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Advertising relevance in a post-cookie world

21st July  |  
4 minutes

What is the difference between effective digital marketing and SPAM? The answer is simple: advertising relevance. The greater the relevance in advertising the more likely it is to resonate with people, to add value to their lives, and therefore to be a welcome part of the digital experience. However, as we shall see, delivering ad relevance at scale is increasingly challenging given the complexities of the modern digital ID landscape.  

What is ad relevance? 

Put simply, ad relevance is how closely an advertisement matches the interests of the consumers that see it online at any given time and context. For search advertisements, that definition can be refined further to mean how closely an advertisement matches the search terms used by an internet user. For display ads, relevance reflects whether the ad is displayed on a site that a web user has visited before. For ads on social media platforms or mobile apps, relevance can also relate to whether an advertisement reflects a user’s activity or the information they shared on signing up. But broadly speaking, across all forms of digital advertising, relevance in advertising essentially comes down to the extent to which that advertisement delivers the right message, to the right person, and at the right time. 

Why is advertising relevance under threat? 

The main tools for building and delivering advertising relevance – third-party cookies and Mobile Device IDs – are being withdrawn. These tracking IDs allow advertisers to map the sites and apps people use, which allows them to build up a profile of those users and reach them with the right message at the right time and at the right place. The problem is that such targeting breaches the privacy of web users, something that is no longer acceptable to consumers and regulators alike.  

As cookies and MAIDs are withdrawn, a new range of potential solutions are emerging to ensure effective audience engagement, measurement, and attribution – the three cornerstones of ad relevance. These include innovations such as Google Topics, first-party cookies, and authenticated IDs. One challenge is that many of these solutions cannot provide scale because they are largely restricted to individual sites and services (Google Topics will provide scale, but only within its own walled garden – it will not reach across the open web). What’s needed is a new approach that can unify IDs and provide a complete picture of web users across both the authenticated and anonymous portions of the internet.  

How to improve ad relevance 

The Novatiq Fusion platform is one such solution; an all-in-one platform that combines multiple ID solutions for seamless identity resolution and audience activation. The platform creates pseudonymised, privacy-first IDs, known as Zenith IDs from publisher and brands’ first-party intelligence that is shared with telco partners for verification. The platform also enables brands and agencies to safely activate audiences by using a second ID, called the Hyper ID. This ID means advertisers can reach and engage the most precise audiences across martech systems. 

The Fusion platform therefore enables brands and agencies to reach real audiences, in real-time and at scale using verified deterministic data. Significantly, advertisers only reach people verified and matched to ad requests behind the telco firewall to achieve the broadest reach. Considering that match rates with third-party cookies are just 40-60%, the alternative Fusion ID solution promises to deliver ad relevance on a scale not yet achieved in digital marketing. What’s more, the Fusion ID has been developed so that it will be able to deliver a complete range of measurement tools to provide the performance intelligence marketers require. 

Enabling Advertising as a Service 

Consumers want personalised, hyper-relevant advertisements. According to one recent survey, 58% of consumers in the UK and US feel positively about receiving a hyper-personalised online ad. Yet it is clear that ad relevance must now work hand-in-hand with privacy. The martech ecosystem is full of innovation and a broad variety of ID systems are emerging that promise to do just that. However, for brands to be able to continue to ensure ad relevance at scale, these IDs need to be interoperable. Fusion is built on that basis. 

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