The Second Half of 2019 – Cookies, Algorithms, OTT and more

When you have a roundtable of experts from all sides of media, the conversation moves from topic to topic rather seamlessly. As the Media Council looked at the second half of the year, we bounced from TV to cookies to messaging to brand and performance marketing back to  third-party data. What is key is that the group agreed on the importance of making the most of the opportunities to tell your story no matter the channel.  We have a few predictions and many things the industry should be watching for, and here they are:

TV is still a thing and OTT will be a thing too

The Corus and Amazon Prime partnership where Canadians will be able to subscribe to HGTV Canada and other channels through the platform is just the beginning of the transformation of TV in 2019. More players like Disney+, HULU and others will soon be able to start signing up subscribers. And while this won’t dent metrics in other channels right out of the gate, similar to Netflix subscriptions it will slowly climb over time in Canada. We also have to keep in mind that the maturity of the US in OTT has shown that people signed up with much enthusiasm and then started to cancel when their favourite shows moved to another platform or the content just wasn’t what they wanted. The other factor is the opportunity for AVOD in platforms like HULU and Quibi will really stretch the creative thinking from agencies and give media new places to test and learn.

With the Raptors making it to the NBA Finals, subscriptions to sports channels remain strong but more options are available to sports fans. With OTT and steaming platforms you can now access your favourite sports from around the world.

Apple and Firefox eat Cookies, will Chrome?

This is a hot topic as much of the targeting across the web is based on a cookie. What will happen to ComScore, Quantcast and other platforms that are all based on cookie insights?  How will they rebuild their signals? And will the rest of 2019 be the time when Canadians start to appreciate the privacy implications? At this time Chrome accounts for 66% of global desktop sessions and 63% of mobile sessions, and a change in these numbers will be the big issues for advertisers and publishers alike. Publishers and content creators with smaller sites will be hit the most. We also believe that this will create taller walled gardens with the big platforms like Facebook and Google.

Search Algorithms

Amazon has an organic algorithm for search called A10, that was updated just this year. It is meant to match a query to a product that customers are likely to purchase. What few marketers understand is that the PPC campaigns ended up being weighted lower as people were looking past them. And as Amazon becomes a bigger player in paid advertising for product and brand and grows as a marketplace, it will also start messing with this algorithm further. With this will come the other players in the space like Walmart, eBay, BestBuy and others who try to maximize their marketplace opportunities with better discovery of products for the online shoppers.  All of this means that understanding search algorithms is no longer just about Google, it is about any place where a person types into the search box. New talent, skills and capabilities will need to come quickly to solve for this.

Brand and performance

With all these new shopping opportunities in the digital world, brand and performance are sitting closer and need to work together to ensure media strategy success. The core of brand building and the foundations need to be revisited by brands who shifted too much to performance marketing and are missing the lift that brand building creates to media spend and actions from consumers.  This is also the time to revisit the roles of channels and challenge the assumptions that have long plagued planning such as TV cannot be performance and digital cannot build a brand. In fact, it is how everything works together and behaves that is the opportunity ahead. Will we end the journey of cheap reach in a cookie-eaten world? Let’s hope so, because it is resource intensive and not living up to brand experiences.


Author: CMA Media Council

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