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Navigating the Future of Data: A Recap of RampUp 2024

In late February 2020, I attended what would be my last in-person event before the COVID shutdown – LiveRamp’s RampUp San Francisco 2020. The theme was value exchange, trust, and consent across the entire supply chain with the deprecation of the third-party cookie. Flash forward four years, and I’ve returned to San Francisco and RampUp 2024. As with previous years, LiveRamp brought together industry leaders, innovators, and experts to showcase new products and discuss the latest industry trends. Here is an in-depth exploration of this year’s key themes.

Is data collaboration the future of a post-cookie world?

During the two-day conference, the terms “data collaboration” and “matchmaking” were echoed in every session. As brands face the challenge of adapting to new privacy regulations and the sunsetting of third-party cookies, opinions on data collaboration varied.

Some brands took a firm stance, stating, “absolutely not” to sharing first-party data with any brands outside their portfolio, prioritizing user privacy above all else. On the other hand, several brands showcased innovative approaches, leveraging brand partnerships to offer users a better and more personalized experience while still respecting their privacy. This divergence highlighted the industry’s ongoing conversation about finding the right balance between data collaboration and user privacy.

AI will not only change how we reach users but also how users find and engage with advertisers.

One of my favorite sessions focused on emerging AI tech and innovations. According to Gartner, Inc., traditional search volume is projected to drop by 25% by 2026, losing ground to AI chatbots and agents. The showcased example involved verbally asking an AI agent, “what car is best for my family?” The AI agent responded with a few different Toyota options, prompting questions about the potential biases within AI algorithms. Why Toyota?

The reality is that as AI chatbots and agents become more prevalent, website visitors will increasingly consist of not only real people but also AI agents. This shift requires marketers to rethink their entire marketing strategy and customer journey—specifically the need for adaptability and a nuanced understanding of user interactions, both human and AI-driven.

A return to infusing content rather than interrupting content.

In a world where consumers are becoming increasingly adept at avoiding traditional advertisements, the concept of product placement may make a resurgence. As highlighted at RampUp, “the titans of the ad industry are going to go home and pay money to avoid ads.” Or simply put, we don’t even want to see our own ads interrupting our content. 

With emerging AI technologies, there is an opportunity for product placement to evolve from traditional pre-production booking to a more dynamic post-production approach. The ability to seamlessly integrate products into content post-production, coupled with advancements in measurement, presents a potential avenue for marketers to deliver impactful and unobtrusive content experiences.

It’s an exciting time to be in the digital advertising space as RampUp showcased a glimpse into the future. Our industry’s constant evolution serves as a reminder to stay proactive by testing and embracing change to avoid falling behind. As data collaboration and emerging AI technologies take center stage in a post-cookie world, we will be tasked with navigating uncharted territory. Stay tuned for more updates as the industry continues to redefine itself in this exciting era of digital advertising.

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