Posted by Robert Webster

24 Jun, 2021

Fifty’s human-first approach: A tonic for an ID-mad world?

Human Marketing

The goal of advertising is to reach people through advertisements for products or services. Ironically, the keyword there is people. Marketing and advertising have never been about cookies or identifiers, but real people - human beings. Digital marketing is a great discipline but too much of it has been focused on digital IDs, which not only fail to define humans, but actively damage their interests and consideration by risking their privacy and, ultimately, by not treating them as people.

As part of my entrepreneurial journey, I am delighted to be an advisor to Fifty Technology - the 2021 Winners for “Best Overall Technology for Programmatic Trading” at the Drum Awards for Digital Advertising, and a Canton client. Fifty believe that successful marketing is about people and treating them with respect. Indeed Fifty has recently won the Drum award for its Aurora ID free system. It’s great to see and be in a small way involved with companies that are setup to thrive in the new privacy by design era.

With its latest privacy move in Chrome, Google, for good or ill one of the major gatekeepers of the web (along with Apple), has struck a blow for real people by moving beyond the cookie. Consider what Google has said in its latest update: “We don’t believe these solutions (Universal IDs) will meet rising consumer expectations for privacy, nor will they stand up to rapidly evolving regulatory restrictions, and therefore aren’t a sustainable long-term investment.”

I completely agree with this statement and believe that it can be taken even further - this industry needs to move away from tracking people across the digital space not only because of public dissent, but also because it is no longer needed. Identifiers, like cookies or UIDs, are limited to their digital silos in a way that no real person is - and so, the data that is gathered from them is limited and fractured as well. If you want a meaningful response from a modern human you need to first understand what motivates and impassions them as a whole, rather than looking at each of their mundane individual actions. This is why simple contextual and audience based approaches can fall down, as they focus too much on the tactical and the mundane and don't understand the people they are seeking to target.

Tribal Roots

It is this belief in human-led marketing and the rights of individuals that have shaped

Fifty’s approach to the product, the data and the insights they provide to their clients to deliver better marketing conversations and drive growth. Over the last five years Fifty has developed a method of identifying natural Tribes - groups of real people, similar to “cohorts” in Google’s language but based on stronger indicators - based on shared interests and passions.

Tribes are a human-led audience segmentation system, based on people's social connections, billions of human-led data points and behaviours allowing for like-minded groups to be organically clustered and analysed as a group.

These groups include real world social media profiles including celebrities and influencers, allowing for a human-led validation of the types of people included. These Tribes are superior to traditional audience segments, as they better reflect how real people behave online, rather than trying to fit them into an existing taxonomy.

Contextual Evolution

Now with their new ID-less product, FiftyAurora, Fifty will be able to reach these Tribes contextually.

Aurora will be a game changer in the post-cookie world and a revolution in how contextual targeting is carried out. Advertisers want to target groups of real people that are poorly defined by keywords or traditional contextual categorisation. Aurora will allow Advertisers to understand the real world Tribes that engage with their brand or are likely to convert and reach them as an audience, in a cookie- & ID-free contextual manner.

FiftyAurora data is dynamic and constantly updating, which allows advertisers to focus on Tribes who are most likely to be driving new customers and direct response and as the Tribe population engages with new content Aurora’s targeting will adapt.

Furthermore, advertisers can use Aurora for branding by finding the real people who have the affinity to be future customers based on their interests. It's also an amazing tool for video as it allows for Advertisers to see how well different groups of real people engage with their video content and allows campaigns to be optimised in real time.

FiftyAurora promises a successful, scalable audience targeting industry for advertisers and publishers beyond the cookie.

A Universal Solution

While this is music to the ears of brands and inventory owners that do not have the opportunity to manage first-party data, consented relationships will also be powerful tools as real customers provide the insights to drive amazing prospects. As Google states, it all starts with real customers: “Developing strong relationships with customers has always been critical for brands to build a successful business, and this becomes even more vital in a privacy-first world.”

Fifty has invested heavily in onboarding customer data and using it to define Tribes that bring human insight to a brand’s CRM as well as real understanding for prospecting and branding. This human-led insight is what drives direct response and brand opportunities and it adds value to customer data by providing an alternative path to reach an audience that isn’t dependent upon, or limited by, digital identity tracking.

Although Google’s move threatens to lead to further fragmentation of the activity on different browsers, Fifty has a solution that provides human audiences seamlessly in all digital environments, be it browsers, CTV, mobile or social media.

There is a better way to do marketing, the human way. Google (and Apple) have given the market a shove in the right direction, but it is now up to the independent sector to seize the opportunities of disruption and build a better future.

Rob Webster is the co-founder of Canton Marketing Solutions, a consultancy aimed at helping brands take control of their digital marketing activity. He is an industry expert with over 20 years experience, holding leadership positions at both agencies and ad-tech companies including Media Com, Yahoo, Tacoda and Crimtan.

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