AdLab Recap: Advancing Addressability, Preserving Privacy

Attendees at AdLab Health Marketing Summit identified privacy as a top concern, and it’s no wonder why. Health marketers must contend with new state privacy laws that are introduced yearly. Amid all this change, how can we precisely reach clinically relevant audiences? Experts convened to answer just that in our first AdLab panel, “Life in Three Labs: Balancing Patient Outcomes, Business Goals, and Regulatory Uncertainty.”

Moderated by Yashina Burns, SVP of Privacy and Legal Affairs at DeepIntent, the conversation captured valuable insights from the perspective of healthcare agencies, suppliers, and industry trade groups. Everyone recognizes that advertising data usage restrictions are important for preserving consumer privacy, but new privacy laws can impact patient outcomes.

Our charge, as always, is to deliver health information to the populations who need it most. Helping guide this work in a rapidly evolving landscape, here’s what our panelists had to say about the future of identity, addressability, and regulatory compliance.

Takeaway #1: “Ad tech is synonymous with change.”

Marketers must adapt their strategies in response to a growing patchwork of state privacy laws and the looming deprecation of third-party cookies. One silver lining? We’ve overcome these kinds of challenges many times before.

Andrew Casale, President and CEO of Index Exchange, noted how the changes brought on by Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) resulted in great outcomes. “We had five years of notice of the GDPR coming into effect, so for five years, it was predicted that programmatic was going to be over in Europe,” he said. “Somehow, some way, we navigated that as an ecosystem, and programmatic in Europe has never been stronger.”

“The digital advertising ecosystem has always been incredibly dynamic and in a constant state of change,” added Tony Katsur, CEO of IAB Tech Lab. He highlighted how, in addition to technical changes like real-time bidding on ad inventory, our industry has already adapted to state privacy laws from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Utah, and Virginia. Looking ahead to the cookieless future, Katsur sees the potential loss of identifiers “as a challenge—but also an opportunity for the industry to innovate.”

Takeaway #2: “We’re getting better at solving problems together.”

Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Over the last several years, we’ve seen how identity resolution and privacy regulations have inspired more collaboration throughout our industry. For example, IAB Tech Lab provides technical frameworks like the Global Privacy Platform (GPP) to ensure the industry’s compliance with myriad state laws. “We now have standards that are developed in concert with so many companies,” said Casale. “We’re getting a lot better at doing it at scale.”

Seeking a transparent identity solution they could share with their clients, Mike Bregman, Chief Activation Officer at Havas, discussed how they “invested in LiveRamp as a technology partner” and created the Havas ID. By linking the Havas ID to DeepIntent and other platforms, they’ve advanced how they select and buy against audiences.

And while a lot of technology is still cookie-based, they’re “now going client by client, campaign by campaign, partner by partner, trying to figure out how to eliminate that sort of cookie reliance we’ve had historically.”

Takeaway #3: “We have to focus on addressability.”

Our collective goal as an industry is to deliver the best patient outcomes. “In order to continue doing that,” Burns said, “we have to focus on addressability.” However, she recognizes that, in trying to maintain privacy, “you’re creating more of a need for identity.”

Thankfully, Casale says there are “more compelling solutions today than we’ve ever seen before. And frankly, they feel better because they put the consumer first. It’s safer, it’s more secure, and it does present a more grown-up version of our market.” In addition to touting the benefits of Google’s Privacy Sandbox Protected Audience API, he describes how Publisher Advertiser Identity Reconciliation (PAIR) will “preserve determinism by enabling publishers to pair their authenticated signals with a marketer’s deterministic signals.”

While “explosive growth” exists around clean rooms and integrated data, Katsur stresses the importance of partnering with vendors who employ privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) in tandem with such solutions. “If they’re not providing [information about] homomorphic encryption, differential privacy, or multi-party compute, that is not a data clean room.” Highlighting other innovations in the market, Katsur listed several advancements, including synthetic IDs, the rise of contextual targeting, and “AI-powered cohort and lookalike models off of strong seed datasets.”

So, what are some next steps healthcare marketers can take to preserve privacy? “I love the idea of experimentation,” said Bregman, aligned with the theme of AdLab. “I think every client, every advertiser, every agency, every partner has to have a percent of their budget that they specifically lock down to test new solutions. It could be AI, clean rooms, identity resolution, new cookieless partners—just running more and more experiments, seeing what works, and finding a way to elevate the latest and greatest solutions.”

Are you curious about the future of personalization in health advertising? Click here for more takeaways from AdLab.

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