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Programmatic advertising without cookies – ET BrandEquity

On September 24, 2020, Aroscop in association with ETBrandEquity.com held a virtual summit to discuss and explore the topic ‘The Cookieless Future’. Aroscop is a flexible & transparent ad-trade platform that delivers brands the maximum control of their campaigns in a smart way. They combine advanced RTB technology, machine learning, analytics & AI to set new standards in transparency and ease of use in a streamlined manner.

Kumar Ramamurthy, CMO, Aroscop, set the tone of the webinar with a report launch named “The Cookieless Future – Fears, Opportunities & the Way Forward“. The report was published after conducting a thorough survey of industry leaders from across brands and advertising agencies to gauge what challenges each of them foresee in the future. Ramamurthy talked about how cookies have contributed to an essential part of online marketing. He also emphasized how difficult it will be to track customer behavior in the absence of cookie-based tracking, which in turn, will affect the ability of marketers to measure the effectiveness of their digital ads. “Without cookies, personalized campaigns based on algorithmically-derived interests and intentions of customers won’t be effective, defeating the whole purpose of programmatic advertising,” he added.

You can get your free copy of the report here.

To explore and find an answer to this problem while keeping the security concern of consumers in mind, Neil Patel, Entrepreneur, Angel Investor and Digital Marketing Expert, emphasized on the concept of privacy and how it is a big concern for a lot of people. When asked more on privacy and security, he quoted, “People are going to think it is secure but it is not as much as they think, because there are other solutions and customer data platforms that would not make things as ‘private’ as you would like.” He then stated, “There can be some irrelevant ads which they might not be happy about. In fact, a lot of companies are going to be using customer data platforms to have a lot of info on their customers which wouldn’t necessarily solve the privacy issue.”

Patel asked organizations to not worry about this change as all their other competitors are going to be in the same situation. When asked if publishers will have an upper hand as a gatekeeper of this audience, he threw light on the power of the advertisers who were buying traffic. He ardently believes that the privacy concept has received a much-needed push, and data security will be taken seriously.

Patel’s view was followed by a panel discussion. Jose Leon from Indigo Consulting was the moderator for this discussion; he commenced by sharing his approaches on ‘cookies’ and what will really happen when third-party cookies will no longer be used as a tool. He also shared his views on how difficult it would be to figure out the online behavior of customers, which in turn, will succeed in defeating the whole purpose of programmatic advertising.

Leon proceeded by acknowledging the panelists that included key stakeholders of the digital marketing ecosystem who further helped in providing solutions and suggestions on the topic.

The panelists included Amit Tiwari, Vice President Marketing, Havells; Arjun Som, Founding Member, Aroscop; Abhishek Shah, Head – Marketing, BharatPe; and Sachin Vashishtha, Associate Director & Head – Digital Transformation & Marketing, Paisabazaar.

Leveraging first-party data to serve customers better

Tiwari from Havells, a marketer for two decades, opened up the discussion by sharing insights on the current market situation and how it has been behaving lately. He stated that cookies are not the only option to depend on and the market is gradually moving towards contextual advertising and targeting, which are posing to be efficient marketing tools. “Marketers nowadays don’t just want to depend on cookies for behavioral trends,” added Tiwari. He suggested how the study of netnography is pushing the capabilities of this adaptation. According to him, it doesn’t matter whether it is a first- or a third-party cookie, for the data generated needs to be authentic.

Som further delved into how the digital advertising industry had benefited from third-party cookies. He said, “From buying simple strategies like frequency capping to complex strategies like dynamic creative optimization, cookies had played a big role in making it a success.” But at the same time, Som also accepted how third-party cookies weren’t a very sophisticated way of targeting the audience. “A cookieless world will invite tech providers and partners to come in agreement to achieve this initiative. This will also provide open web standards and APIs to tech providers and publishers to track their users,” Som added.

Shah from BharatPe represented the Fintech industry where data privacy is a sensitive issue. He justified from the users’ perspective by addressing how data is indeed a private affair and intrusion of any kind by advertisers is not welcome. But on the other side, advertisers get to provide tailor-made and customized ads to the customers which is again profitable to a great extent.

Vashishtha from Paisabazaar further opened up on the cookieless future by acknowledging the privacy aspect of the consumer. Paisabazaar, since day one, was relying on third party data available in the market to attract the right set of audience. But, keeping in mind the privacy of consumers, the cookieless initiative is taking that privilege away. Vashishtha shared how the company is protecting customers to help them maintain a good credit score and providing valuable predictions for their benefit. Although, at the same time he stated that as an advertiser, this step will definitely bring backlash to the brand reach.

Trust and technology: Major factors in creating a modern ecosystem

Tiwari believed that trust, transparency and technology are the keys to building a great marketing ecosystem. “This will be a great framework to build on, and the trust factor can be generated gradually,” stated Tiwari. He also emphasized on the role of technology as a major factor driving this motion and how the loss of trust is something that should be absolutely avoided in a brand journey.

Som, on speaking about trust and technology, stressed on the role of the internet being largely sponsored by advertising. He highlighted how people want the internet to be largely free and still want their information to be secure. “This is exactly where technology comes in and ensures to provide identity resolution and transparency,” added Som.

Vashishtha concluded by speaking about how difficult it would be for advertisers to manage so many second-party platforms. So, this opens up huge opportunities for data management platform providers to set up a marketplace. In conclusion, in the future, free content would be greatly on demand but this would come with customers having to share their information to continue their service. Having the right data framework and its encryption will judge the reputation of the brand. The brand, in turn, shall secure the data, even while sharing it in the form of secondary cookies. The consumers should also read the terms and conditions properly before deciding to click on the ‘accept’ button for the regulations of a website, which in turn will help clarify the transparency process.

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