The death of cookies and new identifier for advertisers rule (IDFA) mean brands now have far less data to help them target consumers. We all know this. Context is once again the conversation du jour. Owned and operated apps and websites are suddenly life rafts.
But there’s one category of digital work I’m most excited about: activations that put the best of what’s possible in front of consumers, and invite 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 filling massive gaps in customer knowledge and acquisition. Brands have always understood the importance of first-party data, but now it is even more important, and much much harder to obtain.
The metrics they depended on to make marketing decisions are gone. It’s a scary situation, especially on the heels of the pandemic. But once the dust settles I believe this will be a much needed shift to make the internet a better user experience for everyone.
Now, brands must double down in creating authentic relationships with their current and potential customers. The value exchange between the brand and their customers should become more balanced and transparent.
Some tactics will emerge everywhere, like strategic and data partnerships between brands to grow their respective audiences. Publishers will become everyone’s best friend again. Contextual advertising and loyalty programs will be on the rise. First-party data companies will have more leverage than ever before.
But the shift I’m most excited about seeing is the return of creative technology experiences in brand advertising. Standardization across the web has killed what was once a robust practice within marketing, with industry-changing projects like Take This Lollipop, Old Spice Muscle Music, HBO Voyeur and so many more taking a back seat to simple digital products.
Fun digital experiences, online and in the real world, are a proven way to get first party-data directly from customers. If brands are transparent and the value exchange is evident, people will have no problem opting in.There’s already evidence of this with some of the best creative technology projects 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 their favorite artist tributes to their social channels. A visualization we created showed the social media chatter on all the grammy nominees. Back then those analytics were much harder to obtain and it became a great value to the Recording Academy and the fans to see who is being talked about the most.
In 2007, North Kingdom created one of the best websites of all time, 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 found an engaging way to create awareness while building a relationship with new customers.
At CES 2019, I tested the Google Assistant Ride experience that Deeplocal helped create. This is the best conference booth I’ve ever experienced (and I have been to many conferences). The interactive roller coaster ride showed the passengers different ways google assistant can be helpful in everyday life. I had no problem giving Google my email address letting them know I was more interested in Google Assistant news.
A more recent example was a Facebook display campaign from Signal. The campaign was designed to show users the amount of data Instagram and Facebook collect on users. By using Instagram’s own ad tools they quickly got banned by Facebook. Though just banner ads, I think this is a great example of creative technology and smart thinking. I feel we can learn from all these examples to bring back more fun and quirky online and interactive experiences to brand marketing.
There is opportunity in chaos. As Leonard Cohen said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” This quote inspires my thinking and creativity, and with big shifts come big changes and the death of the third party cookie is one of the biggest changes the industry has ever seen.
Though it may be messy in the short term, this is a great moment for the internet and digital marketing. With no more middleman between brand and audience, brands will be forced to do a better job of creating deeper, transparent and authentic relationships. Fun digital experiences will be a great way to do that.
Ricardo Diaz manages all things digital for Omelet and has over 25 years of digital marketing experience. Prior to Omelet, Ricardo worked at TBWA\Chiat\Day Los Angeles and Zambezi where he helped create award-winning campaigns for clients including Grammys, Pepsi, Nissan, Sony and Adidas. His career is punctuated by a number of firsts, including developing the first iAd for Nissan Leaf, the first SXSW award-winning agency-developed platform for TBWA Worldwide, and a 2016 Cannes Lion award for world’s first gestural e-commerce platform for Stance.