No cookies? No problem. Future-proofing advertising

With the evolution of the ad industry continuing at pace, there is a golden opportunity for brands and retailers on the open web to ensure they have a more balanced and safer way to advertise online

The advertising industry has transformed enormously over the last decade. From the evolution of ad servers and booms in ecommerce and apps, to changing video and programmatic landscapes and the growing digitalisation of offline media channels, the pace of innovation has never been so fast. And coronavirus has accelerated it even further.

It is the tightening up of privacy regulations, however, and the end of third-party cookies, driven first by Apple in its Safari browser and, next year, by Google in its Chrome browser, that is having perhaps the greatest impact. With third-party cookies having been core to the open web’s targeted offering to advertisers, powering precise ad performance measurement, their demise signals an urgent need for an alternative.

Finding one is crucial to ensuring the open web can compete with the “walled garden” platforms that seek to dominate advertising spend. Innovative solutions are forthcoming, fortunately, and competition rules are providing new opportunities for the open web to thrive. Conscious of the significant portion of advertising spend being accrued by walled gardens, advertisers are making deliberate moves to balance it with open internet players, according to recent research by Criteo.

“Advertisers still expect strong outcomes despite the redefinition of what online identity may mean,” says Shruthi Chindalur, executive managing director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, at Criteo, a global tech firm powering brands with trusted and impactful advertising. “While companies are taking different stances, there is a positive unification of the industry to solve the issues.

“With a significant part of their lives now spent online and having experienced plenty of ads across many different platforms, consumers nowadays want more interesting and relevant experiences. At the same time, they are savvier about the content they wish to watch and want to understand the transparency of smart advertising and how much control they have. The real opportunity will be in the balance between all this.”

Having previously pioneered cookie-based technology that helped brands be more targeted with their advertising, Criteo has been through its own transformation to adapt to the industry changes of recent years. It has responded by innovating once again to provide technology companies’ need to better know and serve their customers.

Criteo has adopted new positioning with its Commerce Media Platform. It is present at every step of the consumer journey, offering brands and advertisers awareness solutions such as video and connected TV (CTV) campaigns based on its unparalleled online and offline commerce data knowledge, or with exclusive placement on an ecommerce website, for example. With the largest first-party commerce data set in the open internet, it is delivering success for world-leading brands without the need for third-party cookies.

The company also launched its Retail Media platform last year, giving retailers a single interface to grow their business, and allowing brands and agencies to invest in new advertising space on retailers’ websites using standardised workflows and metrics.

Meanwhile, Criteo has partnered with The Trade Desk on the Unified ID 2.0 initiative, a consortium of actors that will collectively compete with the “signed-in environment” of walled gardens, and recently shared its plans to integrate its single sign-on solution so consumers can have unprecedented control over their personal data and ad experience.

“We want to empower users with more choice, transparency and individual control over their data,” says Chindalur. “Unified ID 2.0 is the perfect example of how our industry is resilient and can collectively work together to preserve the philosophy of the open internet. Online identity should not be in the hands of any private company and, not least, with a dominant gatekeeper. We believe it should be in the hands of the consumer.

“The world is realising that digital gatekeepers can be a potential risk for the economy and our society. Our unique positioning, unparalleled access to first-party commerce data and premium commerce placement put us at the vanguard of modern advertising, balancing the scales. With user-centric, cohort-based, contextual targeting, we are ultimately creating a new, safe and open world for brands and retailers alike.”

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Promoted by Criteo