When Brooks asked about the greatest challenges facing the ad industry in the privacy era, Hernoux noted the double whammy of consumer perception and "big tech platforms changing the rules," such as Apple's intelligent tracking prevention (ITP), which made it harder to calculate the return-on-investment for digital ads, according to industry experts.
Okigbo noted that "privacy concerns have been around for a while, but with all this new legislation, it's all heightened now."
"Consumers are more concerned about their data as they learn about data breaches," Hernoux added. "And they are even more aware now that they have to give consent to opt in or opt out" due to the new regulations.
Reinventing the industry
Yet both Okigbo and Hernoux are optimistic about the creative possibilities presented by the new privacy regulations and loss of signal.
"One of the impacts of losing third-party tracking is that you're not really able to create meaningful segments and remarket to those segments," Okigbo said. "We are adapting and thinking and getting more creative based on the new changes happening. At Uber, we have 20 million people each day going to museums, concerts, hotels and conferences, and they're getting things. If you know where a customer is going, you can serve them a relevant ad based on that knowledge. That's arguably more impactful than having signals as to who that customer might be."
For Hernoux, "the rise of privacy is a good thing. We need to make advertising better for people. We need to be very mindful and put the consumer front and center. On the agency side, we have the framework—people, platform, process and policy—to help clients push the transformation to the next level. It's a very exciting moment in time where we need to reinvent who we are and what we do with privacy front and center to make sure we create the right things and an ecosystem that is going to work for everyone."
The importance of continued learning
In the coming year, both Okigbo and Hernoux foresaw fragmentation continuing to reshape the data landscape.
"What may come next after fragmentation is consolidation," Okigbo said. "We've seen the advent of retail ad networks. It feels like every retailer now has one. The reason why is because they realize the richness of their first-person data." But with the proliferation of so many retail media networks, many brands have found themselves without a unified way to measure, attribute and target. The solution, according to some industry observers, is aggregation. One sure way to get there: consolidation. "We've seen some acquisitions within the retail space," Okigbo added. "The mindset is, 'One plus one equals three.'"
For Hernoux, fragmentation is a teachable moment. "As leaders we have a huge responsibility to help clients and marketers navigate this complexity," Hernoux said. "As an agency partner, I want to help as much as possible, but I also have a responsibility as a leader with my team. We are at a moment in time where the industry is changing and we need to learn every day. If you don't know something, it's OK. You can say you don't know, but we'll help you to find the answer to make sure that we have the confidence to manage conversations with clients to guide them through this ecosystem."
To help industry professionals navigate the new advertising ecosystem—and to support the more than 200 million businesses using Meta technologies—Meta is developing privacy-enhancing technologies that are evolving how data is received, how goals are achieved through campaign delivery and optimization, and how measurement and reporting can clarify what is driving results.
Learn more about how to enable these Meta Technologies with the free resources available on the Meta Blueprint signals training page.