Advertising Week (AWNewYork 2021) brought members of our paid media and analytics teams together in the home of our industry to reconnect and take in the latest in creative, technology, consumer research and media. From advertising in a cookie-less world to the latest measurement tools, here are our top takeaways from four jam-packed days of insight, inspiration and knowledge-sharing.
Data and privacy
In the wake of continued privacy concerns and a future cookie-less world, the industry is hot on the trail of adapting methods so we can continue to gather and interpret data to drive business results. Google’s plans to restrict third-party cookies will eventually take away our gold standard for following users around the web, measuring our ad outcomes and profiling audiences. The good news is first-party cookies and identity solutions are not going anywhere, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on. Data providers are now working to map first- (and third-) party cookies to unique people by combining public data along with data gathered through partnerships so we can continue to reach the right people at the right moments. On the back end, automated processes will be able to connect data across channels to track and increase performance for our clients. First-party data management and strategy should be a high priority for any brand to maximize targeting and tracking capabilities as data integrations continue to develop across the industry.
Within this privacy-focused landscape, expect to see a reemergence of using contextual targeting and ad tech companies continuing to iterate contextual targeting capabilities by tapping into machine learning and AI technologies. Contextual targeting is placing ads on websites with content that is related to the ad. By using ad servers to find relevant content to serve up our ads, we’re able to continue to find hard-to-reach audiences where they are organically consuming content.
It’s an exciting time to be a part of the digital transformation happening in media. We’re evolving how we gather and analyze data to better understand audiences while respecting user privacy. Despite the impending changes, we’re already well on our way to evolving how we develop our media plans, optimize performance and measure outcomes with personalized creative and refined audience targeting.
Personal and culturally relevant creative
Speaking of personalized creative, we heard a lot about the creator economy (social media influencers and other creators who monetize their content) and what brands can learn from them. This concept is especially true with the generation following millennials, Gen Z, who look to be inspired with transparent, “real” content. To hit the mark, brands need to know who they are and stay true to it. For sure, we will be helping clients find what “culturally relevant” means to their audience so that we can translate this into authentic ads that grab attention and nurture people along their user journey. Transparency and authenticity are key to connecting with the youngest generations.
As creative continues to branch deeper into this direction, look for brands to share authentic stories from within their walls and use data to personalize ad messaging. More brands will be looking for opportunities to speak and react to the things happening around them like influencers who strive to organically build, retain and grow a following.
In terms of media, CTV (connected TV) is fast becoming a place to explore culturally relevant ads as it continues to mature as a channel and is bridging age gaps. No longer viewed as the choice for younger generations only, there is no end in sight when it comes to the incredible popularity of video on demand, social video, binge-watching and live streaming. Watching streamed content is here to stay while its breadth is increasing to reach all demographics, genres and placements. Much of the power in digital advertising is still attributed to personalization. A targeting strategy gets your ad in front of your audience, but it is the value that comes with personalization and an authentic connection that makes these ads work.