Saturday 2 January 2021 1:34 pm

What will 2021 bring for the advertising industry?

2020 has been a dramatic year for the UK and global advertising industry. Google Chrome announced it will kill off third-party cookies by January 2022, Apple introduced two ‘anti-tracking’ features in September and the pandemic brought digital fatigue as well as increased ad fraud.

So what will 2021 bring for the advertising industry?

According to Elie Kanaan, chief marketing & strategy officer of Ogury, one of the world’s biggest choice-driven advertising firms, relying on consumer naivete will become an old tactic for AdTech in 2021.

Thanks to documentaries like The Great Hack and The Social Dilemma, consumers have awakened to the value of their data and the protection of their privacy,” Kanaan told City A.M.

“They are also experiencing digital fatigue due to the significant increase in time spent online and in front of screens this year.”

However, most consumers do understand the value exchange. Ogury research found 70% of consumers are willing to receive a certain amount of useful ads in exchange for free content.

“Consumers also don’t hate all digital advertising, only useless and invasive ads. Moving forward, brands must address the authentic engagement consumers now crave like never before,” Kanaan said.

Left in the dark

2020 has seen a major shift for the advertising industry with Google committing to phase out third-party cookies and Apple announcing changes to the Identifiers for Advertisers (IDFA), which requires developers to explicitly ask consumers to consent to be tracked. Assuming many consumers would decline, this move will block and essentially end this practice.

“Without third-party cookies and IDFA, it’s understandable that advertisers might feel left in the dark,” Kanaan noted. “But these are the types of challenges that foster innovation.

He pointed out that relevance will no longer be equated to personalisation. And contextual advertising, however improved, won’t be enough. “This means a new approach will emerge that meets advertisers’ need for performance and protection,” Kanaan said.

In the past advertisers had to choose prioritising short term gains, very often at the expense of protecting the brand from legal, reputational and fraud risk, he continued.

“With consumer awakening, the effects of legislation, and the heightened risk of fraud, compromise on protection is no longer viable.”

Time to refocus

Moreover, Kanaan argues that, for too long, advertisers have been favouring so-called ‘bottom of the funnel’ conversion tactics, coupled with last-click attribution, to drive incremental sales or app installs.

“Everyone realizes today that these approaches do not necessarily deliver the performance they promise. It is time to refocus on the fundamentals of advertising: brand and product discovery and ads that attract consumers instead of harassing them,” he noted.

“Advertising aimed to build brand equity addresses consumer demand for authentic engagement, reduces fraud, eliminates the impact of bots, and the illusion of performance with opaque attribution. Brands will return to the true value of advertising – creating brand awareness and product affinity,” Kanaan concluded.