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How to Survive the Fight over Data in 2022

There is a not-so-subtle, ongoing struggle between media and tech giants over consumer data, forcing marketers to adjust their strategies on the fly depending on where the new battle lines are drawn. Apple’s App Tracking Transparency feature, for example, was a significant blow to social media and app developers – to the tune of $10 billion in expected advertising revenue in the case of Facebook this year.

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While privacy was the impetus for the iPhone’s tracking-optional feature, a major motive was Apple wanting to shut off access to valuable consumer insights that are the lifeblood of any digital ad campaign. Without that consumer data, Apple made their iPhones a black box. That’s why it wasn’t a big surprise when Google announced in February that Android devices would, in two years, implement similar restrictions, or why TV manufacturers are going back and forth with the streamers over who owns the audience’s data.

Read More: Why Mobile Advertising Is a Top Priority for Advertisers in 2022

As these companies dig in, and more walled-gardens continue to take shape, the stakeholders that suffer most are brands in industries like consumer packaged goods and pharmaceuticals where first-party data is traditionally sparse. How these industries plan to correct this imbalance beyond creative marketing strategies designed to build first-party relationships gets a little technical. In order to navigate a future dominated by more walled-gardens and less readily available data, brands need to take the following steps to maximize their reach in this new ecosystem.

With the depreciation of third party cookies, first-party data has become the new fuel for personalized marketing. In retail, where grocers and chain stores have direct, first-party relationships with shoppers, retail suppliers, such as CPG brands, do not necessarily have access to granular data about consumer behavior on e-commerce stores or at physical locations. It is this very dynamic, in which retailers held all of the data and their suppliers did not, that led to the development of retail media networks and the popular data collaboration tools unlocking new data partnerships.

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By sharing their respective audience data, retailers and their suppliers have benefited from these new media networks immensely, but that does not mean brands should rush to anoint retail media as the primary marketing channel.

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The goal should be to diversify channel offerings to not only tap into new audiences but to also activate cross-screen targeting as well. When companies are ready to elevate their data capabilities, they should prioritize technology that can create and configure new data connectors for ingesting and activating data across any channel.

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Data platforms that are flexible when it comes to the type of data it can collect and the different destinations that it can connect to is an effective solution to the proliferation of walled-gardens.

Now that the ad-tech ecosystem is somewhat removed from Google’s decision to drop third-party cookies, it appears there are multiple alternative identifiers, such as LiveRamp’s RampID and The Trade Desk-backed UID2.0, that are poised to take over the market. The need for interoperability may not be more important than the purpose of resolving identity and authenticating audiences. Without interoperability, brands would have to settle with one ID over another, and, as a result, not every user or interaction is addressable or measurable. With interoperable customer data platforms, brands can match identities, create identity graphs, and receive continuous updates as customers continue to engage.

If interoperability makes identity resolution possible, then identity resolution makes customer data unification scale. Once brands have the identity infrastructure in place to piece together data across multiple channels and destinations, then the end game at that point is to build a single record of each customer, which includes all their attributes and a full mapping of their journey, so that marketers can begin to activate on that data.

Data-driven brands should be capable of leveraging all data, whether its real-time, historical, checkout baskets, mailing lists, loyalty programs, social media and point-of-sale systems. The more data points brands can collect and unify, the less reliant they become on the customer intelligence the walled-gardens boast.

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