Life After Cookies? First-, Third-Party Data, Restored Consumer Trust All Part Of Solution

Digital tracking cookies may be going away but third party data? That’ll be around for a while, maybe even forever.

That was one of the points made at a virtual session presented during the 4A’s Decisions 2021 conference earlier this week. “Lots of marketers don’t have access to first party data,” said Travis Clinger, senior vice president, addressability and ecosystem  LiveRamp. With consent, he stressed, third party data "becomes even more important.”

That said, so will first party data, seen as a key ingredient for the solution to the cookie-less future. As for the solution, that’s still a work in progress.

“There’s no solution yet,” said Benjamin Jankowski, senior vice president, media MasterCard. That will take time and industry collaboration will be critical, Jankowski asserted. “We need to be consistent and aligned as a group or it will be like playing Whac-A-Mole,” he said, noting pointedly that “the six agency [holding companies] need to be on board. You can’t go off and do your own thing.”



Karima Zmerli, Chief Data Science Officer, GroupM’s Wavemaker countered that there will likely be “many solutions” and not a one-size-fits-all single solution. She added that most solutions remain in the formative stages and will be achieved via partnerships with publishers, clients and technology.  Many elements are in the mix including contextual, geographic and identity-based data. “They all come together to maximize efficiency,” she said.

Clinger cited another industry must: “restoring the trust of the consumer.”  And the industry, he insisted, “must be transparent with consumers about the use of their data.” Restored trust and commitments to transparency represent “a huge opportunity for the industry” to successfully utilize people-based identity techniques that target and speak to consumers.

But Jankowski added that a value proposition is also critical. “You have to give people a reason for addressable messages,” he said. “Not enough work has been done there.”

Clinger agreed that “we’ve done a bad job of explaining the value exchange.” One exception:  the walled gardens (Facebook, Google and others) which have done a far better job, he added. 

He also gave a shoutout to the New York Times for its willingness to share free high-quality content about COVID-19 developments in exchange for an email. Other publishers, he said, need to “step up like that.”

Zmerli also pointed out that ownership of quality data troves varies by industry vertical. For the CPG sector it will be harder to build and scale high-quality experiences using first-party data.

More generally, she said, solutions will “balance collecting data and intelligence on top of the data.” There’s a “sea of data,” with comparatively little data intelligence supporting it, she said.

Jankowski added that the industry is “lagging behind” in its ability to produce quality content. Instead marketers have “bombarded the ecosystem” with ads that many don’t want to engage with.



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