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Digital advertising as we know it is fundamentally changing.
Apple and Google’s moves to phase out longstanding ad targeting practices and privacy laws like California’s Consumer Privacy Act have advertisers scrambling for other ways to target and measure their ads.
Marketers, who are expected to spend $191 billion on digital advertising in the US this year, are revamping their data strategies since tracking and targeting ads with identifiable data like a person’s location or online behavior will get harder. They’re collecting first-party data like email addresses, sales data, and loyalty card programs and examining how they collect information and use that data.
Insider identified 21 advertising and marketing executives who are at the forefront of navigating these changes, whether it’s finding new ways of contextually targeting or building a new first-party database.
This list, in alphabetical order by last name, is based on nominations and our reporting.
Procter & Gamble has been on a push to take more control of its media for years, saying it’s reduced wasted ad spend by 20%. More recently, it has boosted its internal data and analytics abilities.
Austin, Das, and Escudero are behind many of those efforts, and have helped P&G collect more than 1 billion IDs, or profiles to target people with more precision.
While Escudero leads its first-party data strategy, Austin built P&G’s internal programmatic platform that uses data to target ads to people based on audience segments. Das focuses on measurement.
Barros has helped Anheuser-Busch InBev set up a repository of first-party data that now contains information about more than 2.5 billion consumers.
Its first-party data from marketing, e-commerce, owned retail, and craft breweries helps Anheuser-Busch InBev plan and measure ad campaigns.
The company says 25% of its digital ads now use first-party data for targeting and that those ads are 28% more effective than those using third-party data.
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital acquired Brightblue in August 2020. Cross has pushed to incorporate first-party data like sales data and loyalty programs into how clients like HSBC and Selfridges measure the efficiency of their media spends.
He’s also helped clients adopt approaches like market-mix modeling, which uses data to measure the impact of ad campaigns and predict performance.
Brightblue built a cloud-based analytics platform called React that claims to deliver insights directly to marketers in real-time, and said that the tool improved advertisers’ return on ad spend by 30% compared to cookie-based measurement.
Engelgau helps IPG’s clients buy programmatic ads directly from publishers like Verizon and Roku and collect first-party data for ad targeting.
Since starting in March 2020, he’s rolled out ad products like “Real Identity,” which gives brands templates for building IDs that collect first-party data.
He’s also trying to remove bias from ad measurement data, in part by broadening the definition of a household to include multiple generations of people and same-sex couples.
Garcia helped launch Universal McCann’s privacy practice to help clients like American Express and Coca-Cola comply with the new privacy landscape.
She set up a hub with resources like customizable privacy templates for clients, information on the latest regulations, and training courses on privacy regs for the agency’s own employees.
She’s also training UM’s clients on how the CPRA, or the 2020 California Public Records Act, impacts advertising, and is the agency’s point-person for Google and Facebook on how their changes will impact ad targeting on their platforms.
Herndon helps Accenture Interactive clients set up first-party data platforms to use for ad targeting.
One way he does this is through an AI tool that targets people most likely to buy something based on data like product descriptions and reviews.
His team also built what it calls an “impact calculator” that clients use to assess their preparedness for cookies going away. In addition, he helps advertisers vet cookieless ad products like Google’s Federated Learning of Cohorts (or FLoC).
Huang is responsible for Mars Petcare’s first-party audience data strategy and works with its chief data privacy officer to handle customer data safely.
He uses anonymized data along with things like veterinary and nutrition information to target pet owners with products or services.
With pet ownership in the US skyrocketing during the pandemic, Mars Petcare used its first-party data to target people with ads on the importance of oral health among pets. The company said that it saw better clickthrough rates and engagement with the campaign than when the company used third-party data.
Kirtcheff oversees Project Voyager, Essence’s initiative to help clients like Google, Target, and NBCUniversal make their digital ads more privacy-centric.
His team collects, audits and organizes clients’ first-party data from across platforms, tracks changes in privacy regulation, and tests alternative ways to target people.
Recently, he guided clients through Apple’s privacy changes by auditing clients’ site analytics data and media partners and transitioning them to modeling-based measurement that tracks ads using aggregate data.
He also helped build Pegasus, a tool that uses AI to do contextual targeting on publishers’ websites; and a dashboard that lets the agency see current and pending regulations and their impact country by country.
McAndrew leads a team of nearly 200 data analysts that helps advertisers like Nike and Ford prepare for data privacy, identity, and the cookieless future.
He built a multi-touch attribution tool that helps clients see which marketing channels led people to purchase, and a new way to test incrementality, which gauges people’s propensity to buy products after seeing ads.
The former Merkle exec has also been helping clients collect IDs and working with adtech companies like Liveramp, Neustar, and Experian that pitch cookie alternatives to advertisers.
His team helps clients with ways to acquire first-party data, ensures that the data complies with regulations, and has consistent global processes and language for people to opt-in and consent.
