9 Answers to Your Burning Cookieless Questions

People want answers. At the end of our recent Preparing for a Cookieless Future: Now What? webinar, our audience asked a lot of questions during the Q&A session about the deprecation of the third-party cookie and what the post-cookie future holds. Our Client Strategy Director Lindsay Boeddeker and our Future of Identity Expert Amanda Martin took them all on, and here’s how they responded.

1. How would you see alternate addressable platforms (aka The Trade Desk and LiveRamp) impacting this upcoming change?

Amanda Martin: I think they’re impacting it in the sense that they’re truly trying to participate and vet what an acceptable addressable alternative would be. They didn’t allow Google to take away the third-party cookie. It’s important we push with Google on the changes and with the partners outside of Google and work together. The reason we have this delay and didn’t have this end-of-the-year “sky is falling” situation is because of these alternative addressable platforms, and that’s why competition in the space is really important, and buyers can support that competition by spending across multiple platforms.

2. Any insights on how to gather all the key performance indicators (KPIs) without cookies?

Amanda Martin: I think the key is some of the KPIs are truly vanity metrics and are tied just to the ecosystem we’re in. They don’t actually relate to or speak to any of the business KPIs that we track. So I don’t think we’re going to be able to replicate every KPI that exists today.

What I love about the delay is we’ll be able to test new metrics without losing our old metrics. Being able to compare when your current KPIs go up and down and what future-proof KPIs fluctuate, what that relationship is, that’s the most telling piece.

Some of the KPIs will be recreated with offline data or with clean room aggregated insights, so it’s not clear-cut, this is your cost per action (CPA), this is your aggregate lift of those two purchases or this is the tracking of your spend and where we can attribute it.

But I do think we’ll have to say goodbye to the vanity KPIs that some of our programmatic buys have relied on for a long time.

I also think that allows us to acknowledge that programmatic isn’t actually a medium, it’s a way of buying things. So the way you buy things shouldn’t have a KPI. The media you buy should have KPIs, and the business that you run should have KPIs. So I don’t think we’ll have 1×1 on all KPI metrics, but I think if you’re tracking existing KPIs with new future-proof KPIs, you’ll be able to know how to read the new signals before you lose the old signals.

Lindsay Boeddeker: I think it will be a welcome change too because how many times have we seen deduped or duplicated attribution? So Facebook is going to take the credit for conversion. Google is going to take the credit on a last-ad-seen or last-click model, which is tracked on that cookie level.

3. How do you reset performance expectations moving forward? New benchmarks moving forward?

Lindsay Boeddeker: So the benchmarks are assessing different changes in dips and flows as this kind of awkwardly transitions out. When are you seeing lift across which medium channel versus how you’re buying it?

 I would say really pushing toward those incrementality models, looking at brand lift, looking at sales lift, looking at cross-channel lift in a certain setting where you can compare apples to apples versus apples to oranges. That’s going to be really smart.

I think as sophisticated marketers, we have moved away from click-through rate and clicks as vanity metrics, but where we still get stuck is, what were the total sales and conversions from Facebook or Google?

Now it’s a different story. How do we look at overall sales? How do we look at overall lift and impact from advertising as a whole versus trying to get ticky-tacky within the specific channels and buying methods?

4. Do you feel the goal of 1×1 addressable media contradicts the consumer’s desire for enhanced privacy?

Amanda Martin: So I think this is where we acknowledge that we’re not looking for addressability at 100% scale, which cookies falsely gave us with recognizing individuals.

I think it’s where the consumer values the relationship to allow for the addressability we’re seeking, so that’s going to be a smaller percentage of how we execute media. But I think what we’re looking to do is to remove the “how did they know I put those shoes in that cart?” and “why is that dress I looked at yesterday following me around the internet today?”

I think the way we solve that is by increasing the relationship that advertising has, and if the advertising experience is worthwhile and fulfilling and respectful, I think consumers don’t have an issue with sharing their privacy. It’s when it isn’t that great.

One of the benefits you see from an Instagram or Facebook or now a TikTok is that it’s a really good advertising experience, so if we can work on increasing the advertising experience so consumers value it, I think we can get more addressable.

