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Why shopper affinity will be crucial for brand marketers in a privacy-first world

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Blis on how marketers can embrace the opportunity to leverage rich third-party data

Despite the recent update from Google pushing back the timeline for the withdrawal of the third-party cookie, brand marketers are still worrying about how this impending change, combined with the many new data privacy restrictions being introduced to iPhones, will impact their ability to target consumers with relevant advertising.

However, rather than fear these changes, marketers should welcome the steps being taken to safeguard consumer data privacy and recognize the opportunity to leverage the massively rich, privacy-compliant consumer datasets that are still available to them.

At Blis, we believe that taking cookies off the table and turning instead to localized, anonymized consumer data and the valuable insights contained within will ultimately lead to better, more relevant and more effective ad campaigns than before.

Location data, plus…

We specialize in providing marketers with highly accurate, anonymized consumer location data. This authenticated information on where consumers go empowers marketers to better understand their ideal audiences and engage with them with relevant, personalized messages that drive more sales.

Location data is very valuable in its own right, however it becomes even more exciting for marketers when it is paired with the wide range of anonymized third-party data that’s out there to be leveraged. For example, our platform incorporates and regularly updates census and other aggregated governmental data, which provides localized insights into things such as household income, household demographics, average house prices, car ownership, age, gender, employment status, educational attainment, marital status and number of children.

For brands such as retailers with bricks-and-mortar stores, it’s easy to understand how analyzing these combined datasets at a postcode level could help identify their ideal customers and target their marketing spend.

Take the example of a supermarket with a network of stores. When they look on our platform, they can see that there are areas on the map where they are performing strongly and areas where they are not doing as well. If they then overlay that location data with car ownership information, they may identify weaker areas where car ownership is lower than average and decide, in response, to target those local areas with ads about their delivery service.

That sort of example is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the insights on offer – particularly when you consider the other forms of rich data still accessible to marketers.

The insights in our baskets

A recent development that we’re very excited about is our new collaboration with one of the world’s biggest credit card companies. This will allow us to refine and layer our audience datasets by looking at spending patterns. This, when paired with our own location data, will allow brands to better understand their own competitive environment at a local store level and identify areas and audiences on which to focus their media spend.

While our alliance with the credit card giant provides us with shopper data on where consumers are spending, our partnership with predictive analytics provider IRI lets us know exactly what products and services they are spending their money on. IRI’s systems are integrated with till and storecard data, giving accurate brand sales information (again, down to postcode level). This can be cross-referenced with any of the other datasets mentioned above to produce localized insights for brands, helping them to inform and optimize national campaign spending at a local level.

Better data, better campaigns

Third-party cookies are certainly popular tools with marketers, but they always came with some inherent problems. The cookie-based targeting of individuals is open to high levels of poor-quality data and ‘creative enhancement’ of audience datasets in order to provide the scale that advertisers were looking for. The end result of this low-quality data was often poorly targeted, repetitive and invasive ads, which seemed to follow consumers around the internet.

Dependence on third-party cookies also allowed too many players to insert themselves between the source data and the brands hoping to leverage it, further diluting the quality of the data on offer. By taking a step back and analyzing high-quality rich data on a local, rather than individual, level, marketers now have a lot more flexibility in how they understand customers and target their campaigns.

By drawing our authenticated, anonymized location and shopper data directly from the source, we ensure that our brand clients are protected against the sort of data fraud that has sometimes marred the reputation of the adtech industry. Rather than mourning the approaching demise of the third-party cookie, marketers should recognize and embrace the opportunity to leverage rich third-party data and focus on ‘shopper affinity’ to produce a new era of highly effective, privacy-friendly targeted advertising.

Charlie Smith is managing director at Blis Europe.