By Charlie Ashe, Creative and Data Strategy, AudienceStore
There are many changes currently afoot for the digital advertising industry. While there is a slight reprieve on the cookie front with Google announcing a two year extension, we still have Apple’s IDFA changes and the public’s widespread opting out of App Tracking Technology to contend with.
There is going to be an impact on the industry, and some fundamental changes to how we operate, but as these develop the focus now is on how we prepare for what are still some unpredictable outcomes of these larger changes.
Allow me to share some of the positive steps companies can be taking now to mitigate against the changes that 2022 will bring to digital advertising.
Upskilling your planning teams
It’s inevitable that as the industry has become more and more digital, so too have the focus of agency planners. But as we start seeing a swing away from some commonly used techniques, there is a need to go back to fundamentals with our planning teams.
At Audience Store we are in the process of providing training for all our planning teams so they are fully equipped to deliver a seamless service to clients throughout this time of reduction and evolution within tracking. While we use a lot more technology and data in our planning than previously, a process of constantly checking back against our clients business objectives, and demystifying the media plan against these, is key for effective planning.
Switching your clients’ creative style
As tracking reduces, there is both a need and an opportunity within a brand’s approach to digital creative. The temptation with large amounts of tracking and targeting has always been driving performance marketing, leading to heavy reliance on more sales-focussed messaging. Now is the time to think more about how to engage the user through creative messaging, combining brand creative with the relevance of the data-rich digital environment. There are some fantastic interactive creative formats coming through to help with this.
Broadening out your conversations
For so long the power that Google and Apple have over the industry has been expanding exponentially, and while that power is reflected in the huge impact their respective changes will have on the industry, it also presents an opportunity for their smaller rivals.
By forcing agencies and advertisers to adapt their business strategies in response to the tracking limitations imposed on us by this duo, they have prompted many of us to start a dialogue with smaller tech providers across the ecosystem that are in a position to provide alternative ways of working.
While it has been easy to stick to the same key providers for so long, it can be liberating to be pushed out of your comfort zone and take some time to explore what else is available in the market. Technology connecting advertisers and publishers more directly has always been the aim, and there are some fantastic initiatives out there pushing this forward.
Ensuring your clients are in the loop
This limbo period we’re in, as we wait to see the impact of the changes, is a strange one for everybody. While we are ensuring we are fully prepared to transition into a cookie-less model, it is crucial we keep our clients fully up to speed with any changes.
As part of our commitment to an open, transparent dialogue we are scheduling monthly or quarterly catch ups with clients to take them through what we know so far, any changes we are planning to make to the way their campaigns will run, and the impact they might notice from those changes.
It is every agency’s job to understand the granular details and adapt their service with minimal ramifications, and it is also their responsibility to ensure the client is happy, in the loop and not about to have any nasty surprises. By informing our clients we can ensure that they are bought into the decisions, and see the opportunity for change that we do.
Working towards a collaborative future
The changes that we have seen here are exciting, and in many ways represent an opportunity for independent tech providers. However we have to be realistic to the size, impact and power of the large tech companies within our industry that have driven these changes. Competition has driven a huge amount of exciting innovation, but we must also be aware of these larger market changes, and ultimately work together through governing bodies to ensure that the future of the industry is fair and encouraging of more independence and innovation within agencies, marketers and technology providers.
The last but arguably most important thing to remember at what is an unnerving time for many businesses is that we are all in the same boat. While there will be changes, if approached in the right way it doesn’t need to be a point of panic. Returning to the fundamentals and applying these to the new normal is always a good approach to any change that is largely outside of our control.
With change comes opportunity and while it may not be a change everyone would have chosen, it is up to us to work together to drive the best possible outcomes. This is the dawn of a new era for advertising and I believe that if we can respond proactively, positively and, crucially, together, we will create a stronger, healthier and more collaborative industry going forward.