Data-driven digital advertising in 2021 means working in a world where everything is changing, always. The biggest recent change for advertisers is the extended timeframe for the planned retirement of third-party cookies. 

Even with this change, it’s clear that the industry’s future is based on opt-in identifiers, rather than default-on tracking. Lots of advertisers spent a year scrambling to get ready before Google provided an additional two years to prepare for losing cookies entirely. However, the addition of more time hasn’t changed advertisers’ goals. They must prepare for the future and optimize for today, all at the same time.

These two needs are at odds. How do you optimize actions for today and tomorrow simultaneously? How can you prepare for a cookieless future without giving up performance benefits prematurely?

The answer: Do everything.

Think like Zaila Avant-garde, the winner of the 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee and a multiple Guinness World Record holder. Avant-garde can dribble six basketballs at once. Fortunately, marketers won’t have to do that. But they do need to think about a targeting strategy that uses multiple approaches to finding their best audience. The trick is to balance these approaches in an optimized digital advertising targeting portfolio.

Your Digital Advertising Targeting Portfolio

Digital advertisers generally run lots of tactics at once, and most have testing and scaling phases for new tactics. This is a great practice to maintain in order to explore new emerging approaches. But it’s not what we mean when we talk about an optimized digital targeting portfolio. We’re talking about a portfolio of tactics that gives you the best possible performance now. And the good news is this portfolio is likely to include approaches that also prepare you for tomorrow.

This is because some post-cookie solutions work well enough to improve ROI and performance right now if allocated correctly. As the landscape transitions away from cookies over the next two years, the optimal allocation of these post-cookie solutions will change. Right now, cookies drive the strongest performance. Somewhere between now and mid-2023, there will be a point where cookies aren’t gone yet but more post-cookie solutions are ready to use at a scale beyond what would make sense today.

The optimal portfolio will keep changing over time, and at every point, it will make sense to use both cookie-based and post-cookie solutions. Start by choosing what to include in your portfolio; Including today’s best solutions as well as the solutions you’ll want post-cookie keeps you prepared for the future. Then optimize for any scenario by turning those knobs to dial up the solutions you need.

The Dstillery post-cookie solution

One way to start strengthening your portfolio now is by adding Dstillery’s ID-free Custom AI cookie-less solution.

ID-free Custom AI is a privacy-first behavioral targeting solution that performs on par with cookies and reaches users without using an identifier. Because ID-free doesn’t use identifiers, it works on any browser, today and in the future.

Best of all, it works, at scale, and can (and should) be used to complement ID-based solutions.

ID-free Custom AI takes a similar approach to what we’ve been using for years to build our ID-based Custom AI audiences. We’ve just reapplied the technology to ID-free signals. Big picture: this is a privacy-friendly approach to targeting users, without any kind of ID, by identifying the impression opportunities that drive performance.

This solution works so well in a portfolio alongside ID-based solutions because it’s a true complement to those approaches. ID-free signals are based on the impression opportunity, rather than persistent information about the user. Since it uses separate signals to make decisions, the ID-free approach is able to take advantage of opportunities that ID-based solutions miss. It remains to be seen how much inventory will be sold without any IDs after cookies are fully retired, but one thing we know for sure is identifier-free inventory will exist in that world, because it already exists today. Running Dstillery ID-free Custom AI in a portfolio along with ID-based solutions is an easy way to improve your ROI today, and be prepared to turn the dial to stay optimized in the future.

To learn more about ID-free Custom AI, please contact Dstillery here.

To watch a previously recorded session on this topic during the ANA Masters of Data & Technology Conference, click here.