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ANA Publishes Column by Bombora’s Mike Burton: ‘Are You Too Late to Act on Identity?’

While you may be later to the game than others, now is the perfect time to dive in and start preparing for this new advertising world.

The Association of National Advertisers, or ANA, has published a new column from Bombora Cofounder and EVP of Strategic Partnerships Mike Burton. The column asks and answers the question, “Is it too late to prepare new identity strategies and solutions?”

The text of the column was as follows:

Google has finally restricted cookie support for one percent of all Chrome users. Now that the slow decline of cookies is finally upon us, brands and agencies are asking, “Is it too late to prepare new identity strategies and solutions?”

While you may be later to the game than others, now is the perfect time to dive in and start preparing for this new advertising world.

Many, perhaps too many, in the marketing and advertising industry waited for clarity to emerge before taking concrete steps toward building, testing, and learning to survive and thrive in the era of cookie deprecation. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure your company isn’t playing catch up.

Choose Your Future-Proofing Play
It may be the first time in decades that the entire ecosystem is concerned about the availability of addressability at scale. As the landscape shifts and new identifiers emerge, some paths are coming to the forefront to help brands and agencies achieve scale.

1. The Google Approach
While cookie deprecation is tied to consumer privacy concerns, it also will drive advertisers to adopt Google’s alternative solutions. There are explorations of the Privacy Sandbox, and we are still waiting to see a critical mass of brands and agencies even think about adopting Google’s solutions.

However, there are issues with Google’s approach that are easy to see, even without looking under the hood at the technology. The solution is likely to remain a siloed black box, which could make it more challenging for advertisers to gain visibility into the best identifiers to help them meet their scale needs.

2. The Broad-Based Approach
The other option, which nearly every marketer will follow to some degree, is not beholden to just one third-party platform. Instead, it’s about finding the solution that best addresses the organization’s most pressing challenges. For example, there is a plethora of alternative identifiers already on the market, and even more are likely to arrive in the coming months. These may be platform-specific or agnostic. Meanwhile, most publishers will have some form of first-party identifier to use on their sites on behalf of their advertisers. Either way, these alternatives should be considered and assessed to determine if they are the right solution.

3. Check Your Tech Stack to Strengthen Your Post-Cookie Foundation
Regardless of your approach, brands need to take time right now to evaluate their tech stack. This means evaluating which tools are currently being deployed, which can continue supporting addressability, and which will lose efficacy. The focus of the evaluation should be on capturing accurate data to enhance and support an established first-party data strategy to help prepare for what’s ahead.

Brands have limitless possibilities. The conventional wisdom is that no one identifier will fully “replace” the cookie. It would be commercially untenable for any entity to entirely replace the cookie with one identifier and attract the level of adoption necessary to drive scale. In other words, brands waiting for a leader should stop waiting and revise their strategy now.

For those finally ready to get off the sidelines and take action, it’s important to test a variety of identifiers. Advertising is, in large part, a game of scale. Future success will require a mixture of alternative identifiers. The real opportunity for brands will be in mapping the various identifiers to business identities and ensuring they continue to protect consumers’ privacy.

Brands that haven’t actively tested performance and learned how to understand the results are late to the game. Fortunately, Google’s slow rollout gives companies plenty of time to catch up — if they start today.

Mike Burton is cofounder and EVP of Strategic Partnerships at Bombora.

This column appeared first in ANA:

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