Preparing for a Cookieless Future in Advertising - #ARM Worldwide

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The digital advertising realm is going through a transformation, where browsers have limited the lifespan left for third-party cookies. With such significant restrictions being rolled out, it is the perfect time for brands to rethink their digital advertising strategy. Re-engineered cookieless targeting gives you the opportunity to react in real-time to insights from audiences’ live content consumption. As a cookieless future is coming, the search for alternatives to target, track audience and advertising efficiency measurements continues. 

Here’s how you can prepare and adapt to function without third-party cookies, but before that, let us fill you up on some knowledge about cookieless advertising right here: 

Firstly, What are these Cookies? 

The introduction of cookies led to a fundamental shift in the web’s history. Various types of cookies play a role on the internet today. Let’s take a look at basic types of cookies to understand them with a better perspective. Cookies are small snippets of code collecting user data such as page clicks, viewed pages, interactions with websites, along with PII such as device ID, address, passwords, credit card numbers, etc. 

First-party cookies are generated by the website that a user is visiting to keep users logged in and remember critical behavioural information like usernames, language preferences and items added to shopping carts. On the other hand, Third-party cookies are the backbone of programmatic advertising and identify users on various websites, otherwise known as cross-site tracking, where data is shared with multiple websites other than the one user visit.

What ‘Cookieless’ Means for Marketers?

As the advertising industry continues to evolve, cookieless advertising is gaining in popularity to target audiences. It is an alternative for cookie-based advertising, where the website content targets ads, not the user’s cookie ID. Preparing for a cookieless world means finding new approaches to engage in marketing activities that can transform unknown users into known customers, allowing marketing teams to personalise on stable identifiers tied to known customer profiles.

Without third-party cookies, if a user engages with a brand’s website and leaves without making a purchase or providing contact information, such prospect cannot be targeted for 1:1 retargeting. Zero-party data is explicitly provided by the consumer to the brand to optimise CX. Therefore, it would be best to use contextual advertising to generate customer profiles with durable identifiers collected with customer consent that do not face browser restrictions. 

Conforming to Cookieless Advertising

Personalization will certainly not disappear entirely as marketers will continue to utilise both new and old strategies, backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning, to provide users with a tailored and data-safe experience. For example, using predictive messaging enabled by AI helps you customise advertising in a cookieless world. Predictive analytics helps segment audiences based on messages they respond to and what resonates with them most.

Using hyperlocal weather targeting, you can tap into local demand patterns and other factors outside retailers’ control, like current events, to gain an understanding of how clients may react to specific weather. Additionally, conversational marketing engages consumers in dialogue-driven, personalised experiences on a one-to-one level, enabling brands to listen and obtain unique customer insights while providing value to the user.

Adaptive Performance Measurement

Cookie restrictions will have an impact on how you can measure and attribute success to your campaign activities. Here are some solutions you can apply to help adjust performance measurement:

  • Facebook and Instagram advertisers need to update tracking pixels and adjust their conversion setup. For conversions via your website, verify your domain via DNS/HTML file and then configure the custom events you want to use on your domain to optimize your ad campaigns.  
  • Campaign effectiveness can be evaluated by how it influences brand metrics. Brand Lift is a measure of the direct impact you have on the perceptions and behaviors of customers throughout their journey. 
  • A business’s media mix is highly essential for delivering an ideal ROI when running advertising campaigns. It allows you to test new tactics while having a safety net in place of those channels that deliver effectiveness.

Lookout for Google Tech

While it may take more discussions and experimentation to agree on an industry replacement, Google has led the push to replace cookies with new technology to help target ads on the web. In addition, Google said that it’s pursuing an industrywide, open-source initiative called the Privacy Sandbox. It describes this initiative as “a secure environment for personalization that also protects user privacy”. 

FLoC (Federated Learning of Cohorts) is a new technology that enables interest-based advertising without disclosing user identity by using online web browsing habits and attitudes that group people together via shared interests. Furthermore, the introduction of Google Analytics 4 is also an excellent sign for the future as it moves from tracking third-party cookies to tracking events and cohorts (based on user behavior) when implemented.

Final Words

The inception of cookieless advertising will lead to new tools and technologies entering the digital marketing space. These will be well-calibrated with privacy issues and measures to contain the essence of the cookieless future we are already coming close with. The consequence will be all-encompassing and transformative, changing how we run digital campaigns, calculate their effectiveness, and drive outcomes. To equip for these sweeping changes, marketers need to produce holistic strategic plans to inspire outcomes through the multiple touchpoints of a consumer’s journey, whether that is programmatic or in a cookie-free environment. Not only does this require building up a solid, consented data asset, but it also involves accumulating a whole new suite of addressability solutions.

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