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Market Voice 22 Jun 2021 - 4 min read

In a post-cookie world, BVOD is the smart marketer’s friend

By Josh Slighting - Head of Data & Digital Audience - 10ViacomCBS | Partner Content

You could compare the digital marketing and advertising supply chain to a fault line.

Changes to privacy and measurement are here. Our industry has always dealt with disruptive forces, but this period feels different. It’s revealing how compromised the foundations are for many marketers and advertisers, challenging the way we operate as an industry. But there are upsides.

Digital marketing: compromised foundations

You could compare the digital marketing and advertising supply chain to a fault line. These ‘faults’ allow for movement, and these movements usually happen slowly over time. Occasionally we experience a rapid change - an earthquake. Changes to privacy, identity, and measurement in digital may feel a bit like this right now. And with earthquakes come aftershocks. How hard has it been finding developers and architects to manage your app and tech stack? Are you finding platforms you bought not too long ago are becoming increasingly redundant and now require even more investment to meet the changing demands of your business?

As an industry, we are struggling to adapt to these changes, but more importantly, we appear to be struggling with charting our course out of this fault line to a more sustainable future. 

We need to remember that none of this is terminal. Privacy improvements, for example, feel like a much-needed correction. That doesn’t mean advertising and personalisation will cease altogether. Nor does it mean we’re completely unable to measure our performance. We need to revisit the gaps in our foundations and strengthen the areas we are most likely to experience shockwaves in future.

Contextual targeting is getting a makeover

Contextual hasn’t gone anywhere, but it’s importance and role in digital media has certainly lost prominence in favour of data-fueled strategies. Context will play an even more significant role in future, but you won’t need to rely on this alone. Data targeting is still possible. And data targeting, in tandem with a highly contextual environment, remains the most effective form of digital advertising.

We know that people have a higher recall of brands and products when those brands are integrated closely with content they are engaged with. Our independent Science of Sponsorship study[SS1]  with the Marketing Scientist Group found exposure to a brand in content people like lifts ad recall by 21 per cent and purchase intent by 14 per cent.

You may not get a click-through from a connected TV. You may not always get a viewability score when an ad is broadcast on a full-screen, in high-definition and non-skippable on a 65 inch connected TV in someone’s living room. It’s challenging to prove to a client the power of context. But even more challenging is holding onto a person’s attention when they are scrolling through a social media or news feed. The way premium, beloved content is delivered through TV and BVOD lends itself to a richer, more immersive and entertaining experience. Ultimately, that means a more positive outcome for brands.


Content, data and scale is critical

Until recently, the digital giants were the main source of scale, reach and targeting. But, after years of investment and development across the market, there is now greater parity of products, insights, and audience reach from leading broadcasters. For example, there has been 250 per cent growth in BVOD viewing over the last three years (including a ten-fold increase in live streaming TV), demonstrating that there is sufficient scale in BVOD to reach millions every month.  

Most importantly, that scale is now paired with premium data partnerships, including the likes of Unpacked by Flybuys, Cartology, Smrtr and Red Planet.

These are not small or unrecognisable brands, and the underlying data assets they manage are not predicated on the very foundations we see being challenged by cookie deprecation. What you get instead is people logging into premium publisher environments, and secure, privacy led exchanges of data that aren’t reliant on changing identifiers.

In a post-cookie world, premium digital environments like BVOD are the smart marketer’s friend.

Goodbye retargeting, hello partnerships

Finding it hard to target individuals 1:1 or measure marketing spend down to the nearest cent shouldn’t prevent brands from doing things that have worked for them in the past. It might be hard(er) to target and measure ad investment, and we may soon have to kiss retargeting goodbye, but that doesn’t completely restrict what advertisers can learn about their own customers and prospects.

This gives marketers the freedom to have a different conversation with media owners about their audience and environments than the conversations they have had to date.

But it is going to be much harder to buy targeted ads across the open internet using data.

One path through the new media fault line could be to develop closer relationships with publishers to understand how to extract the most value from their audiences and content.

With sufficient scale of logged-in inventory across premium publishers, there is a better opportunity for brands to share data and insights, and to leverage what they know about their own customers. This will add complexity at first – but the longer-term benefits certainly outweigh the initial constraints.

Some parting words: CX is king

Don’t take shortcuts on customer experience. Now might be the best time to strengthen client-facing teams and to incentivise great customer service where possible.

Customers aren’t as accommodating or forgiving about the challenges we are facing as an industry when their experience is negative. 

We shouldn’t wait for the next earthquake to hit before acting. Why wait for tomorrow when you can take action today?

The solutions are there for those who know where to look.


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