During a worldwide crisis, advertisers have to be particularly cognizant of the situation their audience is living through. Talking to customers as a cohort, and not as individuals, and letting advertisements end up alongside irrelevant content, can hurt brands more than ever. 

Jeremy Cohen, the vp and head of global content partnerships at Publicis Groupe, says consumers are “hyper-tuned” to the digital experience right now – meaning they have less patience for poor ad experiences but will be responsive when the messaging, tone and positioning is right. 

“It’s important in this COVID environment that people feel supported across the board,” Cohen says. “Everyone wants to feel like an individual.” 

A few converging strategies can support that mission, which according to Cohen boils down to a “consumer first is key” mindset. First, he says, audience based targeting and contextual targeting can be leveraged at the same time to understand what audiences are consuming from a content perspective and personalization perspective. “So creating what seems to be a personalized experience by leveraging both audience-level data and contextual targeting, that drives the greatest outcome for brands and efficiencies as well,” Cohen says. 

It’s impossible to discuss targeting and personalization right now with mourning the long, belabored death of the cookie. Third-party cookies are in the process of being wiped out by Google, which, while not entirely unexpected, sent the marketing world into a tailspin. Cohen chooses to see it as an advantage for brands and a return of creativity. This time, it will be bolstered by data.

“The cookie is a tax. It’s so widespread, it’s not a strategy,” says Cohen. “Now that it’s going away, brands have more opportunity to create their own unique strategies to give them advantages in the marketplace.”

This video is part of a Beet.TV series  titled “Audience, in Context,” presented by Xandr.  For more videos please visit this page.