How to Plan for a Cookieless Future Despite Delays

With every delay in Google’s cookie depreciation, it becomes easier for advertisers to question whether third-party cookieless advertising will actually come to be. The reality? The cookieless future is still coming. While it seems like every other marketing headline is about the removal of third-party cookies, the industry and technology have been actively moving toward replacing cookies as the main currency in advertising for a while now.

Even though there have been multiple delays, the facts have never changed: Consumer privacy and consumer experience are both top priorities.

Consumers are only becoming more vocal about privacy concerns when browsing the internet. Choosing not to develop a plan for the cookieless future could result in falling behind the competition and losing consumer trust, which affects everything from sales and reputation to brand awareness.

Ultimately, advertisers who accept these realities and learn how to prepare for the cookieless future now will feel less of an impact when third-party cookies are inevitably phased out.

Understanding a Cookieless Future

While the term “cookieless future” is widely used, it isn’t the most accurate. Not all cookies are going away, only third-party cookies. So what exactly is the difference between the tracking tools that currently exist? Let’s break it down:

Third-party cookies: This is data gathered using code from vendors (such as a Trade Desk Universal Pixel or a MediaMath pixel) that can only be read by the vendor that drops the cookies. These cookies track the user as they move through the browsing experience and can be used for cross-site tracking, retargeting, ad serving, and other forms of segmentation.

Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA): A device identifier used by Apple to identify a user’s device without revealing personally identifiable information (PII), an IDFA can be used to find target users, deliver customized advertising, measure campaign performance, and more.

First-party cookies: This is data dropped directly by the domain or website visited. These cookies allow website owners to track visitors, compile analytics, remember user preferences, and perform other useful functions that provide a consumer-first experience.

Moving forward, first-party data will be the most valuable data set. Not only will it be one of the only solutions to keep implementing personalized and relevant consumer experiences without third-party cookies, but it is also the best way to obtain accurate, dependable data.

How to Successfully Move Forward Into a Cookieless Future

Although timelines to move away from third-party cookies continue to be delayed, now is the time to start planning new strategies, building strong first-party data applications, and testing additional solutions in a low-risk environment. The following tips can help you craft an actionable plan for the cookieless future:

1. Think in terms of first-party data.

Finding alternatives to third-party cookies can be daunting, but you might already have exactly what you need to succeed in a cookieless future. Brands either have or have access to valuable consumer data, including downloads, behavioral data, location, and social conversions. The only problem is that you might not be utilizing it to get the best results.

Think about every activity that happens on your website or within your organization, such as:

  • Subscribing to your newsletter.
  • Filling out a contact form.
  • Downloading content.
  • Signing up for exclusive promotions.
  • Placing an order.
  • Creating an account.

Every action and interaction provides high-quality data that’s valuable to your brand. However, it is only as valuable as the tools used to organize and implement the data to move consumers down the funnel.

Once you learn how to collect, organize, verify, analyze, and implement first-party data correctly, you will be on track to a more stable future in the cookieless world of advertising. You will reap the benefits of better targeting, more suitable audience modeling, and more profitable consumer interactions that are all data-driven.

2. Test new capabilities.

Another delay of Google’s cookie depreciation means you now have more time to think creatively and look into other tactics and resources that are often overlooked as quality tools, such as walled gardens, contextual targeting, and purchase/transaction data.

Ultimately, you should take advantage of this time to be innovative, explore options, receive insight from technology professionals, and discover what is best for your brand.

3. Stay updated on cookieless news.

Advertisers must stay in the know about when and how cookies will be changing. It’s easy to tune out every marketing update on a repetitive, buzzworthy topic — however, keeping up with cookieless news is the best way to know about the latest strategies and tools developed for privacy-safe tracking. Staying up-to-date on the cookieless news can help you build future-proof advertising campaigns.

Ready to Take the Next Step in Preparing for the Cookieless Future?

Now is the time to get a step ahead of your competitors. Remember, it’s not a matter of whether the future will be cookieless, but when. While it might be tempting to delay action, now is the time to get ahead of the transition to ensure the best possible outcome for future advertising campaigns.

