Programmatic continues to revolutionise the way digital media is targeted, transacted, and measured. This year, advertisers will spend $123.22 billion on digital display according to eMarketer, 90% of which will be transacted programmatically.
This is testament to the most transformative year yet; where marketers have found and embraced new privacy-centric identity solutions and the share of connected TV (CTV) ad spend traded programmatically has increased dramatically as advertisers lean into automation over traditional insertion orders.
There is no doubt we are on the cusp of significant change in digital adland. And, as we head into 2023, there are three areas of particular focus that marketers need to think about.
- Make way for publisher first-party data
Depending on the market, huge numbers of audiences are already non-addressable, meaning advertisers are missing out on reaching them. In the UK, non-addressable sites share 18.77% of the desktop browser market. While in the app space, since introducing App Tracking Transparency, 21%of users globally have opted-in to the feature, meaning mobile apps need to ask for user consent before allowing them to collect data.
Being able to address this growing anonymous audience is going to be key to maintaining the KPIs that advertisers have become accustomed to. While there won’t be a single replacement or 1:1 solution to replicate the use of passive trackers, a blend of the strategies currently available can help brands understand their customers and effectively reach them at scale.
However, as browser and device-supplied knowledge fade away, first-party data and user intelligence are fast becoming advertising technology’s lifeline. For some time now, publishers have been building out their first-party datasets and audience segments. Now, they are looking for ways to encourage and enable programmatic buyers to really lean in.
A popular choice is to implement Publisher Provided IDs (PPID) and surface them to buying platforms.These first-party identifiers that are created, owned and assigned by publishers can be used in addition to existing identifiers (such as third-party cookies and industry identifiers) for the purpose of frequency capping, audience segmentation and targeting.
Publishers can ascribe multiple identifiers to their user base: email addresses, device IDs, or randomly generated alpha-numeric strings stored in first-party cookies. Using this rich information, publishers can assign persistent identifiers to these users, paving the way for customised ad experiences across the open internet.
Let’s take the example of a user accessing publisher content via Safari’s web browser, an already cookieless environment. The publisher would share a PPID and an audience segment, which can be seller defined, contextual or tailored for more specific buyer needs, with the sell-side-platform (SSP). Seller defined audiences is an IAB Tech Lab product, where user cohorts are grouped into audiences in line with the IAB’s audience taxonomy, rather than relying on publishers for person-specific identifiers.
This allows them to control which of the demand-side-platforms (DSPs) get access to their identifier. Using this rich publisher data, buyers can run ads that are still highly targeted, not relying on persistent identifiers, for example third-party cookies; while also being effectively frequency capped to avoid ad fatigue. The culmination of this is a strategy that both improves campaign efficiency and ensures future proofing. This is a testament to the vitally important trust-based relationships between publishers and buyers.
- Take account of advertisers’ shift towards CTV
While PPID is an important focus for first-party data activation, change is afoot within the TV and digital video world. Digitalisation within this space, new entrants at local market level and disruption by digital players are ensuring rapid transformation.
Plus, consumer expectations and habits are evolving quickly in the age of video-on-demand and mobile media consumption. The phrase “content is king” is more relevant than ever. Streaming services are no longer just platforms for TV and film consumption, but they are now investing in the production and licensing of globally available content. Broadcasters are leaning further into the connected-TV (CTV) world, launching their own offerings such as ITVX, which sees content specifically commissioned for the platform and brought in from America as an “accompaniment” to traditional linear channel programming.
But quality content is expensive to make and consumers are cutting back on these sorts of costs. In the current economic climate, advertising is an effective way to make access to content more affordable and this trade-off with the user is more widely understood than ever before. CTV supports effective ad targeting and frequency management in premium environments, making this an appealing opportunity to advertisers. In fact, a number of CTV providers are even offering ad-supported subscription models.
- Ensure ethics are front and centre
As well as the various channels discussed above, ethical advertising is now front and centre for brands’ ad campaigns and is rightly in the spotlight more than ever. As we head into instability, consumers are looking for brands to be authentic and act with purpose, especially in the face of change and uncertainty. Marketers have a key role to play here, they can build trust and business value through purpose-driven marketing.
Ethical advertising is extremely important to consumers and the marketplace economy. With the proliferation of new technologies and important questions around the use of consumer data, ethics in online advertising is becoming essential to regain trust lost previously. Brands need to focus on building a relationship with their customers and staying consistent to ensure they get long-term value and loyalty from them. In fact, Forrester’s report,“Differentiate your brand with ethical marketing: 2021”, states that more than half of consumers prefer to buy from brands that stay true to their own values rather than reflect the latest trend.
The right partner sets the path
As the ad industry continues to shift, it is important for marketers to be agile in the short-term to ensure long-term success. PPID, CTV and ethical advertising are just a few of the trends we will continue to see evolve as we head into 2023. And as brands prepare for next year, they will need the right partners supporting them to ensure your advertising’s long and successful future.
Luca Masiello is senior manager, Advertiser Partnerships at Xandr