The death of cookies and a new identifier base for advertisers (IDFA) means that brands now have far less data to help them target consumers. We all know this. The context again is the conversation du jour. Owned and powered apps and websites are suddenly becoming lifeboats.
But there is one category of digital work that I am excited about: activations that put the best in front of consumers, inviting them to play, imagine and have fun.
A renaissance in digital creativity is about to begin.
Without third-party cookies, brands need new approaches to fill huge gaps in customer knowledge and acquisition. Brands have always recognized the importance of first-party data, but now it’s much more important and harder to get.
Gone are the metrics they relied on to make marketing decisions. It’s a frightening situation, especially in the wake of the pandemic. But once the dust settles, I think this will be a much-needed shift to making the Internet a better user experience for everyone.
Now, brands must double down on creating real relationships with their existing and potential customers. The exchange of value between the brand and its customers must become more balanced and transparent.
Some tactics will appear everywhere, such as strategic partnerships and data between brands to grow their audience. Publishers will become everyone’s best friend again. Contextual advertising and loyalty programs will increase. First-party data companies will have more influence than ever before.
But the transformation I’m most pleased to see is the return of creative technology experiments in the brand’s advertising. Standardization across the web has wiped out what was once a powerful marketing practice, with industry-changing projects like Take This Lollipop, Old Spice Muscle Music, HBO Voyeur, and many more simple digital products.
Fun digital experiences, both online and in the real world, are a proven way to get first-party data straight from customers. If brands were transparent and the exchange of value was straightforward, people would have no problem signing up, and there is already evidence of that with some of the best creative tech ventures from the early days of the internet.
For example, I worked on the 2010 Grammys’ “We’re All Fans” campaign where we had people upload tributes to their favorite artists on their social channels. Show our newly created visualization on social media about all the Grammy nominees. At the time, those analyzes were much more difficult to obtain and became invaluable for the recording academy and fans to see who was being talked about the most.
In 2007, the Northern Kingdom created one of the best sites ever, Get the Glass. It was an online board game that conveyed the benefits of milk. Not the most interesting topic, but the California Milk Processor Board has found an attractive way to create awareness while building a relationship with new clients.
At CES 2019, I tested the Google Assistant Ride experience that Deeplocal helped create. This is the best conference booth I’ve ever seen (and I’ve attended many conferences). The interactive roller coaster ride showed passengers different ways Google Assistant can help in everyday life. I had no problem giving my email address to Google to let them know that I was more interested in the Google Assistant news.
A recent example is Signal’s Facebook display campaign. The campaign is designed to show users how much data Instagram and Facebook collect on users. Using Instagram’s own ad tools, they were soon blocked by Facebook. Despite just an ad banner, I think this is a great example of creative technology and smart thinking. I feel that we can learn from all these examples to bring back more fun and whimsical online and interactive experiences for brand marketing.
There is a chance in chaos. As Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything, that is how light enters.” This quote inspires my thinking and creativity, and with big transformations come big changes and the death of a third party cookie represents one of the biggest changes the industry has ever seen.
Although it may be messy in the short term, it is a great moment for internet and digital marketing. With no middleman between the brand and the audience, brands will have to do a better job of creating deeper, transparent and authentic relationships. Fun digital experiences would be a great way to do that.
Ricardo Diaz manages all things digital for Omelet and has over 25 years of experience in digital marketing. Prior to Omelet, Ricardo worked at TBWA Chiat Day Los Angeles and Zambezi where he helped create award-winning campaigns for clients including the Grammys, Pepsi, Nissan, Sony and Adidas. His career is punctuated by a number of first steps, including the development of the first iAd for the Nissan Leaf, the first agency-developed SXSW award-winning platform for TBWA Worldwide, and the 2016 Cannes Lion Award for the world’s first iAd e-commerce platform for Stance.