History has delivered some great ideas which looked good on paper but never really became reality. Flying cars, jet packs, and teleportation are some, along with data co-operatives for small and mid-sized brands.
Data sharing between equal partners through a co-op network is one of those egalitarian ideas, just like socialism where everyone stays poor or ends up poorer. Data co-ops is a give-to-get model where members of the co-op agree to share data in an aggregated pool, in return for use of all the data and services around a co-op. Third-party solutions like Alliant have been trying to build audience solutions based on the data co-op philosophy of shared, first-party data accessible for all members in a compliant way. But these co-ops are a bit like the European Union. Not all member states are the same. The data is the common currency and there is a benefit to being a part of a block. But who keeps the block alive is a question that keeps coming up.
In the mad scramble for a cookie-less world, data co-ops became a fancy topic among the newsletter circuits. But big retailers and brands don’t want to be the ‘givers.’ Small brands don’t have the heft, even if they pool in the audience. While cookies have not gone away yet, advertising has become costlier than ever, and targeting even more. The cookie crumbled under the weight of the big slab of an iPhone.
Big 800-pound gorillas have to come to the party if any alternative advertising solution is to succeed. The year 2023 is when the ad tech world will reverberate to the rhythms of ‘Retail Media Networks.’ With RMNs, cooperative advertising is back, packaged for scale.
Retail Media Networks succeed where third-party-led audience co-ops fail. It is a recognition of the fact that large incumbent players with a massive audience are the only ones who can move the needle and the rest pay the tax to access and advertise through them. Considering that neither Facebook nor Google can pinpoint intent as well as RMNs do, it is the price brands are willing to pay.
Third-party solutions that worked hard to summon audience co-ops in the last decade still have a role to play. Multi-RMN campaigns, omnichannel audience extensions, data clean rooms – all become key facets as budgets shift to RMNs.
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