'The Long Goodbye' is a 10-part editorial series from Digiday that explores how the advertising industry will be affected after Google completes its phaseout of the third-party cookie. This week, 10 semi-anonymous confessions pull back the curtain providing insight into who is certainly uncertain about the future of data & privacy. This week Richard Jones reacts with Cheetah Digital's VP of Brand & Community, Francesca Gillett on these poignant revelations.
Speaker 1: Welcome to this week's Thinking Caps, where we're going to be digging in to some confessions from right across the advertising and marketing ecosystem, to see how executives are really feeling about how well prepared we are for life after the cookie. Stay tuned. All right. And for this confession series, I am very pleased to have our VP of Brand Francesca Gillett with us. Welcome Fran.
Francesca Gillett: Thank you. It's nice to be here.
Speaker 1: All right. So for those of you that don't actually know, this is from Digiday, who run this kind of anonymized confession series, where they get executives from the advertising and marketing ecosystem to basically weigh in with unfettered thoughts about various different topics of interest. And it could be argued there isn't a topic that's more prescient right now than the death of the cookie. So Fran, you're going to help me dig into these confessions. What did you choose first?
Francesca Gillett: First up, we have a confession from a consulting firm exec on the squeezed middle of publishers.
Speaker 1: Oh, here we go. All right. I quote, I know holding companies that are mandating 80% private marketplaces starting next year, which means it's going to be back to direct sales using programmatic as a vehicle just to execute. So publishers either have good ad network relationships or have a sales team who'll succeed. But longer tail ones, however, won't have either of those safety crutches and so will have to work with ad networks.
Francesca Gillett: Didn't raise anyone's middle got squeezed during COVID.
Speaker 1: Certainly true, mine didn't. All right, but it's a good point. You know, there're stretches right across the ecosystem. We're going to, we're going to see that with some of these other unfettered confessions. What have you got next?
Francesca Gillett: Okay. We have a confession from a chief media officer on agency ID.
Speaker 1: Oh, hot topic. All right. I quote," We've tested many of these solutions and don't feel like there's much of a future there. We've tested these alternatives in Europe and the U. S. And the results have been underwhelming, whether it's very buggy service that doesn't really do what it's meant to, or they just don't have the requisite scale for us. We used one in France where we had around 30% of our audience and not all of that was accurate. The data strategies of these companies aren't progressive enough."
Francesca Gillett: Hmm. They're not shy to tell it like it is. It's very true. Should be fun at the dinner, after a couple of wines.
Speaker 1: Yes. This is just... I mean, this is probably where they've recorded these confessions. Get people through a couple of bottles of Merlot and then see what they really feel. But, it's a hard hitting viewpoint on the state of agency IDs. All right. What have we got next?
Francesca Gillett: Okay. We're back to publishers. We've got a confession of a publisher on growing skepticism over ID tech.
Speaker 1: All right. I quote," It's vital that we keep in mind why the ecosystem, tech companies, data providers, measurement vendors, et cetera, is fighting so hard to recreate the world of yesterday, which was not a particularly nice place for publishers to be in. Here, publishers were reduced to being providers of users, at a price that kept dropping, where first party data and journalism meant almost nothing, where cross site tracking enabled third parties to build and expand ever larger data pools."
Francesca Gillett: I think publishers have a bit of a point there. It wasn't exactly working for them before.
Speaker 1: No it wasn't. And that's the point. We can be too myopic in focusing on what does it actually mean for marketers at brand, but what we really have to also think about the wider ecosystem, and publishers have got a fair point there. Why should they recreate what happened yesteryear, when it wasn't working for them so well. All right, what do we have next?
Francesca Gillett: We're going over to Apple. Obviously, they have to be mentioned. So we have confessions of immediate agency exec on Apple's growing influence over advertising.
