A Matter of Context: making an impact with identity-free targeting


Ad Tech Attention Contextual Targeting User Identity Show all

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Rather than mourn the loss of the third-party cookie, brand advertisers should instead embrace the opportunities and benefits of ID-free contextual targeting solutions, writes Nano Interactive

I thoroughly enjoyed my first time at the IAB Leadership Summit. It was wonderful to be part of such a strong intersection in our industry. Having such a diverse group together with an open mind to discuss some of the biggest challenges our industry faces meant that the debates were meaningful, productive, and encompassed a wide range of viewpoints.

The talks were thoroughly engaging, from the genuine existential threat of climate change through to building work/life policies in a rapidly changing world. Naturally, we dug deep into some of the industry-specific topics that loom large in our world and the discussion around the role that identity plays in digital advertising moving forward was a hot topic on the day. 

Whilst the debate will continue about how our industry can or should adapt to the new world where third-party cookies and personal identifiers aren’t the currency they once were it was clear that the future is now and advertisers should be testing, learning and preparing for what’s ahead.

It was great to hear from brands, agencies, and tech companies about some of the things they are doing in this space and so I have considered some of them here.


The search for a future-proof solution

Many of the proposed identity targeting solutions are based on brands leveraging their own first-party data. The main limitation with these solutions is that the majority of brands simply don’t have the scale of first-party data required to make them work effectively in the long-term.

Another subset of marketers, having been dependent on third-party cookies and granular tracking data for so long, are finding it difficult to imagine life beyond the cookie, so are essentially looking to replace one personal identifier with another. Several major industry players are investing heavily in the development of Universal ID solutions with which to target and track logged-in users online. However, there’s a very real risk that, in the near future, legislators will come to view Universal IDs (tied to persistent identifiers such as a personal email address) as being just as intrusive as third-party cookies and restrict their use.

For this reason, other ad tech providers (including Nano Interactive) are backing future-proofed contextual solutions that operate without any reliance on third-party cookies or other identifiable user information. Instead, these solutions serve ads based on real-time intent signals of users and in-depth analysis of the context of the user’s online environment across the open web.


Advanced contextual targeting without identifiers 

Nano’s unique platform LIIFT (Live Intent  Identity-Free Targeting) works by serving a relevant ad to a user in the moment  they are expressing intent and therefore most receptive to brand messaging. Its core purpose is to profile each ad request in a privacy-compliant way which means we don’t rely on third-party cookies or any other personal identifiers. It understands the content including the sentiment, emotion and context from where the request is coming (URL, Domain, Ad Placement, Time of Day, Geo), who is interested in the Ad (User) and then selects the best suitable segment for the request.  Hence this granular decision-making process enables hyper-targeting and optimisation in real-time for every single impression delivered.

Because this approach does not rely on any identifiers, brands can extend their reach opportunity further to  the 60%+ of consumers who are no longer trackable and targetable across browsers such as Safari, Firefox, and ultimately will no longer be trackable on Chrome.

In addition, as more marketers strive to counteract the rising audience attention deficit, where a brand’s ads are competing for the limited resource of audience attention, they are leveraging identity-free, advanced contextual solutions and a range of creative testing and measurement approaches to assess their impact. There is already evidence that ID-free, contextual targeting delivers a far more positive user experience and improves engagement with brands’ messages. Early brand research commissioned by Nano looked at multiple campaigns which were optimised towards ad recall across both cookied and non-cookied environments. The findings showed users across cookieless spaces saw an average 93% increase in ad recall vs those targeted with the same campaign in cookied environments.

This is the start of several tests to prove that identity-free targeting approaches do indeed work and rather than mourn the loss of the third-party cookie, brand advertisers should look to embrace the opportunities and benefits of ID-free contextual targeting solutions bring. Now is the time to enhance the impact and reach of their campaigns whilst gaining satisfaction in knowing their users' privacy rights are protected.

By Niall Moody, Managing Director

Nano Interactive

Nano Interactive are leaders in identity-free targeting. Our award-winning, AI driven technology finds highly targeted online audiences and optimises towards desired campaign outcomes using machine learning. Operating across EMEA & USA we deliver standard display, rich media, CTV, audio and video all without the use of cookies or any personal identifiers ensuring campaigns are future proof for the post-cookie world.

Find out more nanointeractive.com

Posted on: Thursday 10 March 2022