PMG Digital Made for Humans

Top Takeaways from PMG's Future-Proofing & Consumer Privacy Panel

September 30, 2022 | 3 min read

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Abby Long

Abby is PMG’s senior managing editor, where she leads the company’s editorial program and manages the PMG Blog and Insights Hub. As a writer, editor, and marketing communications strategist with nearly a decade of experience, Abby's work in showcasing PMG’s unique expertise through POVs, research reports, and thought leadership regularly informs business strategy and media investments for some of the most iconic brands in the world. Named among the AAF Dallas 32 Under 32, her expertise in advertising, media strategy, and consumer trends has been featured in Ad Age, Business Insider, and Digiday.

PMG recently hosted our first-ever Future-Proofing Panel, bringing together industry experts and senior leaders from across media and technology partners in our Dallas office for a two-hour discussion on future-proofing and consumer privacy.

The conversation offered a unique perspective on expectations around the future of the industry and how advertisers can continue to leverage programmatic to deliver meaningful business impact. Panelists included leaders from Bidtellect, Teads, Quantcast, Yahoo, and The Trade Desk, with PMG’s Abby Bollinger moderating the discussion. 

The conversation kicked off with an overview of the latest research on personalization expectations and consumer privacy from Integral Ad Science (IAS) and eMarketer.

According to IAS, nine out of ten consumers say they know their data is collected for advertising purposes and are more vigilant than ever about maintaining their online data and privacy. In parallel, personalization expectations are increasing year-over-year, as reported by eMarketer, posing a unique challenge for advertisers as they seek to improve personalization amid signal loss across platforms. 

Panelists discussed that while personalization is desired by consumers, many still don’t understand the data collection required to achieve it, noting that consumers need further education. Despite the delay of Google Chrome’s third-party cookie deprecation until 2024, it remains extremely important to layer in cookieless, privacy-conscious solutions across media programs.

Most importantly, advertisers must move quickly and leverage these solutions to reach consumers across Firefox and Safari web browsers, which have already fully deprecated third-party cookies. 

Panelists warned that advertisers should be careful not to over-utilize the word “testing” in regard to opting into cookieless solutions. Instead, these opportunities should be viewed as a part of a “learning agenda” versus a “testing roadmap.” While it’s important to develop benchmarks, and even proxies, around cookieless environments and solutions, it’s also important to understand that performance between cookie-based and cookieless opportunities will differ and can't be compared 1-to-1.

According to IAS, nine out of ten consumers say they know their data is collected for advertising purposes and are more vigilant than ever about maintaining their online data and privacy.

For advertisers, learning agendas will instead help define the benchmarks necessary for operating in a more privacy-conscious digital industry versus trying to uncover better performance. One of the most interesting highlights from the event came from Bidtellect Vice President of Product Arthur Hainline on the relationship between privacy, supply path optimization, and sustainability.

As more consumers prefer to support brands that share their same values, sustainability is of increasing importance across digital media. As a result, sustainability is likely to be the next industry challenge that advertisers should prepare for, as increasing transparency across all areas of the business remains of the utmost importance. 

For advertisers, learning agendas will instead help define the benchmarks necessary for operating in a more privacy-conscious digital industry versus trying to uncover better performance.

During the Q/A portion, panelists were asked how advertisers should balance investments in new cookieless solutions amid economic volatility, to which panelist Scott Kelliher from Quantcast pointed out that now is the best time, as early entrants will be able to capitalize on cost efficiencies and a generally “lower cost of learning.”

While conversation during the event spanned various topics, overarching themes were the importance of interoperability for scale; increasing sophistication and consistency for the inclusion of contextual signals; and the trade-off between price and precision that advertisers will only continue to face as the third-party cookie crumbles.

  • Opt for “learning agendas” rather than “testing”: Omit testing from the vocabulary used to describe privacy-first digital programs, and instead, look to define “learning agendas” centered on future-proofed and cookieless solutions. Similarly, avoid directly comparing the performance of traditional cookie-based and new cookieless solutions, but rather see these privacy-conscious efforts as learning opportunities for setting new benchmarks. 

  • Prepare for tomorrow while capitalizing on today’s opportunities: Prepare for future cookie deprecation, but also capitalize on today’s opportunities. With so much economic volatility, utilizing both existing cookie-based and future-proofed cookieless solutions serves as a low-cost learning opportunity.

  • Interoperability will be critical to the success of any cookieless solution: The scalability of cookieless solutions will be limited without interoperability across platforms and partners, as the solutions necessary to maintain consumer privacy require consistency and well-defined operational guardrails. Otherwise, implementing cookieless solutions may look similar to following state-by-state privacy legislation with a patchwork of procedures and varying digital experiences for consumers.

  • Contextual signals will only improve with continued sophistication: Advertisers must continue to monitor the evolution of contextual signals, as their viability will only improve with continued sophistication.

  • Price versus precision: A trade-off between price and precision will only amplify in the privacy-conscious digital industry. Advertisers will need to understand that the more precise their targeting becomes, the more expensive media will cost. The results of strategies should be in line with this price. 

"PMG is committed to being ahead of market trends so we can fully understand the direction the industry is going, and in doing so, our teams are committed to partnering with our brands to better navigate industry shifts," said Justin Scarborough, head of programmatic at PMG. "Through our partnerships with industry leaders such as Quantcast, Yahoo, and The Trade Desk, among others, we’re on the front lines of an unpredictable evolution, and we’re thankful to have hosted our panelists and to have gained considerable value from every perspective they have to offer.”