Leading brands, agencies and publishers have explored changes facing the advertising world post-Covid-19 and beyond at Virtual Nova: Advertising in 2021 and Beyond, a virtual event hosted by Quantcast.
Brand leaders, along with digital and data strategists, shared their insights as part of a panel discussion, moderated by Konrad Feldman, CEO and co-founder at Quantcast.
Feldman opened the event, unveiling the new Quantcast Platform – a fully integrated suite for planning and research, activation, audience measurement and optimisation for advertisers.
Feldman also discussed the state of the industry, noting the sector faced challenges post-Covid. He said the need for improved regulation around privacy and consumer consent should be top-of-mind for content producers, along with the need to champion the free and open internet.
Many panelists explored the digital sector’s post-cookie future and the technology shift underway.
Jessica Beaton, Director, APAC media and digital marketing at The Walt Disney Company, said advertisers needed to start planning sooner, rather than later: “Everyone is talking about cookies being depreciated in 2022 but we forget [that] they’ve already started being depreciated. Ultimately, we have to stop using 2022 as this deadline and realise we’re living with this right now; [we have to] assess the [current] solutions and [examine] the most promising options.”
She also believes the escape from the ‘walled gardens’ lies with Gen Z, who are driving changes in consumption: “Generation Z [are] going to change our impact. If you look at their media consumption, they are shifting away from traditional walled gardens in a lot of ways. I’m sure they will create new ones in their own time, but, at the moment, if advertisers try to go after a new generation, they [definitely] have the impetus to do it, along with the shift in measurement.”
David Jackson, CEO of Australian LifeTech, said Covid-19 had forced many brands to accelerate their thinking: “We need to make sure we’re thinking ahead of the curve [and] that we have partners that are also thinking ahead of the curve. Three years ago, probably 80 or 90 per cent of our digital marketing spend was with Facebook and Instagram. Now, that sits below 50 per cent. We’re now focused on building communities that sit around our business to ensure we have those direct relationships to help future proof us and reduce reliance on some of the big players.”
Nick Barnett, digital and data consultant, said strategists needed to start developing plans for a post-cookie world: “Most, if not, all digital platforms are using sources of third-party data that come from cookies. Unfortunately, the lifeblood of those activities is going to disappear. We need to start thinking: ‘Can I remarket effectively?’ It’s a basic tactic. As a starting point with first-party data, you need to get retargeting and suppression right. First-party data will allow you to build those remarketing pools of customers and potential customers to speak to again, and to sell to. Suppression, equally, is a way of freeing up more budget and preventing budget wastage.”
Alyson Williams, senior vice president, digital operations and strategy at Forbes, said first-party data would change the way advertisers approach and interact with consumers: “It’s really important to keep in mind why we’re getting rid of the cookie, which, at the heart of it, is because of user privacy concerns. [First]-party data and contextual solutions are moving forward [and are] going to be the safest and [most] user-friendly approach – that’s really what we’re focusing on. [It] gives companies like us the chance [to] grow our logged-in experiences and create more direct relationships with audiences – that’s going to be key for publishers moving forward. Now, we’re really trying to focus on just educating our sellers and clients on what that means for how we sell and how they buy.”
She believes finding a point of difference is key: “The nature of a walled garden is that if you’re not in it, you’re at a disadvantage. Unfortunately, I think smaller publishers are really going to feel that the most. I think [small publishers] need to focus on differentiating themselves from those walled gardens. Look at what they can offer that the walled gardens can’t. We have unique content and audiences that they don’t – how can we really capitalise on that? It’s important to diversify revenue to make it not just about digital advertising, but about events, communities and experiences.”
On the topic of measurement, Disney’s Beaton said that the depreciation of cookies will pave the way for solutions that will improve the industry in general. “We need to get to a place of universal measurement, and that will reinforce the strength of digital all around. That’s why we’re here, to be able to measure our impact and reach people in a personalised way.”
With the future of advertising centered around first-party data, panelists touched on customer-centricity as key for all players going forward. “The focus now is really about understanding how we’re going to go into data segmentation and customisation. We need to look at a better way of using data so that we can add more value to the customer,” said Marilyn Yeong, regional client vice president at ForwardPMX.
The new Quantcast Platform draws on data from more than 100M+ online destinations, operating on one of the world’s largest unique real-time data sets, delivering intelligent audience insights, advertising performance and results at scale. With consumer privacy and consent built in, the Quantcast Platform enables businesses to thrive in a privacy-first world and achieve time savings, cost efficiencies, deeper insights and outstanding business results.
Quantcast managing director for APAC, Andrew Double, said: “Quantcast has operated in the APAC region for more than six years and while our business has grown significantly, so has the digital landscape and our customers’ demands. So, we are delighted to launch a unified platform that allows advertisers and media agencies to easily and fully plan and execute campaigns. As third-party cookies start to disappear, Quantcast is in a unique position with our live, real-time data to help publishers and advertisers understand their audiences better. Now our advertiser and agency partners have more comprehensive ways to work with Quantcast and future proof their business in the new digital era.”