A Guide To Understanding And Surviving A Cookie-less World

Cookies have been the go-to tool for marketers looking to better understand and analyze consumer behavior, allowing for more efficient targeting. However, amid our ever-changing digital world, privacy has become just as valuable of a commodity.

In turn, cookies have come under fire over the past decade as public concerns around security continue to grow.

Laws, like GDPR and CCPA, serve as governmental responses to these consumer concerns, increasing regulations around how businesses collect, use and share data obtained through cookies. These regulations mark the initial steps needed to provide users with more information and control over their data, allowing brands to strike a balance between personalization and privacy.

Device manufacturers and apps, most notably Facebook, first foresaw the privacy movement. These environments ‘sandboxed’ cookies, reduce the capabilities to build audience profiles. Now, Google’s decision to phase out cookies from Chrome marks a new era.

A cookie-less world means change. While liberating and healthy, transitory periods like this often prompt businesses to rethink their models. The cookie has become the crutch of our digital advertising ecosystem. If you’re like most digital marketers, you probably didn’t have interest in the other half of all internet users without a cookie (Safari, Firefox, etc.) until the Google Chrome announcement.

That cookie-less segment marks a significant chunk of potential customers going unnoticed and unappreciated. To succeed in the new cookie-less world, marketers must take a holistic look at the landscape in order to identify what steps to take next.

Consumers want content, but not just any content. They respond best to personalized content and value-added advertising. In fact, advertising targeting has become so good that consumers often wonder about the predictive powers of ad targeting. For example, if we start seeing a bunch of ads from plumbers, we naturally wonder if there is something wrong with our pipes.

Another vertical that is experiencing the success of personalization is retail. Messaging and media that fit the consumer (i.e., brands they love, promotions tailored to their shopping habits, etc.), partnered with targeted media (i.e., geo targeting around a store or CRM focused targeting) help increase the relevance of the work ,which, in the end, translates into increased store visits and revenue.

For marketers, the more personalized and less invasive the message, the more value your brand will appear to bring into users’ digital lives.

As more marketers push for opportunities to marry their brand with personalized and curated content, first-party data will emerge as an invaluable resource. Marketers can – and should – leverage data from customers that have exhibited an interest in their brands. This approach will drive higher clickthrough and conversion rates than strategies crafted around third-party data, as most consumers consider this practice more respectable.  

That level of integration between marketer and publisher may take time and effort to create, but it can generate significant ROI and critical brand awareness. Advertising in a world without cookies does not need to mark a step back for advertisers. New targeting tactics will emerge, presenting marketers with unique opportunities to forge closer connections with consumers.


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