In this opinion piece, Jess Miles, Country Manager ANZ of Integral Ad Science, reflects on the questions surrounding consumer data.
The ability to collect consumer data online has revolutionised digital advertising by enabling customised targeting strategies and data collection. This reliance on data has been the cornerstone of many audience targeted strategies enabling marketers to better reach their consumers, at the right time, in the right places.
In today’s age of privacy, major internet browsers such as Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome, are clamping down on the use of third-party cookies and other identifiers and with the expansion of privacy legislation globally, restrictions are forcing advertisers to shift toward more creative strategies to reach their audience.
So, what do Australian consumers think about their data privacy and targeting?
Consumers are spending more time online than ever and more time browsing means more opportunities to collect data and consumers know it. According to the IAS consumer privacy study in Australia last year, eight out of ten consumers said they were aware that websites and apps collected and shared their data for advertising purposes.
And despite nine in ten Australians being concerned about their privacy, most Australian consumers were generally unaware of existing consumer privacy legislation, such as the CCPA and GDPR. This means that they lack information about the types of data that websites and apps are allowed to collect and what advertisers are allowed to do with that data.
With the deprecation of cookies underway, behavioural targeting (ads based on what someone has previously purchased online and/or their recent browsing and search history) will be much more difficult to leverage and contextual targeting will become a proxy for audience data.
Traditional methods of reaching consumers might be limited by new privacy legislation and shifting consumer preferences, but strategic advertising doesn’t end there. Targeting based on context is an innovative solution to current market conditions and it’s more respectful of consumers’ privacy needs. Advertisers have a real opportunity to make an impact without sacrificing specificity.
Rise of contextual targeting and Sentiment analysis:
It is even more important in times like this, to be accountable and to make sure that every single dollar is working hard. Marketers should focus on optimisation, checking in on campaign details, and questioning the creative and publisher performance to make each impression count.
According to the IAS Ripple Effect study, placing ads in high-quality mediums is incredibly successful to produce higher levels of likeability, engagement, and greater memorability. Contextual intelligence gives them a more nuanced and truer understanding of the full range of contextual signals and moments that work, in real-time, for an advertiser.
One of the newest additions to contextual targeting that’s changing the game for advertisers is sentiment analysis. Powered by AI and machine learning, this sophisticated capability transforms how advertisers approach their creative messaging based on the content an ad appears beside. Why does this matter? Brands sell to real people who have emotions and make their decisions based on how they feel about the brand or product.
A move towards contextual targeting will also benefit publishers for whom keyword targeting risks overzealous adblocking. In due course, publishers should also enjoy increased revenues from this style of targeting, as these deeper contextual algorithms naturally favour quality, long-form content.
Role brands will play to keep advertising relevant :
Marketers will need to be very clear about how consumer data is used, shared, stored, with whom and for what purposes – it’s a new era of transparency that gives people more control – and this will build trust. It makes sense for marketers to request permission upfront from the consumers and there is not a tonne of benefit in being misleading because, without permission, data holds little value for a marketer.
Advertisers are starting to substitute that audience data with contextual intelligence. Rather than supporting all the data management and privacy regulations that go along with capturing and leaving personally identifiable information, many marketers will switch to advertising in environments that are contextually relevant and use that as a proxy for the audience.
With governments around the world now limiting data collection practices, consumers still look to brands to ensure the quality of digital ad experiences.
Advertisers have a real opportunity to make an impact without sacrificing specificity and regulatory bodies like IAB will play a key role in privacy compliance and setting the standards for contextual targeting. With the imminent “death of the cookie”, marketers will have to get innovative about their marketing, which will lead to a better connection, personalised, contextual offerings, and overall happier consumers.
The sunset of intrusive, third-party sources should not mean the end for the use of customer data altogether. Customer data should still be used to take the guesswork out of marketing, create thoughtful, personalised campaigns, and build amazing digital experiences, all of which customers crave. This approach combined with a well-planned and thoughtful contextual targeting strategy will ensure success in an age of privacy.
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