MTC Podcasts

Episode 4 – Discussing Cookieless Advertising with David Morris

A pivotal discussion about the advent of “Cookieless Advertising” and how it will impact the customer experience in the near future with David Morris from Tealium

Chandrima Samanta: [00:01:09] Welcome to the podcast, David.

David Morris: [00:01:13] Thank you very much indeed.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:01:15] I want to start this conversation by talking about how times have changed in terms of customer experience, we are witnessing that a new era of customer experience is upon us as CX steadily moves toward becoming a de facto strategic imperative for any organization which is seeking competitive differentiation and business growth, especially in today's marketplace. What do you think changed in terms of the customer's expectations?

David Morris: [00:01:42] I think quite a few things have, and I think also is where almost now just used to constant change and having to need to adapt. So these changes are not quite water off a duck's back, but we're mindful that we need to keep adapting. Think of a couple of key things that we can see and are kind of seeing more recently. One is, I guess, the trade off or the choice that consumers are making between privacy and convenience. So privacy is very front of mind. It's the mainstream press. People are thoughtful or suddenly are being forced to be thoughtful about how their privacy is kind of regulated or data online in their online experience. But at the same time, they just want the convenience of what online gives them as well, and could often find that the privacy mandates can put things that make online behavior or online purchasing, for example, slightly less convenient. So I think there is that tradeoff at the moment. And that's kind of what is also driving some of the customer expectations and looking for that convenience still. But they're kind of impacted by all the privacy that needs to be added to and rightly so. And you see that with things like consent forms that pop up probably more often than people want to. And then there's the other half of it, which I think actually is just more of a kind of trend in just society itself.

David Morris: [00:03:14] And that is for a long time we have been the product. So what I mean by that is that you will readily accept the free platforms for consumers to use like social media platforms or search engines or things like that. They are free. But that's because we really are implicitly or explicitly agreeing that the information that we share also on that is really what the platform is all about. And so we are the products. Now that's shifted over time because now it's gone from us being kind of passively the product to much more kind of actively the product. So what I mean by that is if you look now at social media, it's gone from, hey, engage your friends here to how you can make a persona and get influenced on our social platform. And so now we're moving much more towards, OK, I'm the product, but actually I'm going to benefit from it explicitly, so I'm seeking experience from that. So I think that changing customer expectations of, I'm expecting an experience because I am providing something is really starting to permeate in how people behave and expect things online as well.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:04:29] Yeah, right. Taking away from your previous answer about the privacy regulations, now with the privacy regulations becoming stringent by the date, navigating through the data ecosystem has become even more complicated. That has a tremendous impact on how organizations handle personal data. Consequently, it has also influenced the way that companies use Adtech and Martech software as such. However, there is a dichotomy to this choice. Do you think that this shift requires us to focus more on the mode of processing the data or it requires us to actually focus on getting the right platform in place?

David Morris: [00:05:08] It's an interesting decision to have to make, and I, I feel like, brands now just can't make a choice between the two. So, for example, and I really think that business users should issue some of this to be transparent to them, but mode of processing the data really should be something that is now managed behind the scenes and is seamlessly then making useful information available into those great platforms. And so what I mean by that is all the governance that needs to take place should be handled and obviously handled correctly. And there is even software just to handle just that. I think that should be decoupled from how it is used. And I think that is why you are seeing a real kind of prolific growth in customer experience related software at the moment. Now, whether that be data related software like CDPs, which are focusing on bringing it all together so you can access it, or whether you're talking about the actual adtech or the Martech tools themselves through deactivations, I think it needs to be a separation where the compliance and the governance around the data, it's happening in the background, but allowing that smooth data to be available for business users to make good decisions and be able to make good actions. In other words, good conversations with the customer. I think we used to be able to make the choice between the two, but now I think they are now distinct parts of the business that need to be owned completely by the business themselves.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:06:46] All right. A good balance always takes us a long way. Now we have all seen cases and examples of extremely poor ethics, toppled with massive data hygiene errors. This can range from the tricky opt-ins where searching an opt out is no less than doing a treasure hunt in itself. While majorly hilarious, sometimes these errors go to the extent of causing emotional distress and leading to evasive approach and creepy marketing. How would you suggest that the marketers can go a little easier on the aggressive marketing and resolve this issue out?

