Whither digital advertising?

Whither digital advertising?


Considering the General Data Protection Regulation ( GDPR ), the new California Consumer Privacy Act , massive fraud, lack of transparency and the hostility of various browsers to third-party cookies, it feels like digital advertising has come to a fork in the road.

So, which path(s) should it take?

“The pendulum has swung too far” toward programmatic advertising directed at users’ profiles using third-party data, Forrester analyst Susan Bidel told me recently, complicating my path-in-the-road metaphor. “If you listen to [Proctor and Gamble] and Unilever,” she said, “they are all saying that digital marketing as practiced in the last five or six years has not borne out.” It’s now “coming back to the middle,” she said, where marketers put a greater emphasis on two approaches that harken back to the old days, when marketers looked for customers similar to their own, and when they advertised on places where those kind of people were likely to gather.

In modern terms: “lookalike” targeting that finds customers whose attributes match the attributes of existing customer lists, and targeting based on surrounding context, such as travel ads on car sites or beauty ads in lifestyle apps.  […]