The future of audience addressability through the buyers’ lens

Adrian Isoldi
By Adrian Isoldi | 29 June 2023
Adrian Isoldi.

The discussion around proposed changes to the Privacy Act in Australia, and the impending deprecation of third-party cookies, coupled with new behaviours in how consumers spend their time, mean media buyers must continue to adapt to changes in audience addressability.

While some of these challenges may seem daunting, the reality is that media buyers have constantly evolved and adapted their way through many generations of changes in audience addressability by exploring new models and approaches.

While reaching audiences has usually been a channel, platform and device consideration for media buyers, the continued focus on digital marketing has given advertisers an opportunity to deliver tailored ads to addressable audiences, which means they also have to consider the availability of data and how addressable an audience is in those environments.

The viability of third-party cookies and similar device-ID dependent targeting, in particular, have meant an increased momentum in first-party data models, and an increased shift back towards contextual targeting. 

The explosive growth of streaming services has had a significant impact on the expansion of first-party publisher data sets. With direct access to viewers, publishers now have a wealth of valuable information at their fingertips, enabling advertisers to leverage deterministic data and achieve greater precision in their targeting strategies. The first-party data approach offers effective reach and reduces wastage, making it a valuable asset for businesses seeking to optimise their advertising efforts.

Advertisers with direct customer relationships are also well positioned. That’s due to the continued value of consent-based customer relationship management (CRM) and owned data that can be leveraged through data matching solutions such as Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs) and data clean rooms, minimising the risk to data security and privacy.

Overall, buyers will benefit from having a strong supply side partner as an ally to explore collaborations with media owners, while helping them to make the most of their own data in relevant environments using Supply Path Optimisation (SPO). 

Regardless, to navigate the balance between audience addressability and privacy effectively, here are three things buyers should consider:

1. First party data - such as CRM data - will continue to be valuable to activate against directly, through deterministic methods using PETs. Those without access to such data will look to rely on contextual, probabilistic or cohort-based solutions or continue to work closely with publishers and SSPs to access first-party based audience segments created on the sell-side.

2. Data collaboration through data matching should also be considered to ensure accuracy and scalability of audiences. Data matching allows buyers and sellers to build out a scaled, secure method of matching data for insights and activation. While data clean rooms are a starting place, the future of data sharing will be encrypting data where it sits, but activating it only where it’s required, allowing publishers to attach matched data to an ad opportunity.

3. Lastly, buyers should look to work more strategically with the publisher supply paths and their SSP to provide better data enablement - including actionable insights for more informed planning and campaign optimisation - as well as better audience curation, and improved contextual intelligence. Publishers' direct relationships with the audience will enhance an advertiser’s ability to reach the right people, especially as legacy identifiers begin to fade away. Fostering a true partnership between buyers and publishers will be increasingly important to provide more transparency on audience data and the value of an ad, so buyers can continue to make informed bids. 

The key to success is ensuring there is collaboration between advertisers and media owners to facilitate the continued delivery of tailored ad experiences to specific audiences, improved performance and measurement, and reduced wastage across all channels and formats, while each party maintains control over their valuable audience data.

Adrian Isoldi is Magnite's Head of Demand for Australia

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