Who Needs Privacy-Invasive Cookies? IDR Is a Sweeter Solution, Says Canvas Worldwide's Lin-Ortiz

By Canvas Worldwide InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Who Needs Privacy-Invasive Cookies? IDR Is a Sweeter Solution, Says Canvas Worldwide's Lin-Ortiz

Marketers have a huge conundrum on their hands. Privacy is now a priority for companies underpinning the online ad marketplace, and third-party cookies that don't provide explicit user consent are on the way out. So how does one deliver the right message to the right consumer? The answer is identity resolution -- the ability to create a single consumer profile across devices -- said Canvas Worldwide Vice President of Measurement Strategy Esther Lin-Ortiz.

That may sound counter to the idea of consumer privacy, but ID resolution (IDR) doesn't use the kind of identifying information that consumers are really concerned about (names, e-mail addresses, bank info). Consumer identities are combined into different groups based on the types of people marketers are trying to reach. "By the time my info gets to marketers it's just 'Audience A,'" Lin-Ortiz said. "Marketers can take that insight and serve the audience with relevant messaging at the right time."

Embracing this cookie-less future is imperative. Apple has already prohibited third-party cookies that don't ask for user consent, and Google will no longer support third-party cookies after 2023. This makes 2022 a crucial transition year for marketers, Lin-Ortiz noted.

Lin-Ortiz's domain is auto, which offers perhaps the clearest example of how IDR can provide not just privacy compliance but also better performance marketing.

The term performance marketing stands in contrast to the more general concept of brand marketing. While brand marketing is an upper-sales-funnel activity, engendering positive emotions towards a brand, performance marketing is far more targeted. If a marketer is interested in generating sales for a specific product -- like getting someone to buy a particular vehicle -- performance marketing is the proper tool to use.

Previously, marketers were able to determine who was interested in purchasing a car through cookies, little packets of data that keep track of what people look at on the internet. Cookies, though, can not only seem extremely invasive from a privacy standpoint, they also don't do a great job at pinpointing consumers who are ready to buy a car.

"Let's say I go look at a car company's website and start playing around with their 'design your vehicle' feature," Lin-Ortiz said. "The cookie tells an advertiser that I'm ready to buy a car. But I'm not. Maybe I still have a year left on my lease, and I just like looking at cars." Cookies are good at telling you what a person is doing on the internet, but they are less reliable as pure indicators of purchase intent. IDR, on the other hand, takes data from a plethora of other sources, anonymizes that information and pools it with similar users so that marketers like Lin-Ortiz can actually reach the people who are receptive to their messaging.

Lin-Ortiz likens the online marketing situation to America's transportation infrastructure woes. Just as America has seen several high-profile bridges collapse, so too does the internet need to replace some proverbial bridges: cookies. The more anonymized IDR system, which can indicate business outcomes, will be a huge win for marketers and consumers. "People are only going to get more concerned with privacy," Lin-Ortiz said. "IDR is how brands can meet those needs."

Perhaps the biggest concern marketers have with IDR right now is expense. It requires quite a bit of accurate measurement. Particularly when marketers are focused on business outcomes, that costs quite a bit. Another pitfall: some measurement vendors also play in the media-buying space. For Lin-Ortiz, that's akin to grading one's own homework.

None of this, she adds, is reason to stay away from IDR solutions completely. "It will become essential in every marketers toolbox," she said. Marketers don't need to panic at the cookie-pocalypse. Instead, they should view it as an opportunity to win consumer trust while increasing return on marketing spend.

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