Back to Blog

What We Learned At Advertising Week 2019

  • - LiveRamp
  • 4 min read

LiveRamp was proud to be a sponsor of New York’s Advertising Week 2019. The event may be over, but after four full days of insightful panels with the leading publishers, platforms, advertisers, and agencies, a number of active discussions clearly stood out and will continue far into the future. LiveRamp believes each of the Advertising Week themes outlined below has the ability to significantly impact how we work together to serve consumers while driving the industry forward:     

Direct Consent is Critical

On Monday, a panel moderated by Gayatri Bhalla, Chief Evangelist at LiveRamp, talked at length about the importance of “consent-based data.” As more and more regulations take effect and continue to be drafted, especially at the state-level, gathering direct consent will be critical. Brands affected by CCPA need to prepare for requests for access and deletion, and every publisher of meaningful size will need to authenticate their own visitors so they can prove legitimate collection and monetization. Moreover, publishers must manage direct consent themselves, to maintain a critical one-to-one relationship with the consumer that support a healthy business model. This means sharply moving away from popular single-sign-on authentication through third parties, which masks all that information and hurts yield over time.

This year, many panelists from European businesses discussed the aftermath of GDPR. Importantly, this EU regulation has raised awareness among consumers that an exchange of some sort is happening when they go online. They have more understanding that they are opting into something, which is certainly a positive result. Negatively, this has added more friction into the consumer experience, as they must continue to interact with more consent pop-ups and cookie notifications. Unfortunately, without the ability to log consent preferences, consumers must make this choice every time they visit a site. 

Many at Advertising Week agreed that a persistent opt-out capability will be necessary to evolve the consent function for the entire ecosystem. Another necessary evolution will be the ability to offer more transparent choice. Although the mechanisms for payment remain complicated, consumers will likely see much more experimentation with the choice of seeing an ad or making a micro-payment to the publisher. This is the clearest stated value proposition that consumers can receive, a true choice between paying for content and willing participation in the advertising-supported internet. 

What’s Old is New Again

In his Thursday keynote for the Future of Data track, “Embrace Industry Changes to Create New Opportunities,” LiveRamp’s CEO Scott Howe reminded us all that back in the early 2000s, everyone in the industry was discussing the over-concentration of media dollars in AOL, MSN, and Yahoo—the dominant media platforms of that day. Then suddenly, services like DoubleClick and Atlas allowed advertisers to buy against the long-tail and surround “tent pole” publishers with more diverse media buys that delivered additional frequency and affordable reach. 

Now, the industry is talking about the over-concentration of dollars to Google and Facebook and how we should level out share. Everything is cyclical. For years, we have talked about the need to diversify spend. Finally, it seems the industry has a plan for moving beyond cookies and the digital duopoly, leveling the playing field and unlocking a massive opportunity by taking a network view of the open web. By taking a neutral, system-wide approach to structuring buys that are not cookie-dependent, advertisers can get a true understanding of consumer consumption and spending. 

Just as before, the real pressure to change will come from the advertisers. Dollars matter. When Facebook closed off its walls to third-party data last year, it was the outcry from advertisers which significantly changed their course. It appears that history is poised to repeat itself today. 

Collaboration Matters

Finally, in a fireside chat with Megan Pagliuca from Hearts & Science on Thursday, LiveRamp’s Daniella Harkins agreed that advertisers are finally letting go of the dream of having all relevant data live within a DMP (data management platform) or database. The reality is that brands need a strategy to both grow and manage their own data, and accept that the true value of data cannot fully be accessed sitting within a single environment. 

The use of neutral and secure clean rooms—places where aggregated data can be shared between vetted partners while still exerting strict controls over use—facilitate collaborative opportunities that allow for innovative data partnerships, leading to the development of new products and services, ultimately improving the customer experience and driving revenue. Weighing the risk of not leveraging this collaborative model rather than the risk of pursuing them has refocused business leaders to discuss outcome-based approaches for their data strategies. 

As they look for proper utilization of their own data, strengthening data through other sources and driving the best outcomes for their business, LiveRamp believes exploring this new way of working has become the enterprise CEO’s main imperative. 

If you want to see more of LiveRamp and hear our thoughts, visit our events page and join us this fall in a city near you.