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Connected TV Can Compliment FLoC in a Post-Cookie World

Tim Cross  23 March, 2021

Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts proposal to replace third-party cookies on its Chrome browser will completely change the ways advertisers target audiences (assuming it picks up mass adoption). And it’s still not clear how things like measurement and retargeting will work in the post-cookie world.

Andy Jones, head of agency development at Samsung Ads, argues that connected-TV will continue to provide a lot of what marketers are used to from cookie-based web advertising, and that connected-TV will work as a strong compliment to FLoC-based web campaigns after cookies are phased out.

The announcement of the impending removal of the third-party cookie from Google Chrome in 2022, the most commonly used internet browser – although long anticipated – has thrown some elements of the marketing industry into disarray. 

As a result, the industry is scrambling new solutions and ways to reach their audience in a targeted and measurable way. In recent weeks, Google has confirmed that it will no longer behaviourally target individuals as it starts to eliminate use of the third-party cookie. It has offered up FLoC as its alternative to third-party cookies. While general interest-based audience segments certainly give advertisers something to sink their teeth into, marketers might wish to look at wider options to truly maximise ad spend and reach their relevant audiences.

From contextual targeting to cookieless identity-based solutions, there are a myriad of options for marketers to look to, and in many ways this represents an exciting time in marketing – where old habits must be turned on their head as we find new and innovative ways to connect with the consumer. 

What’s CTV got to do with it? 

Connected TV (CTV) is one such area that marketers can explore. Two in five consumers own a next gen TV, meaning that internet-enabled advertising can take place on the entertainment hub of the home, the TV. Addressable TV, video on demand, gaming consoles and cloud gaming platforms represent a range of new advertising opportunities for marketers to learn about and explore, as part of the hunt for the most effective post-cookie methods to find audiences. 

Advertisers are looking for new, privacy-centric sources of data as the industry grapples with being both effective at reaching consumers in a relevant manner, and putting privacy at the heart of the operation. CTV environments have always been, and will continue to be, in control of their own data. They are therefore not affected in the same way by the death of the third-party cookie; they are not reliant on third-party data or cookies used for tracking and targeting in web browsers. The landscape is self-contained and the data used to target viewers is real-time and deterministic, meaning that it’s based on what audiences are watching on their devices.

As the industry moves towards contextual advertising in the wake of the behaviourally targeted third-party cookie, CTV is a regulated and brand-safe environment – with data enabling relevant contextual ads and segmentation. This eliminates the guesswork for marketers and enables them to truly follow the audiences and plan against a solid data set. Across formats, marketers now want to be able to respond in real time to behaviour changes to optimise spend – CTV’s dataset is ideal for this. 

Where digital meets traditional 

Often, traditional ‘brand building’ formats like linear TV, OOH and print ads have been seen as distinct in purpose from digital or ‘performance’ marketing. However, the reality is that the modern world is a mesh of digital and traditional – and as such, we can no longer cleanly delineate what ‘traditional’ versus ‘digital’ advertising can do. 

This is something that I notice CTV acting as a microcosm for in the industry: it combines those worlds and those goals into one environment. Marketers have the same access to performance indicators, such as bespoke audience segmentations, retargeting and measurement capabilities and first-party data sets, that they have grown accustomed to with digital. These features can work together with the traditional brand building capabilities of TV, through targeting reach, managing frequency and leveraging enhanced viewing insights. In the future, we are likely to see more blending of digital and traditional in advertising – as is apparent in the mesh of digital into our day to day lives. 

For example, an ad might be a relevant recommendation for a film or streaming app service for smart TV viewers as they search for content on the navigation screen. Or, advertisers might extend the reach of a linear TV campaign to new audiences – whether that’s within native Smart TV placements, AVOD services or other OTT opportunities.

The removal of third-party cookie should serve as an opportunity for marketers to explore new techniques and platforms available at their fingertips and to think creatively about targeting. Consumers are dispersed far and wide across the entire media landscape and to reach the right audience, marketers need to follow the data. That way, they can be informed around audience preference and pinpoint where their viewers are to cater to them.

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