With laptops closed and notebooks tucked away, IAB’ UK Nonference felt inherently ‘anti-conference’ from the moment it started. Players from across the digital advertising industry attended, the event’s jam-packed sessions — which included interactive games and pub quizzes — allowed us all to test our knowledge and explore our ecosystem’s future together. Among many lessons learned, our top takeaways revolved around the demise of third-party cookies, the importance of understanding key metrics and analytics, and the power of quality data.
The Changing Fortune of the Third-Party Cookie
At this point, we’re all familiar with browsers’ collective crackdown on third-party cookies. The cookie’s fortune has flipped, and what was once an integral part of digital, addressable advertising is quickly becoming passé, and all signs point to Identity as the future solution.
In 2019, several browsers announced plans to restrict or eliminate the use of third-party cookies: Safari, Chrome, and Firefox all chose to curtail cookies to better protect users’ privacy. Initially, this decision sent shockwaves across the industry. But now that the shock is wearing off, digital players are keen to craft strategies that will allow to thrive in this cookie-less future.
For Index, this strategy has long revolved around the power of Identity. Our aim and vision is to support addressability in the open, Trusted Web (e.g.premium publishing environments outside of the walled gardens) using first-party identifiers rather than third-party cookies. We, and several of our peers, spoke about this exact vision at Nonference, and we’re continuing to work closely with several partners to bring it to life.
As The Guardian explained in their session, the cookie is crumbling; but Identity-based solutions are here to ensure that brands’ and publishers’ marketing and monetisation strategies remain intact.
Demystifying the Bid
As it happens, monetisation was also a key theme during Index’s own Nonference session: “Demystifying the Bid”.
Through metaphorical puppies, prizes, and a friendly game of Family Feud, Rachel Crossley and Shuma Mursal — two Index Exchange analysts — walked attendees through a typical bid journey, identifying the key metrics on which buyers and sellers should focus to boost their win rates and increase their monetisation opportunities.
As our analysts explained at the event (and in a piece for IAB UK), by deepening their understanding of the stages of the bid cycle, or exploring which technical solutions can be implemented to improve bid participation, players across the industry can boost their efficiency, efficacy, and programmatic revenue.
Put differently: The better you know the roads, the faster and more efficiently you’re able to navigate the neighbourhood. The same is true in programmatic, and key metrics are here to serve as your GPS. It’s all in the numbers – you just have to know where to look.
The Magic of Data
Knowing where to look for insights is imperative as stated above, as is understanding how to unearth and use quality data. We all produce and accrue a near-endless amount of data each day, but how can digital businesses effectively and impactfully use this information with care? It’s become the question of the century.
As explained during “The Auction Arms” — ad-tech-themed pub quiz that closed out Nonference’s content — there are a few ways to ensure you’re using quality data with care. First and foremost, ensure the seven principles of data quality (as dictated by the General Data Protection Regulation) are being met. Namely: Lawfulness, fairness and transparency; Purpose limitation; Data minimisation; Accuracy; Storage limitation; Integrity and confidentiality (security); and Accountability. It’s also incredibly important to give users the potential to “opt out” of sharing their data in any given online environment, thus safeguarding consumers and their privacy.
To further protect consumers and their data, transparency and accountability should always be top-of-mind as well. As tech vendors, it’s our responsibility to build data management tools that are, accountable, and consumer-minded at their core. That said, the onus also rests on brands and publishers to vet their tech and data management partners.
Think of it this way — having a farm-to-table burger (plant-based or otherwise) at a local restaurant is far better than grabbing a Big Mac on Tottenham Court Road, right? You can practically taste the quality and care put into preparing it, and it’s always easier to enjoy a meal when you know exactly who’s put it on your plate. Similarly, your bottom line will feel the positive impact of using quality data and working with transparent partners — you just have to remember to ask what’s on the menu, so to speak.
These are just a few of the dozens of themes discussed at Nonference, all of which were delivered in a playful fashion that shook up the status quo of industry events. It made us think on our feet (quite literally) about all of the above and more: blockchains, sustainability, you name it — Nonference left no stone unturned. From our end, we’re eager to see what the future has in store when it comes to Identity, monetisation opportunities, and transparency in data quality management, and already looking forward to Nonference 2020.