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This is What We Learned at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview

Key executives from the marketing, media and advertising world brought their collective expertise to a single location last week

AdExchanger’s Industry Preview took place in New York City and saw the current and next wave of industry leaders forecast the developments, trends and innovation that will shape the industry in 2020 and beyond.

Infutor met with and attended sessions alongside 800-plus top executives from the world’s largest brands, media agencies, publishers and technology providers. Discussions were focused on changing methods and technologies that are reshaping data-driven marketing and advertising. Among the most prevalent topics included schooling marketers on Gen-Z, the Adtech ecosystem, as well as the evolution of the data management platform (DMP).

However, a few topics in particular seemed to dominate presentations and conversations. Infutor was on hand for Industry Preview, and team members shared their key takeaways from the conference.

What we learned at AdExchanger’s Industry Preview 2020

Cookies will be off the menu: The third-party cookie will soon be cooked—at least on Google’s Chrome, which just happens to be the most popular browser in the U.S. The news shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Infutor CEO Gary Walter wrote recently. But in the past few weeks, we’ve learned that there’s a more specific end date on the calendar. Google has given a roughly two-year warning on the expiration of cookies within the Chrome browser.

Google’s inevitable move no doubt brings big change to digital advertising. But what exactly will that change be? Will it be a larger focus on Mobile Ad IDs (MAIDs) and maybe a not-yet-known digital tracking solution? Whatever the future holds, Google’s two-year runway announcement officially has marketers on notice.

“The third-party cookie came up in almost every single session I was in. There seems to be a huge range of approaches that organizations are taking to this new reality. And that can range anywhere from keeping their head in the sand to dramatically changing their business model. But nearly every marketer is going to feel the impact of Google’s move in one way or another.” – Cory Davis, Director of Partnership Development

A new channel for TV advertisers: While many providers offer ways to pay premium for a commercial-free experience, there is still an obvious need for ads in over-the-top (OTT) services. Many consumers are open to viewing ads. With self-serve platforms, it’s becoming simpler for companies to deliver addressable ads that let media buyers present different ads to different households that are watching the same content.

However, there are still challenges for OTT marketers. Personalized messaging has proven successful on mobile devices as they’re primarily used by one person. And consumers have long been conditioned with ad targeting on desktop computers. However, OTT is a new frontier, and consumers may be in for a shock when served personalized ads. Adding to the difficulty is that it’s never clear to advertisers which member of a family is watching at a given time, making a 1-to-1 experience more challenging and potentially off-putting with irrelevant ads.

“Marketers need to make sure they have actionable intelligence, but also utilize that intelligence without becoming too invasive or over-personalized. With over-the-top services, marketers must appreciate that one-to-one messaging can bring about a perceived intrusion. Many consumers have become accustomed and desensitized to personalization on a single-user device like a smartphone or through desktop browsers. But it’s a new experience for OTT viewers at the household level, a typically shared device and something that marketers must cautiously navigate in order to avoid turning off consumers.” – Jason Ford, Vice President of Partnership Development

The identity secret is out: Industry veterans have long understood the power of the identity graph, which is a central data repository that comprises all consumer touchpoint data along with data from other, disparate sources. A fully-realized identity graph provides a linked, multidimensional view of each consumer through their life journey, so marketers can provide the relevant messaging at the right time.

But while the identity graph isn’t a new concept, it’s becoming more widely accepted as a necessity in order to keep up with the sheer volume of consumer data signals. What had previously been the secret sauce for brands is now making its way into the mainstream.

“There wasn’t a single conversation where we had to discuss the definition behind the identity graph. The discussions have moved toward which components of identity actually make up the graph. The term has become ubiquitous and that was evident at Industry Preview. More and more brands are recognizing the power of an identity graph and understand the value of unified data.” – Zora Senat, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships

The evolving tale of retail: Retailers face constant challenges. Direct to consumer (D2C) companies continue to shake up the scene, leading larger retail chains to invest more in their online presence and utilize underperforming physical locations as fulfillment centers. However, this isn’t an option for smaller boutiques, and it brings the need to find alternative distribution strategies and create more engaging, personalized marketing to remain competitive.

Many of these retailers have begun to turn to consumer identity data, doubling down on creating the best customer experiences in order to maximize customer retention and lifetime value.

“In order to compete, these smaller specialty retailers, and most retailers in general, have to truly understand who the people are that are coming to their store, using their site and engaging with in any way — linking both offline and online — to better connect with them. Personalization is the way to do that. Updating your CRM is the way to do that. Re-engaging people that you have had past relationships… Each of these can help make a difference for retailers’ whose backs are against the wall.” – Eric Gastevich, Director of Strategic Partnerships

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