Advertising Audience Insights News

3 Lessons Every Marketer Should Use To Jumpstart Their Post-Tracker Digital Strategy

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Digital advertising has become such a fundamental component of 21st century marketing strategies that the news last year of the impending expiry of third-party tracking sent shockwaves through companies large and small. The challenge for marketers now is whether to wait for these changes to take effect or get prepared now. As the clock slowly ticks to the end of Google’s two-year grace period, many find themselves doing more waiting than preparing. 

Here are three ways a forward-thinking and data-driven marketer can be prepared to hit the ground running when the transition away from third-party tracking is finally complete.

1.  Take advantage of the time you were given.

Marketers customarily have to work within constricted timeframes and adapt strategies to cultural shifts. This is not one of those times. Ample notice has been given to discover (or recover) alternative strategies, implement, and test them. 

In Ad Age’s reporting on “How Facebook and Snapchat are Preparing Brands for the Data Lockdowns,” they aptly remind marketers that “there is one benefit to relying less on data… brands will have to return to focusing on the design of their ads” (Ad Age, 2021). As targeting becomes less effective, marketers will have to get more clever with ad creative to reach their intended audiences. 

One way to use this time wisely is to leverage pre-market creative measurement tools. A study by Nielsen showed that campaigns lacking precise targeting relied on the strength of their creative 18% more than targeted ads, contributing to 59% of the ad’s overall effectiveness (Nielsen, 2017). In other words, a lack of precise targeting doesn’t necessarily equate to ineffective advertising because creative can pick up the slack. Marketers can use this period before third-party tracking is completely lost to measure the financial impact of advertising creative on their business and redistribute spend accordingly. Pre-market creative testing should be considered a crucial part of the updated plan.

Creative testing can also help fill the void of tracking data while a campaign is in-market. With constantly evolving world events, the creative process should be constantly in motion, especially when working through channels where production costs are lower, like audio and email marketing. 

2. Turn to trusted channels with rich contextual targeting.

Effective advertising pre-dates cookie-based audience targeting. For decades, marketers looked to content as a proxy for audience, and achieved real results with this contextual approach. In the wake of new restrictions to third-party tracking methods like cookies and mobile ad IDs, contextual is having another moment. This has marketers reconsidering their overall media mix, and channels that offer targeting based on a detailed and data-driven understanding of content are rising to the top. Podcasts are leading that charge. 

Since its inception, podcasting has been a notoriously hard channel for audience targeting and measurement, but this hasn’t stopped flocks of performance-oriented DTC brands from getting great results from the channel. Moreover, podcasting has developed in a digital environment where cookies and MAIDs were never sure bets. Apple, the largest distributor of podcasts, is known for its closed-lip policies on data and has pushed the industry in this direction since early days. For a long time, marketers considered this a weakness, but the podcast channel’s lack of reliance on these identifiers is now a strategic advantage. 

Personalization is innate to podcasting in a way that makes the loss of cookies less of a disadvantage. For one, the content is often highly specific and maps directly against audience segments. Listening to podcasts about infant care? You’re most likely in the market for diapers. The content is also iterative and consistent; even without tracking the listener, it can be assumed that they will be back in the same place tomorrow, next week, or whenever the next episode is out. Podcast advertising serves as one example of myriad alternatives to how marketers can still find their target audiences, but in a way that is sustainable in a world where consumer privacy is becoming even more prominent. 

3. Don’t be surprised if this isn’t the last shake-up.

It’s hard to say how far down the road of customer privacy we will go. Will it end with third-party tracking? Is first-party next? Evidence seems to show that this is just the beginning. It’s hard to imagine an open web without data and analytics, but just because it is unimaginable to most doesn’t mean it’s impossible (ahem, global pandemic). 

With the shifting culture towards higher expectations for corporate transparency and more respect for customer privacy, marketers should be prepared for more tightening of their data privileges. This could come again from big tech, or from the government, which has thus far played a minimal role in online consumer protections, especially in the United States. If what was nearly the end of Google in Australia is any indication of the road ahead, marketers should adjust their strategies sooner rather than later. 

