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Life In a Cookie-Less World: Part 3 – Interview with Jennifer Snell

Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Visit LiveRamp to find out how they can help your business.

This episode features the full interview with Jennifer Snell, Head of Digital Marketing at Finder. Jennifer is responsible for all media buying, creative production and CRM for Australia’s largest comparison site.

Your host Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and co-founder of Ashton Media brings Short, Sharp, Stories and Solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media and CX. In digital advertising, the downfall of third-party cookies is imminent. For advertisers, agencies, and publishers, the future is opaque at best. But it’s in this uncertain future that I’m reminded of a key moment in history where the right team overcame obstacles both challenging and unknown.

The marketing and advertising industry has a somewhat unhealthy addiction to cookies and
their favourite digital treat is going to vanish.

With third-party cookies in decline and a move for the industry to look for long-term solutions,
opinions have become clear on the landscape of digital marketing and how it has changed over
the past few years.

We spoke with several prominent figures in the digital marketing industry, to discuss what
that the cookie-centred approach has meant for the industry since the inception of
programmatic by tapping into their experience and insights on the long-awaited

Into its 7th year, the Summit is firmly established as ANZ’s Programmatic Industry Showcase.
It’s the largest gathering of ANZ’s programmatic industry, and we’re delighted to announce
that in partnership with IAB Australia, the Programmatic Summit takes place in March 2020,
Sydney and Melbourne.

Programmatic In Your Pocket – Life in a Cookie-less World brought to you by LiveRamp. More
on the Programmatic Summit 2020 here.


Jennifer: If we look at how things have gone over the, say, last 10 years we’ve kind of been having these conversations where we’ve got to the stage of really, I think holding up on a pedestal, this idea of like one to one marketing and we’ve said, okay, you know, using a fantastic mark tech and ad tech stack, we can kind of have that gold star where we try and say, okay, how do we, how do we execute on it?
I think, obviously, when you look at where we’re going, those kinds of things from an advertising perspective won’t be possible in the same way that maybe they once were.

Gavin: [00:00:33] Hello. I’m Gavin Stewart, Marketing Director and Co-Founder of Ashton Media and the host of Programmatic In Your Pocket, brought to you by our friends at LiveRamp. Short, sharp stories and solutions to the biggest challenges in marketing, advertising, media, and CX. Up next, we’ll be playing the full interview with Jennifer Snell. Stay tuned.
Please make sure to subscribe, rate, comment and tell anyone you know that’s interested in this industry about this podcast and your favorite episode. You can find Ashton cast on all the major podcast players. Go to for more info.
So I am here at the Programmatic Summit in Sydney 2020 with the lovely Jen Snell who is Head of Digital at Finder, otherwise known as

Jennifer: [00:01:30] Hey Gav. How’s it going?

Gavin: [00:01:33] Good thank you. Thanks very much for, for joining us today, Jen.

Jennifer: [00:01:35] Thank you for having me.

Gavin: [00:01:36] Um, so. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and Finder.

Jennifer: [00:01:40] Yeah, of course. So I’m the Head of Digital Marketing at Finder. I lead out the Australian marketing team, which is responsible for all of our in-house digital buying, our, um, ATL buying, our creative and our CRM. So, that’s a kind of everything off-site off the Finder site, I suppose.

Gavin: [00:01:54] Great. Sounds like a big job.

Jennifer: [00:01:55] It is.

Gavin: [00:01:56] Is it fun?

Jennifer: [00:01:57] Yeah. Yeah. It’s an awesome, awesome organization. Awesome culture. So I’m very lucky to work with an awesome group of people there.

Gavin: [00:02:02] Fantastic. And you took the stage for us today here at the Programmatic Summit.

Jennifer: [00:02:04] I did.

Gavin: [00:02:05] Tell us a little bit about what you, what you spoke about?

Jennifer: [00:02:07] Yeah, of course. So, I actually spoke about, um, one of my favourite topics, which is in- house media teams.

And the, I guess the, the advantages and disadvantages of taking that approach. Um, I think it’s a really important conversation for us to have as an industry because it’s obviously a trend we’ve seen is that you’ve got, um, more businesses looking to take media in-house. And I think it at Finder we’re in quite a unique position to give a, you know, a view on that.

