In this exclusive Q&A, Søren H. Dinesen, CEO of Digiseg, discusses the key challenges that privacy changes pose to marketing, how measurement has evolved as a result, and why he is optimistic about the cookieless era.
What are the biggest challenges posed by the deprecation of third-party cookies and restrictions on one-to-one marketing?
I see it as a real paradigm shift. One-to-one marketing will die and hopefully that will leave room for new techniques to grow. We just have to get used to it as an industry. It's a learning curve, but it has very different implications for all of us.
For advertisers, it's painful, but also an opportunity – a paradigm shift always brings something good. Through cookieless solutions (via data providers), you can now access super cheap non-addressable inventory. You can measure what you target and you can also target what you measure, which is a real game-changer.
It's a completely different story for publishers, for whom deprecation is more a "life or death" scenario. It really hurts their monetisation efforts: when you have no consent, you cannot place a cookie, and often that leads to that ad space being unsold. However, if the publishers get it right, then it's also a huge opportunity to retake control. They can build very valuable first-party data that can be used in solidified audiences. On the measurement side as well, new techniques open up for publishers to measure and report on everything from audience segments, to context, to frequency.
How has measurement of digital advertising evolved?
I would question whether traditional measurement has evolved at all. It's largely the same as it was in 1955. It's panel based. It's 1% of the population that is mapped deterministically, and then is extrapolated through third-party cookies. It never really allowed you to measure and target in the same dataset, simply because the numbers were too small and it was deterministically built. It was always in hindsight and impossible to replicate in future campaigns. You were always looking into the rear-view mirror. All of this has changed now thanks to new measurement techniques coming up with full reach, which allows for strategies that look forward. There's a whole new world out there for measurement.
What are the most significant challenges to measuring digital campaigns, and how do cookieless solutions overcome these?
I would say that the main challenge is to recognise enough ad impressions. In cookieless measurement systems, you have data on approximately 70% of all impressions, compared to the 1% on the old school panels. The publisher or advertiser gets much faster results. Two days into the campaign, you achieve statistical significance. Based on this significance that early on in the campaign, you can act on it and you can change the audience or setting of the campaign if you don't like what you see, because the budget is not spent yet. It gives you a strategic advantage. On top of that, the cost is half that of a panel-based measurement report. It's cheaper, it's better, and it's more actionable in every way.
What options do companies that don’t have access to large amounts of one-to-one data have when it comes to both targeting and measurement?
There are great alternatives. The new cookie- and ID-free world is dominated by cohorts, like Digiseg and other players in this field, and also contextual methods. Contextual is less effective for audience measurement because it measures the context and not the user, and all users that visit a website’s homepage have the same contextual characteristics. Cohorts, for instance where household demographics are used, deliver the opposite – they measure the user, not the content. Targeting-wise, contextual and cohorts work really well together. They allow you to segment both the content and the user.
Is it possible for companies to use the same data to both target consumers and to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns? Does this not pose a conflict of interest?
In the old world of panels and third-party cookies: yes, it's a conflict of interest. It's like grading your own homework. But for companies like Digiseg, it's a feature to measure and target using the same data. Why is that? The data is not personal and it covers all uses. That means that advertisers can measure the audience profile on, for instance, a web page and uplift that audience profile to a custom audience in the campaign. A 40% uplift on a point of interest directly translates to a 40% uplift of a funnel. It's the same data that you use in both cases, and it covers the entire market. That also means that it covers iOS, Safari, incognito mode in Chrome, CTV, audio, in-game, the whole enchilada. It's also really important to remember that it's cookie-free and ID-free, and that it is not deterministic. You could even say that it's only possible because it is not deterministic.
Do advertisers have reason to be optimistic about targeting and measurement changes being made to the ecosystem?
Hell yeah. Forget about the old world. We should embrace change and everybody should join the privacy revolution. Consumers deserve it and there are real gains to be had there. Already there are so many advertisers and publishers that are killing it out there in the cookie-free world. They're taking advantage of new targeting and measurement techniques, in combination with very low prices on cookieless inventory. It is a game changer. The paradigm shift is now – it has probably already happened.