Speaker 1: A- ha. All right. Now I quote," We're setting up initiatives internally to help make sense of it all, particularly when it comes to contingency planning, because there may come a time when they have to ease their reliance on Apple's ecosystem, when you think about how much control it's exerting over the App Store and tracking more broadly. It may get so bad that we have to start advising clients to drive people away from their apps, for example. For some brands, these changes from Apple are so much bigger than media. It's a disruption to their business model."
Francesca Gillett: That's proper fighting talk, driving people away from the apps.
Speaker 1: That is. I mean, that is proper dual at dawn kind of territory. It's like, we're going to try and... I mean, good luck trying to bucket the App Store. That's quite a task, but it does show you that there are real tensions here in the ecosystem. All right, what do we got next?
Francesca Gillett: I think this one, a lot of people will agree with. This is from a confession from a senior marketer on why it's hard to quit Google.
Speaker 1: All right, what does the senior marketer got to say? I quote," Neither Google's stance on alternative identifiers or its decision to extend the deadline for when third- party cookies go is surprising. I highly doubt that this change is done purely to support the privacy topic and is disconnected from future profit streams that Google is anticipating. I suppose they will see what the changes look like. Google is already a strong pool today. And even consultants often recommend using Google over other solutions, probably because it's likely to outlast the others. The knock- on would be that multi- touch attribution, a somewhat shaky science, will go away altogether. But that is another topic."
Francesca Gillett: Yeah. I feel like that is another topic. Quitting Google isn't probably as easy as it seems.
Speaker 1: Very true. Very true. All right. What have we got next?
Francesca Gillett: Okay. We are between a rock and a hard place now with a media consultant on tech vendors.
Speaker 1: All right. So confession of a media consultant, I quote," Lots of companies have poured millions of dollars into building out new technology like cohorts and unified ID 2. 0. That was smart when Google's original deadline for third- party cookies was valid. Not so much now. Following the extension, these investments aren't irrelevant, but there's less urgency to adopt them because marketers are still reliant on third party cookies. Companies that were progressive and set their stall out on being fast movers are in between a rock and a hard place, because their products aren't as needed as they once were. It's their punishment for doing the right thing. At least that's how we see things playing out based on discussions we're having."
Francesca Gillett: They're really caught between a rock and a hard place.
Speaker 1: Yeah. That's no good place for anyone to be. But I mean, I do somewhat think about this slightly differently. Because the extension isn't for that long, right? You might be missing out on some revenues this year, but we're talking about 2023. It's not very far away. So, our view is that marketers have got to get on this and get on this quickly. And there are some long- term strategies that will really reduce your reliance on, not just third party cookies, but actually having to connect with customers indirectly through third parties like Facebook and Google. And that is building out your marketing database, putting in loyalty programs, thinking about how you incentivize direct engagement. And we're going to be covering all of that at our Signals User Conference very soon.
Francesca Gillett: True. We'll come to that at the end.
Speaker 1: Yes, we will. All right. Last one. What do we got?
Francesca Gillett: We're going back to an ad tech exec on the fallacy that the CTV thriving is in the absence of third party cookies.
Speaker 1: All right, so confessions of an ad tech exec on this perceived fallacy, that CTV is thriving in the absence of third party cookies. All right." The people who are the most frustrated with all of the disruption across the ad industry, are the media buyers. I recently spoke to the head of media activation at a large holding company and they were beside themselves. The frustration of having to spend millions of ad dollars on CTV while basically flying blind, not knowing if they're reaching the same people or not across all the different TV platforms, or not having a way to stitch together the data with anything else they're buying. It's crazy for entrepreneurs like us. It's good because we go to where the problems are, but there's so much frustration underneath the hype around connected TV right now."
Francesca Gillett: Cool. I think that's probably enough confessions for one day.
Speaker 1: No, you are right. And we are running out of time. So, it's goodbye from me.
Francesca Gillett: Goodbye from me.
Speaker 1: Hopefully we'll see you all Signals 21, cheetahdigital. com/ signals. See you there.
Francesca Gillett: See ya.