Digiday’s 2021 Programmatic Marketing Summit: The Cookieless Future, Tactics to Strategy, & The Great Resignation

November 23, 2021, 09:11
By Steven Poss

It seems like every event that I have attended in the past year, whether in-person or virtually, has examined similar key themes that the digital advertising industry is facing. Some of the common threads have included the demise of the third-party cookie, the rise of more innovative channels such as CTV, and the current state of the agency. 

At Digiday’s recent Programmatic Marketing Summit, experts across the industry explored how these topics are impacting and shaping the digital landscape. Here are some of my takeaways from the two days.  

Contextual advertising has made a comeback 

Directly following the opening remarks, a discussion around the death of the third-party cookie and what comes next kicked-off. Contextual advertising seemed to be the popular solution being presented, becoming the overall theme of the afternoon. A few different companies discussed how they are putting their contextual-based targeting and cookie-based solutions head-to-head. The results apparently proved contextual targeting to be more successful, showing promise for the cookieless world.

Jill Kregel, VP, Programmatic Precision at Starcom pointed out that contextual advertising has to switch from a tactic to a strategy. She further mentioned how going content-based versus keyword-based shows greater success and increased engagement among consumers. 

Various speakers acknowledged  that most marketers will refuse to adopt cookieless solutions until it is absolutely necessary for them — meaning if cookies remain forever, they will find the way to use them forever without adopting a cookieless solution. 

Burn-out has resulted in the “great resignation” 

Burn-out and the resulting “great resignation” currently underway was also something that made it to main stage discussions. The state of turnover and talent retention in the industry is especially relevant considering recent stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that 4.3 million Americans, quit their jobs in August. One agency executive explicitly discussed how employee turnover is a big agency issue at the moment, with several others echoing this.

Traders are juggling a portfolio of campaigns, working long hours, trying to manage their time optimizing their media buying, which ultimately means they spend the bulk of their time on the “most important” clients, while the rest see enough attention to get by. I see this as an ideal opportunity for agencies to leverage tech partners that can offer solutions that make ramp up times shorter, give traders the ability to make an immediate impact, and take some weight off worker’s shoulders while increasing efficiency. This includes investing in tools like deep learning to optimize media dollars as efficiently as possible.

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