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By Maria Greaves, Assistant editor - branded content

May 22, 2024 | 6 min read

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Take a multi-pronged, agile, collaborative approach – and test, test, test: leaders from Criteo, GroupM Nexus and Publicis Media advise how to future-proof advertising strategies as the cookie crumbles.

Criteo and Group M

Experts from Criteo, Group Mand Publicisis speak at The Drum's APAC Trends Briefing

The cookie countdown is an opportunity for APAC advertisers to innovate and iterate. It’s an opportunity to create more sophisticated strategies which better suit the diverse industry’s ever-evolving maturity. And it’s an opportunity to trial multiple approaches that solve different data gaps.

This is the advice of Criteo’s senior vice-president, global go-to-market strategy & commercialization, Nola Solomon, for advertisers looking to shore up their targeting, personalization and measurement capabilities as third-party cookies deprecate.

Solomon was speaking at The Drum’s APAC Trends Briefing event held at Media.Monks offices in Singapore alongside Deepika Nikhilender, chief solutions officer APAC at GroupM Nexus, and Sachin Dsouza, Publicis Media’s partnerships, solutions & supply lead for APAC. As the cookie timeline ticks on, the panel explored the different strategies and innovations that advertisers across APAC can adopt, to future-proof their business. Watch the full session here.

The power of a multi-pronged approach

Having “multiple prongs in the fire” rather than relying on just one strategy, is the best way “to meet the demands of a more fragmented system,” says Dsouza.

The panel agrees that a one-size-fits-all approach is not able to meet the needs of all media buyers and sellers. Instead, a multi-pronged addressability strategy to activate personalized and measurable campaigns across open internet publishers, as well as retailers’ sites and social platforms, is key to delivering precision, performance and scale.

And what are those ‘multiple prongs’ ready to be picked up into advertisers’ playbooks? First- party data strategies, alternative ID solutions, Google’s Privacy Sandbox, closed environments with retail media networks and social channels with high authentication rates, AI solutions and contextual data from proprietary, third party and publisher tools – to name a key few.

Meanwhile, Nikhilender urges APAC advertisers not to overlook “the power of a data-driven creative strategy as an alternative to cookie-based signals”. As “creative content has a significant, 47% impact on sales and campaign objectives”, she warns of the imperative for advertisers to harness the power of data-driven creativity to achieve their aims.

Collaborate to accelerate

As the market and its channels continue to splinter, cohesion is key. “A lot of companies are trying to figure out how they partner together to make the ecosystem function more seamlessly in a very fragmented environment. But we need everyone's participation from both the buyer and the seller sides to achieve that,” says Solomon.

Criteo’s recent Great Defrag Report suggests that the industry is answering her call for collaboration: 50% of global publishers are prioritizing long-term partnerships with brands/agencies and retailers to earn new revenue. Meanwhile, 31% of retailers say forming new partnerships will be a much more important marketing objective in 2024.

Reimagine the potential of contextual data

With cookies crumbling, contextual advertising is being re-baked into many APAC advertising strategies – but in new and exciting ways. Dsouza talks about listening into new signals by leveraging specific keywords or examining website traffic patterns to identify consumer flow.

As the industry enters the new dawn of cookie-less commerce, there’s an opportunity to lean into a wide range of contextual signals from “seller- defined audiences” to “affiliate or interest group signals that the publisher side may be sending through,” Solomon adds.

And when leveraging and trialing nascent contextual data strategies, ensure they’re hard-wired into business objectives: “Do they drive incremental performance? Do they really work to be able to understand user behavior in a way that leads to the KPI?” says Solomon.

New opportunities call for testing times

Most global retailers, brands, and agencies use 6-20% of their retail media budgets for testing new ideas and strategies, according to Criteo. And this test-and-learn attitude must now grow and take hold in an industry seizing the opportunity of a cookie-free future.

To stay ahead of the game in the rapidly evolving industry, APAC advertisers must adopt a proactive approach and embrace a "try and fail mindset," suggests Nikhilender. With an influx of new solutions flooding the market, waiting for others to trial them is no longer an option. Instead, businesses should take the lead and pioneer new growth by testing out these emerging technologies themselves.

AI and related emerging technologies are a furnace of data innovation that will power the whole industry. However, human intelligence remains crucial in unlocking AI’s full potential. This means building - and keeping - a team with the right talent and expertise to work alongside AI to maximize its benefits.

To succeed in the new world ahead, Nikhilender advises APAC organisations to empower talent with the knowledge and skills to work with new technologies that have emerged in the last three to four years.

Watch the highlights video above for more actionable insights and advice on how APAC advertisers can embrace the opportunities of a cookie-free future.

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