With so much in flux underneath the traditional foundation of digital advertising, many ad buyers are confused about how they will find their best audience anymore.

Apple has reduced the use of app identifiers, whilst cookies are being deprecated.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Lisa Bradner, GM analytics at ad data software company Yieldmo, says ad buyers should start testing and start asking more questions.

Absent from ‘audience’

Yieldmo operates a supply-side platform that takes its cues from a range of signals deemed as alternatives to the waning traditional methods.

But Bradner, who spent a decade on the agency side, thinks alternatives offer an advantage, even if other methods weren’t going away.

“The audience-led approach is one that’s quite popular right now, but it’s increasingly coming under fire because of privacy concerns,” Bradner says.

“While an audience strategy tells marketers a lot about who they’re reaching, it tells them a lot less about where or what are some of the other things they want to know.”

Signals getting noisier

Apple’s roll-out of App-Tracking Transparency (ATT), which has turned its Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) opt-in by default for iOS users, is removing large numbers of Apple users as targetable individuals.

And that is causing shifts that, whilst seismic, are sometimes unseen by advertisers.

“There is already some degradation happening around privacy, even with Google not eliminating third-party cookies yet,” Bradner says.

“(But) a lot of marketers aren’t looking at the data and asking, ‘Why am I suddenly serving my mobile campaigns to 95% Android users?'”

Test and learn

With the industry kicking the tyres of a range of alternatives, Bradner thinks a “test-and-learn” approach is critical.

“Smart marketers who want to benchmark ‘What’s my best way to go after known audiences?’, ‘What’s my best way to increase reach?’, ‘What’s my best trade-off between efficiency and effectiveness?’… now is a great time to start testing that.

“So as the privacy environment gets more challenging, marketers who are already testing a mix of contextual and audience-led strategies will be in a really good position to know how to blend those two going forward.”

Yieldmo has invested heavily in its own approach – software that collects and indexes information from the open web, feeding it into machine learning models that correlate to advertiser KPIs.

“Using our proprietary data set, we look at all the signals available with an ad impression – contextual, situational, environmental, attention-based – and we model all those signals to help clients create high performance campaigns that are not only brand-safe, but also don’t rely on PII,” adds Bradner.

You’re watching “Diversifying Spend: Buying Beyond Audiences” a Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by Yieldmo. For more videos from this series, please visit this page.