribution, all integrated into a single open platform. This provides access to all of the data in one place. Single platforms are an excellent way for marketers to define a unified view of an audience to target multiple channels simultaneously. It’s the best way to try and connect a user’s behaviour online and offline, which is typically the most difficult aspect of an omnichannel campaign.
2 – Using data creatively
Creative agencies are playing a big role as consumers choose to engage with brands that convey a consistent story across their advertising. Where creativity becomes most important is through differentiation – standing out from the crowd using the resources available. Working with open platforms that make it easy to get data in and then out of the system is an important first step. Without this, it becomes next to impossible to achieve true differentiation.
There’s creativity in messaging but there’s also creativity in data and the way it’s used in a privacy-conscious world. To ensure the available data is being used to its full potential, regular audits are necessary. Reflection and testing is ultimately the key to producing the best creative, but it’s also the most effective way to ensure advertisers are on the front foot. By targeting in a measured and balanced way, consumer experience is going to be enhanced.
Additionally, and relating back to an omnichannel approach, the narrative and creativity of the advertisement must be relevant to the consumer’s interests and relate to the context that it’s viewed. For the creative to be effective, it must be put in front of someone that will react positively and this requires each channel to be analysed in detail. When a new channel comes along, careful thought and preparation into how it can be used effectively are imperative.
3 – Contextual Targeting
Whilst creative data and an omnichannel approach are important, identity solutions are still a huge focus for advertisers as we head into 2022. Contextual targeting is king in this space and will continue to be one of the greatest alternatives for advertisers, especially when there is no user identifier or consent available.
Contextual targeting can be used to serve ads based on a range of details, such as the sentiment or mood of the article, the device, the time of day, and much more. Whilst the industry talks a lot about contextual as if it’s a replacement for cookie-based solutions, contextual done well has been crucial for areas such as brand safety for a long time. The next steps are looking at innovation in this space and seeing what it can deliver.
User privacy must be taken seriously in any strategy going forward, and contextual provides one of the greatest ways for advertisers to maintain the anonymity of a user. Rather than trying to build the right audiences based solely on profiles, contextual helps deliver ads to users who are interested in a related brand’s message based on the content they are viewing at that moment.
Companies are naturally shifting away from third-party cookies due to the nature of the market and the way consumers are pushing buyer decision making. For example, the fast-growing world of CTV is already cookieless and contextual is scaling as a result of machine learning. Ultimately, marketers need to target the right channels effectively and at scale, making single, open platforms an integral part of the process. By building an integrated strategy in this way, marketers can meet the needs of the modern consumer, maintaining privacy and providing the most relevant, targeted advertising.