Um, we’re one of Australia’s largest digital advertisers and we do all that buying in-house. So I think, as a result of that we’ve got quite a lot of experience in terms of what it takes to successfully run a large scale ad buying in-house team. But on the flip side, I personally have worked with, um, some fantastic agencies in several previous roles, including at Finder where we actually work with an agency for our TV buying.
Um, so I think I’ve got quite a unique perspective in terms of who it might be right for, who it might not be right for. Yeah

Gavin: [00:02:54] Great. And, um, I think you might’ve just mentioned to me before we went on with the podcast that there’s something pretty cool coming up with Finder. Can you tell us a little bit about that as well?

Jennifer: [00:03:03] Yeah, this is so exciting. Hot off the press from Finder. Uh, we’re actually, uh, just about to launch the Finder app, which is a really big part of a membership strategy, which is a core strategic pillar of ours moving forward. So we, the Finder app, we’ve really approached it from the perspective of saying, how can we help, um, empower people around the world to actually, you know, um, continue to make better financial decisions, which is our purpose. And with the app, you actually can connect, connect your bank accounts, your credit cards and whatnot. And you can actually see a view of all your accounts in one place.

So you don’t have to jump between different kinds of banking apps and things. But also you, it actually, um, links in with our kind of really extensive Finder product database and you can, you know, we’ll give you, you know, little recommendations about, you know, you could possibly save money here or there. Do you have the best deal on your health insurance and things like that. So, yeah.

Gavin: [00:03:53] How exciting! And when does that go live?

Jennifer: [00:03:54] Look, it’s um, it’s soft launched at the moment, but it’s going to be live for the world to download. Well, live for Australia to download, I should clarify. Um, from the 16th of March. So, watch this space.

Gavin: [00:04:04] Oh my goodness. Not long to go.

Jennifer: [00:04:07] Aussie…We want to get first in Australia.

Gavin: [00:04:08] Brilliant.

Jennifer: [00:04:08] From a Finder perspective, but maybe other countries too, down the line.

Gavin: [00:04:11] Fantastic. Alright, great.
And, um, so I suppose, jumping around a little bit here, what are the trends that you’re most excited about in programmatic advertising?

Jennifer: [00:04:21] Yeah. Cool. Um. Okay. I’m going to flip this around a little bit from the perspective that I think that everything that’s, everything that we see as a challenge, we should also be viewing it as a opportunity.
And I think that obviously one of the really key conversations we’re having as an industry at the moment, um, obviously concerns, um, cookies and tracking and everything along those lines. And I think that, um, the way that I think that, potentially that could be quite exciting is because I think it will put more of a focus on, um, creativity and things like that.

And I think that, uh, that’s always a really exciting place for us as an industry where actually we can approach digital campaigns with, um, with an objective of saying how do we actually really engage in kind of wow people and things like that in a way that maybe we didn’t have to be quite as focused on. Or, we weren’t quite as focused on previously.

Gavin: [00:05:04] Yeah. Great. So, I mean, obviously a lot of the chat around the industry and particularly here at the programmatic summit today has been around the, the demise of third party cookies. So, how do you personally feel about third party cookies in general and you know, have the upcoming restrictions to third party cookies been a surprise? Or would you say they’re long awaited?

Jennifer: [00:05:25] Look, I don’t think they are probably surprised anyone in the digital industry. I mean, from, obviously back in 2017 when Apple came out with ITP. I think we’ve, you know, we’ve seen that, um, that third party cookies is something which from a tech perspective, obviously we’re slowly being less or less supported.

Uh, I remember sitting at a tech event, Oh, kind of about a number of years ago now, where I think it was Facebook came out and actually declared the cookies dead. So, and this is stuff that like, um, that would’ve had to have been three or four years ago. So I think there’s an industry we have been gearing up to this, and we’ve probably known it’s coming, but maybe we have been, I don’t know, hoping it wouldn’t.

I think obviously with Chrome’s recent announcement and obviously the two year window they’ve given in terms of when they’re going to stop supporting third party cookies, I think that’s probably brought it up to the forefront again. Um, from a conversation perspective, and I think it’s really meant that, a lot of organizations are looking at it more closely. Yeah.

