Predictions 2020: Identity

Predictions 2020: Identity

Article published in ExchangeWire, the 17th of December  2019

As the decade draws to a close, ExchangeWire has invited thought leaders from across the industry to share their predictions and insight into what 2020 will hold for the ad tech and martech industries. Under the spotlight today is identity, which has seen renewed focus through 2019 following the implementation of privacy-first mechanisms by browsers and looming action from regulators.

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Investment in ID to increase

The advertising industry is in the midst of a growing identity crisis due to the imminent demise of cookies that underpin the entire programmatic monetisation strategy of both publishers and adtech companies. With no alternative emerging as a clear winner yet, the crisis is only going to deepen as we head into the 2020s. The consequences will be a dip in revenues across the industry and perhaps some casualties among the smaller players in the sector until a viable alternative is found.

As a result, we’re likely to see a resurgence in contextual advertising as companies look for alternatives to data driven ads, in order to promote their products and services and reach their target demographic. We could see the power in the industry begin to shift as publishers use their first party data and link relevant content in the form of quality journalism, to sell targeted and contextual campaigns. At the same time, investment in different ID consortiums by adtech companies will continue and increase over the next year, as there is no silver bullet to replace the cookie. We may also see some programmatic adtech businesses make the move into contextual and semantic advertising in order to try and cover all the bases.

While the industry is rightly concerned about the impact the demise of the cookie will have on business, this also means 2020 and the next few years are likely to be a time of great innovation and disruption in the advertising industry as new solutions emerge. No one’s quite cracked it yet, but with all key players grappling with the same issue, some strong alternatives will begin to make their way to market. Perhaps one of these will end up as the de facto replacement for the cookie, or we might see several compelling solutions emerge with different products and offerings suiting different companies and publishers. This could actually be an extremely positive development leading to open source solutions, and a more democratic and open web landscape.

Pierce Cook-Anderson, UK Country Manager

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