David Morris: [00:07:22] Yeah, this is always a I guess it's a fun one, and I kind of cringe one at the same time, you know, I think on the one hand we we see people put consent prompt outs, which are almost designed to trick people into consenting. And it's just subversive. But it's not it's not helpful to the reputation of marketing online. I think we need to be very mindful of that. So one thing I would definitely say is that just being the most transparent we can be allows us to gather and really invest in the most trust we can get from our customers. And so the trust really comes when they share information with us. They provide consent and we honor it and we don't use it for any more than we stated we would. And we will be transparent about what we said we're going to do, or I think, for example, loyalty programs like the ones that we've been involved in for years, that you have a loyalty program with your online grocer for the last 30 years. I imagine they've done a really good job of being transparent about what you will get from the program if you sign up. And that's essentially what we're talking about here, being really transparent with somebody to say you get these benefits if you sign up. And this is what we need for you, for you to do that. I think that transparency can harbor trust. And to avoid this kind of cringe, kind of like creepy moments, I think marketers need to kind of really find the right balance between I've got this information, how should I actually responsibly use it? And historically, particularly third party data and third party cookies, that is a big, big part of what we're looking at now in the industry.

David Morris: [00:09:09] It's very easy to get hold of data, so it's too easy. And so that kind of easiness or laziness about getting the data has meant that we can always go and get away with being a little bit lazy sometimes about how we use it. And then that might result in some of the creepiness that you just described. But I think now, as we are more attuned to how we get the information, we can be more considerate about how we leverage it. And I think, you know, a nice analogy I've used in the past, I think with other conversations around this and my colleagues and with with customers is if we treat this like a good, healthy relationship, then we wouldn't want to speed it up by finding lots of information about somebody before they told them ourselves. And I think it's the same with us as marketers. We need to be mindful of that. And just because we might know something without the customer fully appreciating that they had shared that even though they given consent, it doesn't mean we should stop leveraging it instantly and kind of speeding up the relationship, as it were. And I think that's a good way to approach it. I certainly benefit from that when people or companies contact me and get to know a lot to like, aware, as it were, of what I know and what I need, but just enough that I can, I feel like I'm being thoughtful.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:10:27] Right now, talking about the third party cookies and the third party data that you just talked about, I would really like to take a segment shift to identity resolution. Can you explore the concept of cookies syncing for our audience, David so that we can dive deeper into the identity resolution process on the whole?

David Morris: [00:10:47] Yeah, absolutely, so I think cookie syncing as you describe it and I think there's a need to limitation to it now, but I think this cookie, cookie syncing is designed so that when somebody like myself hits a brand's website, a cookie sync or a handshake occurs behind the scenes. And what that is doing is saying, if I go to website A, I say, OK, I'd like to speak to a I'd like to contact the advertising tech that I'd use. And what I need from them is I need to know the id that the advertising company is using to recognize the person on my site. And I would like to be able to handshake and receive that body, that ID, so that I can then use it in communicating about that person back to the advertising technology on a future date. So cookie syncing is about receiving that cookie value from the advertising platform. Now it's Id syncing in reality and it doesn't have to be third party cookies, but predominantly has been. And the purpose of it ultimately is for people to be able to have a way of communicating to advertising technology if a digital advertising platform uses an id that a platform understands, so that they can then do things like retargeting and to get wider reach and and focus more on that.

David Morris: [00:12:12] So that's the reason for it. Now, for my individual brand perspective and wanting to resolve identity about somebody, it can certainly be used to recognize who that person is for that advertising platform. But third party cookies are what cookie syncing is really about whether they're not really something you can recognize. Somebody outside of the browser or outside of the device is very much held to that. And when we think about id resolution or recognizing people over time, we want to be using IDs that are more than just party cookies. And there's all kinds of factors now of third party cookies, diminishing of them which really make cookies syncing something that is going to vastly adapt in our industry as advertising platforms adapt in the way in which ideas are going to be used to communicate and be able to get metrics into their platform.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:13:11] All right, now now that we are clear, that cookie syncing in a big way, aids, the entire identity resolution process in creating a comprehensive custom of you, we know that identity resolution have always been the key component of building a cohesive and omnichannel view for our customers, which ultimately builds a very solid basis for contextual targeting. Further down the sales funnel with a cookie-less future on the edge and assuming it would take years to develop the understanding to activate scaled compliant capabilities to face a cookieless future. How do you think identity resolution will function in a cookieless world?

