The future of marketing in a cookie-less world
Privacy is increasingly important to consumers and, with data protection regulations growing stricter, brands need to be guided by a unified approach to consent-driven data.
Brands can enjoy sustainable, efficient and effective reach while still respecting consumer privacy, but they must work more effectively with data.
In the Festival of Marketing session ‘Finding Growth Beyond The Cookie’, IRI marketing strategy and effectiveness director Carl Carter said legislation around cookies was changing but marketers can still meet their goals.
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Find out more about the privacy-conscious approach to driving growth. Watch IRI’s session, ‘Finding growth beyond the cookie’, at the Festival of Marketing on demand now.
He said brands needed to employ a wider range of data sources and technology to discover consumers’ interests and ensure advertising is cost-effective and efficient, especially when reach is vital due to lower conversion rates in sectors like FMCG.
But he added: “Ultimately privacy and trust are more important going forward and brands have to pay attention to that.” The industry is moving towards a ‘first-party
identity resolution’ approach to tracking users across touchpoints, which is centred on trust because the data comes from consumer permissions.
“Over time you can build more quality customer relationships, and can target people more effectively and recommend products that make a difference to their lives,” Carter said. “When it comes to marketing effectiveness, it also means closed-loop attribution so you know who has seen your ad and if they have purchased. This should lead to a better return from your ad spend.” Carter accepted that this approach relies on compliance with data protection regulations and their growing influence on how consumers interact digitally with brands. He cited Apple’s announcement that iOS 14 users can control their data sharing on an app by app basis.
“This will heighten awareness among consumers that their data is being shared and will mean the rate at which brands capture data and match to another first-party provider is likely to drop.”
Unification is crucial
Although a brand’s ultimate objective is to drive growth, and using data to understand consumers’ behaviour is a key part of it, this goals must go hand-in-hand with building consumer trust and quality targeting.
“Marketers need to unify everything to get a balance of accuracy, relevance and reach, which is what we are all aiming for,” said Carter. “So use first-party data which provides trusted information on who buys your products, but also include other tools such as contextual behaviour data and predictive modelling.” He said contextual data can include location, transaction and household data, plus psychographics that describe audience traits. Predictive modelling takes data sources and employs machine learning and artificial intelligence to discover potential buyers.
To help brands identify geographical growth opportunities using this unified data approach, IRI uses a traffic light system where a red region means marketing budget is being wasted, while green is an area of high opportunity because a category is growing but the brand is underperforming. Amber can mean high opportunities for a brand but also for its competitors.
“We saw this a few years ago with coconut-based products when there were mass entries into the category,” Carter explained.
Brands already using the unified data approach include Kellogg’s, Danone, Mars and Coca-Cola, he added, pointing out that when IRI analysed all client data since 2016 it revealed a 20% increase in return on ad spend from doing so.
“This approach allows media planners, buyers and brands to focus on channel, format and audience, and other buying factors, because they are using data that is trusted and stretches beyond the reach of first-party data. It gives them more without having to infringe consumer trust.” ■