At Digilant, we know how important the cookieless future is for brands. That’s why we continue to grow our advertising strategies and partnerships to ensure your business is poised for a successful future, no matter what advertising solutions are available.

If you’re ready to begin preparing for the cookieless future, contact our team today and discover all of the tools we have available for your brand’s success.

Developing a Brand Reputation Strategy in 3 Simple Steps

Whether through celebrity brand partnerships, false and harmful user-generated content, or inappropriate content in the media buying space, we live in an era when brand reputations can crumble or reach new heights overnight.


Because of this reality, advertisers must plan and implement best practices for brand safety to protect business reputations and partnerships as a whole.


What Is Brand Safety?


Brand safety is simply ensuring a brand’s reputation is kept safe when advertising online. In reality, brand safety involves implementing various tactics to avoid the risk of brand content appearing alongside unsafe, insensitive, harmful, or compromising content. The most obvious place for these risks to occur is in digital ad placement. However, ensuring brand safety means accounting for anything that could cause a negative association with a brand, including any negative press, unsuccessful brand collaborations, and legal action surrounding a brand.


While it might not seem like the mere association with negative content or controversy should impact a brand’s reputation, 80% of U.S. consumers claim they would stop or reduce their frequency of buying a product if its ad appeared next to harmful online content. With this in mind, brand safety and building a brand reputation strategy should be the top priority when creating digital campaigns.


Brands that prioritize brand safety can enjoy the following benefits:


Higher engagement: There is a higher chance that consumers will stay on a page and engage with ads when they are placed in a brand-safe, positive environment.


Positive first impressions: The goal of digital advertising is to draw in new consumers, and the content that surrounds an ad will inherently say a lot about what a brand stands for.


More loyal customers: Being able to leave a good first impression with brand-safe content pulls more consumers into the marketing funnel and ideally converts more consumers into customers.


How to Ensure Brand Safety


There are a variety of ways in which advertisers can develop an effective brand reputation strategy, and as with any advertising or marketing efforts, strategy comes before action. Thankfully, you can ensure brand safety by implementing the three following steps:


1. Create a brand reputation strategy.

Strategy is an integral part of any business decision, and brand reputation management is no exception. It is crucial that you first define what “brand safe” means for your unique brand while working to understand where your ads have the potential to be placed. Determining these factors will build the structure of a brand reputation strategy that will decrease the risk of ads appearing next to brand-unsafe content before a campaign launches.


Deterring a negative experience can look like keeping up-to-date on industry and business news, establishing a clear brand identity that is familiar to your target audience, or determining the types of content that are contextually relevant to your brand. Together, these initiatives help narrow down and define what would be considered risky or unsafe for your brand so you can make positive and safe advertising decisions.


The other element of a strong brand reputation strategy is having a PR resource that actively shares positive content related to your brand, including new business developments, executives speaking at industry conferences, employee awards, etc. You can then leverage this credibility to act quickly in the event that mistakes happen and controversy occurs.


2. Invest in premium ad buys.

With programmatic media buying, you can blocklist (or blacklist) certain websites from running ads — this is especially useful to ensure your advertisements stay off of potentially harmful sites. In contrast, you can also whitelist websites that you definitely want to run ads through.


However, even with those brand safety measures in place, there’s still a chance that something might slip through the cracks and appear next to brand-unsafe content. Mistakes can happen. Yet it’s imperative to note that even one or two bad placements can be detrimental to your brand’s reputation management.


Fortunately, purchasing premium ads through a private marketplace (PMP) takes the guesswork out of ad buys and eliminates potential risks. With premium ads, you know exactly what content your advertisements will appear next to. For example, if you choose to purchase within Expedia PMP, you can rest easy knowing your ad will be shown to consumers browsing for hotels, flights, or other travel-related needs. In this way, PMP premium ads ensure your ads are placed next to content that does not carry any risk to your brand’s image or reputation.


Premium ads come with the benefit of full transparency and brand-safe placement, but they also come at a higher price. By incorporating a mix of premium and open marketplace programmatic buys, you have a higher chance of upholding brand safety and maintaining a positive brand reputation.


