In today’s multi-screen and platform ecosystem, marketers must be able to understand and engage consumers across channels and devices, which is increasingly challenging in a world of walled gardens. The majority of marketers cite lack of knowledge and cross-channel data as the leading challenges of omnichannel. In order to resolve this common marketing woe to create differentiated solutions from the walled gardens of Google, Facebook and Amazon, the ecosystem requires identity data and increased interoperability.
We’re already seeing a shift toward more interoperability as the industry makes moves to seamlessly connect content with buy-side pipes, including The Trade Desk’s acquisition of Adbrain to enable more cross-device activation, and Amobee’s acquisition of Turn in early 2017.
Moves like these are helping drive cohesive consumer experiences across channels and devices because they’re focused on some of the most important aspects of omnichannel marketing: data, data management, control and transparency.
Going Back to the Data
In order to catch the elusive cross-channel consumer and build more interoperability into the ecosystem, marketers and platforms must take a step back to the data.
Marketers are leveraging their own data and, with the help of identity and identity resolution tech stack partners, are working to connect the disparate points that make up a consumer’s journey. We’ve seen this notably in the rise of customer data platforms (CDPs) for one.And while there is increasing concerns about industry transparency and third-party data, notable analysts have addressed the mass exodus from third-party data tactics back to a focus primarily on first-party data as a trend that will pass as the fear of uncertainty calms. In fact, to be a great marketer, first-party and third-party data cannot be seen as an either-or conundrum. Both play their part in business stability and growth, in the forms of building customer loyalty and lifetime value, as well as acquiring new customers.
When done right, identity data can serve as the nexus for both first-party and third-party data sets to unlock more key insights and develop omnichannel targeting strategies, rather than focusing on a single walled garden.
Balancing Transparency and Security
When discussing leveraging identity data to achieve interoperability, data security and transparency must be part of the conversation. And too often, the perception of data security actually comes at the cost of transparency.
Walled gardens tend to tout their closed ecosystems as privacy-rich environments, less susceptible to certain threats. Historically, they’ve simultaneously used their brand power to hide their privacy operations behind opaque veils. These largely false perceptions of increased security via non-transparent means have started to break down in the wake of Cambridge Analytica.
The truth is that transparency and data governance should not be treated as trade-offs. To do data governance right, strict security, privacy and data protection standards must be implemented, while also giving insight into the type of data used, the algorithms leveraged to analyze the data, and even specific details about the outcome of the analysis. If done this way, an advertiser will then be able to maintain ownership and control over their first-party identity data, but also feel comfortable leveraging omnichannel and third-party data tactics.
The Entwined Future of Identity and Interoperability
We’re sure to see advertisers continue to diversify their media investments to reach consumers at the right time, in the right place, on the right device or channel. But the growing device and audience fragmentation of our sophisticated ecosystem will continue to validate the need for independent solutions that offer interoperability, balanced with transparency and proper data governance to help marketers map the consumer journey.
As adoption of both first-party and third-party identity strategies increase, marketers will have more access to the cross-channel data they need to achieve omnichannel goals. By targeting, reaching and engaging with both customers and consumers across channels, we can finally begin transcending the walled gardens.