Living through a global pandemic has taught us to be prepared for the expected and unexpected. By investing in strategies that aren’t so reliant on soon-to-be-extinct data, marketers will be prepared for the changes ahead. They may even make better ads because of it.

To learn more about pre-market creative measurement, contact us.

Sources: Ad Age, Nielsen

Advertising Audience Insights

10 Brands That Got Audio Right in 2020

Picture this: it’s 2015, consumer spending is up almost 5% from last year, the job market is doing great, and with the rise of the gig economy, everyone is taking Ubers to their side hustles to finance their way to see Hamilton (…with the original cast.) Oh yeah, and the words “Baby Shark” mean NOTHING. As a brand marketer, the world is your oyster. Your campaigns could be humorous, serious, audacious, whatever your heart desires. 

Remember that? Good times.

The pandemic of 2020 rocked and changed the lives of nearly every person on earth. And being that a marketer’s job is to reach and engage those people, I’d say the task marketers were faced with this year has been harder than anything the industry has faced to date. 

How do you console, support, not offend, and ultimately sell to an entire world in crisis? It’s not easy. That’s why we’re calling out the brands that did it right this year on our 2020 Top Audio Advertisers List. 

Let’s start with podcasts. 

The investment in podcasts by platforms and brands alike has been monumental in 2020. From Spotify’s acquisition of Megaphone, to Omnicom spending $20M on the medium this year, podcasting has had a better 2020 than a lot of us.

Listen below to a couple ads that make it clear why some of our winners deserve their seats on top: 


How many brand mentions in an ad is too much? How do you feel about, oh I don’t know,  FIFTEEN? It seems to work for Honey, considering it has the highest overall recall of any of the brands on our list. Take a listen to one of Honey’s ads this year, detected and scored by the Veritonic platform. You can’t miss its unique style that helps make Honey ads so memorable:

Just a warning in case there are any kids in the room! There is some explicit language in this ad.


B2B really stepped it up in podcast advertising this year, with eMarketer estimating a nearly 23% increase in spend from 2019.1 The spend appears to be paying off for Salesforce, as their ads win for purchase intent:

Each & Every

Am I the only health nut that wants a Molecular and Developmental Biologist as the founder of my deodorant brand? Apparently not. Because Each & Every made our list. The authenticity of their brand message and voice helps them rank extremely high:

Now onto radio.

O’Reilly Auto Parts

While pretty standard in content for an auto parts brand, O’Reilly ads include sonic branding at both the start and the end of their ads. Only about 12% of ads include sonic branding, even though sonic brands are shown to improve brand recall, especially when they contain a brand mention. So, even though this ad doesn’t score very high for uniqueness, its inclusion of sonic branding across the ad is definitely something to emulate. 


Did you know that about 20% of ads use only female voice, while 50% use only male voice? And to add insult to injury, did you know female voices have been proven to be more trustworthy than male voices?2

Now that we have that depressing statistic out of the way, take a listen to this Varo ad. Varo is one of very few brands that give female voices the wide majority of airplay. Hopefully in 2021 scientific evidence will prevail and we’ll see many more brands jump on the female-voice bandwagon. 

And last but not least, Audio Branding:

Every year Veritonic releases its Audio Logo Index, which analyzes consumer response to audio signatures. This year, an additional analysis was done for brands that changed their sonic identities to be more appropriate and mindful of our current reality. 

Download the guide to read our findings and to see if your brand made the list. 

2020 has had its flaws, but in many ways marketers rose to the occasion. Even if it gets a bit redundant at times, it’s still nice to hear brands sharing the ways they are lending their support during a year like this.

Note from the author: 

The data and rankings included in this post were collected from the Veritonic platform, specifically Veritonic Competitive Intelligence. The platform analyzed over 10,000 radio and podcast ads that ran in 2020, which was then ranked by Veritonic Brand Score – a rating standard for audio creative which incorporates the overall emotional resonance, memorability (recall), purchase intent, and engagement of ads in a brand’s catalog. To learn more about Competitive Intelligence and how it can help you develop a winning audio strategy, contact us at

1 eMarketer