AdTech Strategies 2021

By Daniel Young, Yield, Inventory & Programmatic Director, DMS

3min Read

Death of the 3rd party cookie, the’ cookie-pocalypse’, the end for programmatic.  These are all murmurs that you have likely heard over the past year or so after Chrome announced that it would soon follow in the footsteps of both Mozilla and Safari and block the use of third-party tracking cookies.  A recent panel discussion that tackled the impacts this cleanse of tracking pixels may have on digital campaigns, performance, technology, and creativity, provided me with the perfect catalyst to stop and think (something we often forget to do).  It was soon apparent that this was a contentious topic, one that many are concerned about at one level or another.

We have experienced a seismic shift in our day to day lives over the past 12 months.  We’ve witnessed the proliferation of the virtual workplace, interactivity at a distance plus a host of other contactless and smart technologies.  We are facing various struggles with the adoption to this new normal, brands and individuals alike are somewhat uncertain, cautious, and calculated.  Understandably.  We are however presented with new opportunities like virtual and augmented reality, advancements in audio adoption as well as increasingly impactful storytelling functionality and shareability.

Below is just a handful of thoughts how things may unfold for the digital media industry in the not-too-distant future

  • Although there is a ton of data out there, it is as good as useless if you are not able to shape it into relevant insights or utilize it effectively. Time and effort needs to be focused on investing in the right people and technologies or connecting with those 2nd parties that can and do.  Data and data partnerships should lead to informed decision making, not create more mess
  • First party data is increasingly important. Those who have navigated this space correctly will be in a strong position as we move forward.  They will also look to strengthen their data assets with supplementary deterministic and probabilistic data to enhance relevance, validation and scale. We will no doubt see an increase in data partnerships
  • Creative needs to be central to the planning process. All too often it is an afterthought with unrealistic expectations placed on messages, actions or assets that are not fit for purpose or the environment in which it is displayed
  • There will be a ‘value-exchange’ between data and content. Ultimately, content is not free, therefore users will be presented with the opportunity for a more customized and relevant advertising experience in exchange for some level of actionable data
  • Interactivity and creativity have their time to shine.  There are various opportunities to exploit AR or VR technology in a time where physical attendance may not be possible or preferential.  Scanning QR codes, backgrounds within a virtual meeting, even your own home can provide platforms to showcase an array of products or interactive engagements.  Especially when you move beyond the needless gimmicks (think selfies with dog ears or childish filters) and focus on those with a purpose or preferred outcome
  • Evolving technologies are enhancing our storytelling potential. Increased touch points, regularity of engagement and elevated shareability all contribute to the possibility of an effective creative, one that evokes some form of emotional appeal, living beyond the seconds that it was in-view
  • Effectiveness will finally shift beyond a target CTR or other vanity metrics and begin to focus more on value. Stronger use of robust attribution models will emerge including incrementality, uplift and even footfall
  • This is more of a tracking cleanse, removing unnecessary and thoughtless clutter, providing more intelligent use of a smaller pool of (potentially chargeable) actionable data. This will also encourage a more considered approach to audience targeting and measures of success


No matter what we encounter, it is certainly not going to be all doom and gloom, nor will it remove our ability to deliver effective and engaging digital advertising.  It may even be the ‘shot in the arm’ that the industry needs.