It’s happening. Chrome-facilitated testing for a third-party cookieless world quietly rolled out. Does anyone care? Cookieless fatigue is real. Publishers have been vocal that business will suffer (44% per Digiday) post-cookie as their worries about targeting (53%) materialize. Meanwhile in marketing land, per eMarketer more than half (53%) of leaders will do most ad targeting, if not all, without cookies by year-end. What these various data points reveal are a good deal of missed connections or misaligned conversations.
As head of identity, I may be the most welcome and unwelcome person in the room. But let me tell you why I see an advertising landscape humming in our near future versus total ruin.
I wrote at length in The Drum about the underlying lesson in Netflix’s password-sharing crackdown. (Sorry, Dad, too much Borgen binge-watching ruined it for all of us.) For the TLDR crowd, here’s the Eli Notes version.
On the surface, Netflix’s move points toward the trend of more, more, more emails sweeten the identity pot. Authentication in email form is highly valued by marketers and publishers alike. There’s tremendous value in that direct connection with consumers. Shareholders seized on the revenue potential of kicking off those freeloaders (sorry, Dad) and converting them to a low-cost subscription model. Which worked, by the way, to the tune of 5.9 Million new subscribers in Q2. (Disney+ is following suit, no surprise.)
Both motivations are true and valuable, but they’re only half the story. To quote myself, “email can’t be the be-all and end-all of identity.” Can’t and won’t. The real and present danger Netflix faced boils down to this. Multiple people using the same login are not the same person, don’t share the same interests nor attributes and behaviors. This hodge podge of seed data translates to irrelevant targeting and wasted ad spend for just the advertisers Netflix is trying to court.
What we should talk about when we talk about identity is connectivity.
I empathize with everyone’s third-party cookie fatigue. But, our industry has a real problem to solve with Chrome deprecating cookies next year. 2024 is less than three months away for those who love countdowns.
Data connectivity — first-party, second-party, etc. — is what’s at stake. Email can’t solve for that alone. Netflix proved it publicly for everyone. Deterministic approaches are necessary and needed. Machine learning combined with signals such as IP address, geolocation, timestamps and user agent will help ensure accuracy, precision, and scale. It’s not an either / or when it comes to solving for data connectivity and portability. It’s a must-have both.
Lotame took a commanding lead to solve data connectivity and portability when it first launched Panorama ID™ in 2020. Three years later, dozens of case studies under the belt, and now email added as an additional signal, Panorama ID is among the top adopted cookieless solutions.
But our journey — and yours — is bigger than an identifier. Identity is a shorter, fancier way of talking about data connectivity and portability, which underlies everything Lotame does, from our data marketplace to our Spherical platform. “Identity” matters to our industry because it ensures marketers can reach consumers at scale, personalize messaging to deepen engagement, and activate accurate audiences cross-channel. Publishers gain from happy marketers.
With so many solutions in the market, it’s hard to differentiate between providers. (IAB Tech Lab Identity Solutions Guidance provides a good primer.) Lotame’s approach is different and better in several key areas. We marry deterministic methods and machine learning to deliver the scale and precision marketers need to reach consumers across the global open web. We accomplish this via our proprietary graph and award-winning identifier. Together, they connect and unify data touch points such as emails, cookies, customer IDs, and device IDs to present a single view of a user that marketers can activate their own customer data on or use to buy targetable audiences across publisher inventory.
When I talk about identity, when Lotame talks about identity, this is what we mean. The work is done. The solutions are ready, proven, and adopted. I encourage you to learn about our unique hybrid approach or connect with me to dive deeper. Data Empowered is more than a tagline to us; it’s our North Star and our promise to create smarter, faster, easier ways to drive growth and derive value from data. That new data future is now and it’s connected.