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Data and Innovation Conference 2017

Last week, we had the pleasure of attending the data and innovation conference at the British museum.

The line-up included speakers and presentations from SSPs to DSPs, Advertisers to agencies, and an array of adtech businesses. Dee Frew, Senior Programmes Manager at IAB UK did a bang-up job introducing each session and injecting a unique element of data / tech geek humour into the program.

The usual-topic-suspects were discussed at length – programmatic, audience data, and ROI – which would be expected at a data and innovation conference. However, there were a few stand out topics for me which I feel, while not necessarily ground breaking, really serve to describe the shape of the future.

People not Cookies. The cookie is finished, stale, crumbling. In fact, cookies tend to go “off” (be deleted) within 5 days and as tasty as they were, they’re no longer able to satisfy our multi-touch sweet tooth. The future is in real, tangible, people that are known and understood regardless how they present themselves. This approach also allows advertisers / brands to more effectively tie together the online and offline behaviour of customers. This space has been largely controlled by the likes of Facebook and Google with their incredible reach and engagement, but there are other businesses with offerings, relevant outside of these walled gardens, that are beginning to challenge the giants.

Cross device and attribution. Attribution is core to understanding marketing effectiveness. Nothing new or shocking there. But what is apparent is how much of a challenge this is for advertisers to do effectively, especially given the fragmentation in how audiences engage with brands across device and context. This really hammers home the point where proper cross device audience tracking is a requirement and, to do this effectively, so is employing the people, not cookie, approaches. Again, there are companies offering these services, each with their own secret sauce algorithms to apply credit where do to each element in the media mix.

Data and Innovation Conference 2017

Deeper understanding and personalisation. Finally, it’s not enough any longer (and hasn’t been for some time) to know broad brush attributes about our audience. Simple demographics are useful, but don’t provide any meaningful insight into an individual’s personality. With this deeper understanding, Advertisers can begin to deliver proper personalisation and see gains in ad effectiveness and ROI. This is what will really bring concepts like dynamic advertising to life.

Data, programmatic, multi-device and attribution are all topics that have been kicking around for years. What’s interesting is the evolution that these areas have made and how they’re maturing into viable tools for marketers (and finance directors) to make informed decisions; people, not cookies; personalities not demographics. With these new approaches, comes new opportunity to deliver meaningful messages, tailored creative and ultimately higher ROI.

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