David Morris: [00:13:50] Well, I think, first of all, the good news is that identity resolution has been functioning really well without third party cookies as well. It's just that different technologies use different ways of doing identity resolution. And I also want to, I think, just kind of refine slightly there and say this is third party cookies that are going away, not all cookies. And, you know, first party cookies are staying for the foreseeable future. And while some of them, in the ways in which you set those cookies, have a limited lifespan of, say, a week, for example, identity resolution will still use cookies anonymously for the foreseeable future. But I think identity resolution has always been looking for more than just a cookie to anonymously recognize people. You will find probabilistic systems, look, look for things like fingerprinting, which essentially is using a set of information which could change over time to try and assess whether it is the same person and more deterministic identity resolution capabilities. We'll look for IDs themselves and see whether the values match over time. Now, those ids are much more first party generated by things like email address or phone number or loyalty number or customer id. And whatever platform that supports identity resolution from across all types of IDs, not just third party, but first party as well. You will find yourself in a position of a stable strategic position to be able to recognize an individual in a way that they have allowed you to over time to build up a rich understanding of them so that you can enhance that relationship you have with them. And so I really think that, yes, we're moving towards a third party cookieless future and a more restricted first party cookie future. But it doesn't mean that identity resolution is going to get hit. It just means that we're going to be able to provide a more robust view of who that person is.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:15:53] That's quite a revelation for us marketers. Now, I would also like to know your take on what would be your advice to the organizations or individuals who have been solely dependent on third party cookies. How should they prepare for a cookieless future in this case of third party cookies?

David Morris: [00:16:16] Yeah, I think it's a very important thing to be thinking about, and I actually think this has got once you kind of make your decisions around this, you've got like a I would say, a six to eight month timeframe ahead of you to really kind of be ready. And we know that 2022 is when Google is saying they'll no longer use that third party cookies in their platform, so that kind of means the world is not using third party cookies in 2022. So we have a time clock ahead of us and it's what we can do to go get ourselves ready. Now there's some practical steps which I'll definitely describe, but I think there's also a strategic mindset as well. And that's to recognize that. It's no longer just a tick box in a platform to have dates have been included in some third party date to be included in what you want to use, be able to retarget, target and personalize the people you now need to put the effort in to think about what kind of information you want to have as an exchange with your consumers and give them a reason to want to share that value exchange that we do here, and prolifically and rightly so, is very, very important. And, you know, before we had digital whatever, we went to the shop around the corner to go and get something. You were known personally by those who worked at the shop because you, the locals and the value exchange there was that they knew you, they knew what you needed, and they typically always had it ready for you.

David Morris: [00:17:42] And one or two questions later. And they have everything else that you need as well. And so we're familiar with that from a local perspective. But in our global society and with the Internet and accessible that way, we now need to really think that that is having to do that scale. So when we think of things like that, we can think of some strategies that need to accept the fact that we need to start collecting information in a way that provides trust. And we have strategies to go and collect ids so that we can recognize people robustly over time. Now, I've mentioned first party ids, Pi-IDS for example, that are useful. And you might see some tactics and strategies people use where they feel that their content is worthy of someone having to sign in to see it, for example, and rightly so. And so there's the you start to see it's kind of ID gates on online content as people start to shift from, OK, I'm not going to rely on put-on advertising revenue. I'm now going to also say you need to kind of pay or subscribe to see my content. So those ID gates are going to come up. And I think there are useful things to do at the right time based on your business model. Now, from a more technical standpoint, there are ways to actually maintain a first party cookie for a year and there are ways to do that which allow you to be able to maintain that in accordance with all the regulations and all the kinds of browser stipulations that are out there as well.

David Morris: [00:19:17] So that's something that I have seen work really well for both, the customers I work with and people in the industry that I engage in. So that's something we can obviously share over time. And there's also the need really to be able to show customers that the zero party information, that information you're sharing because of an explicit service, that, you know, you'll benefit from actually realising that and providing that service completely and will aid people in wanting to collect information. So I think as you want to prepare for this cookieless approach, cookies are the ground and recognize what the adtech providers are doing because they're going to make it easy for you to still engage in a network. Secondly, get some technology which can bring ids together against the person so you can maintain a view of them no matter what's going on in the industry. And then thirdly, start pulling together user profiles and in which them with I.D. and information now and a first party level, so that as you do that over time, you have a nice, rich profile of information about your consumers that you can live with fully when we are going to be more reliant on first party data and less reliance on third party data in the near future.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:20:37] I thought that was a rather solidified approach towards the cookieless future. Now, from your observations, who do you think is doing it really, really well? Do you have any firsthand examples that you would like to share with our audience?

