Q&A with ID5: Smart AdServer

  • Posted by Alex Taylor
  • On Apr 06, 2022

In this issue of ID5’s Partner Q&A series, we sit down with Smart‘s Product Marketing Lead, Demand, Marine Desoutter, to discuss continuing support in the cookieless era, the Identity Indicator report V3, scaling CTV, and more.

What is the series all about? The Q&A with ID5 series invites its publisher, advertiser, and platform partners to share their insights on the hot topics and big questions circulating the digital media industry today. Tune in each month for new editions featuring thought leaders and experts from across the space.

Read the full Q&A with Smart below:

Tell us about yourself and Smart.

As the Product Marketing Lead in charge of the demand side projects at Smart, my team and I execute go-to-market strategies for our portfolio of products and solutions dedicated to advertisers and agencies.

A full-stack alternative to the walled gardens, we offer publishers and advertisers solutions for maximizing campaign performance and help create genuine value exchange with their customers, on their terms. 

How much of a concern is the deprecation of traditional identification methods such as 3rd party cookies and MAIDs for Smart?

It has definitely been a major concern and topic of conversation across the industry for the past few years. However, we like to view it as a challenge, rather than a concern. We’re all used to the speed of evolution in the ad tech industry and this is just another area where we will need to adapt.

When it comes to cookie deprecation, end users are the winners. It’s a good move for user privacy and we are already seeing a great response as we monitor the adoption of third-party cookie alternatives on our platform. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re seeing with addressability right now? Where are we on the identity journey?

In a recent IAB press release, they warned of the lack of industry action, stating: “Never underestimate the joint powers of inertia and laziness.”

This reflects what we are seeing with our customers and partners. We’ve focused deeply on educating our clients on the technology around consent management, alternative IDs, 1st party data, and contextual targeting. But, when it comes to executing cookieless campaigns in order to test and learn before they are officially retired, we’d like to see a greater sense of urgency.

What steps have you taken to ensure the continued support of your publishers and demand-side clients in the post-cookie and MAIDs era?

We’ve focused our strategy on three key areas: 

  • The support of alternative IDs
    We are ID-agnostic and are currently helping our publishers deploy alternative IDs, like ID5’s ID, on their networks. Then, we help them measure incremental reach – especially in environments where cookies are already gone.
  • Contextual targeting
    We deployed semantic contextual targeting three years ago and, based on strong performance, we have extended it to video as well.
  • 1st party data activation
    Our goal is to provide publishers and advertisers with powerful infrastructure and a scalable campaign workflow to activate their most valuable data. 

With the continual development of privacy regulations, how can we achieve the right balance between addressability and privacy?

At Smart, our priority has always been user privacy. As more countries enact strong privacy regulations, putting user privacy at the forefront of advertising strategies must become an industry priority as well.

The question is not really about balance, but rather how to make the most of each opportunity when executing campaigns. In instances where there is no consent, it doesn’t mean ads can’t be served. Advertisers can also find value in displaying ads in an environment that may have lower CPMs and less ad pressure, as it can still be relevant for branding campaigns.  

Your Identity Indicator V3 report shows the finding that in the Germany, US, Mexico, and UK markets, more than half the inventory already has at least one alternative ID in the bid request. How do you see these figures developing over the next 12 months?

Over the next year, we expect to see these numbers continue to grow. The delay in cookie deprecation provided buyers additional time to test their solutions, which is reflected in the growth trend we see when comparing the figures from April 2021 to December 2021 for each of these markets in our latest report. As the 2023 phase-out deadline grows nearer, we expect more buyers to embrace alternative ID solutions and for these numbers to increase.

What is your biggest focus for the year ahead as an ad server and SSP, and what do you think needs to be done to ensure the sustainable future of digital advertising?Scaling our CTV and video business will remain a major focus for us in the year ahead. We have invested deeply in data activation and targeting capabilities across our expanding supply of premium placements to ensure scale and were recently recognized by Digiday for our ad replacement work during the Euro Cup.

We have an initiative around TV household addressability that reconciles the relationship between primary CTV devices and digital personas to allow for things like cross-device targeting, DCO, and message sequencing. And, we are also securing several partners who specialize in CTV segmentation and measurement, which should be announced in the first half of this year.