Shifting to a global mindset, agencies are preparing for a cookieless world

Howard Luks, Chief Revenue Officer, Eyeota

In the face of third-party cookie deprecation and the loss of other once-relied-upon identifiers, leading agencies are throwing out the old marketing and advertising playbook and trying to wrap their minds around what audience understanding, targeting and measurement look like in a privacy-first world. 

There’s no clear roadmap for what lies ahead, but that doesn’t mean agencies are flying blind. While certain realities of a cookieless world have yet to take shape, there are approaches that global leaders have already started to master as they navigate the identity landscape of the future and chart their — and their clients’ — courses. 

The first step is adopting a global mindset.  

Global agencies need to have global conversations

Many agencies’ current data practices are fragmented across geographies due to varying privacy regulations and frameworks and legacy fragmentation among teams and systems. As business evolves in increasingly global directions, fragmentation has long posed challenges. However, by reconfiguring data practices for the future, global agency leaders have a chance to ensure that they continue to deliver on audience targeting needs while helping their clients sustainably maintain audience data strategies. 

Agencies must build go-forward strategies for connecting the dots on audience understanding across platforms, devices and channels worldwide. The problem is that global conversation for many agencies starts in the U.S., where current data practices don’t translate to much of the rest of the world. For example, the U.S. playbook tends to be tied to deterministic identifiers, and many U.S.-focused companies are evaluating cookieless strategies that are still beholden to some sort of PII. On a global level, that’s not a viable option. 

Go-forward strategies need to rebalance the deterministic-probabilistic scales

Global agencies and holding companies can’t afford to let a single deterministic mindset guide their global data operations. And when it comes to the U.S., with its emphasis on deterministic targeting, the strategy has become an outlier. Furthermore, many deterministic practices in the U.S. are about to become obsolete under forthcoming regulation and policy changes. The bottom line is that brands have long been hindered in growing their audiences to the fullest extent by overemphasizing deterministic data. 

While deterministic approaches are a valuable component of a comprehensive marketing program, and data on known customers must absolutely be leveraged when it comes to loyalty and retention marketing, not to mention audience modeling, taken on its own, a PII-reliant deterministic data approach will only go so far in the U.S. in the coming years — and not very far globally. 

To develop a truly global data approach, agencies must set their sights on an interoperable, ID-agnostic path that balances a deterministic one-to-one understanding with the need to scale that audience insight and reach new segments via probabilistic techniques. In this balance, marketing teams can ensure that their clients are powering robust, personalized marketing programs while still expanding their customer bases via privacy-safe audience modeling and targeting efforts. 

Most importantly, U.S. agency leaders must vet solutions and approaches with their international counterparts to understand their strengths and limitations. Likewise, it would behoove all executives with the word data in their titles to compare notes with their executive counterparts — ones with the word trading in their titles. Only then can agency leaders be assured that their paths forward will track to the horizon rather than sending them right back where they started.  

Sponsored By: Eyeota

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