But I do agree. We’re not looking to recreate100% addressability. I think that’s what we’re respecting. I’m a subscriber to The New York Times, and I trust The New York Times to have that relationship with me. So I’m OK with it using my information to give me relevant ads. But I do expect a level of ad experience that warrants that personally identifiable information (PII) that I’ve given it. I think that’s the shift we’re looking for, that’s the needle we’re looking to thread, not just to create an alternative that does exactly what the third-party cookie does.

5. Are tracking pixels effective as well?

Lindsay Boeddeker: So right now, it’s a little bit of a dance. I’d say the information we’re getting from the pixels, that’s what’s being affected. The pixels themselves are still being placed. They’re still driving data. They’re still right now giving us information and tracking certain things. The data we’re getting back is changing, especially with Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) impacts like we talked about – social impacts and mobile app activity and cookieless environments. So yes, overall, the data we’re seeing back from them is changing, and we’re gaining learnings from them and trying to test and learn and apply toward the future. My hunch is that pixels will be very different in the future in terms of where they can be placed versus website activity versus tracking activity. That has been yet to set in stone, but something we have a pulse on as well.

Amanda Martin: I think the key is that first-party pixels aren’t going away. So the pixels you place on your owned and operated property, you’ll still be able to gather that information. I think it’s the information you used to be able to gather across domains, for instance, when you could tell where someone had come from or where someone went. That’s what Apple’s ITP protocol is blocking, and that’s what cookies enabled and what will eventually be disabled. So the key is, if it’s happening within your website, within your own walled garden, it’s happening there and it’s your own, then it exists still. When you had insights outside of your own area, that is going to get more deprecated as we go on.

6. Safari, Firefox – no third-party cookie browsers – what is holding back clients from transacting on new IDs there today? Low adoption and reach? Better than nothing?

Amanda Martin: I think the reason why there’s low adoption is because cookies are the fuel of every demand-side platform (DSP) right now. So when a DSP can recognize someone, and the most prominent way to recognize someone is a third-party cookie, that gets prioritized in the sense of impressions that go out for bid. That’s because they’re the most revenue-driving for the buy side and the sell side, in the sense that if you know who you’re advertising to or you think you know who you’re advertising to, and we put the most value on those impressions from a buy side, and the sell side puts the most value on them. That’s probably what’s slowing down adoption.

The other truth is if you’re not intentionally buying Safari and FireFox, you’re probably not buying Safari and FireFox. It’s because they don’t have the identifier. Their impressions are just being deprioritized by most platforms. But there’s a huge opportunity: There’s lift on the buy side to activate there. And scale-wise, it’s smaller. It’s already a smaller ecosystem, and then it’s a smaller addressable universe, but I think it’s worth testing and learning; that’s your A/B test: Safari and FireFox versus Chrome. We have some great advertisers that are pursuing those types of tests, and we would love to see more. But I think the key is the expectation of scale is not there. But it’s better than nothing, and you’re not advertising there right now unless you’re intentionally advertising there.

7. Will Google Analytics (GA) still be able to track some information like demographics or devices people are viewing from?

Amanda Martin: Yes and no, depends on what browser they’re on, what device they’re on, what information will be fed back to Google. Again, Google does control the largest browser-based consumption in both mobile and desktop. So with that being said, I think you’ll notice things like if you’re an active Chrome user, you’ll now get asked to log in with your account, your Gmail account, so they know who you are.

Think of Chrome as an owned and operated property of Google. So I think GA will be fueled with signals in the owned and operated ecosystem that Google has from the browser if they truly treat it like an owned and operated property, but there will be blind spots because Safari and FireFox aren’t sending those signals.

But I don’t think that changes much from what’s happening today in that regard.

8. How are you articulating and preparing brands as this identity transition comes to life? (For example, you can have different conversations with existing clients, but new clients or prospects, you don’t have those insights or relationship — what does that conversation look like?)

Lindsay Boeddeker: I think it’s smart to be very proactive right now. We still have third-party data segments to put into plans and campaigns and use as targeting. We still have cookies today. This is changing. This will change. You don’t want to be caught not prepared for this.

So I think every client, prospect and marketer should know what’s coming down the pipe, and what that will look like if you take them on as a new client. That relationship is going to change, and you want to grow with them and grow them and pull them up in that process.

So for example, these conversations can look like anything from we’re given an RFP, and I come back and say what we’re doing in the cookieless space, what our identity alternatives look like and how we’re addressing it. I get that question a lot on new business proposals and new pitches.