Gavin: [00:06:18] Are you excited? Are you nervous? How do you feel about it?

Jennifer: [00:06:22] Look, I think it’s an industry challenge. I think it’s probably, obviously one of the biggest changes that will have happened in the digital industry in the last, in the last decade.

That whole digital advertising landscape has been largely centered around cookies and obviously third party cookies have played a huge role in that. So I think that, um, as an industry, obviously it’s something that there’s a lot of people out there working to solve. And I think as businesses and marketers, what we need to do is to. At first of all, I think really understand it and understand what it means.

Um, and that’s something whereby like I still talk to some. I do talk to some, who are obviously very cross and some who aren’t. So I think probably my advice would be for everyone to make sure you really understand what it means for your business and your ad buying. Uh, and then, you know, I think that, um, we have to kind of move forward and look at how we can, um, find other ways to, to reach and engage with reach and engage with people.

Gavin: [00:07:11] What do you think it means for the future of digital advertising?

Jennifer: [00:07:14] I think that it means that potentially we have to maybe be a little bit smarter. I want things to be honest. I think, um. One of the things that I think has been really interesting, is probably this whole piece around obviously, um, re-targeting just as a industry, how a lot of these tactics have obviously been very successful from a performance advertising perspective, taken up huge portions of budget and whatnot. And I think that we’ve obviously got to look at um, different, different ways to make sure we’re engaging and reaching people. Obviously, first party data, I think is going to become increasingly important.

So I think that obviously there’s a trend that we’ve seen in the industry throughout recent years in terms of companies really looking to build out compelling user experiences that give people a meaningful reason to, like, engage and, uh, you know, um, pass over data where there’s, where it adds value to each user.

Gavin: [00:08:02] So where there’s like a value exchange, I guess.I mean, I suppose it’s part of the reason why you guys have gone down the app route as well, right?

Jennifer: [00:08:07] Yeah. I mean, look, I would say the reason why we’ve gone down things from an app perspective really relates to what our overall mission is. So our mission as a business is to help people make better financial wall hopper, make better decisions, um, with a skew at the moment to better financial decisions.

And when we looked at things, we really felt like the app helped us meet that mission. Um. For the, for the app to kind of do what it does. You know, you do need to connect your kind of accounts and things to it. Uh, but we kind of, we’ve approached that from the perspective of actually saying like, what’s the gold, gold star experience we wanna be able to give a person, and then what do we need to do to execute on that? So that’s kind of where we approached it from, from our perspective.

Gavin: [00:08:48] So, there’s no denying that programmatic is groundbreaking technology. It’s brought new capabilities to the industry and allowed marketers to purchase data driven granular audiences at scale. So, to what extent will this change with the blocking of cookies?

Jennifer: [00:09:01] Yeah, well, I think obviously the industry is going to, like, obviously things are going to change in this regard. I think how it affects different businesses will largely depend on how they’ve obviously been buying audiences and targeting people previously.

I think obviously if you’re someone like some of the walled gardens, obviously from the perspective of Google and Facebook and those guys, I think they’re in a fairly strong position. Obviously they’ve got fantastic first party data and they’ve built up a really compelling, compelling offering in that regard. Uh, I think for other players, and particularly maybe medium-small size publishers, uh, it’s, it’s definitely gonna be challenging. I mean, some of the stats that I have read are that, you know, um, traffic that isn’t attached to a cookie, CPMs are lower and things like that from a publisher perspective.

So like, I do think that it’s going to be more challenging for some of those guys. Um, I mean, some of the things that I think is obviously interesting is around, um, contextual and whether or not that’s something which will become more valued. Uh, that’s stuff that we’re, we’re definitely exploring.

Gavin: [00:09:54] And so someone touched on, uh, in another chat around creativity and the big idea.

Jennifer: [00:10:00] Yeah.

Gavin: [00:10:00] And people having to, you know, work a bit harder for an emotive response. What are your thoughts around that?

