Tackling the targeting challenge

May 31, 2022


Cookies are out – here’s what happened when Acquire and Oracle tested new targeting options  

Digital advertising is shifting to a more privacy-focused, customer centric model. Concepts like first-party data, contextual advertising and attention measuring have been thrown around as solutions. But until now, nobody really knew what they would look like in action.  

Thankfully, Acquire is at the leading edge of the new digital order. With the help of the contextual intelligence experts at Oracle, our team created a custom campaign to put new targeting strategies to the test. The results showed that the future of online advertising is looking bright.  Here’s what happened.


The partnership  

We knew a cookie-less campaign was going to be a challenge, so we needed the best tech on our side. That’s where Oracle came in.  

Our chief requirement was the ability to create dynamic contextual segments, predictions and insights using only first-party data. Oracle had the tech to deliver. It came in as our technology partner for the campaign, providing a wide range of contextual intelligence tools, as well as a high level of expertise.  


The campaign  

The client – a leading financial services provider – had been using off-the-shelf audience segments and third-party cookies to target its digital marketing. With an eye on the imminent loss of cookies, it wanted to try a new approach.  

During the campaign we used the client’s first-party data, along with some of Oracle’s contextual solutions, to create super-customised audience segments. The data we gathered from these segments created a feedback loop, giving the client a continual flow of data and a sustainable, cookie-free, long-term strategy.  

To track progress and fully understand the level of customer engagement, we also developed a measurement framework. As in all our campaigns, this framework ignored vanity metrics and focused on meaningful measures, particularly viewability. This measures the length of time a piece of content is visible to viewers – not hidden at the bottom of the page. This metric, along with others, helped us build a full picture of the attention being given to our campaign content.  


The details  

With third-party cookies and off-the-shelf customer segments out of the picture, the campaign focused on first-party data. This included data taken directly from the client’s website, CRM software and email database. Then we layered in TradeMe’s deterministic demographic audience data to refine audience segments and used Equifax data to eliminate customers with low credit scores.  

A DV360 audience profile analysis was used to match up first-party data, Google’s affinity segments and second and third-party behavioural audience information. By tracking the highest performing keywords across the campaign, we were able to gather search intelligence that was combined with profile analysis. Finally, detailed URL data from demand-side platforms (DSPs) was added. Pages were tagged with pixels to collect and analyse search data, which was then overlaid with data from other sources. 

With this wealth of data to hand, we used Oracle’s tech to build hyper-specific contextual intelligence insights. Every layer of data helped further refine audience segments, and data from these segments was fed back to provide deeper insights.   


The results  

The campaign proved that post-cookie solutions can be just as powerful – if not more so – than out-of-the-box tactics. Old-style strategies group people into predefined segments based on narrow metrics. But we used first-party data and contextual intelligence to deliver deeper insights and opportunities for powerful personalisation.   

The results speak for themselves:

  • 23% increase in CTR (click-through rate)
  • 35% drop in CPA (cost per acquisition) compared to off-the-shelf segmenting
  • 7% increase in time-on-website   

Significantly, we also showed that this type of understanding can be delivered at scale. Oracle’s tech proved invaluable in gathering and segmenting vast swathes of data. They drilled down to the pertinent details, and provided data feedback to inform continually evolving content.  


What’s next?  

Brands have relied on third-party cookies and pre-set audience groups for years. Not just because they delivered results, but mainly because the whole process was automated and fuss-free. No wonder marketers are worried about switching to a new strategy.  

But there’s no need to worry. As our campaign has proved, there’s nothing to fear in the post-cookie environment. Other data sources and strategies can deliver deeper insights at scale, helping you understand your customers on a personal level. This can help you to find previously unidentified customer groups and reach out to specific segments with ultra-targeted marketing. 

As long as you’re working with a great digital partner, and it’s using the right tech solutions, the post-cookie landscape is looking smooth.  

Want to prepare for a changing digital world? Talk to the team at Acquire.