CHICAGO – Despite the traditional fabric of ad targeting being torn up, the key relationship between publisher and consumer can be restored by a holy trinity of new approaches.

That is according to an ad-tech exec who sees the diminution of third-party cookies and mobile ad identifiers not as a negative but as a turning point.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Epsilon’s Sara Stevens says the solution is a combination of respect for privacy, increasing regulation and ability to use first-party data.

Marketers are worried

The key issues include the deprecation of third-party tracking cookies, new regulation like GDPR and CCPA, plus Apple turning its IDFA (Identity for Advertisers) system into opt-in by default, reducing its footprint and usefulness.

In October, Epsilon surveyed more than 250 U.S. mid-to-large enterprise marketers from retail, financial services, CPG, restaurant and travel industries on the topic. Results included:

  • 70% of respondents believe digital advertising will be adversely affected by these changes and will take a step backwards.
  • 69% of respondents believe the changes will have a greater impact than GDPR and CCPA.
  • Fewer than half (46%) of respondents are “very prepared.”
  • Actions they are taking include building a customer data platform (67%), strategizing around first-party data (62%) and building out a private ID graph (60%).

Apple’s IDFA Change Will Hurt Publishers & Advertisers: Epsilon’s Elert

Threat to internet funding

For Stevens, Epsilon’s VP of product management, it all means both a threat and an opportunity.

“It signals the dependency that marketers have had on this component of technology in the ecosystem,” she says.

“On the privacy front, this is good for consumers. Consumers are demanding greater privacy and we should all respect that.

“The downside for consumers could be that they have less relevant advertising. It could become more invasive to them. And ultimately, the open and free internet, as we know it, where consumers have made an innocuous trade for great content, great services, to be funded by advertising could shift.

“If the publishers can’t monetize their traffic, then, in theory, the danger is that that cost could end up being passed on to the consumer.”

Re-establishing identity

As identifiers dry up, identity has become the buzzword of 2020, with all sides of the industry racing to establish direct audience relationships or two establish which software platforms they can use to re-establish audience-based approaches.

Publicis Groupe acquired Epsilon, Epsilon, an outcome-based marketing company, in July 2019 for $4.4 billion.

The company also recently told Beet.TV the industry’s new identity dynamics mean marketers should be looking back at improving how they use email to communicate with audiences.

Email Is Under-Used And Episodic: Epsilon’s Benyo

The retail advantage

Stevens thinks retailers have a distinct advantage in the world that is emerging.

“They’ve spent years curating customer files, they have been at this for a long time,” she says.

“I think the crossroads is, for a retailer, how to pick a partner that can truly activate that data.

“Acquiring a new customer can be a more costly effort, and certainly, marketers now more than ever, especially the retailers, need to drive efficiency in their marketing budgets.”

You are watching “First Party Data: Driving Media Investment and Accountability,” a Beet.TV leadership video series presented by Target’s Roundel  For more videos, please visit this page.  The views shared on this series do not necessarily reflect the opinion of Target and Roundel.