APEX TECH: Inflight Advertising workshop, led by Inadvia’s Matthew Blay


APEX TECH 2023: Day Three – Hot on the heels of his Day Two afternoon panel on D2C advertising in the IFE space, Inadvias Director, Matthew Blay’s, second session of the morning on day three of APEX TECH focused on in-flight advertising. 

Piggybacking on his earlier Inflight Advertising Workshop: Part 1 – which focused on short format videos and the so-called “walled gardens” of heavy-hitters like Google and Facebook – Blay and panelists Jonas von Krüchten, Head of Strategy and Business Development, AERQ; Dirk Ottens, Head of Content and Media Strategy, Lufthansa Systems and Mary Rae Esposito, Director of Sales, North America, Spafax; sat down for an open conversation in a session entitled: Privacy and the Deprecation of the 3rd Party Cookie. 

Opening with a quick tutorial on exactly what a cookie is and the difference between first and third party cookies – first party cookies are data that is created on your own operating under an operating channel whereas a third party cookie is data that is gleaned from your behaviors outside of those channels – Blay said that the deprecation of the third party cookie and Google’s decision to stop supporting it due to privacy concerns has “massive ramifications” for the entire in-flight advertising marketplace. 

But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be a win for airlines.

“Moving forwards, advertisers are going to need to invest more in first party data. So the value of that first party data is going to increase and our industry is very well placed to collect and utilize first party data,” explained Blay, adding for clarification that although personally identifiable data is first party data, it’s not necessarily the only type of first party data. 

“First party data can be, for example, how your passengers are engaging on your wireless connectivity portal, or your IFE platform, which languages are being used, what content is being watched, which games are being played, all of these things, again, are valuable data when third party cookies go away.”

Aside from the expected interest in First and Business class insights, Spafax’s Esposito added that the next most valuable insights to most advertisers are route targeting. 

And while the panel spoke at length about advertiser interest in gender, age and even passengers’ country of origin, at the end of the day it all came back to how airlines can best monetize this ever-changing landscape moving forward.

One of the most savviest suggestions came from APEX/IFSA CEO Dr. Joe Leader, who was participating in the open-forum workshop from the front row. 

“The greatest opportunity that I see airlines missing out on today is that there are many apps that will pay $5 per newly-acquired user – some pay even more! – just to get users to download and engage with it,” said Leader, adding that not offering this option to their passengers is a huge missed opportunity by airlines – particularly with third party cookies leaving the equation.

“Airlines have the connectivity, they have the bandwidth and with that kind of a price point that can actually pay for their in-flight connectivity so why not make it a win-win? There are so many things that I think we can do. And the one thing I see airlines not doing enough of is keeping it simple,” said Leader. “We have great rules on the ground. Why don’t we apply them in the air to a very captive audience?”