Jennifer: [00:10:05] Yeah, look, I think that that’s really relevant. I mean, I think as an industry, if we look at how things have gone over the, say, last 10 years, we’ve kind of been having these conversations where we’ve got to the stage of really, I think, holding up on a pedestal, this idea of like one-to-one marketing. And we’ve said, okay, you know, using, using a fantastic mark tech and ad tech stack, we can like kind of have that gold star where we try and say, okay, how do we, how do we execute on it? I think obviously when you look at, uh, where we’re going, like those kinds of things from an advertising perspective won’t be, it won’t be possible in the same way that maybe they, they once were.

So I think that that means that we do need to be more clever in terms of saying how do we actually develop things that really kind of engage people, capture their attention and so forth. I mean, I think at the end of the day, um, maybe historically, we’ve been able to rely on audience data to make sure our messaging is very relevant to the user.
And that’s meant that we’ve been able to kind of use that as a, I guess, a key angle in terms of crafting a creative. Well, I think. Now. Um, I mean, obviously I think we can still do some of that with other kinds of targeting that, you know, might be contextual or whatnot. But I think otherwise it is going to come to these bigger pieces about how do we try and trigger an emotional response.

I mean, maybe this will mean that we actually end up with more brands focusing on, you know, true like integrated activity, which I don’t necessarily, I think that would probably be a good thing for a little organizations.

Gavin: [00:11:20] Yeah, I think so too. And so how can we improve the online experience for consumers and clean up the ad ecosystem, which we’ve touched on here today, again and again as a whole community with industry-wide change so that everyone benefits from it?

Jennifer: [00:11:33] Yeah. Look, I think that obviously privacy has been a topic which we’ve been talking about as an industry, um, for a while now. And I think. I think that most people need advertising industry would agree that historically, uh, maybe up tossing hasn’t been the cleanest place when it comes to kind of respecting, um, respecting people’s privacy.

You know what I mean? There’s obviously all the stories about how, um, you know, some, some people haven’t necessarily liked the personalization ads from a third party cookie perspective.

Gavin: [00:12:00] Sure, people feel like they’re been stalked, right?

Jennifer: [00:12:01] Yeah, exactly.

Gavin: [00:12:01] You hear your mum go, I looked up something and then I was getting stalked by these ads for ages, you know.

Jennifer: [00:12:05] Yeah, 100%. I hear that from friends and family all the time. Right? So I think that like as an industry, what it comes down to is like making sure that we’re respecting people’s privacy preferences.

Uh, so making sure that obviously if users want to opt out of targeted experiences, they can and so forth. So I think those kinds of things are, uh, beneficial from an end user’s perspective. I think obviously what we’re still working through is like what it will look like from a legislative perspective um, in Australia. At Finder, uh, we have got, um, offices in six countries around the world, including the U.S. and the U.K.

So, we are, um, you know, I mean, obviously very focused on looking at privacy legislation like GDPR and obviously what’s been coming out of California and so forth. And, um, we’re trying to make sure, obviously, obviously we’re working hard to make sure that we understand all of those pieces, but, um, it’s gonna be interesting to see whether or not something similar comes down, comes down, um, the line for Australia too.

Gavin: [00:12:55] Yeah. Well, obviously the powers that be, the government have turned their eye towards, you know, the, the digital ecosystem. So with the impending ACCC inquiries into ad tech supply chain focusing on digital display at compounded by the government announcing plans to introduce a blinding online privacy code into the privacy act.

How is that gonna affect the type of inventory that vendors offer, do you think?

Jennifer: [00:13:17] Yeah, look, I think that that’s a really. Interesting piece and I’m really interested to see what comes out of it. Um, too, if I’m honest. The other piece that I think is really interesting about what the ACCC has been looking at and one that us at Finder, have been working with government on is actually all the pieces that also kind of relate back to open banking.

And what I, um, for those who might not be familiar with open banking, the foundation of open banking is that people have got the right to take their data and it’s their data and they can share it with other organizations as they wish. So this is something which is going to be coming into law in Australia soon.

I think what’s interesting about this is this is kind of, um, the government saying that actually people have a right to, have a right to their data, have a right to how they use it.

Gavin: [00:13:52] Own their data. Control their data.

Jennifer: [00:13:53] Yeah, exactly.

