The third-party/browser cookie has crumbled — phased out by Firefox, Safari and on its way out on Google Chrome. The death of the cookie, coincidentally, came in a year when many more Indian consumers moved online to shop and transact through the pandemic. For years, cookies have been the bedrock of traditional digital advertising — marketers used them to improve the user experience, and collect data that helped them target ads to the right audiences. Now, with more Indians online — but wanting greater control over how their data is used — what will replace the cookie? And how can marketers continue to reach audiences with the most relevant messages in a privacy-centric way?
In conversation with Medianews4u, Vishal Mukesh Parekh, Director – Monetisation, Yahoo spoke about the future of privacy with the removal of third-party cookies, growth in DOOH advertising, and more.
The future of privacy on the web is being remodeled with the removal of third-party cookies. According to you, how are brands adapting to this change?
We are seeing rapid innovation in the industry as alternative, privacy-centric solutions to the cookie emerge that can maintain addressability for relevant advertising monetisation. As advertisers evaluate potential solutions, they are looking for a fine balance — to bridge the identity gap across digital channels and deliver meaningful revenue, while honouring privacy preferences and maintaining relevant and useful consumer experiences. Importantly, brands now see an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and adopt solutions through which they can rebuild consumer relationships based on trust.
According to you, what are the alternatives for third party cookies?
Given how the post-cookie ecosystem is evolving, we are not moving towards a one-size-fits-all solution. The ongoing identity revolution has sharpened the divide between advertisers and publishers who have access to first-party data, and those who do not. In a post-cookie world, opted-in data will allow brands and platforms to deliver meaningful ad experiences to audiences, which is shaping new identity solutions.
As a pioneer in this new identity world, Yahoo has taken a multi-pronged approach towards building a sustainable identity future with a suite of identity-enhanced offerings, which includes Yahoo ConnectID, Next-Gen Solutions, and Contextual Targeting tools. Our unified identity solution Yahoo ConnectID is founded on direct consumer relationships via our O&O media properties. We have prioritised 1:1 relationships that give us a diverse and authenticated reach. While Yahoo ConnectID solves for when an ID is present, Yahoo’s Next-Gen Solutions solves for when it is not. Our Next-Gen Solutions does not rely on IP address or app IDs, but instead leverages billions of real-time signals to help advertisers deliver relevant experiences and publishers monetize better. With a full-stack, unified ad platform, Yahoo is uniquely positioned to help advertisers and publishers navigate the identity-less future simply and effectively.
What would identity solutions look like in the new privacy-centric era?
Consent and transparency will be key going forward. The most sustainable solutions will be privacy centric, where data is hashed, opt-in, and consent-based, enabling direct relevant advertising while maintaining a commitment to consumer choice and privacy.
What kind of solutions have the potential to bridge the identity gap and deliver revenue?
Sustainable solutions will have to deliver relevant ad experiences, respecting consumer choice and privacy, helping advertisers and publishers reach consumers wherever they spend their time — mobile, connected TV, digital audio, digital-out-of-home, and more. Yahoo ConnectID, our unified identity solution built on top of Yahoo’s diverse and consent-based identity graph, is helping marketers maximize the potential of their own first-party data for campaign optimization and measurement, while enabling publishers to leverage first-party audience data for better monetization. In the absence of IDs, our Next-Gen Solutions use content and other real-time data signals like weather, and location and device types to power machine-learning algorithms that allow advertisers to connect with their most relevant audiences without the need for cookies, mobile app IDs, browser storage or creating user-level profiles.
Open source identity vs proprietary identity (the walled gardens) — is there a middle ground?
Yes, and it will come from co-authoring a sustainable digital future that places consumers at the centre. Advertisers and publishers want more ‘open,’ transparent and flexible solutions than walled gardens, but with similar strengths of strong first-party data and data diversity, underpinned by direct, trusted consumer relationships that respect consumer choice and privacy.
At Yahoo, we take a “community garden” approach which differentiates us from Google, Facebook and Amazon as well as some of the “single stack” players that lack first party data. This approach combines the benefits of a walled garden, but with flexibility and the ability to scale built in. We provide a scaled ecosystem, so advertiser data can stay within their partners’ ecosystems, but still be matched against Yahoo ConnectID to drive connections with consumers in a cookieless environment.
We see this middle ground “community garden” evolving and growing as partnerships in the open web continue to develop. Interoperability with third-parties, offered with the power of direct consumer relationships, supports advertisers, publishers, and the greater ecosystem.
You have recently announced the launch of your funnel Digital Out-Of-Home (DOOH) product suite. Can you speak more on that and the foreseeable growth in DOOH advertising?
Our full funnel Digital Out-of-Home (DOOH) product suite gives DOOH advertisers a one-stop-shop for campaign planning, execution, and measurement, all in a self-serve capacity. Talking to advertisers, we found they wanted an easier way to manage omnichannel initiatives, and this suite unifies the planning, buying, and measurement of DOOH with all / other omnichannel strategies, so marketers don’t get a holistic view of the consumer and their campaigns. In essence, we are providing an all-in-one platform for DOOH advertisers to forecast, target, re-engage audiences across screens, and measure success.
Coming to the second part of your question, DOOH marketing investment is expected to increase significantly this year, especially as lockdowns end and vaccinations progress at a brisk pace. We are seeing the resurgence of DOOH across key markets, and in India too. A 2021 FICCI-EY 2021 report tips the growth in transit media assets and DOOH to be faster than growth in traditional media options, making up 44% of the segment’s revenues by 2023. This growth potential comes from several trends intersecting. With supply becoming available programmatically, precision targeting and ease of buying programmatic media are now available in DOOH, unlocking greater efficiencies, data-driven advantages and real-time capabilities.
With the phasing out of third-party cookies, DOOH is also emerging as a promising alternative when advertisers want to consider contextual targeting, given its advantages of localisation, personalisation and creative possibilities to target and engage consumers. As a format, DOOH will also be particularly relevant in a post-COVID landscape, since it offers real-time creative flexibility that marketers need as mobility protocols constantly evolve — unlike a traditional billboard, creative changes can be made remotely and instantly with DOOH.
Can you elaborate on the examples of how DOOH can be integrated into a larger omnichannel campaign strategy?
We are increasingly seeing advertisers integrating DOOH buys into their omnichannel strategy and with good reason. Research by outdoor media leader Lamar Advertising finds that DOOH increases reach by as much as 303% when added to a mobile or web campaign while lifting foot traffic by an average of 68% when combined with social messaging.
A leading fitness brand we worked with globally found that a combination of OOH and mobile retargeting led to a significant lift. Actual conversion was immediate for users who were exposed to the advertising — 42% percent visited a location within one day.
When incorporated in an omnichannel media strategy, DOOH helps reach audiences who are on the go and can amplify the effectiveness of other channels — think integration and synergies with mobile for India.