David Morris: [00:20:53] Yeah, I got a few, actually, one of them is a local company round the corner from where I live, and it's a place called Blenheim Palace. It's a big old stately home. It's got loads of grounds. And I get emails from them once every two months. And every time I get an email, it is interesting, relevant, and I sign up to that event and they have lots of events that go on. But I only seem to ever get ones which I'm always going to say yes to. So I called out to those guys to do an amazing job. And I think it's because they are thoughtful about how they use the information I've shared with them and the kind of things I've been to before. And that's great. But I also see some really great things going on in a much wider scale, digital experience as well. So, for example, I think the banks, whilst they can often be seen to be slow to the uptake in big machines, I actually think that having a really great job of steadily going through personalization steps and seeing their effectiveness over time. So, for example, I think Lloyds or HSBC are doing a good job when it comes to the customer experience with the kind of online banking side of things and how that relates to other parts of how they work with you.

David Morris: [00:22:13] And I think it's been a very, very good thing to see how banks are really kind of elevating themselves and not kind of continuing with that persona of being slow on the uptake. And I think that's fantastic to see as well, especially the digital economy. But I think there's lots of good examples out there of people being able to work hard on using digital data. You can definitely see how retailers are really pushing the envelope. Now, we need to be in the digital economy much more than bricks and mortar. And it's just a prediction based on all the times that we're in over the last 18 months and as some have really taken it by the scruff of the neck. So you see a lot more retailers that have commonly been bricks and mortar looking at digital transformation through technology and business process and really trying to escalate and speed that up now. So I think companies out there like Donelli who do great fashion stuff are really kind of taken up by the scruff of the neck. It's good to see how they've managed to produce some great results using technology to drive it forward.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:23:20] Quite a fascinating platter of examples, I must say, coming to the last and one of my favorite questions to ask from my guests, what would be your go to marketing advice for a budding and aspirational marketer?

David Morris: [00:23:35] Oh, yeah, OK, I think so. Well, there's lots of things to say your first step into especially when you're thinking about, OK, what am I going to do first? I think one of the first things I always did as a budding marketer is, I would think about the resources within my business that are there to support me and historically there has always been a real separation between I.T. and data and marketing. And that, well, that just isn't true anymore. It shouldn't be in the business you're in. So if you are a marketer and you should be looking for who is like the closest person to me in the business that I can talk to about getting data and analytics to make decisions, and how fast can I get that information and how frequently can I get it? I would be looking at that to see how the business that I am in is able to respond and act on the data that is being collected and that's certainly the first thing. And then secondly, as well, I would be having to look at my longer term strategy for how to be able to understand my customers better in a robust way. That is a little more future proof than hacks on how to be able to track people in this evolving time. I think it's very dangerous for us to look for work around things like cookie loss and ITP, because we're really just letting those changes impact our strategy. Instead, I think we should be focusing on a longer term strategy which is perfectly reasonable to do at this time as we look at the long term view that other ad tech vendors and martech are achieving. So on the one hand, check your internal business, see what access to good data you can have quickly. On the other hand, make sure your view isn't getting shaken by constant changes in the market.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:25:29] And that is really wonderful advice that takes us to the end of this conversation. Thanks a lot for joining me for this conversation, David, and I hope you have enjoyed this as much as I have and our audience will.

David Morris: [00:25:44] Thank you very much as well, it's been fantastic and yeah, Thank You very much.

Chandrima Samanta: [00:25:49] Have a great day, David, and stay safe.

David Morris: [00:25:52] Thank you too.

we should be focusing on a longer-term strategy which is perfectly reasonable to do at this time as we look at the long-term view that other ad tech vendors and martech are achieving. So on the one hand, check your internal business, see what access to good data you can have quickly. On the other hand, make sure your view isn’t getting shaken by constant changes in the market.

David Morris
VP GLobal Solution Consulting,Tealium
David Morris, an expert in building data solutions, is the Lead Sales Engineer at Tealium EMEA. With over 10 years experience in Big Data management, David has helped develop the best practises surrounding data collection, management and actioning.
Working with household names on a daily basis, David has supported them in interpreting data to improve Business Intelligence, Digital Marketing and conversion optimisation. David's experience of cross device customer engagement has lead to him being a vital asset in helping businesses to develop solutions to drive revenue growth through omnichannel marketing.
During his career David has focused on the data management technology tools available and the best methods of implementation. Taking an active role to assist in the development of technology combined with a background in data solutions, means that David is able to advise based on his own knowledge and experiences.

Chandrima Samanta
Strategic Marketing Head, MartechCube
Chandrima Samanta is the strategic head of marketing at Martech Cube with a flair for taking the "P" up a notch in the personalization ladder of the customer journeys. Along with a strengthened sense of Marketing collateral creation, she possessed streamlined Analytical abilities which make data-driven marketing her niche.

Previous ArticleNext Article