Gavin: [00:13:54] How do the banks feel about that, about that, Jen, do you think?

Jennifer: [00:13:56] Oh, I can’t, I can’t comment on that. Um, yeah, I don’t work at a bank. Um, but I think that, I don’t know, I personally feel like at that potentially is, um, is really exciting from a fin tech perspective.
Really exciting and hopefully it will, you know, allow people to get people to get better deals and what not. And that’s obviously in the best interests of, um, of people, long term.

Gavin: [00:14:16] With the looming reduction of data from consumers, will brand marketing methods shift to quantifiable methods of operation?

Jennifer: [00:14:24] This is a interesting piece because I think let’s have a chat about attribution because that’s probably where my head goes to when you talk about the question. And I think from an attribution perspective, um.
As an industry, obviously multi-touch has been something that we have been mostly I spend, spend working with for a number of years now. And I think that one of the interesting things that is going to be happening as a result of, uh, you know, tech or cookie changes and so forth, is that a lot of kind of attribution potentially, um, you know, what might’ve been possible historically won’t necessarily always be possibly quite the same way anymore. So I think that, in my opinion, um, one of the things that we’re gearing up for at Finder is actually trying to take a more experiment based approach to things. So, kind of, I suppose, some of the methods of running kind of tests and credit evaluation that maybe historically we would have used in above the line.

We’re now starting to look at in digital as well. So things along the lines of, you know, um, ghost ads, charity ad tests, hold ad groups, testing things in one state, not another state, and things like that. And these, I suppose, methods that, um, you know, with multi-touch, obviously being such a prominent part of how we’ve been evaluating digital experience or digital advertising campaigns.

We, you know, I think we’ve been quite reliant on that. While I think now in my opinion, like as a business anyway, we are definitely starting to have conversations that more go, what would happen if we turned off this? You know what I mean? And not assuming that we, not assuming that we know the answer because of an attribution model.
So I think that, um, I think that’s potentially quite an interesting change.

Gavin: [00:15:53] Yeah, great.

Jennifer: [00:15:54] To the ecosystem.

Gavin: [00:15:55] So are there any, you kind of touched on it there a little bit, but are there any new strategies your programmatic team is experimenting with?

Jennifer: [00:16:02] Yeah. So I think probably some of the ones that we’re experimenting with is taking a more experiment based approach to things.
Um, so that is a strategy which we’re actively leaning into. I think some of the other things that we are experimenting with at the moment too, um, related obviously to different channels and things like that. So obviously, you know, uh, out of home and additional channels, which now can be bought programmatically, we personally haven’t actually, we’re not, um.

We haven’t historically run a lot of out of home at Finder but with some of these channels now being available, we’re now starting to have conversations where we’re saying, “Oh, hang on a second, this could now be like, should we actually be looking at testing in some of these areas and so forth.”

Gavin: [00:16:36] So how do you, how do you measure digital out of home?
Jennifer: [00:16:40] Well, you know what, as I said, we haven’t had a campaign go live yet, but I’ll tell you how I would measure it. And I expect we will probably do some testing in this down the line. The way that I think we would measure it potentially would be by, um, doing location based test. That’s fun. We run our own media mixed modeling, in house as well.

So that’s obviously another piece there too. Obviously there’s kind of, um, we also run always on brand tracking, so we run, um, we work with Qualtrics to run like always in market tracking of kind of salients, considerations and what not. So I suppose that’s the top level, the level beneath in terms of channel we might be testing in terms of a state. Yeah. Or otherwise. Um

Gavin: [00:17:15] Hmm. Interesting. So we’re going to switch gears here. We’re gonna have a couple more questions then we can wrap it up. So. Um, what books, podcasts, media are you consuming right now that’s helping you with your day to day job?

Jennifer: [00:17:28] Yeah. Okay. I think probably from my perspective, if we come back to this kind of topic about creativity and being really people-centric, that’s probably where I’m, that’s one of the things that I’m really interested in.

And as a result, like a lot of the. Um, lot of the reading I’ve been doing it actually kind of been, I suppose in the area of kind of behavioral economics and things like that where it’s about really understanding people’s motivations, understanding why people do what they do. And I think that’s then pieces that, um, I believe as marketers will help us to create, you know, messaging that resonates.

