3 Practical Tips for Unlocking Programmatic’s Potential in 2024 | Industry Insights | All MKC Content | ANA

3 Practical Tips for Unlocking Programmatic’s Potential in 2024

By Ezra Doty

With 2024 on the horizon, the challenges presented by the market's unhealthy addiction to cookies and the limitations posed by misguided investments in walled gardens like Google and Meta have shifted from constant chatter to clear and present danger for those who have not shifted practices to hit their goals. The good news? The gaps that will increasingly prevent those invested in programmatic from reaching their full potential are evident and addressable. Here are three tips you can tuck away right now to head into 2024 in far better shape than many are leaving it.

Cookieless Targeting Approaches You Can Test Immediately

The best marketers have always understood that targeting based on the placement of third-party cookies, or pixels that companies use to track users and customize their browsing experience, was only one of several ways to target and engage consumers. While there is no doubt that the popularity of the practice fulfilled many marketers' ease and reach goals, it was always a slippery slope in terms of privacy and performance. With that understanding, if you have not already, now is the time to begin shifting to cookieless targeting, particularly:

  • Contextual targeting – This is a method that allows marketers to leverage the context of a page to truly deliver ads that appeal to people's current interests, values and ideas.
  • Shopper-targeting – This is a method that allows marketers to focus ad impression delivery on people who are actively shopping at physical retail locations to drive more sales per dollar spent.

Why should you test these approaches now? These tactics focus on consumers who are actively in shopping mode for something specific.

If you can find the right pages to target contextually, you're often tapping into consumers who just arrived there from an organic click on a high value search term. Those shoppers are just as valuable in context as they were seconds after the click as they were when reviewing the search pages.

For instance, Google created Adsense with an explicit understanding of this dynamic. Results can vary but with the right amount of time and technology applied to mining, it is possible to find sets of pages that will consistently perform. And of course, retail media websites are a convenient access point to shoppers that retail brands have paid top dollar to attract through a combination of high funnel advertising and ultimately Google paid search.

When it comes to targeting active real-world shoppers, looking at data across a sample of 50 advertisers, there were average click through rates of 0.65 percent, which is 650 percent stronger with this approach than the industry average 0.1 percent (which is more in the range of what most advertisers see with website retargeting), according to eMarketer.

In another example, according to data from Quorum, a national retailer that operates more than 6,300 both brick and mortar locations with a supporting ecommerce website reported 144 percent better ROAS with active shopper targeting a combination of own store visitors and competitor store visitors than with any other third-party data source, comparable again only to the results they had seen previously with website and first party data retargeting.

Why Standards and Interoperability Matters So Much

To date, the tech "superpowers and advertising gods" have successfully centralized and standardized their data infrastructures, providing a uniform and predictable approach to ensure precise ad targeting. In stark contrast, the rest of the programmatic landscape suffers in its battle with fragmentation, as thousands of properties trying to achieve the same exact goal and fail to interoperate. This disallows them from collecting or sharing valuable data outside of their own walls.

Cleanrooms, one of the trending topics of the day, are a step in the right direction, but in no way are getting close to leveling the field. Brands and media companies need collaborative data intelligence platforms to drive growth, and location-based data intelligence can provide the next wave of change, positioning programmatic to kick the bricks out of Google and Meta's walled gardens.

Right now, the best way to approach collaborative data intelligence is to include the physical activity of your own brands shoppers and competitive brand shoppers as part of your strategy. It may be a while before you can get your pixel on competitor websites that reveal exactly how many customers you share online, but very quickly you can see these dynamics within the audiences of consumers who visit their physical brick and mortar locations which is a direct proxy.

These physical retail shopper audiences can be included in a clean room, CDP, or simply via Liveramp pulling physical shopper audiences into your DSP (or Meta), who all offer good tools for analyzing overlap between datasets.

Seeing where your brand's existing physical store visitors have high overlap and customers in common with another brand's physical audience has a lot of benefits:

  • Combining your physical store visitors with website visitor retargeting provides room to scale conversion focused campaigns without sacrificing ROAS.

  • Analyzing cross-shop patterns reveal insights about how your customers behave and their preferences (including how they vary by region) that have never been available before and builds a new level of understanding that can inform broader strategies.

  • These patterns are the basis for creation of physical shopper-based lookalike audiences that are personalized to your brand and high performing.

  • Deterministically knowing where else your customers shop in the real world quickly cuts to the chase in terms of what retail media partners you might consider.

In an Election Year – Local Data is the Key to Driving Better Political Advertising Results on Meta

Meta has introduced new restrictions on targeting and content customization for restricted categories, including political advertising, there are ways to safely navigate this new landscape by providing total customization of creative, down to an individual census tract. The reason this is important is because political campaigns are always local.

As a result, getting the most detailed local data is key because it allows the level of precision needed to address the right audiences to rock the vote. Don't wait to tap into it.

In closing, while 2024 will pressure advertisers and publishers to develop innovative ad solutions to boost revenue and streamline operations more than ever, those who test new ways of targeting, embrace a collective data approach, and turn on the power of local will be primed to win.

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.

Ezra Doty is founder and CEO at Quorum.