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How brands can take control in the age of the data reset

The rules for how advertisers and publishers use data in digital advertising are changing. It is crucial for advertisers to shift from a reliance on third-party cookies towards data strategies based on privacy-safe first-party data and direct relationships with publishers, according to Permutive’s head of advertising strategy Elizabeth Brennan.

Speaking in a fireside chat with The Drum’s assistant editor Jenni Baker, as part of the week-long Data Deep Dive, Brennan said the move away from third-party cookies was a “great thing” due to improving overall consumer privacy. Yet she said it had also created a more “fragmented ecosystem” and meant that advertisers would need additional support if they were to scale first-party data and direct-to-publisher relationships.

“The reality is a brand’s first-party data won’t be enough to build scalable marketing activity because match rates will be relatively low,” said Brennan. “As an advertiser or data player, you simply need millions and millions of records to achieve any kind of scalability.

“Advertisers need to think about how they can model their first-party data to drive scale, so when they activate consumer data they can do so against 100% of a publisher’s audience and not just based on who is signed in on, say, an email address. It’s crucially important for advertisers to work with tech players and infrastructure vendors who can access 100% of the online population, rather than just those who have a single unreliable identifier.”

Permutive, which provides a privacy-safe infrastructure to enable publishers and advertisers execute first-party data strategies at scale, is confident it has the solution. Brennan said that in the second quarter of 2021, Permutive served five billion cookie-less impressions.

“I think that’s incredibly reassuring for a lot of advertisers, especially when so much of the technology they’re testing right now is so new,” she said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time. It is our bread and butter. Our technology works and we can provide a secure infrastructure for advertisers to truly understand their first-party data and manage execution across multiple publishers at once. It takes the stress away.”

So what can marketers do to future proof their data strategy? “There needs to be more of an open mindedness about who you should be speaking to, and a hell of a lot of information gathering,” said Brennan. “It’s important for advertisers to really audit their data and tech stack.”

Of the key questions marketers should be asking around their data strategy, Brennan continued: “I know that a lot of different media agencies are actively helping their customers to do the above, but where is their brand data actually being housed? What are the insight tools available on it? How easy is it to extract that data for the purposes of activation? And also, how much of the current tech stack relies on legacy technology, built around third-party cookies, and how much of that is going to be a potential security risk? I think for the advertisers who are finding these answers difficult to find, working with Permutive becomes more and more attractive, because we’re not providing any barriers to this kind of information.”

For advertisers who are still in the process of modernizing their first-party data strategy, Brennan urged them to take action: “There’s really no time to waste when it comes to respecting people's first-party data and putting it at the heart of marketing.

“I would ask advertisers to start taking action now, if you plan your media and execution around these new ways of working, you will properly understand how plans need to change and the impact of working with these new technologies. Without understanding the role that new technology plays, it's really hard to have any kind of a robust data strategy to put forward.”

Watch the full interview ‘How brands can take control in the age of the data reset’ above.

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