And really, I think as well messaging, like at Finder, we really believe that, um, you know, what we do helps people to make better financial decisions, which can improve their lives. So we really feel like every extra person we can help to do that, it’s kind of better beneficial from a societal perspective.

So, I mean, some of the guys that, like I’ve been reading regularly, it would be kind of like Richard Thaler’s work on the Nudge Theory and things like that. And I think that a lot of those kinds of pieces are, are really interesting from the point of view of actually putting the person at the center of the campaign and really trying to understand, you know, how can we communicate and, um, you know, motivate people.

Gavin: [00:18:31] Great. And who would you look up to as like a mentor or a role model?
Jennifer: [00:18:38] You know what? That’s an interesting question. In in my career, I actually haven’t ever had like a formal mentor in that regard. I think the people that I would look up to would be people who I suppose test, test the boundaries and push things from an innovation perspective.
And I think probably there’s, um, not an official capacity, but there’s lots of people I think, throughout, even throughout Finder as a company, actually, that I think do a really great job with that, who I learn from every day. So yeah, I probably don’t have one particular name, that I would call out on my own journey.

Gavin: [00:19:19] If you could tell someone 10 years ago, one thing about how advertising would turn out now, what would it be?

Jennifer: [00:19:28] Uh, I always think if I was going to sum it up from 10 years ago today, it would be that, um, obviously we’ve gone from the stage of things becoming incredibly granular from a tracking and targeting perspective over the last ten years to now looking at how things will open up again. But the continuous trend throughout all of that has been how do we, how do we connect with people and engage with them and motivate them to, to engage with how our brains and products. So I think that’s probably been the constant while the world of kind of tech, uh, ad tech publishing, etcetera, obviously I think has evolved rapidly.I think that the person’s probably been the constant throughout them.

Gavin: [00:20:07] Sounds like we’ve almost come full circle there. Doesn’t it?

Jennifer: [00:20:11] Oh look, I mean, I think one of the best things about the digital industry is that it’s, it’s constantly, constantly evolving and it’s quick changing and whatnot. And I think, um, I couldn’t, where we’re going to be in 10 years time.

I think, you know, um, this year is going to be really exciting too. So, I don’t know if I’d say full circle. I think we’re on a continuum, but yeah.

Gavin: [00:20:27] I’ve got one more actually. It just came to mind. I’d love to get your take on AI. And what do you think its implications are for, for, for marketing and for the world? Have we let the genie out of the bottle?

Jennifer: [00:20:40] I would say like, I actually think that AI was already having a huge impact on what we do from a marketing perspective. Uh, and I mean, obviously. Like at Finder, we work really heavily with, um, you know, big models that involve machine learning and things like that. And we personally have seen, uh, really, really strong results off the back of those pieces.

And I think obviously, um, even if I look at Finder as an example, we currently would have probably activity, paid activity live in twice the number of verticals today that we did probably three years ago with the team that’s the same size. And. A lot of that. Um, some of that I would say is because we are, we are using, you know, um, machine learning, powered bidding and things like that, which I think, um, can be, can be very effective.
So I think that it’s, it’s. I personally think it’s really beneficial for the industry. Um, yeah, and I think that some of the providers out there I think have done a really good job of kind of leaning in and leading the charge on that. But I think um, I mean, obviously there’s a lot of players who worked really early in this space.
Comcast, Google… whole bunch of the guys who kind of had that as a USP. And I think, um, I think it’s actually, it’s, yeah, really positive.

Gavin: [00:21:52] Brilliant. Thank you very much for your time, Jen Snell.

Jennifer: [00:21:55] Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having for having me.

Gavin: [00:22:00] On the next episode of Ashton Cast. We’ll be playing the full interview with Peter Barry, followed by Travis Clinger, the VP of Global Strategy and Partnerships at LiveRamp. Stay tuned.
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This was produced by Pod Paste and Ashton Media here in Sydney, Australia. Executive produced by Daren Lake and Gavin Stewart, Audio Engineering by Aemyn Connolly, Storywriting Producer, Charles Montano, and additional research and copywriting by Tim McDonald.

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