Snack on This: What’s New in Digital Advertising

It’s safe to say over the last few months significant changes have drastically impacted the course of advertising. Let’s unpack this topic in small, snackable bits.

Beef Between Facebook and Apple

Apple recently released an iOS update for its products that require app developers to ask for permission to track a users’ behavior across Apple products. This is big news for Facebook, since the tech company relies on data for practically all its decisions and profit. Facebook was involved in a major data scandal in 2018, where Cambridge Analytica, a political-research firm, used a third-party app through Facebook to use and secretly kept data on 50 million Facebook users without their permission.

Facebook’s advertising is what drives the platform’s revenue. Without the tracking they’ve relied on for decades, Facebook may be in big trouble if people opt-out to be tracked and retargeted.

Why does this matter? It may affect the growth and advertising revenue for platforms like Facebook.

What does it mean for advertisers? It may be even harder to reach your audiences online if they’ve opted out of tracking.

Here’s a simple example of what this update looks like from Social Media Examiner:

“A user sees that their Facebook friend shared a link to your clothing store on their feed. The user, who denied Facebook permission to track them, clicks the link. Neither your store nor Facebook will have any knowledge of what the user looks at, clicks, or buys on the site. This is also the case on websites and apps that are publishers in Facebook Audience Network.”

Facebook specifically has code embedded in millions of apps to collect data to target audiences wherever it wants — this cuts that off.

Google’s Cookie Sweet Tooth is Satisfied

After years of snacking on cookies, Google announced their cookies are crumbling––by 2022, third-party cookies will be phased out with Google. Cookies allow third-party sites to track users across the web in order to be retargeted for relevant products and services through digital advertising.

Google doesn’t think this is the death of digital advertising as we know it, just a more streamlined approach to targeting users.

Why does this matter? Advertisers and users will have a very different relationship moving forward. It will be more intentional––you will no longer see an Amazon product in your cart appear on as a banner ad while you’re reading your morning news feed.

What does it mean for advertisers? Advertisers will need to look inward, define the exact audiences they are trying to target, and reinvest time into building more specific digital ad strategies that get to audiences directly.

Create New Snackable Moments

Advertisers will need to shift to new, innovative ways to reach their audiences at the right moments. By being more calculated and thoughtful about audience’s wants, needs, and challenges, advertisers will still be able to hit their targets with the right message at the right time. 

Here are a few ways that may happen:

  • A bigger shift to collecting and using first-party data. First-party data is the information you collect directly from your audience, such as demographics,  behavior patterns, actions, or interests. While it can be tedious and often tricky to collect, it is the most valuable kind. Falling back on third-party data was easier for advertisers in the past, but third-party data doesn’t promise that your message will resonate. First-party data does. 
  • Focus on less invasive marketing. Using cookies and third-party tracking was almost like the easy way to market to potential audiences––it was basically a workaround to really invest time digging into audiences. And the reason why consumers didn’t like it is because they didn’t opt-in to receive that information––no surprise there. Even as a marketer, I don’t want to be tracked. Why? I want to have a relationship with the brand and be selective about my purchasing power, rather than have an ad tell me what I ‘need’ (I normally don’t need it.) With personalization, direct outreach, and other tactics, advertisers will need to deliver the value of the product or service to the most relevant audience. 
  • Implement more people-based targeting. Retarget based on getting to know a specific person, rather than a device. This works by onboarding past customers or clients into a database, collecting first-party data. Having all the information live in your database will serve you well, because when it’s time to work with an advertiser that implements this kind of targeting, it will match that first-party data to browsing habits, social logins, and device IDs.What this does is ensure we’re targeting the right people at the right time, and not wasting advertising dollars on showing an ad to someone who browsed a product online but then bought it in-store. This data would show the person bought the product in-store under the e-mail collected in your first-party database and wouldn’t serve the ad. It’s about understanding people and behaviors, rather than making an educated guess through the use of cookies. 

Wrapping It All Up

What all this means is advertisers have their work cut out for them as these new changes in the digital landscape phase-out. What it doesn’t mean is digital advertising is dead.

Digital media evolves faster than any of us can keep up, and this is yet another step in the right direction to a more authentic, transparent, and real digital experience for all.

These privacy regulations set in place are there to protect us as individual users. But, what people are neglecting to see is these regulations are there to create an opportunity for big organizations. It’s a chance to cut out the noise, and get thoughtful about how to reach the right audiences who have real interest in your brand.

The relationship between a brand and its audience is about to change when it comes to advertising. Stronger relationships are bound to come out of this new advertising age, leading to a higher likelihood of retainer clients, repeat customers, engaged users, and advertising that truly solves a challenge for a user.

Jenna Lally's headshot

Jenna Lally

As Marketing Strategist, Jenna crafts customized digital marketing strategies and cross-channel content to connect with diverse audiences.

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