Welcome to In Conversations With…, a new LiveRamp series where we bring together leading voices in the industry and ask them to share their thoughts on identity, data transparency, addressability, and why they love working in this constantly evolving realm of marketing, advertising, media, and tech.
In the first of the series, Alan Jenner, Tech Pre-Sales Consultant at LiveRamp in Australia, sat down with Garrett McGrath, Vice President of Product Management at Magnite, formerly Rubicon Project and Telaria, one of the world’s largest advertising exchanges providing websites and apps with the tools and expertise to sell ads easily and safely.
Alan and Garrett have each worked in media and advertising for more than 20 years, so it’s no surprise that they both share an innate passion for identity and course-correcting the industry.
When they aren’t focused on rebuilding the marketing ecosystem, you’ll find Garrett and Alan have yet another thing in common: chasing after their kids. With the two of them collectively having four boys under the age of ten, they both have their hands full.
Last week, Alan and Garrett discussed the future of marketing, from the importance of data transparency to consumer education and upholding privacy.
AJ: Garrett, can you shed some light on how the Magnite and LiveRamp partnership began?
GM: It started with a bit of welcome persistence on the part of Travis Clinger, SVP, Addressability and Ecosystem at LiveRamp, coupled with a recognition that the industry was starting to coalesce around the challenges of privacy and personalization. After several more discussions, last September Magnite integrated with LiveRamp IdentityLink (IDL) to give our partners greater access to a neutral, non-cookie, people-based identifier.
AJ: What challenges were you hearing in the market?
GM: The same ones everyone else is hearing, really. The attitudes of consumers, regulators, privacy advocates and others are all rapidly maturing. People are starting to ask questions about how cookies or other identifiers are used in our industry and whether or not end users have the right tools or visibility into how these data points are used.
AJ: How has the introduction of IdentityLink changed the work you are doing with customers?
GM: When it comes to buyers and sellers, “Do you support IDL?” is a very common question—and one that we’re glad to be able to affirmatively answer. The prevalence of IDLs in the Magnite bidstream continues to grow, as does the number of DSPs who receive them. We recognise that this integration is an integral part of our overall support for a community-driven identity solution and we hope our clients and partners recognise that as well.
AJ: With data privacy a hot topic now more so than ever, what are your thoughts on transparency in digital marketing across the industry and the role of privacy regulation?
GM: The industry loves to throw ‘transparency’ into every conversation, however I—and we at Magnite—take it very seriously. The only way our industry and the open web can continue to grow into a truly viable way to conduct business ‘at internet scale’ is by operating openly and transparently. This starts with the consumer and needs to be the refrain we all measure ourselves against throughout the entire supply chain. Data privacy regulation is continually evolving and we are working with our partners to ensure that they are supported throughout these changes as well.
AJ: Do you believe customers are ready or are already embracing these privacy changes? And how important is it to educate businesses and customers on advertising transparency? Is that the role of the industry to build this education?
GM: Overall, the average consumer is more aware of the concept of data privacy and it’s critical that education is available for those who want it. I wouldn’t say we need to put up a PSA video in front of every site and app explaining how ad tech works but it is absolutely imperative that we operate our business in such a way that when there are questions or interested parties, we can easily and succinctly respond in a way that non-technical people can understand. While there are lots of details and moving parts to what we do, the truth is it’s not all that complicated.
AJ: How do you think upcoming regulations and changes will impact the future of marketing? Can you provide an example?
GM: GDPR, CCPA and the like are very important developments. They are resetting the privacy landscape toward a user-first paradigm, which is exactly where it should be. That being said, change is not easy and it takes time. From a marketing industry standpoint, these privacy regulations will speed up the need for open-source, standardised identity solutions. For the health of the open internet, identity will be a shared community asset instead of something that individual companies use for competitive advantage in the near future.
AJ: Speaking of the future, with Google’s announcement earlier this year to remove support for third-party cookies, how do you see the future of identity evolving in a world of cookieless advertising? Can you share any examples of how this is already playing out in the market?
GM: I think we’ll end up in a situation where the internet is anonymised by default and there will be options for web visitors to opt-in through a value exchange, providing some level of pseudo identification for convenience, content, or an improved experience.
In some ways, tactics we’ve seen before such as contextual advertising may see a bit of a comeback.
We should also pay attention to the fact that we continue to move toward browser-less environments like mobile app and CTV—and that all this focus on cookie deprecation may miss a lot of the bigger picture discussions around identity.
AJ: How are industry leaders like yourself preparing marketers for a cookieless future?
GM: From a high level, we are working toward a combination of solutions around first-party identifiers, publisher first-party data, privacy differential cohorts, and (maybe) some of the ideas sketched out in the Privacy Sandbox proposals.
Day to day, we work closely with both our sell-side and buy-side partners to understand their unique goals and try to craft strategies that can accomplish those goals, knowing cookies are already on their way out.
Please note: Magnite and LiveRamp integration is display-focused in AU.