Barista: How do you take your coffee?
Me: Very, very seriously.
What does coffee have to do with ad tech? We’ll get to that, but first, let’s paint a picture of the coffee industry. Coffee is considered a commodity and is traded as such. In the not-too-distant past, blended, mass-roasted coffee was the only thing consumers could buy. High-quality coffee? More of a rarity. Mass-roasted coffee was “fine” but not great. The flavor was consistent, but not particularly tasty or special. It would last for months, but is that really what you look for in a food product?
Behind the scenes, the supply chain also left something to be desired. Where was this stuff actually coming from, specifically? Who grew it? What went into it? Were the companies promoting good environmental stewardship and land use, or just chasing after another incremental dollar? And to be honest, at that time, there probably weren’t too many coffee drinkers who cared to ask those questions. It was a different era.
Ad tech has experienced a similar path when it comes to buying data-driven ads, though perhaps starting with less consistency. Let’s take a look:
- It’s normalized to third-party cookies
- Wherever you buy it, you’ll get more or less the same thing
- The producers aren’t well compensated or differentiated to buyers
- The supply chain is murky
- Responsibility and accountability to greater society are uneven
The New Economy—Single Origin
The coffee industry experienced a renaissance starting in the 1990s, and accelerated in the 2000s with the growing awareness of and demand for single-origin coffee. The appeal is obvious in retrospect. Unlike commodity coffee, single-origin tends to:
- Have a known origin
- Use responsible, documented practices
- Share profit with those deep in the supply chain
- Taste much better!
When it comes to ad tech, our own “single origin” renaissance has already begun. Signals and indicators include increased privacy regulations like GDPR and CCPA, and the collapse of the third-party cookie. Many of us have moved beyond grabbing a nondescript can of pre-ground coffee off the shelf, without a thought to where it came from. Shouldn’t our marketing practice be similar? Savvy advertisers and publishers know that their future requires breaking away from the past and moving towards better and more valuable solutions.
LiveRamp, a leader and innovator in the industry, is paving the way forward toward a scaled, “single-origin” advertising ecosystem. Our goal is to help connect publisher first-party authenticated audiences with marketer first-party data.
- We want to promote responsible and ethical use of data with transparency throughout the identity supply chain
- We commit to communicating clearly with consumers and being transparent on how their data is being used
- We work directly with publishers and their agents to help them build strategies for engaging in a fair-value exchange with their users, appropriately valuing their inventory and respecting their users
- We strive to give marketers full visibility into how their ad dollars are working for them by providing granular performance data at each step in the (sometimes lengthy!) ad supply path
- We believe the end result is a better product for publishers, buyers, and consumers
If you want to continue this conversation now—perhaps over a virtual cup of coffee—our team is available to answer any questions. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.