Putting Power Back in the Hands of Advertisers This Year

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The “new year, new me” adage is a familiar one, but it speaks quite accurately to the state of advertising going into 2022. For the last few years, the industry has been consumed by a volley of industry-changing privacy protections from tech giants and governments. Following further economic upheaval brought on by the pandemic, advertisers have found their footing and become empowered with first-party data and a drive for better business outcomes, giving rise to a long overdue reckoning of media measurement and quest for parity with walled gardens. 

The time is ripe for advertisers to take control of their data to make more powerful connections with consumers while improving transparency, engagement, and ROI. As advertising decision makers demand more, the ecosystem is ready to challenge outdated approaches to data and attribution, a groundswell that is certain to achieve positive outcomes in the year to come. 

The decentralization of first-party data will ensure advertisers are no longer subjugated to Big Tech 

The pandemic economy put an absolute premium on first-party data. Fortuitously, walled gardens’ stranglehold on addressable and measurable data is spurring retribution as their “holier than thou” approach to privacy is exposed for what it really is: a power grab that’s allowed them to hoard all the data. This worst-kept secret in advertising is finally becoming obvious to non-advertisers as Capitol Hill continues to roll out inquiries.

Even if Congress is not ready to regulate Big Tech, brands have already started taking the lead, realizing they need to stop handing their data over for free. This decentralization of first-party data will ensure that advertisers are no longer at the mercy of the giants.  

It’s time to cut the ties binding the customer journey to Big Tech. What’s needed is greater transparency, a better experience, and significantly improved efficiency in order for brands, agencies, and their sell-side partners to meet the increasingly complex realities of today’s ecosystem.  

Advertisers will stop limiting attribution models to one environment and start capturing multiple media impressions 

Now more in control of their data, advertisers can and should ask more pointed questions about attribution and measurement. The first-touch, last-touch, and multi-touch attribution models of the digital world historically have been limited by being in the same environment. In actuality, there are multiple media impressions and channels that can influence a consumer across digital, broadcast, radio, audio, interactive TV, gaming, and more.

Moving forward, advertisers should seek universal offerings from trusted sources that ensure cross-media attribution without having to give away valuable customer journey data to Big Tech. This way, attribution represents the reality of the consumer, not the agenda of the media seller.   

Attribution models that will enable advertisers to succeed today, and in the future, will be unbiased, deliver in real-time, easily integrate with other functionalities such as ad verification, and be able to measure all media experiences at scale, online or offline.  

Media buyers will gain the confidence to demand frequency and reach controls across all TV and video channels  

New streaming platforms and the rise of OTT advertising are complicating the power dynamic between brands and CTV publishers. The stage is finally set for the measurement and accountability of large-screen video advertising to mature and no longer be held to the standards of programmatic banner ads on websites or games. TV platforms should accept the fact that advertisers will (and should) demand delivery compliance of CTV ads the same way they do of linear TV ads.

This will give advertisers and media buyers the confidence to demand frequency capping and recency controls, and not just within CTV and linear TV, but across video advertising collectively. The benefits of this cross-channel compliance extend to end users also. When viewers are no longer subjected to repeating ads or impression overload, this important brand-consumer meeting point is vastly improved.  

With new systems that can detect both linear and CTV/OTT ad delivery in real-time, advertiser delivery rules can be enforced as ads are detected and provide instant alerts — or even initiate suppression commands — to ad servers. With streaming platform and smart TV manufacturer participation, all members of the ecosystem benefit and weaken the exclusivity of walled gardens. 

Big Tech’s days of claiming ownership over advertiser and consumer data are over. Entering a new year, advertisers are ready to forge a new path, empowered by data ownership and real-time, cross-platform measurement and audience insights. With the right set of insights, brands can more effectively influence the customer journey, agencies deliver greater value, and publishers optimize inventory. It’s a win-win-win. 

Brian Handrigan is the CEO and co-founder of Advocado.