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InContext / An inside look at the business of digital content

Clearing up misconceptions to make way for addressability

April 25, 2022 | By Jessica Werner, Senior Director, Publisher Development – ID5@ID5_io

The need to evolve in the digital advertising world isn’t anything new. But the end of cookies has driven much speculation and we’re here to debunk some of the uncertainty that comes with it. Given the amount of discussion on the subject of cookies and identity solutions that’s taken place, it’s not surprising that certain common misconceptions have arisen. Let’s clarify what you need to know about identity and address the question of a critical factor in digital advertising: addressability.

“I can wait until the last minute.”

As tempting as it may sound to see what happens when everything is said and done, that approach isn’t in anybody’s best interest. As we’ve discussed before in “Why preparation is key,” solving for identity won’t be a quick fix or happen at the push of a button. Re-strategizing your approach to programmatic advertising requires a series of tests, trials, and adjustments to get it right. This process takes both time and effort. The sooner publishers lock in new solutions and curate new partnerships, the sooner the buy-side can adapt. These steps will enable us to enter 2023 as a unified industry with a tried-and-true approach for success.  

“I can only choose one identity provider.”

It’s not uncommon to have one provider for varying solutions. While you may only need one CMP for consent or one DMP for audience segmentation, the same doesn’t necessarily apply to identity. As you evaluate who to leverage for direct deals or contextual targeting, consider as many identity providers as you see fit.

Many publishers scout out a handful before narrowing it down to three to five during the research and development phase. From here, you should test to see which best suits your needs. While you become more familiar with your first-party data, adding additional partnerships enable extra coverage and support. It also allows you to finesse your approach and keep what serves you in your new advertising strategies.

“Identity is an additional stream of revenue.”

When discussing addressability, revenue often arises during conversation. Why wouldn’t it mean more revenue if you’re adding another partner to help you identify and target your users? Additional revenue may be a happy byproduct. However, it’s important to set the right expectations in terms of objectives and results.

Identity should serve as a privacy-first solution to identify and address users that would otherwise be unreachable once third-party cookies are gone. Thus, acting as an alternative means to continue to do what has taken place for years past. A different connection equals a new and improved bidding logic rather than an extra stream. When publishers can address an otherwise blind user, they will see increases to bid rates and bid CPMs in otherwise blind environments.

“I can’t leverage identity since I don’t have emails.”

A theme around email addresses has emerged. Unfortunately, this theme is taking precedence over the real issues here. Yes, having emails is the strongest connection for buyer preference. However, there’s more than one way to address a user that isn’t tied to email alone. Direct deals and contextual targeting can take you part of the way. Identity aids as another layer to help bridge any remaining gaps.

You can start with identity, end with identity, or choose identity alone and regardless – it will take you just as far. The good news for publishers and advertisers alike is that identity allows you to target your end-user and target them 100% of the time. Thus, allowing for both addressability and scale. Some partners may only support hashed emails, whereas others can support declared and inferred signals. This is the common currency that will take you all the way and then some. It is crucial to understand what you’re working with and who or what you need.

“I’ll let the identity provider do all the work for me.”

Third-party cookies allowed publishers to put their advertising needs in the hands of others. Thus, letting them focus on other efforts in parallel. The role of conjuring up a game plan is now in the hands of the publisher. SSPs will still play a role and will continue to be there in support. Yet, it’s now up to the publisher to understand their data and make the best use of it for their own return or gain.

Adopting an identity partner alone isn’t a solution. Identifiers should empower publishers to protect their data and protect their users while using said data to convert into currency. Identifiers enable publishers to have the means to address their users in a safe and controlled environment. However, what they do with those IDs is in their court. Use the time to gain a better understanding of your first-party data and ensure the rest of the ecosystem is equipping itself with support.

At the end of the day, we all have the same goal which is why working together is the best approach. Publishers can make the most of their advertising strategies by confronting these common misconceptions in the name of addressability. With the right finesse, breaking down these barriers ultimately paves way for a future that educates, enables, and empowers media owners to address more users at full scale. As well as allowing them to maximize their value of inventory with a new form of currency. The coming changes allow for new and exciting opportunities, should they be properly seized, and should proper expectations be set.

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