Marketers seek adaptability in a fragmented post-cookie landscape

Marketers are increasingly hemmed in by the rising tide of privacy laws around the world, as well as multinational corporations’ preference for a tighter grip on the technology they use, forcing them to seek flexibility.

The signals that marketers have traditionally used to target online audiences and track the effectiveness of these activities are in decline, as evidenced by the removal of third-party cookies in the Google Chrome browser and the decline in Apple’s IDFAs on iOS.

After such loss of signalan abundance of replacements have flooded the market for some technology labels, such as “data management platforms”, losing the favor of some, given the perception that they are associated with third-party data.

Meanwhile, overlapping technologies are vying with more than a third of all marketers who piloted new technologies last year for this reason, according to a Gartner survey. Additionally, the same survey described the average respondent as allocating a quarter of all of their marketing spend to these technologies last year. Further still, disagreements remain as to what actually constitutes austerity technologies, think “customer data platforms” Or “data clean rooms.”

For example, the IAB Tech Lab only recently released a series of technical standards on data cleanroom technologies for public comment – see more here – with the trade body hoping its latest move will foster interoperability among current vendors pushing their wares to market. Many hope this will prevent a scenario in which a new product category is dominated by Big Tech players in the industry, such as Alphabet and Amazon.

It’s a scenario that challenges marketers, let alone publishers, because the skills required to operate these public services, let alone the legal basis they have to use all available technologies, are not always readily available.

Anthony Katsur, CEO of IAB Tech Lab, recently told Digiday that the current paradigm presents marketers with a “conceptually complicated challenge,” especially when looking to ensure consumer consent is respected throughout. their supply chain.

“There are more vendors than ever before that you would have to connect with,” he commented, adding that the contemporary marketing stack requires a “portfolio approach.”

Katsur added, “Things like your CDP has to connect with no less than half a dozen providers and then you have to make sure your supply side platform has integration with your demand side platform and your server advertising, on the other hand. coast.”

In addition to this, more centralized technologies such as CRM systems, DMPs and data clean rooms (regardless of industry Ultimately agrees that they are) must also be considered.

It was by watching the current momentum unfold over the past three years that MadTech Advisors CEO Bob Walczak designed and launched his MadTech Connect. An offering of its consultancy claims can help companies laden with otherwise unsightly tech stacks integrate across platforms.

“Until now, most connections between platforms and audience enrichment, attribution and targeting, etc., were all cookie-based,” he explained, adding that cookie erosion now requires direct platform integrations.

In theory, this sounds simple, but several sources within brand-side marketing departments have explained the complications with Digiday, especially as many seek to further integrate their online marketing activities in-house.

Separate marketing sources, all of whom requested anonymity given their employers’ public relations policies, noted how privacy requirements such as GDPR meant their legal teams imposed a more buttoned-up approach that often requires such direct integrations between platforms.

“Because you need to ensure that public consent is respected with the company you are integrating with, it can become more difficult and you need to restrict the number of companies you work with,” a source added. a multinational brand. incumbent. “That means you have to take on more work yourself, and you don’t always have the skills to perform [and] it can really delay progress.

MadTech’s Walczak further explained some of the complexities involved, which end up causing headaches for marketing teams, especially since today’s medium requires API integrations, a prospect that fills the hearts of many marketers. marketing.

“A lot of this is happening on top of their current infrastructure, and instead of being able to transfer data through cookies, what’s happening is that first-party data has to connect directly from a platform to another, which means you have to have integrations,” Walcazk added. “We were spending time doing platform integration work and connecting these systems for clients rather than strategizing and seeing what they were going to produce.”

MadTech Connect’s intention is to act as a “universal connector” between different platforms according to Walczak – who was previously the general manager of BidSwitch, a technology layer that essentially performs similar facilitation between buy-side and sell-side ad technologies.

“The idea came up that instead of having to build a connector over and over again to connect two platforms,” ​​he added, “we basically build a connector…and then connect their systems by failover “.

In an emailed statement, Liz Salway, a media manager with experience working with the online marketing teams of multinational corporations, explained that many international marketing teams are moving from “monolithic technology stacks to ecosystems cross-platform”.

This is often governed by local necessities – for example, the legal requirements of a market may practically mean that it is best to use a particular technology in that one geographic area.

While such an approach can be tricky, let alone cost, often making it difficult to demonstrate ROI, especially as business organizations face the challenge of building consensus on technology standards.

“There may not be much in common between two brands operating in two very different spaces – a CPG versus a luxury retailer for example – but they will both want to access from the same business solutions. company to cleanrooms, martech stacks and their data,” Salway added. “Creating a primary connection to enable this will in part help provide a much faster and cheaper way to connect the various dots in most marketing use cases.”

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