The Trade Desk CEO Jeff Green ran the gamut on the future of digital advertising during a panel with eMarketer at the company’s Groundswell Digital Marketing Festival.
Green spoke on a range of issues that included the looming debate over the value of user-generated content; why marketers should care about identity; connected TV; and what advertisers should be thinking about as the conclusion of a tumultuous year draws near.
Here, we share three takeaways from the conversation.
Defining ‘premium content’
In recent years, major tech platforms have been criticized by both marketers and the media as to how they are handling the spread of misinformation. Although much of the discussion has centered on how those platforms are grappling with fake news, Green said that in some ways, “we have framed the conversation in the wrong way.”
For Green, the discussion should instead focus on defining what premium content is.
“That is where brands are focused and the most vocal brands that are pulling out of user generated content (UGC) are saying it’s not about truth, but rather the controversial nature of UGC content,” he said.
Advertisers in recent years have been drawn to UGC because of its scale and accessibility. However, a shift is now occurring where premium content such as connected TV “is coming on at a faster rate than ever in the history of the internet,” according to Green.
“Now is a great moment to have this discussion and define what premium content is,” Green said. “It’s mostly about, ‘what do I want to associate my brand with?”
Identity: A conversation few are having
The future of identity is now at stake after Google said it’s going to remove third-party cookies from its popular Chrome browser in 2022. Identity’s future becomes even more murky once increasing consumer privacy regulation — such as California’s Consumer Privacy Act — are factored in.
These changes are poised to create opportunities to rearchitect identity on the internet in a way that improves user control and privacy, while preserving the value of the relevant advertising that funds premium internet content.
“There is a chess match being fought that will impact the privacy of every person on the planet,” said Green. “It will affect the outcome of information and journalism, but nobody is really talking about it and few have their heads wrapped around it.”
Green compared the situation to “The Big Short,” an Oscar-winning movie that shed light on how the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. “It’s like the scene where the narrator says, ‘They changed your lives and the financial system forever and you don’t even know who they are.’ I feel like that is exactly what is happening right now with identity.”
Why marketers should care about identity
Marketers who spend in Walled Gardens are marketing in silos, according to Green, where those platforms take “100 percent of the credit for any sale,” even if most of the ads were shown outside their platforms.
The rest of the open web, meanwhile, is struggling to make any claim on the impact they made, says Green.
“The theme that sold the consumer on that luxury car was video, audio and really powerful images and emotions — not 240 black and blue characters,” said Green.
If identity is left in the hands of the walled gardens, then “there will be no attribution done by anybody other than a few companies who are taking credit for what you’ve done,” said Green. “It will change marketing forever.”
The Trade Desk is collaborating with the industry to create an open source solution to replace cookies, one where the user has complete control of their data across both platforms and devices.
The Trade Desk’s identity solution builds on the IAB’s Project Rearc. “We took the recipe they put together, collaborated with the rest of the industry and cooked it,” Green said. “We finished it, but we don’t own it.”
Watch the full session here.