A Privacy-centric World: Data-driven Advertising’s Future in Asia

Magnite Team

May 26, 2022 | 5 min read

Changing attitudes towards privacy, new data protection laws and the deprecation of primary identifiers means brands and publishers will need to rethink their data strategy to navigate the new privacy-centric landscape. With marketers doubling down on data-driven advertising, what does the future of audience targeting and marketing attribution look like? 

Magnite spoke to leaders from True Digital, South China Morning Post and Publicis Media Precision during “Asia: Transformation of User Identity,” a panel discussion for the APAC region to explore what’s next for data-driven advertising in a rapidly evolving identity landscape. 

Future  of Identity Solutions

To tackle the developing identity landscape, advertisers and publishers need to review current strategies and seek alternative solutions to identity. 

“Run an audit of where you are standing today,” says Stefan Priemer, data & product APAC, Publicis Media Precision. “Brands need to make a significant investment on data and technology, but the question remains on how to analyze and activate it.”

“For advertisers, significant spending goes into native Google and Facebook audiences, and a lot of clients are actually not too dependent on third-party data,” he added. “However, keep in mind the limitations with data ownership and measurement in the walled garden platforms.”

Ching You Sing, advertising platform & delivery lead at True Digital says, “We took a drastic approach transitioning from advertising ID-based segments to user single sign-on ID as the new ID solution when Apple restricts access to IDFA and followed by Google starting 2022.” 

To manage the changes surrounding audience identification, publishers are investing in various identity solutions, including prioritising first-party data and integrating with universal identity solutions.

For South China Morning Post, which withdrew from the open marketplace in Asia in 2021, first-party data is key. 

“The publishers are the closest to the users, and we do not want it to be obscured by third-party data. We want to enrich our data and make it available and accessible to brands by visualising the data they are buying and ultimately deliver a greater return on media investment for advertisers,” says Kenny Cheung, director of product, innovation and partnership, South China Morning Post. 

For True Digital, their identity strategy includes a mix of leveraging first-party data and third-party identity solutions. “We took a big step on re-architect post cookies. We now adopt identity that can interact and complement each other, including our TRUE proprietary ID, and UID 2.0 (in pipeline) for cross-platform usage of TrueID CTV, Mobile Apps, Website and E-wallet to help with hyper-targeting,” says You Sing.

“The way forward is for publishers to integrate with the biggest identity players in the space and stay agnostic to identity providers,” says Priemer. 

Quantity: Targeting at Scale 

With the deprecation of cookies, audience targeting is evolving. Publicis acknowledges that this will have a strong impact on measurement, where “targeting would be impacted in terms of volume.”

“The scale of advertiser first-party data is still relatively low. This has a lot to do with brand readiness to not just collect first-party data, but also to store and manage it,” says Priemer. 

The importance of working with the right partners is key. “Working with partners, SSPs, etc. to tap into publisher data is a very important solution for brands who can’t scale their own. Understand what identifiers are readable and how you can overlay the data that you have with your inventory,” he adds.  

Publishers are developing targetable ID solutions such as clean room technology to enrich advertiser first-party data in a secure environment.

“We have built an audience graph taking signals including user event-based data across platforms and endpoints that touch our users. Advertisers can then put their first-party data on our platform and convert them to look up for targetable IDs. This will allow advertisers to set up preferential audiences and analyze reach and frequency and run different attribution models. That’s a long-term approach,” says You Sing. 

However, the question of whether clean room technology adoption will scale remains to be seen in Asia. “One reminder is that targetable IDs have limited scale. The use case should not just be limited to one-to-one targeting,” says Cheung.

Quality: Data Beyond Targeting

While targeting at scale remains an issue for publisher identity solutions’, advantages also lie in new insights brands can gain. 

From the agency perspective, it is important to understand how to leverage their data, an area where publishers can step in to help brands build up their first-party data profile. “It’s not just using data for targeting but to help enrich my own data as a brand and understand more about the IDs, including audience demographics, interests, etc. Brands usually collect IDs but don’t know much about those,” says Priemer.

South China Morning Post highlights the importance of using ID solutions to gain insights to scale activation.

“It is important to see how audiences have been interacting with the publisher’s content to make informed decisions that shape your strategy.  We have seen an increase in SCMP’s audiences because they are looking for a trusted, alternative take on news. We want to build a forum where they can directly engage with our content,” says Cheung. 

Furthermore, when it comes to measurement, brands in Asia historically focused less on attribution. “Given that investments into sophisticated multi-touch attribution was behind more mature markets in the US and Europe, the impact of cookie deprecation is somewhat limited here. As alternatives, brands can look into marketing mix modeling approaches, which might not be as granular as attribution modeling, but is independent of log level cookie reliant data,” says Priemer.

Watch panel discussion here

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