The former PepsiCo exec has built Bacardi’s consumer data strategy from scratch, including setting up its first-party consumer database and getting its direct-to-consumer e-commerce operations up and running.
His team recently ran a test where it sent promotional emails and Instagram ads with drink recipes and early access to new products to 10,000 anonymized people who visited its Bombay Sapphire’s distillery or website.
People in the test clicked on the ads 9% more than they did with campaigns that used third-party data for targeting. Bacardi also saw the efficiency of its ads increase 14% based on cost-per-click.
Olivieri leads a 20-person global team whose job is to get clients to use data to inform their ads.
She worked with agency Mindshare and Unilever to build GroupM’s Data Ethics Compass, a tool that ensures brands are gathering data and targeting people ethically and don’t single out marginalized consumers, for example.
Her team keeps clients up to speed on initatives like Google’s FLoC and Privacy Sandbox. As an example, the team created a private clean room that a client could use to share data with its agencies.
Ostler is behind Project Moonshot, a new platform from WPP’s data analytics arm Kantar that measures ad effectiveness in a privacy-compliant way.
The idea is to help brands measure their programmatic ad campaigns based on data from more than 250 publishers with the goal of tracking 95% of global digital ad spending by the end of 2021.
Ostler also leads negotiations with major digital platforms including Google, Pandora, Pinterest, Roku, Snap, Spotify, and Twitter with the goal of forging measurement agreements with these platforms, like the recent deal with YouTube that measures brand lift on the platform.
Pagliuca leads the testing of cookie alternatives and establishing privacy-first standards for Omnicom’s clients.
This includes integrating its 2-year-old data platform Omni with Google, Facebook, and Amazon clean rooms, where brands can combine their first-party data with the platforms’ data to plan and measure their ads.
She also led a beta test of “Privacy Lens,” a tool to help advertisers ensure that their ads only appear in suitable environments.
Paskalis, who’s long been outspoken about data and measurement issues in marketing, has been revamping Bank of America’s data governance standards to make sure it gets permission from people to market to them and is transparent about how it advertises to them.
In 2018, he assembled a 40-person team called the “Cookieless & Identity Task Force” to make sure the company stayed current with privacy regulations.
He also reviewed its ad partners to make sure they met the bank’s compliance standards and struck a partnership with Safeguard Privacy, a startup that helps brands abide by regulations.
Paskalis is active in industry groups like the MMA’s Global Media & Data Board, the ANA’s Media Growth Council, the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Brand Council, and the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM).
Rivilla helped the Cleveland-based agency’s clients prepare for Apple and Google’s targeting changes by making sure that advertisers collect data directly from log-ins on websites and apps.
He also helped clients store data and create lookalike segments for use in targeting cookieless ads.
To prepare for Google phasing out cookies, he got clients to start tracking broader audience cohorts versus individual people. He’s also helped clients adopt solutions like Nielsen’s “Identity Sync” and The Trade Desk’s Unified ID 2.0 initiative by ensuring that first-party data could be plugged into the agency’s ad-buying platforms.
Rozen has helped clients like Kroger, Discover, and LVMH prepare for a cookieless world by helping them identify the gaps they need to fill in their marketing strategies.
He has piloted new tools to help clients deliver more personalized and relevant ads to people such as the Dentsu Marvel Contextual Intelligence Engine, an AI-driven tool that assesses websites for their context before placing automated digital ads on them.
He developed an employee training program and set up various teams to help clients, such as a task force at the agency Merkle that’s responsible for first-party data and a technical team tasked with building addressable marketing products and services.
Simpson works across agencies and regions to help Publicis Groupe’s media clients build tools that collect IDs.
She spearheads the ad holding group’s offering called Publicis Media Consulting that helps clients identify gaps in their targeting strategies and fix them while maximizing their ad spending.
Simpson works directly with platforms, adtech companies, and trade organizations and committees like LiveRamp’s Data Advisory Board, IAB’s Tech Lab, and the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media that work on standards for cookieless ads.
Sturino created Crisp, the media agency’s data management platform that helps clients like Birchbox and Zola manage their online advertising and harder-to-track offline ad spend in one place.
In 2018, he helped clients understand how GDPR impacted the collection and use of personally identifiable information to target ads.
Since then, he’s worked with clients’ data security teams to safely store data and built new measurement tools to predict people’s behavior based on factors like ad exposure, website visits, and purchase history.
PepsiCo has stepped up its efforts to track everything from ads to store sales.
Under Venugopal, Pepsi built tools and anonymized data sets about shoppers to drive sales and marketing. This includes ConsumerDNA (cDNA), a first-party tool that personalizes ads to reach 125 million households across the US.
These tools have helped Pepsi quickly track and make inventory changes during the pandemic to respond to demand spikes of products like Quaker’s.
Venugopal also runs tests with Pepsi’s retail and advertising partners and leads ROI Engine, a system that uses machine learning to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of its ad campaigns.
A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation.