Re-modelling the commercial internet: how will brands and media owners navigate through such radical change?

Tracking cookies underpin the free internet model... so what happens once they’re gone? Explore the trends and upcoming solutions that signal a major overhaul of online marketing.
17 January 2022
Remodelling the commercial internet
Jane Ostler

Global Head of Media, Insights Division

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The following article is contained within Media Trends and Predictions 2022, which examines key themes for the media industry this year.

The delay to the deprecation of third-party tracking cookies might have bought everyone some time, but no one can rest easy; there’s a lot to do, and the mode of operation over the next year must be to test, learn and plan.

For marketers – and particularly those already taking more direct control of their data, planning and buying operations – it means going much deeper than they’re perhaps used to, and understanding what’s really going on under the hood, both at the front end where targeting is activated, and in their campaign effectiveness measurement. Without adequate preparation, brands risk having ill-thought-out targeting strategies and – with weak information back from those targeted – prohibiting their understanding of cross-publisher campaign effectiveness.

The case for a hybrid model

At Kantar, we believe the most powerful approach is holistic: gaining an understanding of existing and potential customers by blending both first and third-party data, and doing so under a strict regime of privacy compliance.

Going it alone with only first-party data, while relying on proxies to measure effectiveness, would be a mistake.

And for the sake of consistency and reliability in understanding behaviours and attitudes, sources also need to be verifiable and properly understood in context. One piece of behavioural data mixed with some other data points does not necessarily make a trend that an entire campaign strategy can be based on.

A serious brand will deploy much more – such as socio-economic data, past purchase behaviour data, attitudes about other brands and so on.

So as cookies are deprecated, and advertisers re-examine their data strategies as a consequence, it’s important to accommodate these considerations, or risk giving the upper hand to a more data-savvy competitor.

Effectiveness measurement

For several years now, alongside industry partners, Kantar has been testing, learning and making plans of our own. The result is Project Moonshot – the advertising industry’s most advanced independent platform for measuring digital advertising effectiveness without the use of cookies.

As part of this, we have undertaken technical solutions to tackle cookieless ad exposure, making it privacy compliant, fully consented, validated and reliable.

Working with a wide variety of publishers, we can match audiences to our panels. And that means that we can continue to do what we do – asking people questions about their attitudes to measure the brand impact of a campaign.

In 2021, Project Moonshot helped recalibrate Kantar’s Brand Lift Insights, ensuring that advertisers can independently measure ad campaign performance through a range of publishers including YouTube. This year, we will continue to extend partnerships to other publishers, platforms and adtech vendors.

In the meantime, marketers should lean on their research and media agencies – we’ve all been working on the cookie problem for some time – and discuss the many hygiene factors that privacy compliance entails and understand the process of direct integrations better.

After all, a privacy-first internet demands interrogation of the myriad of players in the advertising value chain.

Gaining a deep understanding now – while there is still time to prepare – will not only ensure good standing when cookies are finally retired, but as more media channels are digitised, marketers will be able to utilise them fully, knowing they do so with the most sophisticated, compliant and future-proof data strategy already in place.

Want to find out more about the trends that will impact your business in 2022? Download the Media Trends and Predictions 2022 here. 

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Media Trends & Predictions
Media Trends and Predictions 2021
10 trends that will impact media and communications in 2021
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