3. Partner with a programmatic team that emphasizes brand safety.

While it’s beneficial to have insight into where to run ads, industry experts understand both media compliance and new technology to best place ads that enhance brand reputation. Programmatic partners, in particular, will have the expertise needed to help you craft brand-safe strategies and access exclusive, premium ad buys.


At Digilant, we’ve developed strategies that ensure brand safety for our clients — from advertising solutions and tactics to partnerships. Connect with our team and start building your brand reputation strategy today.

Digilant Highlights the Digital Advertising Trends to Watch for in 2023: Part 2

Last week, we shared Part 1 of our deep-dive into the first half of our 14 emerging trends we’ve identified advertisers should watch out for in 2023 (if you missed it, check it out here).

In this blog post, we outlined the remaining trends – covering topics such as video ads, the metaverse, third-party cookie depreciation, and more.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dive in.

14 Advertising Trends You Need to Know in 2023: Trends 8-14

8. Voice search impacts SEO and SEM

“Hey Google, where can I purchase a treadmill?” Whatever the question may be, voice search allows consumers to easily browse the internet and receive quick answers about products and services they’re interested in. In today’s fast-paced environment where everyone wants results in the blink of an eye, it’s no surprise that the expected transaction value of e-commerce purchases made through voice assistants will be $19.4 billion in the US in 2023. 

So as not to miss out on opportunities to capitalize on these searches, advertisers need to start optimizing content for voice searches. This can include more conversational content, targeting question-based keywords, or tailoring content towards question-based answers.

Learn more about Smart Speaker advertising in our blog here.

9. Amazon Dominates E-Commerce

Amazon serves as a one-stop shop for consumers worldwide. Shoppers rely on Amazon for their vast inventory, tailored recommendations, record-timing delivery, and affordable prime deals. In 2023, Amazon’s net digital ad revenue is expected to reach $39.45 billion. Amazon offers valuable tools for advertisers, including their own DSP, Amazon storefronts, and much more. As consumers continue to frequent the site, advertisers should take advantage of the opportunity to reach their audiences as they browse and buy.

 10. The Growth of Retail Media Networks

Shopping online has never been easier for consumers. As for advertisers, retail media networks have opened a new door in reaching target audiences. As more retailers set up these online infrastructures, more inventory becomes available that is specific to a particular audience. For example, retailers such as CVS, Target, and Home Depot opened media networks on their websites for brands to advertise directly on their pages. The annual growth rate for the US retail media market is ~25%, increasing from $36 billion in 2021 to an expected $110 billion in 2026. These networks provide advertisers with valuable first-party data and low-funnel ad spots, allowing brands to reach consumers that are likely lower in the sales funnel.

 11. Video Ads Provide Great ROI

What better way to capture consumers’ attention than with engaging, short-form videos? 80% of people prefer watching a video to reading text, and consumers are 27.4x more likely to click through online video ads than standard banners. If these numbers don’t convince you, consider why Tiktok has become one of the fastest growing social media platforms – consumers can easily digest entertaining videos or ads and the information sticks. Overall, customers remember 95% of the information gathered in a video. Now is the time to consider which channels to implement creative videos, whether that be on social media, in-stream, or even CTV that best resonates with your audience. 

Learn more about video ad formats in our blog here.

 12. Advertisers shift away from third-party cookies

Data. It’s crucial for advertisers to have in order to implement successful campaigns. As Google continues to push back the removal of cookies on Chrome, most advertisers are still relying on third-party cookies for consumer web habits and viewing data. However, as data and consumer privacy take center stage –  33% of U.S. consumers think better of brands that keep their data private and secure – advertisers need to think beyond Google’s timeline when it comes to rethinking how and what data they use to reach their target audience. Consider investing in first and zero-party data sources, in which brands directly collect, store, and implement data. Since this data comes right from the consumer to the brand, through owned websites or apps, it’s more favorably looked upon by consumers and can offer greater targeting in the long run. 

Learn more about the case for zero-party vs. first-party data in our blog post here.

