Campaign India Team
Mar 14, 2024

Ad:tech 2024: Privacy and consent emerge as key, as social media gains an edge in marketing spend

The annual trade conference’s first day shone a light on how marketers can stay relevant, and capitalise on emerging trends like Al in the face of rapid technological advancements, shifting consumer behaviours, and evolving regulatory environment in 2024

Ad:tech 2024: Privacy and consent emerge as key, as social media gains an edge in marketing spend

Held in New Delhi this year, the Ad:Tech forum is a digital marketing, technology, and media event that brings together leading marketers in India and around the world—across the digital medium—under one roof. Scheduled from March 13 to 14 at the India International Convention and Expo Center, the annual trade show is anticipated to host around 6,000 visitors and 80 exhibitors across these two days, showcasing a wide range of products and services related to the digital economy, internet, startups, advertising, and networking.

The first day of Ad:tech 2024 saw an engaging discussion around efficient attribution systems to decipher consumer behaviour and journey touchpoints. The panellists included Chandan Mukherji, director & senior VP of strategy, marketing & communications, Nestle, Vipul Kedia, chief data & platforms officer, Affle and Kapil Bonde, head of Insights—INSEA, Adjust. The discussion was moderated by Ashish Tiwari, chief marketing officer, Home Credit.

Campaign has all the details below.

What constitutes good attribution?
Tiwari kicked off the session by making an observation that attribution is like money where nobody knows how much is enough. He then invited the panel to share real world examples of where they've experienced successful attribution delivered to businesses, and another where it was not so successful.
Presenting a case in point from Nestle globally, Mukherji shared how when it came to their coffee machines business with bots in different parts of the world, they knew their consumer very well, they collected first-party data and clearly understood what was working and what’s not, sharing: “You are moving through the entire consumer journey of purchase, repurchase, consumer loyalty and so on.”
He continued, “But the moment you go into other parts of the business, such as the Fast Moving Consumer Goods part (FMCG)—which is the majority of our business—there you really don’t know what to attribute value to. And therefore to assign credit to a particular input at a particular stage of a consumer journey, whether you link it back to platform, to campaign, to a piece of messaging— whatever it is—that system is quite broken, although that is a very important element.”
Mukherji pointed out the problem with digital marketing was that while one can get to a more data-driven stage, at the stage of attribution only bits and pieces of information often exist and there isn't enough of a holistic understanding of where the traffic is coming from. This is due to information being acummulated in siloes.
“I think there’s a long way to go for attribution overall to become really meaningful for marketers, to really add value and for digital to take the next big leap as well,” he added.
Bonde from Adjust brought in the platform perspective to the discussion, by sharing how it's important to have a holistic view of the entire picture and not merely judge one’s performance by the most recent work. He also added that “the industry is evolving as we speak and people are coming out with different attribution models.”
The discussion then veered towards the multiple touch points in the consumer journey ranging from the first-touch to the last-touch and multi-touch points.
“In our industry attribution is as important as media or channels or whatever marketing you may be doing, it’s a very complex problem“ said Kedia from Affle. “The problem with last-touch attributions is that whoever touches the consumer last is only credited for customer conversion," he added, explaining how it's not fair, because there could have been multiple touchpoints—offline and online—that could be responsible for the conversion. Kedia placed the blame of squarely on the lack of attribution to the last-touch formula. 
Privacy and consent are key

Moving ahead to the cookie-deprecation era, the panel examined challenges in building a 360-degree view of the customer, and the latest attribution systems designed to optimise consumer behaviour and enhance media buying efficiency.
"Every marketer is obsessed with collecting data, as a marketer how do you cross that barrier and instil that trust in users and data so that it will be put to useful and relevant use, so that attribution as a system works better?" asked Tiwari. 
The panel agreed there is a value to aggregating data still. User privacy has to be respected, they noted, while adding that without trust there will not be a way forward—no matter how marketers and marketing platforms end up consuming.                  
"Privacy and consent is super important so platforms have to instil the faith that if the user is sharing his/ her data it will be put to good and relevant use for the consumer, for things like personalisation which will enhance the consumer’s life. Unfortunately, a lot of the data is being misused by marketers towards spam, leading to ad fraud due to which there will be resistance," noted Kedia. 
The level of institutional trust has to go up towards this end, so we can serve the consumer better, the panel agreed while unaminously endorsing that its time to say a resounding yes to attribution.
CMO priorities for 2024
The day also saw marketers and industry stakeholders discuss CMO priorities for 2024, while unveiling insights from the Ad:Tech and Tyroo “Drivers Of Growth” 2024 Report. The panel included Vaibhav Pandey, co-founder & CTO, Tyroo, Rajiv Dubey, senior GM, head of media, Dabur, and Gaurav Mehta, chief marketing officer, Noise, and was moderated by Shiney Eapen, head of content, Adtech.
The discussion centred around perspectives of marketers across diverse sectors in India for the year 2024 and their strategies for reshaping their priorities, capabilities, processes, and technologies, with an aim to uncover the growth drivers for CMOs in the year ahead.
The panel focused on identifying key trends and challenges influencing marketing strategies and decisions for the upcoming year, while analysing emerging technologies like Gen AI with the marketing mix, and pinpointing the primary investment areas within digital marketing in 2024. 
Eapen observed how there was a perception that Gen AI today is at a juncture where the internet was in early 2000s. The dialogue analysed the alignment of technologies with the marketing mix, revealing which channels are anticipated to receive the largest share of marketing investments in 2024.

Amongst the media channels with major increase in spends, social media came up tops with an 80% spike in marketing investment, followed closely by Whatsapp and online search at 79% and 78% respectively. Influencer marketing gained 72% in marketing spends while retail media, CTV & OTT and mobile spends clocked 72%, 69%, 64% and 66% respectively.
The industry leaders discussed how social commerce and conversational commerce facilitated by WhatsApp and similar platforms are slowly taking the edge over search when it comes to performance marketing. This can be attributed to solutions that help them serve as both branding and performance channels. Retail media is a close second that is gaining on Search, because of similar attributes.
Several challenges await them in navigating this dynamic landscape, such as accurately attributing marketing spends across an increasingly complex ecosystem of channels and touchpoints and increasing complexity of adtech & martech solutions, combined with media and audience fragmentation
Other pain points were, the industry stakeholders noted, phasing out of the third party cookie and Data Protection, while staying relevant and capitalising on emerging trends like Al, Gaming, and  Connected TV.
Campaign India

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