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Brand Marketers Can Forge a Personified Path to Growth


Brand marketers have been battening down the hatches as they navigate the current macroeconomic and geopolitical storm. While much of the conversation and strategizing has been around budgets and profit and loss (P&L) maneuvering with uncertainty clouding the horizon, it would be wise for brands to also allocate bandwidth to proactively devise a digital advertising strategy for 2023 and beyond. The "beyond" in this instance could be inferred as the paradigm shift from the era of personalized advertising to the era of personified advertising.

Notwithstanding Google's latest delay of its third-party cookie deprecation (not until 2024), those pieces of code storing consumers' personal data regarding website visits are undeniably going away. Other device IDs in mobile and desktop will also be eventually shown the door.

Because inertia is a common human reaction to change, many marketers may rationalize that 2023 requires a focus on how to mitigate the economic uncertainty and potential recessionary pressures rather than reinventing their targeting modalities. That would be foolhardy.

Getting Ahead of the Third-Party Cookie and Advertising IDs Demise

Banking on further delays of the cookie and ID deprecation or on your organization's ability to make a sharp turn in little time in how you target consumers is what I would qualify as risky behavior. You would be better advised not to listen to the cookie and advertising ID diehards, who insist that "personalized" ID-based advertising will maintain its prominence. Yes, they are still hanging onto a notable percentage of total market digital ad spend, but they are swimming against a tide that is growing in force.

Instead, a more sustainable and consumer-friendly approach has emerged. Brands would do well by walking through this new door marked "personified" advertising. By breaking their user identity-targeting habits, brands could shift their focus to personas and the broad range of diverse content destinations associated with them.

For example, a car brand pushing its new EV line shouldn't target a few select individuals committed to eco-friendly consumption within a particular geographic parameter. Wouldn't this brand do better by targeting a couple hundred thousand people by reaching them on the content sites on which they spend the most time? And that means going beyond endemic automotive and clean vehicle publications and blogs only.

Personas Are Dynamic and Ever Evolving

Another big advantage of the "personified" advertising model is that it is, in many cases, solidified by a foundation of historical, in-depth insights regarding user digital behavior, which helps craft millions of personas. These same personas are then vigilantly refined through surveys and large user panel questionnaires that work hard to maintain ongoing relevance of these persona insights. What's more, ongoing campaign performance data creates a constant feedback loop that also keeps the targeting razor-sharp.

This new generation of cookieless and ID-less tech solutions not only prioritizes consumer privacy, but has more powerful utility than other methods like contextual and keyword targeting solutions. The advances here still don't make for the ideal cookie or advertising IDs alternative in the pursuit of an optimally sophisticated understanding of target audience interests.

And if you're wondering what this proposed shift would mean to the P&L, you can rest assured that the move from "personalized" to "personified" targeting would not necessitate additional funding or resources. At the end of the day, this is a glide path to move into the post-cookie and post-ID world with nominal pain and adjustments.

"Personified Advertising" is what dreams are made of – a dream scenario of a prosperous, sustainable future for all stakeholders including brands, publishers, and users.

The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

Anthony Flaccavento is the general manager of Americas at Ogury.