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Like an oil corporation opposing the rise of renewables or a tobacco company lobbying for its own cause, a reactionary wing of digital advertising is struggling to accept the radical change needed in the way audience data is handled.

Fighting for self-preservation is a common theme in digital advertising’s recent years. A few companies, but also individual ad tech and media executives and developers, have been lashing out against Apple’s ATT. They accuse Apple of taking advantage of its position, exerting its dominance across the app ecosystem.

One of the recurring issues of ad tech — and its biggest limitation…

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One aspect of ad tech that was (almost) unthinkable even until a couple of years ago is its role of agnostic enabler, of infrastructure provider at the service of its clients’ own strategies and assets and whose success fully overlaps with the one of its partners.

In the audience-centric, privacy-first era it is the natural and positive evolution of a category which doesn’t create content, doesn’t own the relationship with the customer/user and his/her data, doesn’t build, grows and manages any digital environment which the audience visits with the goal of buying products, getting informed, having fun.

Those are, in…

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What from now to 2023?

For media owners, staying still while speculating on what ad tech will propose to media and consumer brands as a solution for the post third-party cookie era would be damaging and dangerous: many of those solutions might first and foremost fulfil the agendas of those very ad tech companies, rather than fitting the needs of their clients and reinforcing their strategy and revenues. …

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Apple is not destroying digital advertising, it is killing a certain interpretation of it.

In fact, it seems that an audience only exists if ad tech can track it. It doesn’t matter if, as in the case of Apple devices, it represents some of the wealthiest online users.

This topic has always fired me up since the spotlight on IDFA and Apple’s ITP. It shows everything wrong with a certain approach to digital advertising.

It is evident that a media monetisation strategy within a reinvented digital advertising ecosystem can be successful only with a more holistic approach and knowledge encompassing…

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There is no way back. The knowledge of the individual (a consumer brand’s customer, a media owner’s subscriber, a gamer, a user) about personal data and online privacy can only grow exponentially.

Media owners have a higher responsibility, as they are the gatekeepers of the environment and their own audience experience. They are also the repository of the trust of the “user”, which manifests through consent to the use of that individual’s personal data.

They have a binary choice:

1) Siding with certain ad tech, acting behind the back of their own audiences, “saying-not-saying”, muddying the waters and going…

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That part of the advertising industry that was born and existed on third-party cookies and tracking is trying to persuade the rest that the future is all doom and gloom.

The future of data in media, marketing and advertising is exciting, because policies and technologies will reward and boost those companies investing on communication and engagement with their audience and clear, transparent strategies where the user is embraced, rather than exploited.

A long-term strategy of co-creation and value exchange vs the short-term tactic of data grabbing, and a barrier to entry protecting quality media and advertising environments.

There is a…

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The most serious threat to publishers’ business models is coming from within.

I’m talking about email-based universal IDs.

In the last couple of years, media owners have made large investments in the diversification of revenue sources, especially around subscriptions, registrations, logins, e-commerce, and the first-party data coming from those connections. I see a huge focus on controlling their assets and building a direct relationship with their audience.

To turn around and contribute that data in order to reproduce a system which historically strangled publishers and reduced their activity to a fight for survival, makes little sense. …

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Fixing your own strategy and business model when the industry is a whirlwind of moving parts takes time, courage, vision and above all the ability to recognize the risks associated with easy fixes.

I’ve described before how short-term choices left media owners vulnerable to frequent emergencies, which triggered more short-term decisions, which caused further emergencies. This vicious cycle slowed publishers down, cost them revenue and affected their ability to think and act strategically.

But in the last couple of years, quality publishers have matured, developing confidence in their value and a will to protect their own assets.

Meanwhile, the advertising…

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Are we witnessing a renaissance in media owners’ data and audience strategies?

It feels like yesterday when many media brands believed having a data strategy meant sprinkling their inventory with ambiguously-sourced third-party data. That data often provided the ecosystem with little quality and individual publishers with no differentiation whatsoever.

But, following privacy regulations around the world like the EU’s GDPR and the unraveling of online identifiers, forced media owners, not without hesitations and delays, to rethink these initiatives.

The first-party data renaissance

Today there is a new phase of data ownership within media companies, as third-party data goes extinct, and…

Alessandro De Zanche

Media and advertising. Data, audience and monetisation strategies.

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