 13. Consumers watch their spending

We don’t need to be the ones to tell you, the looming recession is on everyone’s mind. As prices skyrocket across all industries, especially on essentials such as groceries, rent, and gas – consumers are paying closing attention to their wallets. While discounts, coupons, and deals have been significant purchase drivers, in light of more economic uncertainty to come, consumers are primarily searching for a higher value in their purchases in 2023.

Additionally, these cutbacks inevitably affect marketing budgets as well; advertisers are tasked to do more with less. Having strong analytics practices to find areas of opportunity and improvement will be essential in the coming month to ensure you stay on track with achieving great ROI.

 14. Advertisers Proceed with Caution in the Metaverse

While the metaverse has gained traction throughout 2022, there is still skepticism from marketers about the direction of this virtual world. Only about 50% of technology experts and business leaders believe that the metaverse will be fully operable with immersive virtual experiences by 2040. Now, this isn’t to say to advertisers need to shy away from all metaverse opportunities; now is the time to research and understand if and how the capabilities align with your campaign goals and target audience. As companies continue to invest in this digital space, improvements are on the horizon, and we’ll keep an eye on the metaverse throughout 2023!

Learn more about opportunities in the metaverse here.

Ready to Move from Trend to Actionable Strategy? 

Each trend listed above in isolation will provide great value to your digital advertising strategy. If you’re interested in a plan built specifically to reach your target audience and achieve your goals, contact our team of media strategists today! 

*All sources in this blog post are provided in our 2023 trends piece, “14 Advertising Trends you need to know in 2023.

Digilant Highlights the Digital Advertising Trends to Watch for in 2023: Part 1

Over the past year, digital advertisers embraced ample opportunities – both within legacy channels and new – to reach and engage with consumers in targeted, meaningful ways. To name a few: digital audio usage soared, skepticism around CTV measurement was answered with new and improved analytics solutions, mobile continues to prove its dominance in device usage, and DOOH saw great benefits as people re-established their pre-pandemic routines. 

As we begin 2023, the Digilant team is excited about new technologies, better data practices, and continued improvements in the digital advertising landscape to better reach and target today’s consumers. 

So what can be expected to stand out this year? What trends, channels, and solutions will truly move the needle for advertisers? In our newest infographic, “14 Digital Advertising Trends You Need to Know in 2023” we’ve outlined the top trends we predict will make the biggest splash over the year. 

Over two blogs, we’ll dive deeper into each of these trends, offering more insight into why advertisers really need to know about them and offering tangible solutions to incorporate them into their media strategies. We’ll cover trends 1-7 in this blog post and 8-14 in part 2 (which you can check out here).  

14 Advertising Trends You Need to Know in 2023: Part 1

1. Ad-supported CTV takes center stage

In today’s TV landscape, there are new movies and shows available every day across many streaming platforms. Households often have multiple streaming subscriptions, making price now one of the top considerations for consumers when choosing a new streaming plan. 80% of consumers now use ad-supported CTV, allowing advertisers to deliver timely, targeted messages. Especially with streaming giants like Netflix and Disney+ offering ad-supported plans, advertisers can leverage CTV to reach those growing audiences in 2023.

2. Consumers Continue to Cut the Cord

While industry-old terms at this point, ”cord-cutting” and “cord-shaving” remain as relevant now as ever before. Each year, more consumers continue to switch their cable boxes for streaming platforms, viewing their television content through Connected TVs and over-the-top devices. In 2023, it’s expected that 82% of households will be “CTV-only,,” solidifying this channel as a necessity rather than a “new opportunity.” With better access to data, extensive targeting, ample inventory, and improved measurement solutions, CTV provides advertisers with unique and targeted access to connect with audiences as they stream their favorite content.  

Learn more about Digilant’s Advanced TV Solutions here.

 3. TikTok Adoption Continues to Grow

US adults spend an average of 45.8 minutes daily on Tiktok, with Tiktok users spending 50% more time on the platform than Facebook and Instagram users. As one of the fastest-growing social media platforms, users are drawn to short-form videos to consume fun and engaging content, including educational videos, product reviews, sports highlights, and so much more. Tiktok has also become a search hub, as almost 40% of Gen Z is using TikTok and Instagram for search instead of Google. With over 1 billion Tiktok users, now is the time to hone in on your Tiktok advertising strategy to reach this vast and engaged audience.

