Replacing the cookie
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that marketers need to find a new way to target and measure audiences as, today, third-party cookies are not effective on either Apple devices or the Chrome browser, with Google following suit sometime before 2022. Though to be effective, any solution needs to be privacy compliant and to work seamlessly in a broad range of environments. This will enable advertisers to run more effective media and ultimately lead to publishers being better able to monetise their valuable audiences. Of the solutions proposed so far, Experian Match is the first solution to fit these criteria and so could be the solution that allows display to flourish. It does this with a focus on ensuring privacy compliance and a customer-centric way of working.
How it works
Experian Match utilises its great history of customer insights and audience activation. By utilising InfoSum’s privacy-first technology and ecosystem, Experian can allow publishers and advertisers to onboard data at a household level. Code deployed on both publishers’ and advertisers’ sites works with IP and first-party IDs to identify groupings and households and allows for that information to be syndicated through the InfoSum ecosystem. Campaigns are then run via private marketplace deals and data processing will be carried out by Experian technology (to aid targeting and measurement). The benefit of this approach is that it allows audience targeting and retargeting to be carried out seamlessly on quality inventory. Crucially, it will work in multiple environments from banner ads to rich media including video and connected TV. This system is completely browser and environment agnostic, so can work across browsers and devices.
For advertisers, this means that they get a complete data-driven media solution that allows them to operate on all browsers across quality media. Ultimately, driving ROI and real-world brand outcomes.
For publishers, this creates an opportunity to monetise media that cookie audiences cannot reach; today that is iOS, Safari and some TV/Video environments. In future, this will be the case in all online media environments.
Privacy by design at its heart
Any replacement for third-party cookies needs to be focussed on consumer privacy and compliance with regulation. As such, Experian Match first of all ties into the IAB’s (Internet Advertising Bureau’s) TCF 2.0 (The Transparency and Compliance Framework). Furthermore, Experian Match data is accessed and used via the differential privacy infrastructure of InfoSum’s decentralised data platform. Experian facilitates the targeting and measurement of media to occur without any customer data being passed between different companies in the media buying process and data will only be used when consent is granted. Additionally, as the data is controlled by leading brands that consumers have heard of, they have a relationship which is a big step forward to the situation in open programmatic today, where the data is being read by multiple adtech companies, often without the consumer’s awareness. Lastly, as Experian Match leverages private marketplaces rather than open buying structures, individuals’ data is never broadcast to other non-participating companies (as is the case for normal open market media buying).
One of the major challenges for advertisers and publishers has been the dominance of first-party data and the questionable quality of third-party data. Quality data does exist in the marketplace; and particularly the data that comes from premium publishers and trusted data providers. The challenge for advertisers is recognising this good quality data, compared with the high volume of relatively poor data that sadly is also prevalent in the market.
Experian Match is built on the foundations of datasets that are built from the ground up on Mosaic, Experian’s segmentation product, to provide a view of the UK population. This means that advertisers and publishers are able to model their customers against a world-leading service, prior to buying for planning. Advertisers already have access to good data on users that have already visited their website, this set up further gives them the data on customers that have yet to engage with them. As such, this is ideal for prospecting and brand campaigns.
Focussed on excellent cross-channel media execution
Experian Match is not only a viable replacement for cookie methodology but also an end-to-end media ecosystem. Only approved advertisers and publishers that work with Experian will be able to participate in the opportunity which helps to guarantee quality media environments and advertisements. Indeed, Experian Match not only helps solve for identity in a privacy-first world but also helps advertisers control supply-side issues highlighted by numerous reports (including the PWC/IAB report in summer of 2020), over discrepancies in the supply chain. Because Experian Match leverages private market placed deals (PMPs) extensively (though other options are available), participating advertisers will get direct access to marketplaces with many of the industry’s top publishers. A display ecosystem built on Match is much more transparent and higher in quality and performance than is open RTB display.
As you can see from the above, Experian has gone a long way to creating a data-driven ecosystem that’s fit for the future (beyond cookies). In my view, it is an exciting opportunity for advertisers and publishers alike. It is equally important for consumers to be able to enjoy an ad-supported ecosystem with confidence that their data is respected. I really hope marketers engage with this opportunity quickly, to build a better world for our industry and for consumers.