As everybody is more than aware, Google will be eliminating the use of third-party cookies on their Chrome browser next year. There’s been a lot of talk about what will replace them, and if they are even replaceable. a4 advertising’s National Sales Director, Matt Scarpa, provides an understanding of what we can do now.

Other browsers and players in the space have been moving to and promoting this for years, but according to Scarpa (pictured below), “Having Google’s name tied to it has made everyone sit up and pay attention.” The exact time in 2022 that this will happen is still uncertain, but the concern about the potential loss of targeting and the ability to deliver meaningful messaging is very clear.

“Tech and access to data have enabled brands to have one-to-one conversations, and to provide relevancy in their message,” Scarpa said. Brands have fully bought into the idea of one-to-one communications and the “no-waste possible mindset,” he noted, as well as the one-to-one measurement and optimization strategies that come along with it.

The way he sees it, “This is similar to 10 years ago when everyone was saying, ‘You need to go all-in on digital and its hyper-targeting, no-waste capabilities.'” Now, he added, “We are asking those same people who have invested in that approach with both their budgets and holistic marketing strategies to take their foot off the gas … and that’s a hard thing to stop, especially when those companies are seeing current success, and a potential impact to their bottom line, and measurement of those campaigns.”

When asked about what we can do now, Scarpa suggested starting with IP address, which he sees as a viable option that will play a significant role as part of the solution. “It’s something marketers can implement today with great certainty that it will work, while other solutions are still being crafted and ironed out,” he explained. In his view, what IP strategies do best is to “help enable a household-based approach by moving away from a device-first/cookie approach, creating an authenticated household ID based on reliable and privacy-compliant people data tied to postal address.”

What Scarpa particularly likes about IP targeting is “the ability to make that HH ID as robust as possible by adding on behavioral and purchase data, as well as TV set-top-box viewership data, and then seeing what devices connect to that IP.” His advice is straightforward: “If you want to deterministically reach a desired audience, and be media agnostic, just follow the consumer and let them determine how you engage with them.”

Scarpa sees the challenge to adopt as one of perception. “The rap IP targeting has gotten is that it’s been around for a long time, the data is not valid or current because it’s modeled, and if you want real, authenticated IP data you need to work with individual ISPs on a local level and piece it all together,” he said.

The reality is that a4 Advertising has helped streamline and scale IP targeting by using only real authenticated IP data based on their investments, and they sit across 50MM+ HHs nationally. This is possible because they have been investing in the IP space for over 10 years, first internally, for the purpose of Altice/Optimum efforts across the New York DMA, and then, over the last three years, they have productized their solutions for national and regional clients beyond their Altice footprint.

“We’ve created our own DMP and formulated a patent which allows us to work with our ISP partners across the country, to aggregate IPs, refresh and manage them on a daily basis and create custom audience segments by layering on added data points to create a true view into a HH,” Scarpa explained.

The first thing to do is to stop waiting for what’s eventually going to happen and start working on what can happen now. Scarpa’s advice: “It first starts with identifying your real audience and understanding the size and potential that audience brings to your business, and again because we are media agnostic the conversation can go any which way.” He knows that IP is not a one-size-fits-all solution. “Each conversation I have and opportunity I work on is unique to that brand’s desired audience, objectives, available assets and KPIs,” he said. “Once that custom audience is created, it’s then that we talk about what fits and works to create the most impactful and authenticated reach and spend.”

Ultimately, it seems, this challenge is not about replacement, but about refinement.

Paraphrased from an article originally published on Media Village on 8/30/2021.

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