 4. The Rise of Social Commerce

By 2025, social commerce spending is anticipated to reach $1.2 trillion. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok are paving the way in giving consumers more options to discover and even purchase new products directly within their platforms. While this buying experience has seen steady growth in the past few years, as consumers spend more time on mobile and expect seamless buying journeys, there’s no better time to incorporate shoppable ads in your media plan.

 5. More Listeners Tune into Streaming Audio

What makes streaming audio so effective for advertisers is the ability to reach consumers at different points throughout their day. Between digital radio, music streaming, and podcasts, there is endless content for consumers and advertisers to tap into. About two-thirds of the U.S. population ages 12 and over listens to streaming audio at least once per week. Consumers can listen to what they want when they want to, and advertisers have the opportunity to deliver personalized ads at scale. 

Learn more about Digilant’s advanced audio solutions here.

 6. Podcasts Ads Produce Sales

Music streaming, digital radio, and podcasts have all experienced exponential growth within the last few years. But, advertisers have specifically taken note of podcasts. Since the pandemic, podcasts have gained new listeners and historic listeners have become even more engaged and loyal to their daily, weekly, or monthly episodes.  By year-end, we’ll experience a 4.9% year-over-year growth in podcast listeners, totaling 131.2 million. 

So, if the numbers alone don’t convince you that podcasts are a great medium to invest your dollars, consider that host-read podcast ads are one of the most trusted forms of advertisements and have one of the highest conversion rates. Of podcasts listeners that listen for at least 5 hours per week, 65% have purchased a product after hearing a podcast ad. Consumers trust and like the host(s) they listen to, and these feelings are transferred toward having a draw to the products they recommend.

Learn more about the power of podcast ads in our blog post here.  

 7. Digital Out-of-Home Grabs Consumers’ Attention

Out-of-home ads like billboards are great for capturing consumers’ attention while driving, but DOOH has grown far beyond roadside ads. With the incorporation of digital screens in nearly every aspect of our lives – elevators, doctor’s offices, taxis, grocery stores, gyms, malls, metro stations, airports, and more – there are now digital screens that allow advertisers to reach consumers wherever they are. As inventory increases, take advantage of opportunities to reach consumers beyond their computers and phones and create timely, targeted ads displayed as they move about their day. 

Learn more about digital-out-of-home opportunities in our blog post here.

Ready to Move from Trend to Actionable Strategy? 

We’ve just scratched the surface of key trends advertisers need to know in 2023. Interested in learning more? Download our full infographic covering all 14 trends and solutions to optimize your strategy today. And check out part 2 of our mini blog series here, where we dive deeper into trends 8-14.

Each one of these trends in isolation will provide great value to your digital advertising strategy. But if you’re interested in a plan built specifically to reach your target audience and achieve your goals, contact our team of media strategists today. 

*All stats in this blog post are linked in our 2023 trends piece, “14 Advertising Trends you need to know in 2023.”

Considering the Power of Host-Read Podcast Ads

Consumers are increasingly utilizing digital audio, with about two-thirds of the U.S. population listening to digital audio at least once per week.  Consumers are tuning in to online platforms to stream music, listen to their favorite podcast, stay up to date on breaking news, and much more. These audiences can listen in almost any environment, whether they are at the gym, studying, at home, or even driving to work.

The rise in digital audio has opened a unique opportunity for advertisers. Consumers can be reached across various podcasts, music streaming platforms, and digital radio platforms. Now more than ever, consumers crave a more personalized experience, which is exactly what advertisers can offer with programmatic audio strategies. But is programmatic the only direction advertisers can follow? For podcasts in particular, placing pre-produced ads has been a tried-and-true strategy in the digital world. While host-read ads date back to traditional radio, they offer an added benefit of personalization to resonate with listeners, making this format valuable in your brand’s podcast advertising strategy. 

The Power of Podcast Ads

With over 2 million podcasts available, consumers have an endless supply of content to listen to. In the U.S, 57% of consumers listen to audio podcasts and this number has been on the rise over the last decade. But why are more and more people tuning in? There are a plethora of reasons, including learning about a new topic, expanding on their interests, finding inspiration/motivation, seeking entertainment, or simply to relax. These audiences are curious and passionate about the topics they are interested in, and they are often wanting to learn more. 