The other piece is they haven’t asked about it; they have no idea. That’s when I give a very high-level view: This is what’s happening currently, this is what we have available today, this is what the future looks like, here’s where I think you need to be based on your business, your goals, your audience, where you’re running media, but also five years down the road, where you could be. And being very proactive in that sense has been helpful for clients because they haven’t thought of that but more so don’t know how to even approach it or get there.

Amanda Martin: Now that you have tangible things you can test and use, it’s also about presenting those opportunities plainly to brands and advertisers. It doesn’t have to be a fully baked client experience. There are ways to test one-off capabilities with new providers or new advertising agencies. So that’s where we’ve started to transition, started to bring that solution into that pre-relationship conversation because we can’t wait until we’ve solidified our relationship. Everything’s going great in the current ecosystem and then we tell you about everything that’s going to need to change. And we’re starting those conversations really early. Now that we have more tangible things to test and utilize, it’s getting easier than say a year and a half ago when we were still talking about hypotheses.     

9. How do clean rooms work?

Amanda Martin: I’m not on our data science and analytics team, so they’ll probably cringe while I explain it, but as someone who navigates the industry and has to at least understand it enough to break it, data clean rooms are basically a neutral zone.

As an advertiser, you have first-party data that you can contribute to the neutral zone, but you’re never allowed to take data out of the clean room that you don’t own, and then a publisher or third-party data provider can bring insights into the neutral zone.

You can then meld it together; play around with it. And what you can take out is, you can take out aggregate learnings. So you can’t take out that Lindsay bought a specific item on a specific website after she went to The New York Times, but what you can take out is this subset of users all had the same action that you manipulated the data to, and then you can take that segment out and target it.

Or you can take those learnings and turn them into measurement insights if you drove this much incremental lift by the addition of say, CTV, on top of your display advertising.

So the key is it’s 1×1 information in but never 1×1 information out. So each party maintains its data privacy and its consent mechanisms with the user, but insights can be derived, and aggregated actions can happen from it. For us non-technical folks, it’s a little bit of magic, but they’re usually SQL-based, and it’s usually about playing with data at high aggregate levels as opposed to line-by-line levels.

How Clean Rooms Work Infographic

Still have cookieless questions? Visit our comprehensive identity hub on our website now for all our expert guides, POVs, infographics and more – everything you need to go cookieless, all free to download and updated all the time. Or feel free to reach out with any cookieless questions and ask us; we’ll get you the answers you’re seeking so you can start securing your cookieless future.

Goodway Group Wins 2021 MarTech Breakthrough Award for Predictive Analytics

Goodway Group just won its second consecutive award at the 2021 MarTech Breakthrough Awards, this time for Best Predictive Analytics Solution for BidRange, a custom-built advanced machine learning model.

BidRange predicts whether an individual ad group can benefit from a base bid update, working across display, mobile and native campaigns with effective cost per action (eCPA) or viewability objectives prioritized by the client’s primary success measure.

Each week, the model predicts whether to increase or decrease the base bid for Goodway’s thousands of programmatic campaigns by using signals from 23 custom-engineered features to keep the base bid at the optimal level, including the gap between the submitted bid and predicted clearing prices, the proportion of impressions going to top sites by impression volume and distribution of CPMs.

When a Goodway media trader initially creates a campaign with an unreasonably high base bid, the solution makes a series of predictions that will decrease the base bid down to optimal. If the market shifts and a campaign’s base bid is no longer optimal, the predictive analytic solution detects and updates the campaign without intervention.

What makes BidRange award winning?

It comes down to its proven results. “Ad groups that received updates had 11% lower CPMs month over month than the control ad groups that only had a standard bid factoring algorithm applied,” Goodway President Jay Friedman said. “Our data scientists developed this predict and update solution so that traders no longer need to exert mental energy on this programmatic lever. In turn, they can focus on higher leverage activities to best support our clients, such as producing actionable insights that lead to better business outcomes. We are honored that the hard work of our data, science and analytics team is being recognized by MarTech Breakthrough this year. The ceiling is so high in this space, and we will continue to aim to break through.”

