Will the elimination of third-party cookies hinder DOOH’s personalization?

Experts say that working with data partners that offer end-user control ensures that data accessed is managed in a privacy controlled manner

e4m by Noel Dsouza
Published: Oct 8, 2020 9:10 AM  | 7 min read
DOOH and Third Party Cookies

In early 2020, global search engine giant Google announced that it will be eliminating third party cookies from Chrome. This will now be replaced by browser-based tools and techniques aimed at balancing personalization and privacy. All the major browsers, for the longest time, have been in favour of rejecting the permission of third-party cookies that are used by advertisers for personalization of digital campaigns.

What does this development mean for DOOH? Experts say that there is a unified decision to not solely rely on third party data. pDOOH is pegged to become an outcome-based bidding model and will be designed to be more reliant on CPM metrics and contextual data will be amplified. This will prioritise the safety of data not just from a consumers' trust perspective but from the brands' or clients' end as well. From a consumer standpoint, DOOH is preferred over digital ads. Unlike the latter, the former is not forced upon consumers and doesn't come in the way of their content. 

e4m spoke to DOOH players if eliminating third party cookies will pose as a challenge for personalizing DOOH ads, methods for garnering consumer data that DOOH players use and contextual targeting.

Eliminating Third-Party cookies: A threat or opportunity for DOOH?
According to Gautam Bhirani, Managing Director, Eyetalk Media Ventures, Google’s decision to drop support for 3rd party cookies will heavily change the way advertisers can target consumers.

Bhirani shares his perspective: “This disruption also unlocks flourishing opportunities for AdTech companies in an advertising world where addressability becomes a challenge and will certainly push marketers to think differently and explore new strategies to send their messages to customers.”

In this case, DOOH will flourish as marketers explore new channels and opportunities shifting media investments to cookie-less digital channels.

Bhirani adds, “Marketers across the globe have been bullish on DOOH as it is the only form of digital advertising that is beyond a consumers personal device and is non-intrusive. Bridging the gap between online and offline world's, DOOH creates immersive experiences connecting with audiences on the move with its powerful currencies like flexibility, speed, adaptability and accountability.”

Gulab Patil, Founder, CEO, Lemma is of the opinion that DOOH is a one to many medium and hence ad personalization is done keeping in mind the common attributes displayed by the larger group within a given location.

Patil says, “To keep the ads contextual, DOOH relies largely on 1st party data which takes into account location, mobile intelligence, live feeds, camera sensors, IoT beacons and other sources, which are gathered using multiple in-house collation methodologies, reducing the dependency on any third-party data sources. Hence customization of ads remains unaffected as the process doesn’t vastly involve the use of third-party cookies.”

Navonil Roy, COO Moving Audiences, Moving Walls says, “There is a long term trend towards providing individuals with greater control in terms of sharing data, location, content usage and these actions from Google, Apple, etc are in recognition of the same. However, based on past trends one sees that consumers start providing access to their data post an initial dip due to the convenience offered.”

Sharing Moving Walls methodology in navigating data, Roy remarks, “The location data providers like Moving Walls are not directly impacted by cookies since the key identifiers are Mobile Advertising IDs, though the regulatory trends are also being seen in the context of Mobile Advertising IDs. Hence, Moving Walls as an organisation is committed to multiple data sources, beyond just mobile GPS movement, this allows for building volumetrics and profiles using data from different sources and can handle changes in the availability of any of the individual data sources.”

Rishabh Mehta, Founder & CEO, LOCAD says the recent change announced by Google will take at least couple of years before being put to force and he doesn’t see any major immediate impact of this on DOOH ads for now.

Mehta further shared, “This would only further add to DOOH taking a more prominent space in the overall marketing mix moving forward. DOOH will become a preferred channel for marketers to target consumers on the go with first-party data sets. We expect a lot more innovation to come in this space.”

Mobile Integration a benefactor for consuming data
Roy comments, “DOOH can leverage data from mobile integration. Moving Walls is already integrating data from GPS movement and mobile content consumption at a specific location. This is being used for computing the volumetrics and profile of the audience at the location. This same integration process allows synergising the delivery of mobile advertising along with OOH, by providing the ability to deliver mobile advertising to people seen at the OOH location, including the ability to track impression delivery in an aggregate manner.”

Patil remarks, “Advanced DOOH platforms will be able to continue leveraging the information garnered through mobile integrations; however, this should be implemented at a larger scale for better audience reach. Mobile platforms would be playing a very important role to garner and strengthen audience data. Brands would be more interested in cross-device targeting because of both widespread and common data-points. Other aspects like Hyperlocal targeting on a mobile device will continue to play a vital role.”

Mehta says, “The marriage of Mobile and DOOH is inevitable. It makes a lot of sense to have an integrated approach towards targeting consumers on the go at the right time and right location.”

Navigating Data on DOOH whilst keeping consumer trust
Roy says, “Working with data partners that offer end-users control ensures that the data is accessed and managed in a privacy controlled manner. Moving Walls works with select partners and has guidelines on engagements with all its data partners across the different data sources.”

Talking about DOOH’s principles Patil says, “DOOH players leverage non-personal information only. This data, simply put are internet signals emitted through mobile devices captured through IoT beacons and other similar technology. Dwelling deeper into this data is where third party intervention is needed and depending on the level of access the data providers have, the output will vary. Advanced audience segmentation in terms of interest or internet browsing habits may face nominal obstruction but largely remain unchanged, as first-party and app interface data still remains in full capacity.”

Mehta shared, “At LOCAD we are leading with first-party data integrations via our recently launched SmartCam module for both indoor and outdoor Digital screens. We have just gone live across a few markets in India and international and are receiving good traction and interest from all stakeholders. Apart from this, we have data integrations with apps and mobile websites that helps understanding the audience profile segmentation around the screen locations. With our camera module integrated with our proprietary DOOH CMS module, we can now offer clients to get live traffic counts, expression and emotion analysis, age -gender split, dwell time per content, ethnicity identification, facial attributes and clothing type details. Furthermore, advertisers can now really target very specific audiences in real-time and get clear ROI and transparency on their ad spends. We strongly believe in this medium and have allocated significant resources to further introduce innovative features and solutions globally.”

Contextual targeting in DOOH
Roy states “Moving Walls has been involved in bringing multiple contextual targeting to OOH, based on audience profile, for instance: young mothers, health-conscious etc; based on external triggers like weather, a brand of a car driving by etc. Integrating with multiple data sources allows for making the contextual targeting richer and increases the effectiveness of DOOH advertising.”

Contextual Targeting is basically rendering ads in ‘context’ to the current environment or surrounding. To draw a parallel, think of it as an ad for a movie on a website carrying entertainment news or movie reviews only.

Patil states, “In DOOH context can be location-based, weather-based, sports events or any other trigger that has a correlation to the screen, audiences and the surrounding environment. The execution of such campaigns remains unaffected as it purely relies on first-party data sources and can be done even in the current scenario with little or no modification. For instance, Ads at a gym are being targeted to audiences into fitness or an ad for a beverage is promoted during summers.”

Bhirani concludes saying, “Place-based media has always been an effective digital channel for contextual and personalised messaging, which makes the location a key currency in a cookieless world.” 

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