Advertisers have taken notice of rising podcast usage, for U.S. Podcast ad spending is expected to hit $1.74 billion in 2022, with 82% of marketers planning to continue investing the same amount or increase their investment in podcasts or other audio content. . Here are two of the most commonly used ad formats:

Pre-Produced vs Host Read Ads

Pre-Produced Ads

These ads are similar to traditional radio ads, however they are placed programmatically within the duration of a podcast rather than scheduled in advance. Pre-producedads are either host-read in advance using a script or are sponsor-produced. Advertisers opt for these ads in order to:

  • Lower production costs 
  • Further their reach 
  • Have more control over brand messaging. 

Host Read Ads

These ads are live-read by the host during the recording of a podcast. The ads then become a permanent component of the podcast episode and do not require a set script, but are rather spoken in the verbiage of the host. Host-read ads are effective in a number of ways, for they:

  • Appear more authentic to the listener
  • Don’t disrupt the flow of the podcast 
  • Lead to a higher brand recall than pre-produced. 

So which format is more effective? The simple answer is that both can be beneficial for your brand with the proper research and placement. However, because host-read ads are more expensive than pre-produced, landing a podcast with a host that resonates with your audience will give you the biggest return on your investment. 

The role of the host

In the case of host-read podcast advertisements, the host acts as a type of influencer that consumers listen to and trust. When consumers hear that their favorite podcast host is using a certain product or service, consumers have a higher recall of the ad and may be more inclined to purchase. Here are the benefits of using a host:

Benefits of Host Read Ads

1. Hosts are established in the influencer space. 

The host needs to have a familiarity with the audience space in order for the ad to be effective. The host is engrained in a genre or niche group of people that share similar interests and are curious to learn more about a topic. 

2. Ads become more personalized

Similar to influencers, podcast hosts are sharing their knowledge on a particular subject. Most podcast episodes can be described as conversational and form an intimate setting with the listener. Once the host speaks the ad, it can remain in the same tone as the episode itself. Although the advertiser provides the direction of the ad, the host gets to control the message and essentially be the spokesperson for your brand that is trusted by the listeners. 

3. Host-read ads drive consideration. 

Host-read ads have been found to have a higher emotional connection with listeners than a pre-produced ad. That being said, using a longer form, host-read ad to tell a story about the product/service would be beneficial to drive consideration of the brand. This allows advertisers to go upwards of 60 seconds for an ad instead of the standard 30 seconds. 

Getting started with host-read ads

It’s important to recognize the drawbacks when it comes to purchasing host-read ad space. Because there is limited inventory available, host-read ads often require a premium buy. Another drawback is a smaller reach in comparison to placing pre-produced ads. Lastly, you will have less control over your message as the host ultimately controls what is being said. Knowing these considerations, here are the steps in creating your host-read podcast advertising strategy:

1. Do a deep-dive on your audience

Because ad space is limited, it is crucial to understand exactly where your audience is and what they need. What do they value? What are they curious about? This will allow you to identify adequate targeting strategies to gain awareness and drive consideration for your brand. 

2. Find the right digital partner

When looking to purchase host-read ad space, you should pair with a capable partner that has access to several podcast networks . This allows you to choose different hosts across networks instead of having to do 1-off buys. With more access comes a higher chance of landing your preferred podcast and host.

3. Use timely messaging

Considering the shelf life of a host-read ad, it’s important to incorporate blended buys in your podcast advertising strategy. If you are producing a host-read ad for a promotion or discount, the ad will become dated if the consumer listens at a later date. By purchasing both types of ads, you are able to quickly switch out pre-produced, programmatic ads within certain podcasts while using host-read ads for a larger campaign push (i.e. holidays, sporting events, etc.). The timeliness of your host-read ad will allow the message to better resonate with consumers. 

Are you interested in learning more about adding Digilant’s digital audio solutions to your media mix to finish strong in 2022? Let’s talk. 

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