This promoted content is produced by a publishing partner of Open Mic. A paid-for membership product for partners of The Drum to self-publish their news, opinions and insights on thedrum.com - Find out more
How brands and publishers can develop and improve their data strategies
June 21, 2022
By Zaid Roberts, Director, Advertiser Solutions EMEA at PubMatic
The data and privacy landscapes, though deeply intertwined, are complex in their own rights and ever-changing. For marketers, this means that there needs to be a continual focus on ensuring their data strategy is up to date and delivering the best value possible. The impending sunset of cookies and Google’s move away from FLoC to Topics, means marketers need to prioritize enhancing and enriching first-party data. This has implications for overall data strategies that have previously been centered around third-party data.
Data partnerships are key
First-party data is not a single, scalable solution, it needs to be supplemented with other data to enable brands and publishers to optimize supply and demand and drive greater value from media. There are many ways in which publishers and brands can enhance their first-party data. For example, using independent ID solutions, investing in cleanrooms, and leveraging second-party data. The key to establishing partnerships that deliver value rather than just providing you with more data points is to look at where there are gaps in your own first-party data and what insights you could have if those gaps were filled. If those insights align with your marketing objectives, then pursue those partnerships.
With privacy always top of mind, publishers and brands are becoming more selective about the technology solutions they partner with, which is having a knock-on effect on data partnerships. For example, while cleanrooms provide a wealth of data partnership opportunities, if they cannot interoperate with a brand or publishers’ existing tech stack there’s little value in adopting this approach. This has placed more focus on the technical capabilities of supply-side platforms (SSPs).
A new role for SSPs
To help improve targeting and performance, we’re seeing SSPs bring their technology and capabilities, like PubMatic’s Connect to the buy-side. Publishers and brands benefit from this approach as it enables them to apply a portfolio of current and emerging data strategies on the supply side, meaning audience planning and targeting becomes more effective, reach is greater, and performance improves. This is creating a new economy and giving brands more data levers to consider when planning media, thus increasing the liquidity of the ecosystem.
The challenge that comes with any new data solution designed to minimize the impact of removing cookies from the ecosystem is that there will always be a degree of data loss. Marketers need a strategy to measure the impact that is having on the effectiveness of their campaigns. While data partnerships are key to effectively delivering value, the solution to performance measurement must always be the use first-party data as a single source of truth.
Over the next 12 months, as we gain more insights into what a post-cookie digital advertising ecosystem looks like, SSPs will play a pivotal role in carving out the future of how brands and publishers work together. SSPs are well placed to do this because they work with thousands of publishers and are thus enabling brands to test different approaches quickly and at scale.
Align, communicate, and collaborate
At the core of any marketing plan is making decisions as to how suitable any given opportunity is in relation to campaign and business goals. To generate maximum, meaningful engagement, marketers must consider four things: content, context, emotion and sentiment. To do this well requires cross-functional alignment between audience research, planning, and activation teams. This collaboration increases the accuracy and addressability of audience segments and creates a closed feedback loop which is vital for evaluating success.
From a technology perspective, different tools will be used throughout the campaign life span. In an ideal world, there should be a degree of interoperability and if that’s not possible, there needs to be consistency in data to ensure accurate measurement and optimization. Technology is constantly evolving and it’s important to stay on top of the latest developments, particularly - given that we are in a period of flux - A/B testing capabilities that enable marketers to create robust testing frameworks.
Key things to get right
Start with defining your objectives and evaluate which data is best suited to help you achieve those goals. Don’t look to achieve a set number of data partners or points to have in your arsenal; focus on quality over quantity.
Then think about which stages of the purchase funnel that campaign or ad is focused on and look at what targeting options will deliver the best results. For example, if you’re looking to reach people in the consideration phase, category targeting is a great fit enabling you to target, for example, coffee lovers, dog lovers or ski enthusiasts. Make sure to keep scale in mind and avoid the potential pitfall of going too niche and throttling reach.
Create an agnostic framework where you can plan and buy campaigns and measure their efficiency. Make sure you have the right people with the right skills and knowledge to query the data you have and produce the insights you need and translate those insights into actions.
For brands and publishers alike, things might seem a bit unsettling now, but the testing that is being done across the industry today will result in better application of marketing. This fundamental shift away from cookie-based targeting will result in better consumer experiences that ultimately benefit brands and publishers.