It also comes down to its adept ability to harness the power of data to strengthen programmatic campaigns. James Johnson, managing director at MarTech Breakthrough, said, “Successfully managing a programmatic campaign is a difficult task as there are many levers at a media trader’s disposal to optimize a campaign. Set the base bid too high, and you’ll be overpaying for impressions. Set it too low, and you’ll be unable to achieve scale. With this challenge in mind, Goodway Group is a leading-edge digital partner that understands and is able to leverage the power of programmatic data so that marketers reach the right customer at the right price. Congratulations to Goodway Group, once again this year – this time as our Best Predictive Analytics Solution award winner.”

The MarTech Breakthrough Awards is an international annual awards program that recognizes standout marketing, advertising and sales technology from around the world. At the 2020 awards, Goodway won Best Data Visualization Solution, and now we couldn’t be more thrilled and honored to win for predictive analytics this year, especially considering the program attracted more than 2,850 nominations from over 17 different countries around the world!

Ready to increase your digital advertising knowledge and take your own programmatic campaigns to the top? Tap into our unmatched ad tech capabilities and programmatic expertise now and discover how to minimize your administrative complexities and maximize your media efficiency and campaign results. Let us show you how. Reach out today.

What to Focus On Now for Your Cookieless Future

Are you relaxing now that Google has pushed back the end of third-party cookies until 2023? Stop. During Goodway Group’s recent Preparing for a Cookieless Future? Now What? webinar, our Lindsay Boeddeker, Goodway Group client strategy director, and Amanda Martin, our future of identity expert, warned that’s the last thing you should be doing. While the sky isn’t falling, still it’s no excuse to press pause or stop your cookieless efforts. Read on to discover what you should be focusing on right now to step more easily into the cookieless world, no matter when Google decides it’s time.

Assess the Impact.

What to Focus On Right Now

Examine your media mix and plan and review your current digital strategy to gauge how reliant you are on third-party cookies. For an accurate assessment, answer the following:

  • How and where are you reaching your target audience?
  • What channels are you using, and how are you speaking to your target audience?
  • What’s your customer and consumer personalization model look like, and is it reliant on first-party or third-party data?
  • Do you use third-party cookie data to drive personalization?
  • What does your measurement strategy look like? What are your metrics?
  • What are your primary key performance indicators (KPIs) versus secondary versus business outcomes?
  • Are your KPIs third-party-dependent?
  • Do you leverage third-party data to enrich your first-party data-driven insights?
  • What types of insights are you gaining and leveraging?
  • What cookieless alternatives can you try now?

Losing the third-party cookie will likely impact these digital advertising buckets – site measurement, content availability, media measurement and tactic scalability, and here’s why.

Site Measurement

Those who opt out of being tracked won’t be a random sample of the population; they could greatly skew your site metrics. Without the cookie, publishers and site owners will have to make decisions on incomplete information.

Content Availability

Publishers will lose insight around who’s visiting their site when third-party cookies go away. Of course, inventory has a greater value if there’s more info about the individuals the ads are being served to, so publishers will be forced to make the difficult decision on what content to make free versus what to gate behind a paywall.

Media Measurement

Without the cookie, the ability to track users will be hindered if they opt out because site actions won’t be able to be tied to ad exposure. But don’t be alarmed if your performance dips. It may be that the number of trackable users declined, and you’re working with a smaller lookback window. That’s why it’s important you (and every advertiser) should reset your expectations on what you consider good performance.

Tactic Scalability

Once the third-party cookie disappears, data-related tactics will see a decline in available inventory on the open exchange. To build scale in the future, media buyers will have to sublimate budget to contextual targeting, site-related buys or to category or interest targeting from a Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) from Google or a cohort.

Enhance Your First-Party Data.

What to Focus On Right Now

To make the most of your first-party data, answer these questions:

  • Where’s your first-party data coming from? Your website? Loyalty programs? Elsewhere?
  • What first-party data points are you currently capturing?
  • Are there other first-party data points you could be capturing to strengthen your marketing strategy?
  • Do you have consent and preference management in place?
  • Where’s your first-party data being stored?
  • How often is it refreshed or cleansed?
  • How are you currently using your first-party data?
  • Are you maximizing its full potential?

