Three ways data will change marketing in 2023, ‘the year of assertive action’
Bye-bye cookies, hello customer-centricity... This is the year it all happens, writes Treasure Data’s Kazuki Ohta.
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The ad business is approaching a transformative moment. New privacy rules enacted by both state governments and tech giants have made digital advertising more expensive yet less effective. Innovative strategies designed by marketers to overcome these hurdles have not yet made it into media plans. If 2022 was a year of reaction to dynamic forces, 2023 is set to be a year of assertive action. Brands should keep these data-related predictions in mind as they begin to consider annual budgets and map out their avenues of escape.
1. Campaigns will go completely cookieless
The impending death of third-party cookies has petrified nearly every advertiser. At this point, many brands seem committed to going down with the ship, relying on third-party identifiers until they are gone forever. While Google’s depreciation delay this year offered a reprieve, there have been some forward-thinking brands that pushed onward and are pioneering the post-cookie landscape.
These brands have already started to test the effectiveness of alternative identity solutions, which enable media buyers to transact based on pseudonymous identifiers rather than cookies. Cookieless campaigns have mostly been experimental to date, but early success that has come in the form of increased reach and click-through rates suggests that they are ready to go mainstream.
Trying to predict what the cookieless future will look like is not easy, as there are competing technologies and visions fighting to shape the ecosystem. Doomsayers believe that alternative IDs will fail to scale and that advertisers will just flock to the walled gardens once the cookie crumbles. This may ultimately end up being true, but brands are not going to give up that easily.
As opposed to walled gardens, an open web backed by universal identifiers can provide the interoperability necessary for cross-screen marketing opportunities. In an effort to preserve this vision, the majority of the top 100 US advertisers will be completely cookieless in their digital campaigns by the end of 2023.
2. Time will run out on the old privacy regime
The era of unrestricted customer tracking is coming to an end. Apple’s rewriting of digital ad tracking rules is just one omen. California, Colorado, Virginia, Connecticut and Utah have promulgated their own laws and regulations. Without comprehensive privacy legislation at the federal level, brands have been forced to adapt and comply through ad hoc measures. And because there are new laws and regulations being debated, it has become increasingly difficult to anticipate what the next set of rules will look like.
As stewards of customer data, advertisers cannot afford to continue down this uncertain path. Brands require a safety net so that they can stop worrying about costly violations and instead start focusing on improving the overall customer experience. Fortunately, many of the leading adtech solutions on the market today have built-in privacy controls and data governance capabilities. Privacy and security are no longer a technology problem, but rather a business one, requiring a top-down approach and continuous consensus building.
As a result, some brands will begin to voluntarily take their data governance to the next level by adopting internal data privacy policies and measures that are more stringent than some of the new rules being discussed. That way, marketers will have confidence knowing that their practices are compliant now and in the future.
3. Customer-centricity will become cemented in the C-suite
As the economy threatens to take a sharp turn downward, recent data from a study conducted by Treasure Data indicates that consumers expect brands to demonstrate greater sensitivity to their financial struggles. In addition to customer-centric strategies such as dynamic pricing, loyalty-reward programs and hyper-relevant ads, brands are becoming more receptive to what customers are saying and adjusting their marketing plans accordingly.
In order to bridge the gap between consumer expectations and what brands are actually delivering, retail and consumer packaged goods companies will start to hire more customer-centric leaders to the C-suite, tapping new chief experience officers (CXOs) and chief customer officers (CCOs) to make sure their technologies and operations are aligned to maximize customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Appointing these customer-centric leaders will not just pay lip service to a brand’s audience. It will also help align customer-facing divisions, such as marketing, sales and customer success. With customer data platforms breaking down the data silos that have historically walled off these teams, it only makes sense to hire CXOs and CCOs who can help guide these unification efforts.
Kazuki Ohta is co-founder and chief executive officer at Treasure Data.