Interviews, insight & analysis on digital media & marketing

Does the future of online advertising lie in “little walled gardens”?

Brands such as Coca-Cola could today evolve to become the walled gardens of tomorrow, with the ability to exchange or even sell consumer data.

Such a world is envisaged by Valentina Torrusio, CEE data and productivity connections manager at The Coca-Cola Company, who provocatively claimed that the end of the advertising world as we know it is upon us.

Torrusio was speaking on the topic at this month’s The 99//Club Digital Festival, one of 99 people given 99 seconds to set out their mini manifestos before being quizzed on their stances.

She said it was incumbent on the industry to think about how advertisers are equipping themselves for when the cookie becomes obsolete.

Life beyond the cookie

“Today, we have players like walled gardens who have user bases that are super large and they actually don’t need to sell any data or share it in order to be able to monetize,” she said. “And then you have third party cookie players who are sharing data across publishers to increase visitor monetization.

“Tomorrow there will still be the usual suspects – but there will also be a new breed of players, and this new breed of  players basically will be little walled gardens of their own. Possibly even the Coca-Cola company will be one of them, whereby we actually gather first party data via registration and we sell audiences based on onsite behaviour and content consumption.”

Even if companies didn’t take this last step, the immediate focus was on building up first party data and investing in tech that would allow a brand to have a more singular view of the consumer.

Into the age of personalisation

“What we want to do today is merge [the data] together to give an identity to behavioural data and provide enrichment to social demographic data and through the use of the digital identifier to actually end up with a single entity per person – avoiding duplication and not relying on the lifespan of the cookie,” she added.

It was important to merge as many possible sources of data, both probabilistic and deterministic, that could then be matched, enriched and identified across multiple devices and channels.

Torrusio believed that if done in a transparent way, users would be prepared for their data to be used – even traded – in this way, as long as the value exchange was satisfied.

“It depends on what they’re getting in return,” she said. “We’re moving to the age of personalisation so how about having a product or subscription that is actually personalised to your needs?”