By packing the digital advertising supply chain into an end-to-end stack, the AdTech industry have only temporarily fixed the problem that came with the deprecation of third-party trackers but left the measurement agenda wide open to solve. Image: ShutterstockL
ast week, a leading supply side platform, threw its version of the “end to end” stack into the digital advertising ring. Whether it is from the demand side or the supply side, all end-to-end solutions say that they:
- Put advertisers in control of their media buying strategy, while simultaneously driving more revenue to publishers.
- Significantly increase spend going towards working media, make it easier for brands and agencies to securely share data, and helps publishers generate more revenue.
- Give a simplified, direct connection to the publishers across the open internet; by supporting an objective, transparent supply path; maximising value for everyone.
- Help trade through the most direct and efficient path to premium omnichannel supply with their demand side to supply side (DSP-to-SSP) architecture.
- Fully integrate commerce media platform that offers end to end stack bringing consumers to brands, audiences to publishers and brands to retailers.
No prize for guessing who these companies are. With this, the commoditization of Open Web advertising is all but near complete.
When the IAB TechLab launched Project Rearc in 2020 in response to the deprecation (or limitation) of third-party cookies and other identifiers; a set of five initiatives was proposed to address the need. First and foremost was the Global Privacy Platform (GPP) protocol designed to streamline the transmission of privacy, consent, and consumer choice signals from sites and apps to brand, platforms and ad tech providers. IAB TechLab also proposed fresh accountability standards, seller defined audiences, tokenization frameworks for user enabled identifiers and privacy enhancing technologies. For nearly three years, since 2020, the AdTech industry has tried to build various solutions, including the Privacy Sandbox from Google. While there are different solutions that are being developed there is one area where there is absolutely no solution in sight and that related to the “transmission of consent and consumer choice signals”.
The emergence of the end-to-end stack from all the leading AdTech providers must be seen in this perspective. Transmission of consent and consumer choice signals across the fragmented digital supply chain is not possible in the current form. It requires an alarming level of trust, transparency and compliance sync up from all the participants in the supply chain. The industry has chosen to “centralize and pack up” than to “rebuild and collaborate”. This has resulted in the commoditization of the AdTech supply chain, with no real differentiation. Value exchange and the related value creation has now totally shifted to advertisers and publishers, as they own the consumer choice signals and their consent.Also read: Why adtech needs to focus on privacy-compliant personalisation
Assume for a moment that advertisers and publishers have fixed their consent management obligations and let us play out what next. From an advertisers perspective their ad monies will now be distributed across 10-15 walled gardens and/or end to end stacks, with no common or consistent metrics to compare each one of them. Optimizing media monies between these 10-15 initiatives is not possible, as all of them have centralized their respective tech stacks. Even as advertisers offer their first party data for collaboration to all these 10-15 initiatives, they will struggle to find out which one of them have done better than the other. Cross media/platform measurement will become the most important requirement in the future.Also read: If advertising will no longer run the Internet, then what will run the Internet?
The industry has only postponed the collaboration agenda. By packing the digital advertising supply chain into an end-to-end stack, they have only temporarily fixed the problem that came with the deprecation of third-party trackers but left the measurement agenda wide open to solve. So far, the advertisers have largely remained silent or at best reacted to the technological changes brought in front of them by platforms and publishers. Now is the time for them to push the measurement agenda. This is the only missing piece in the digital advertising supply chain today. World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) have clearly enumerated the global and local architecture that is required for measurement. Big Tech platforms have all agreed and aligned to participate. It is now left to the local market to adapt and build it.
Will the AdTech ecosystem and the industry body in India take the mantle and deliver it?Gowthaman Ragothaman is a 30-year media, advertising and marketing professional and CEO of Aqilliz, a blockchain solutions company for the marketing industry.