TV Viewership Statistics & Trends to Watch for in 2024
by Cat Hausler
5 Min Read
Advertisers’ growing first-party audiences can also be reached on Connected TV
6 Min Read
The cookie is crumbling – the third-party cookie that is. Google has announced that by the end of next year, they will no longer be accepting third-party cookies, which have been an essential tool for marketers looking to reach potential customers across multiple platforms. The elimination of the third-party cookie may have a profound effect on the data marketers have come to rely on. With this change looming in the not-so-distant future, everyone from advertisers to ad tech to media companies is plotting a new way forward and starting to beef up their first-party data stores. And luckily, that wealth of first-party data doesn’t have to stop on the desktop. Despite not being heavily affected by the elimination of the cookie, Connected TV can always benefit from additional data and first-party data is no different.
As first-party data becomes more important to advertisers’ success, channels like Connected TV are a viable space to bring that data to life. Whether it’s uploading CRM data containing known prospects or current customers, or targeting website visitors with TV ads, CTV enhances the value of first-party data by giving advertisers an impactful ad channel to deploy it on. And this hasn’t gone unnoticed as many in the space bolster these first-party capabilities.
Privacy seems to be at the top of everyone’s mind as people start to question what information is being collected and how it’s being used by advertisers. Tech giants like Apple and Google have begun shifting their data collection policies to align with these calls for transparency. Apple’s most recent software updates, iOS 14.5 and iOS 15, both included updates to data collection. Apps are now required to get users’ permission to collect their data upfront. Plus, how that data is being used is transparently outlined so that users can make an informed decision as to whether they’d like to share their information.
Google has committed to removing the third-party cookies from Chrome by the end of next year, a significant move as over half of all global web traffic flows through the web browser. These cookies have tracked users from website to website, gathering data on what they are looking to purchase or what their interests are, and have been essential to creating third-party audiences for email, web/display, and social marketers’ use. Thus, those who depend on these cookies for their targeting are looking for new solutions to reach their audience.
The shift in focus to first-party data is becoming apparent as media companies throw their hat into the game. NBCUniversal announced this week that they are partnering with Dentsu to integrate the agency into their data platform. This means that Dentsu’s advertisers now have access to the myriad of first-party data NBC has available through their NBCUnified platform – from streaming platforms to theme parks. Advertisers can match their own audiences against NBC’s first-party data, creating a more precise picture of the individual without the use of a third-party cookie. NBC’s first-party data is becoming even more valuable for advertisers who are losing access to a key dataset. And they aren’t the first media company to make these types of deals with those in the ad tech world. Recently, Disney and Horizon penned a similar deal. Disney Advertising will allow Horizon’s host of clients to access their “clean room” data service, which means that they can securely match their own first-party data with Disney’s. What once may have been gleaned from a third-party cookie is now only available through the first-party, putting media companies in a unique position to leverage the mass amounts of data available from their ecosystems.
Media companies aren’t the only ones starting to think about the increased importance of first-party data. Advertisers and ad tech companies are also laying the groundwork to move away from their dependence on the third-party cookie. TripleLift announced the acquisition of Swiss company 1plusX to address the developing landscape of targeting data. 1plusX allows advertisers to target audiences without the use of the third-party data, working directly with a publisher’s data to identify user matches, and even going further to create a lookalike audience (identifying those who will most likely have similar interests to matched accounts). TripleLift is betting on the importance of first-party data and investing early in the tech needed to gather this essential information.
As ad tech starts to add to their first-party data offerings, some advertisers are taking matters into their own hands. Brands like Whisker are turning their focus towards collecting emails and cell phone numbers, creating their own extensive first-party data pools to draw from for future marketing efforts. Others, like Lemieux et Cie, have completely abandoned a cookie-driven website and are turning to places like TikTok to determine the best user experience, such as displaying all their products in one long scroll. And some have more drastically cut their spending on social all together and moved back toward linear TV, relying on the contextual alignment of years past to get their products in front of the right eyes.
There is a lot of work going into this new chapter of data collection, with a focus on building out robust first-party data sets. The good news is that first-party audience you are working on cultivating now can also extend to your CTV efforts. CRM tools allow you to reach your audience on CTV and deliver individualized messages. These tools allow you to create various segments from your first-party data pool, so you can tailor your message to a cart abandoner vs. a loyal customer. Plus, data from your onsite pixel can be targeted and similarly segmented, creating a nuanced and highly-actionable audience for your business. You can reach each audience within the premium content they are watching on the largest screen in the house.
Luckily, not everything as you know it is changing. Connected TV advertising does not heavily rely on cookie-based targeting and is therefore not facing the impending challenges of the cookie’s demise. Platforms like MNTN Performance TV use methods such as IP targeting, which is not limited by the security updates being made by Google and Apple. And rightly so, as CTV is one of the most brand-safe and fraud-free advertising spaces that an advertiser can turn to. You can still use third-party audience targeting through providers like Oracle for your prospecting campaigns on screen, as well as bolster your CRM and retargeting campaigns with your growing first-party audiences.
The world of advertising continues to evolve and the end of the third-party cookie is a big change. However, new solutions are being mapped now so that by the time permanent changes are enacted, there are other viable solutions. And the great news is, these efforts can carry across platforms to create a well-rounded marketing strategy.