First-party data, your customer data, is foundational to digital advertising because that’s where your insights and directional learning will come from moving forward, especially now that the cookie will soon be deprecated. The most valuable way to spend your time over the next year is to gather and organize your first-party data so it’s fully usable and then build it up as much as you can. Assess both the quantity and quality of it – how you’re currently using it or how you could use it in the future. See what you have, where the gaps are and then acquire other data to make it your own. Your first-party data tells you who your interested and engaged audience is and also helps you build consumer relationships and move prospects to active customers.

Here at Goodway, we think of Google’s 2023 timeline as a gift – as an opportunity to prepare for the cookieless future.

For over two years, we’ve spearheaded an identity project, and our testing of several identity alternatives, from Unified I.D. 2.0 to LiveRamp to Ads Data Hub to Amazon Advertising, is already well underway. We’ve been collaborating across the ad tech ecosystem, making sure identity alternatives can replicate the same targeting as cookies and work for the buy side.

Want to start testing and learning yourself? Visit our Identity Resource Hub on our website now to read up on how to start testing identity alternatives and to find up-to-the-minute clear and free info, advice and insights across a wealth of helpful materials, from cookieless guides, POVs, infographics and more to support you on your way.

Or looking for a partner to take along on your cookieless journey? Tap us for the role, and we’ll help you assess the impact of Apple Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) and how your campaigns use cookies today; audit your current strategy to uncover data and omnichannel opportunities; and strengthen your first-party data and apportion budget for testing alternatives. Reach out whenever you’re ready.

Test Blog Post – August 2021

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Google Cookie Depreciation

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Goodway Group Wins 2021 Oracle Markie Award

Goodway Group is out ahead of the cookieless future, and the industry is taking notice: At the highly esteemed 15th annual Oracle Markie Awards, Goodway won the inaugural Context Award for the best application of positive contextual targeting.

See how we reacted when we got the good news!

The Markie Awards

The Markie Awards, according to Oracle, “celebrates customer experience (CX) innovation and excellence in advertising, marketing, sales, service and commerce.” Out of hundreds of submissions from around the world, Goodway was one of only fourteen exclusive winners recognized for innovative ideas and processes – for driving tests that produced incredible results that outperformed data-based tactics across the customer journey.

Goodway’s Contextual Targeting Solution

“Data reliance is a requirement and an uncertainty today. Contextual targeting is one key element across the cookieless solutions that will be central to a future founded in data privacy and security,” says Goodway’s Nick Gaudio, client strategy director. Using contextual targeting, performance metrics and careful analysis to improve the customer experience, Goodway created an innovative way to maintain performance efficiencies established by cookie-based campaigns using alternate data sources to drive conversions for our auto clients.

These auto clients, heavily reliant on leveraging audience or data in targeting strategies, tapped into contextual segments to further reach target consumers while prime for exposure in relevant online environments. Auto historically has relied on audience targeting for conversion-based key performance indicators (KPIs), so leveraging positive context and Predicts segments were new frontiers.

Contextual Campaign Results

Contextual targeting matches ads to relevant environments across the web using identifiers such as keywords, topics, images, videos and more. Decide what content type you want to run your ad next to and align with the right keywords and topics, and an ad partner can then scan its network pages and match your ad with the most relevant content to reach your customers and prospects when they’re in just the right mindset.

Working with Oracle Advertising, Goodway was able to leverage audience insights and data into contextual segments to further reach customers in relevant digital media environments. Clients not only could target in-market individuals but also could target those who may have opted out of cookie pools or were not yet included within in-market audience segments to drive incremental exposure.

Campaign results were eye-catching: Goodway increased context revenue by 194% year to date (YTD); exceeded standard conversion benchmarks by 60%; and surpassed standard contextual conversion rates by 12% with custom Predicts segments.

“Contextual targeting is one key element across the landscape of cookieless solutions that will be central to a future founded in data privacy and security,” says Nick. “So, with The Context Award, it’s truly humbling to be recognized for our work, striving for what could be and not what is.”

Where to Go From Here

To see for yourself what is and what could be soon regarding cookieless advertising and the future of identity and privacy, visit our website’s identity hub for loads of new free resources – current POVS, infographics, blog posts, plus detailed guides on authenticated identity and how to approach testing and identity alternatives.

Or partner with us today. We can help you test your own cookieless advertising campaigns, easily navigate digital advertising’s unchartered waters and create a solid road map for future success.