Independent agencies shift to post-cookie tools

Independent agencies shift to post-cookie tools: AI, new measurement strategies and retail media

Independent agencies shift to post-cookie tools

With the ongoing cookie deprecation underway, independent agencies are shifting their attention to identifying new audiences, testing artificial intelligence and expanding data tools to prepare for the accompanying measurement changes, which may look different for independents than they do for their holding company counterparts.

Compared to holding companies, independent agencies may use a more “multifaceted approach” to cookie deprecation, said Alexander Potts, senior vp of programmatic and media lead at Tombras.

“[Independents will use what] is customizable to the unique capabilities and needs of their business-focused clients, while showcasing the return to their bottom line,” Potts said.

Expanding data capabilities and measurement

Publicis Health Media created a data Request For Information, or RFI, for validation for new partners to test each data set from its partners. This allows the agency to monitor any audience overlap in their activation, Rosti explained. As the deprecation happens, another challenge will be scale and measurement of the data — so there will be a need to reset benchmarks and metrics over time as agencies continue testing.

“There are more third-party cookies than people, so the way in which we look at historical benchmarks for how media scales, average CPMs and frequency will most likely be turned on its ear,” Rosti said.

In terms of measurement, agencies’ data strategies also include expanding on the data providers not relying on third-party cookies — so they can build look-alike models with more partners. It’s something larger agencies are also doing to expand their data partnerships and scale using first-party data, and for independents there are existing partnerships with Experian and TransUnion, explained Lee Beale, managing partner of Crossmedia.

“These guys provide the same capabilities to independent agencies,” Beale told Digiday. “It allows us to build look-alike models to create insights from to scale transparently and deploy in a clockwise fashion from first-party data. As an agency it’s powerful to be able to utilize and work with your clients’ first-party data obviously in a privacy controlled manner.”

It’s called agile impact modeling, or AIM, which is a hybrid approach to marketing mix modeling (MMM) and multi-touch attribution (MTA). Beale said the agency has been using AIM since last year with clients, as it offers the “best of both worlds” using aggregate sales data.

Crossmedia is also reverting to old-school advertising strategies during this time, including investing in business analysts, hiring data and technical people, and rethinking channel-specific strategies, Beale added.

Continue reading this article on