Nov 5 2020
Basis Technologies

4As and 614 Group Address Workflow Automation and Identity Management


4A's (American Association of Advertising Agencies) and 614 Group, a digital advertising consultancy, recently assembled forward-thinking industry leaders via a Think Tank to tackle the most pressing challenges in advertising and marketing—automation solutions and identity management. The guidance from the group was published as white papers (download here). This is the second phase of a large-scale initiative by The 4A's to understand and shape the future of programmatic and automation.

Participants in the Think Tank included Sony Entertainment, RPA, Horizon, Cramer-Krasselt, Fitzco, Starcom, and Geometry, Matterkind, UM Worldwide, Canvas Worldwide, AKQA, Hearts and Science, 451 Degrees. The work of the group is underwritten by Centro,, Facebook and IBM Watson.

The first phase of this project started in 2019, resulting in an in-depth examination of programmatic advertising and agency automation. Centro also showcased the work in our Future of Automation  webinar.

The recent white papers help brands and agencies with media teams navigate two important issues that they are facing now and will likely face throughout in the next 12 months. Noted below, are important points and main takeaways from these companion papers:

Moving to Simplicity and High Value: A Call to Action for Workflow Automation and People Augmentation’ gives guidance on what aspects of an organization could be automated. From the report: “The Think Tank determined that one of its priorities is the development of guidance on how best to achieve workflow automation. Lack of automation hinders speed and efficiency on the part of marketers, agencies and publishers. Automating workflow will permit simplicity, speed and efficiency in how digital media and audiences are planned, activated, measured, analyzed, optimized, post-analyzed and billed.”

This paper notes that,

  1. “The automation must consider both digital ad workflow components as well as automation of platforms, processes and reporting.”
  2. “Even with programmatic and other technology to support marketing and advertising, the industry suffers from lack of platform and tool integration as well as inefficiencies that are no better, or worse, than traditional media.”
  3. “Automated workflow enables people augmentation… reducing redundant manual labor to free people to perform more complex tasks… greater efficiency in how teams, regardless of experience or skill sets, are deployed… sharper focus and greater prominence for teams that bring value but are not always at the forefront of the agency business.”

The State of Identity Management: How Did We Get Here and What Comes Next?’ provides an update of industry efforts to manage user identities for targeted advertising amid the loss of third-party cookies. The report states, “Identity management lies at the heart of digital advertising. Accurate and reliable identification enables relevant, one-to-one communication based on a host of recipient attributes and actions. Conversely, an inability to correctly identify ad recipients in many cases leads to a poor user experience and wasted ad dollars. …by initiating an honest discussion about the pros and cons of identity management, we will be able to create a more positive and beneficial environment for advertisers, publishers, and consumers alike.”

This paper notes that,

  1. “The pending deprecation of support for third-party cookies will increase the value of and reliance on first-party data. At the same time, legislation will make the collection and use of such data more restrictive.”
  2. “As devices within a household proliferate, audiences become more fragmented. However, this also provides opportunities for data collection and analysis, and affords a more comprehensive view of the customer journey for those marketers willing to invest in robust data collection and identity resolution.”
  3. “Third-party privacy-compliant audiences can provide a suitable alternative to first-party identity management. Audience co-ops can be used to share and strengthen resources for those advertisers lacking robust first-party assets. Additionally, contextual advertising can be used to create a semblance of personalized, 1:1 communication.”

Centro has already taken action to address these challenges. Our Basis platform automates all the major aspects of an agency’s business or media team’s functions—we’ve also been exploring alternatives to cookie-less targeting with customers. As we near the end of a tumultuous year and prepare to enter a new one with plenty of uncertainty, our customers can be rest assured knowing that Centro is actively collaborating with the industry to keep a pulse on the needs in this space.