How personified advertising fits into the future of AdTech

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5 minutes

Ogury Chief Operating Officer Geoffroy Martin participated in an episode of The Programmatic Society alongside Edouard Brunet, Director of Strategy and Product Platforms at Publicis Media. The theme of the conversation was the end of third-party cookies and the shift from personalized advertising to personified advertising. 

The glaring truth is that the advertising industry is facing an ultimatum. It can either cling to the old ways of utilizing IDs and cookies to target consumers or adapt to alternative approaches more suited to the current ecosystem. The panelists discussed how they envision the future of AdTech and how industry players should go about combining digital advertising and consumer privacy. 

What’s the difference between personalized and personified?

Personalized advertising has become ineffective and obsolete; the most futureproof alternative is personified advertising. While the two methods may seem to have similarities, perhaps creating some confusion amongst those in the industry, their differences set them miles apart. Martin explained that they are similar from a semantic point of view, which is why some may have difficulty discerning the difference, “but they couldn’t be more diametrically opposed.”

In summary, personalized advertising leans on personal data collection and analysis to deliver hyper-targeted advertisements to digital consumers. However, users have become hyper-aware of their privacy and condemn advertisers that “stalk” their activity in order to push their agendas. It’s felt by many as being like spying, an invasion of privacy, and even theft. And, with the rapid disappearance of cookies and user identifiers, many industry players may struggle to keep afloat.

In contrast, personified advertising doesn’t touch data collected by cookies or IDs and instead combines audience intelligence, brand performance, privacy protection, and sustainability into one integrated tech stack. It leverages audience interest data to qualify impressions rather than personal data to qualify users. and is rooted in regulations such as the GDPR and CCPA, which dictate how companies can collect consumer data. This respect for user privacy is in Ogury’s DNA.

Martin described three key categories:

  1. Walled gardens (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Tik Tok, etc.) are massive advertisers with access to first-party data, or data collected with user consent. This data belongs to them, and they can do with it what they please, with respect to consent. 
  2. Traditional AdTech players who rely on third-party data and identifiers like cookies. It is expected that this antiquated method of advertising will completely disappear sometime in the near future. If these players do not adapt soon, then they are bound to fail, as they are already playing catch-up to those who anticipated these changes in advance.
  3. Innovators of AdTech rely only on sustainable solutions that are IDless and cookieless, because they understand how the industry is evolving and have adapted accordingly. This is where personified advertising lives.

With personified advertising, advertisers can discover and tap into new audiences using personas rather than user data. Personas are data-driven audience segments that can be dynamically activated to meet campaign goals. They are aggregated without third-party cookies or identifiers and cannot be traced back to individuals.

A persona could be a male, aged 25 to 34, living in a New York City borough, who loves cycling, home DIY projects, and dogs. With these advertiser-defined characteristics in mind, this persona is likely also to have interest in healthy living, real estate, and the outdoors. Instead of targeting the person, you are targeting the assets that these personas are most likely to engage with (i.e., places where they are most likely to consume content, such as a sports website or fitness app). 

“There are two elements,” Martin remarked. “It’s defining the persona and then defining the destination. Once you have both, you have personified advertising.”

Martin likened personified advertising to TV commercials and print advertisements. Advertisers often prefer to target people who don’t know them because that will generate new customers. “The problem with advertising that’s based on third-party identifiers is that you know who you’re talking to. You already know them,” Martin explained. “And really, the holy grail of an advertiser is to bring in new people. That’s what Ogury does.” 

An agency’s take on personified advertising

At this point, the industry is well-aware that Apple no longer uses cookies, which eliminates its entire environment (Safari and iOS apps) from being utilized for targeting. For agencies, this would theoretically create challenges. At least for those relying on third-party identifiers. 

Brunet, a years-long client of Ogury’s, aptly compared personified advertising to media planning on steroids, explaining that Ogury’s solution allows agencies like Publicis Media to continue targeting environments that others simply cannot. 

“The notion of personas speaks to [our agency]. I think it also speaks to all our clients because it’s a language they understand, that they are used to because it is what they also use on offline media,” he said. “When we do TV, when we do print, it’s a notion that exists. It’s a logic that is mastered, that the strategic planning teams also have expertise in. So, it allows us to have continuity in targeting, rather than having a dedicated digital logic, which may be interesting in some cases, but in others, for higher funnel, this persona logic is much more relevant.”

He also expressed the benefit of the insights received from campaigns. What are their interests? What are the media destinations that complement those interests? And, what is the campaign and information behind it that will allow the agency to enrich the reflection for their clients? “In all cases, we will find interesting results in terms of memorization, because they correspond to the user,” Brunet said.

“On almost all the campaigns, we will also have learnings and new insights, to say to ourselves, there is indeed this media environment that I would not have thought of initially, and which can be relevant on other client campaigns.”

Host Michel Juvillier described it as “marketing serendipity,” in that advertisers can discover new spaces and performances that they did not expect, which, thanks to this personification, allows them to “open their chakras in terms of buying inspiration.”

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