March 18th, 2022

Advertising Today is Off-Kilter. Why is This Welcome News?


Advertising is in the throes of major challenges. Between privacy regulations, ID deprecation, and the growing influence of walled gardens on what customer data can and cannot be shared, marketers are scrambling for solutions. “What’s happening is pretty seismic,” said Joanna O'Connell, VP, Principal Analyst at Forrester, during her keynote address at the 2021 Brave New Worlds summit. But she also made it clear that this was the perfect opportunity for marketers to take a step back from their data hoarding impulses, and refocus their energies on marketing to people, not cookies or devices.

"This is not a find-replace moment"

“This is not a find-replace moment,” she pointed out, referring to the loss of third-party cookies and other device identifiers that will greatly affect digital marketing and digital advertising. “We need to rethink how we collect consumer data, how we use it, how we explain how we use it, and how we develop and manage long-term relationships with customers.” Despite today’s challenges, O’Connell has a very positive outlook on the future of advertising, and we invite you to check out her full presentation.

Among many other insights, you’ll learn that:

  • You shouldn't just chase revenue - The advertising industry has always been a balancing act between advertisers, publishers, and consumers, but that balance has gone progressively off-kilter over the past 20 years, “mostly to the detriment of consumers.” Too many advertisers use antiquated variables (like age and gender) that “just aren’t rich enough to represent today’s consumers.” Moreover, O'Connell said, too many publishers are “chasing revenue” and inserting ads everywhere at the expense of the consumer experience. “Consumers don’t see or understand the value exchange,” she said, adding that, as a whole, we “rely too heavily on the availability of data and technology over thoughtful consumer-centric strategies.”
  • You need to create much closer connections with customers - Do you truly know your customers? The conventional wisdom is that people hate advertising, but research from Forrester shows that 40% of consumers find ads helpful, 54% find them a fair trade for free content, and 37% are willing to share personal information to get a more personalized experience and relevant ads from apps and websites. Marketers should be looking for ways to connect more intimately with willing consumers, and target the others in ways that don’t alienate them. Forrester looks at the world of addressability as a pyramid where first-party authenticated audiences sits at the top, approaches like cohorts or segments are in the middle, and contextual targeting forms the base. For O’Connell, today’s marketers need to use the full pyramid to be successful.

The forthcoming changes to the future of advertising that O’Connell spoke about are indeed seismic, but they’re not insurmountable. At Neustar, we have the tools and know-how to help you transition to a more customer-centric world, starting today. Please get in touch and we’ll help you get underway.

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