‘Active curation’: As TCF’s future hangs in the balance, advertisers’ audience tracking plans are in a holding pattern

As appeared on Digiday on 10th March 2022: https://digiday.com/marketing/active-curation-as-tcfs-future-hangs-in-the-balance-advertisers-audience-tracking-plans-are-in-a-holding-pattern/amp/   

When the going gets tough for programmatic advertisers, their dollars tend to move toward places they trust.

So when the future of large-scale addressable advertising on the open web was thrown into doubt recently, it was no surprise what happened next.

Advertisers throttled their third-party audience buys and started urging publishers to take more control over how they got someone’s consent for advertising, according to eight ad execs interviewed for this article. To them, the Transparency & Consent Framework (TCF) guardrails erected by the industry to protect someone’s data while it’s being used for advertising across the European Union can’t be relied on — proof to them (at least for now) that audience tracking at this scale is becoming too difficult or even obsolete in many ways. 

Ruben Schreurs, group chief product officer at Ebiquity said:

“We see an accelerated shift in advertiser priorities to ‘active curation. The TCF ruling being one factor, responsible media investment and preventing (inadvertent) funding of disinformation around the current war in Ukraine, advertisers are working with their agencies to radically change their approach to digital media buying.”

Rather than investing broadly through open marketplaces and chasing historical delivery reports for issues to use in exclusion lists, media plans — and audience data activation in particular — are being run in a more considerate manner with “strict selection processes” and more direct dealings with high-quality supply partners, said Schreurs.