Unveiling the Path Ahead: Social Media Advertising in the Future
By Robert Webster. VP Strategy, CvE
The trade press often signs off the year with thought leader predictions, and indeed I published my own in early December. Since then, I have seen a number of other predictions which have troubled me – as I feel they send out the wrong message to the market. At the root of this is how people are approaching the challenge of customer identity in a privacy-first environment.
Many adtech predictions focused on the impact of the demise of third-party cookies in desktop and web browsers, but most predictions ignored the elephant in the room – Apple. Few CMOs I speak to have a setup that allows them to market effectively to people with iPhones, given the privacy changes the company made in 2022.
As models with older iOS’s installed phase out, this problem will get bigger. Any measurement or attribution model must consider the iPhone blind spots; behaviors on other devices and platforms are not a reliable proxy as iPhone owners are typically higher net-worth people.
While it is true that the demise of cookies and device-led ID technology makes marketing measurement harder, 2023 is not the year to ignore new ID solutions. Many vendors who claim to offer ID-free technologies claim they are the only long-term way and any ID solution is doomed and should be ignored by advertisers.
Now, in the long-long-run they may be correct but it’s too soon to rule it out, and in 2023 it is crazy to ignore technology that works with individuals’ data (with consent). Consider that cookies will still work on Chrome, syncing of emails is the primary ID method on Meta (and growing on other platforms with the use of clean rooms)… plus many new ID solutions are gaining traction.
The ID-free world is vital for certain scenarios, audiences and screens and should be a vital part of an advertiser’s arsenal. I am bullish on this space. Yet to state that the current new ID solutions won’t be a big part of 2023 is taking it far too far.
The idea that anyone can deliver an effective DR campaign without effective measurement is a fallacy. Some ID-free solutions have measurement technology, while others don’t. A CMO’s direct response budget for unmeasurable targeting should be zero.
If you can’t prove the value of something, it’s not realistic in this market to expect people to buy it. Far too much snake oil has – and continues to be – sold. Unless you can show an advertiser clearly how you expect them to measure the validity of your product (on ID/ Cookie free environment) this cannot claim to be a DR product.
Can you imagine a world where Google and Meta don’t provide conversion reporting, however spurious the data might be? We can critique these giants and their methods of attribution all we like, but at least they are clear on what they know is the value proposition.
As I said above, Apple is my focus for 2023 and any DR setup that can’t measure is, in my view, doomed to fail – especially as establishing a reliable ID in an increasingly ID-free technology environment gets harder by the day. “We can’t measure it reliably so we won’t” isn’t an answer that should wash.
This puts a significant focus on measurement. Let’s be clear about what this means. It’s a mix of email-based measurement (Meta CAPI/Clean rooms etc), modelled sales (Google, new measurement platforms, MMM 2.0) and Universal IDs being used for measurement, as well as methods such as Cohort Lift testing.
This is an area I expect to cover more in the coming months – for more on how you can improve measurement and attribution check out CvE’s Attribution Playbook.
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