Identity in marketing isn't a game of chance

Andrew Gilbert
By Andrew Gilbert | 19 August 2021
Andrew Gilbert.

Andrew Gilbert, Head of Platform Sales at Verizon Media ANZ

Don't roll the dice on your identity strategy. Whilst the cookie may have received a stay of execution until 2023, Verizon Media’s Head of Platform Sales, Andrew Gilbert believes being proactive now will ease the pain when it eventually crumbles.

The looming death of the cookie signals a mammoth change to the marketing industry.  We all know we have a deadline, but we don’t have a clear path to success.

Consistent changes to privacy, targeting, and identity by technology providers have led us to this position. And along the way brands, publishers and tech companies have joined bandwagons, tested solutions, and waxed philosophical.

Some have created multi-faceted approaches that solve for the litany of scenarios we may end up in, while some still don't know the end is coming.

We may not know how things will shake out, but what we do know is that there won't be one solution, there will be many. Some are based on direct consumer relationships, and some through privacy-based infrastructure, like that of LiveRamp, or ID5. Consortium approaches like Unified ID 2.0 have also been suggested.

At the end of the day success will boil down to building the layers needed to deliver an approach suited to your environment. Being able to reach 100% of your consumers consistently, otherwise known as addressability, is unrealistic. But the concept will force you to become more comfortable with the intricacies of our new world.

On your journey you’ll find three types of technology partners

A rewarding technology partnership can provide your brand with the skills or resources you may not have in-house. But finding the right one can be tricky.

While you prepare for a cookie-free future, you may find that a potential partner may not align to the privacy values you’ve built with your consumers.

Another technology partner might meet the privacy values you’ve set, but they don’t meet the scalability that you need.

The third kind of partner might be highly scalable, but only on the media properties they own.

Finding a technology partner that can service your business’s unique needs is all part and parcel of working through a diversified approach to identity.

The future state of identity is built on diverse and interoperable solutions

Marketing through 2021 and into the future is about providing the technology solutions, data marketplaces, and strategic partnerships which allow businesses to survive and thrive.

One approach is to build agile solutions that cater to the needs of any brand. These may be delivered via first-party capabilities, or through partnerships with other data offerings, from Data Management Platforms (DMP) to retail commerce data.

In our own case, Verizon Media has taken a three pronged approach. It starts with providing privacy-based access to first party consumer relationships through our ConnectID offering. Next we provide brands with the choice of proprietary solutions free from online identifiers, in turn removing risk. Finally, we ensure ConnectID is partnered with industry alternatives such as Liveramp or Epsilon.

We provide interoperability across solutions because as a technology platform, ease of use and agility for brands is vitally important. It’s about putting the customer first. After all, where would you be if you can’t buy the way you want to?

Interoperability is crucial in this day and age because every brand is different, with access to a multitude of data signals, technology partners and activation methods. If your approach isn’t built on this concept, your solution is fundamentally flawed for the future.

Ultimately, it’s about providing the spaces for brands to flourish so let’s explore a couple of these approaches to aid you on your journey.

Data Clean Rooms

If you aren’t familiar with Clean Rooms, picture this. You know a lot of people that like pizza, and I know a lot of people that like soft drinks. We bring them all into one room. We work out some of them like both pizza and soft drink. You then invite those who like both to a pizza party, all whilst never knowing who you’re inviting, or whether they will come.

In its technical form, it’s privacy-based data matching in a controlled environment, so both audiences have their privacy protected, which can then be used for marketing or insights.

Bring Your Own Algorithm

You may also want to power your own programmatic strategy through something called Bring Your Own Algorithm, which a few technology providers support.

This allows you to take your insights about pizza and soft drinks and decide what’s important in your targeting approach, and what value should be assigned. Then these platforms go to work finding those people who really, really want a 14-inch pepperoni pizza with a 1.25L Sprite.

What’s Next?

Brands are in the era of the unknown, which is why innovative businesses are building the things you don’t know you’ll need, for when you need them. By this I mean things like attention-based optimisation products. Because no longer can we hope that people saw an ad on our homepage - we need to know they did.

Identity in marketing isn’t a game of chance. How you get to the finish line will depend on your preparedness and the friends you choose to accompany you on the journey. Trust the process, and you’ll eventually get that gold medal.


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