How marketers and agencies can navigate a world without cookies
While not a full-blown ‘identity crisis’, the end of third-party cookies does necessitate a change in the way marketing is done in the 2020s.
In January this year, Google announced via their Chrome blog that they would be ending support for third-party cookies by 2022. Third-party cookies are those placed by companies or technology, other than by the domain a user is visiting. This news is in line with a number of shifts toward greater transparency and user control over privacy. Similar bans on third-party cookies were announced by Apple’s Safari and Mozilla in 2019, and many governments have, or are considering, legislation regarding tracking, including recommendations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to amend existing privacy laws.
- Several marketing tools and tactics will become challenging without third-party cookies, including multi-touch attribution, data management platforms, frequency management and remarketing.
- Fortunately, Google has shared plans for its Privacy Sandbox, a series of cookie-busting projects designed to ‘create a thriving web ecosystem that is respectful of users and private by default’.
- And ultimately, this change only impacts web browsers, not in-app or connected TV advertising which use their own identity methods which are often more reliable.
The ad tech industry is obviously invested in finding a solution to the identity conundrum. We also need to make sure that the solution is not only reliable, but also transparent and ethical.
Agencies, marketing teams and partners all need to align on a code of ethics for data, go beyond the idea of compliance, and make sure we are doing the right thing.
There are opportunities to take the deep analytical expertise honed in agencies over the past decade and focus those abilities on the broad, innovative and ethical use of data. There are five principles marketers can start adopting to navigate this new world:
- Think Big(ger Data Models) - Granular, event-level data is only one end of the spectrum. At the other end lies representative, aggregated data that can be used to mitigate biases and help identify sources of growth.
- Revamp (and Radicalise) Research - Marketers should explore better ways to analyse and visualise research data which take advantage of machine learning technology and shorten the time to insights.
- The Power of Partnership - With publishers back in control of audience data in brand-safe environments, marketers can take advantage of that data to enable rich consumer insights and hyper-contextual ads.
- Augment the Ad Stack - Cloud-based data management applications will help marketers store, structure, analyse and interpret the types of data from #1 and #2.
- Analytics Everywhere - The democratisation of analytics, data modelling and machine learning can equip marketing teams with the ability to test, learn and find their own solutions.
A world without cookies does not mean an ‘identity crisis’ for marketers but we all need to get comfortable playing in the sandbox.