Contextualizing Our New Context

google data privacy

Contextualizing Our New Context

google data privacy

Companies have leveraged data since the town crier was used by the baker to move bread: start shouting in the morning when people are hungry. This personalization of messaging was provided in the context of hunger and time of day, two data points critical for loaves to sell. The framework of our current marketplace has obviously changed: trillions of impressions are delivered (and sometimes noignored) across any available surface or airspace, all competing for an effective share of wallet. The signals used to deliver these impressions are varied in their strength: 


First party (strongest)  
        • Specific data from clients about their own customers 
        • Think sales data points: geographic location, purchase history, purchase intent  


Second party (strong) 
        • First party data from another source with a specific use case 
        • Think data from a walled garden: Facebook + Google Intent Audiences, IRI sales data  


Third party (weak) 
        • Broad, modeled data with a label that makes it specific 
        • Think off the shelf data segments based upon modeled browsing behavior 


It is no secret that the advertising industry, specifically the media segment, is concerned about regulatory changes (self-imposed or legislative) limiting or eliminating components of marketers toolboxes. Technological changes (suspiciously performative such as Apple’s Intelligence Tracking Prevention, or ITP) will impact key media vehicles, particularly Facebook – and Facebook’s stock price. Google’s move to privacy is pushing campaigns further into the Privacy Sandbox, their technology that makes their own advertising tools more effective. State and federal governmental regulations have either arrived, or are on the horizon, requiring the major methodology shifts in tracking and targeting.   

Businesses know their core audience best, and the more they can do to hone in on their consumers, the better. First party data can be used to re-message an audience, build look-a-like audience to capture consumers similar to a current base, or negatively target a group to expose new customers. This rich and qualified data set will be more important than ever in the shifting landscape, and advertisers should invest in strengthening their first party solutions wherever possible. The organization of enterprise data as effectively as possible will be a key task for advertisers to take on in 2021. 

In this category, the new technology kid on the block is Customer Data Platforms, called CDPs. Unlike data lakes, data warehouses and most CRM systems, which are controlled by IT, marketing departments are the primary stakeholders and system owners of CDPs. While DMPs typically offer a more transactional, one-off match of third-party data to a brand’s first-party records, CDPs capture, integrate and store 1-to-1 interactions at the individual level in an evolving, but persistent database. CDPs specialize in unifying data from disparate sources across the organization, consolidating the role of the CRM, data lakes/warehouses and DMP into a single platform that can inform audience analysis and power media activation. Each subsequent activation then creates a virtuous cycle by generating engagements that can be fed back into the CDP, enhancing audience insight and seeing hypotheses for the next campaign.   

The challenge with firstparty data, unfortunately, is often scale, making other targeting strategies necessary for volume and reach. What if an advertiser is not data-rich, and a CDP isn’t in the cards? Not every brand has a deep book of business or a historical strategy to build upon. Marketers still have a wide array of tools at their disposal to get the right message in front of the right person at the right time.  

There is a common perception that contextual targeting will get its time back in the sun now that the third party marketplace is facing degradation. Marketers have not truly walked away from contextual targeting, but over the years it has taken a back seat to data-powered decisioning found in campaigns operated by Demand Side Platforms (DSPs). Authenticated audiences by publication groups are officially in vogue, promising logged-in audiences, and theoretical engagement in endemic environmentsNatural languageprocessing AI, sorting content and context by keyword and environment, is enabling marketers to continue to move toward the ideal contextual adjacencies that we crave for ad exposures, providing marketing relevance on a moment-to-moment basis. 

We are not starting out fresh in 2022, when the cookie finally dies and Apple’s ITP will require the re-benchmarking of many media narratives. Signals about advertising effectiveness directly from our clients’ CDPs will encourage real-time shifts to business goals, and long-view media mix models will impart theoretical testing to prove value for future campaigns.   

If feudal bakers could optimize sales of bread by time of day, our modern industry will be fine in proving value for our clients.