Ready to say goodbye to cookies? Google announced big news in January: It will be phasing out the third-party cookie in 2022. Now six months later and with the clock ticking, the ad tech industry is rallying together to find third-party cookie alternatives so ad buying, targeting and attribution can prevail in the coming cookie-less world. Here’s a quick look at the opportunities ad tech has now and 5 ways brands can prepare to go cookie-less.
The Ad Tech Industry: Losing the Cookie, Finding New Cookie-less Solutions
Google’s deadline is looming, but at Goodway Group, we believe this is no cause for fear. Significant ad industry opportunities exist, and we’re innovating now to embrace and prepare for the industry changes that lie ahead.
Large publishers have one big opportunity. The demise of the third-party cookie gives them immense power because they know their audience. Any grouping of large publishers, either on their own or through a third party, could bring significant known-user scale across devices that rival the walled gardens of Google, Facebook and Amazon.
The browser community also has an opportunity to create a more privacy-friendly way to identify users, which still enables all the cookie benefits without the privacy downside. Why would browsers do this? Let’s not forget that the majority of the internet is free to users because it’s supported by advertising. Publishers must make money. Browsers may realize this and be willing to work with the advertising community on a fair solution.
As for Goodway, we’ve been engineering a solution for our clients for well over a year and are fully prepared to continue delivering significant value to clients well ahead of Google’s deadline. Our network of authenticated traffic (built through publishers and third-party technology platforms) already leads the industry in verified reachable identity, and this will only continue to build over time.
Brands: Preparing To Go Cookie-less
As the ad tech industry players test and implement new cookie alternatives, here are 5 ways brands can get ready to say goodbye to cookies:
1. Prioritize Your First-Party Data.
Activate, grow, clean and segment your CRM data to produce personalized, sophisticated marketing strategies. Connect and engage with your audience by building look-alikes, conquesting to win market share and suppressing already-converted audiences. Keep your focus on personalization and the customer experience. Consumers will continue to value personalization and will favor brands that provide content and experiences tailored to them.
The challenge becomes reaching consumers persistently across channels once third-party cookies are out of the picture. Identity solutions will be pivotal as brands strive to provide a value exchange that allows them to feature logins or collect consent as often as possible. In the meantime, work to clean up and maximize your first-party data to help your personalization efforts down the road.
2. Identify and Optimize Toward Contextual Signals.
Before buying audiences, marketers bought context, which means they would match their ad campaign topics and keywords to relevant sites with the same or similar content, and it worked. Spend the next nine months identifying and optimizing toward the contextual signals (keywords, video meta descriptions, audio transcripts, comments and more) that highlight your brand message.
To figure out what contextual signals work best for your ads and put your customers and prospects at the heart of your ad strategy, experiment and use A/B testing on your ad campaigns to improve campaign efficiency within even the first few weeks. Small changes will pay back steadily day after day for incremental gains that can drive the greatest impact for your brand and customers and lead to a big swing in ROI over the long term.
3. Develop a Nimble Measurement Mentality and Set Reasonable Expectations.
The need to measure and optimize will not disappear with the cookie, but resetting and managing expectations among marketers may be required. The ideal solution will likely differ brand to brand. Industry experts even have different opinions on what measurement solutions are likely to rise to the top (marketing mix modeling vs. single-channel attribution, etc.)
However, it’s expected that offline identity will begin to play a much larger role as linking online activity to known offline identifiers could bridge the gap in current analytics lost post-cookies. It will be important for marketers to be open to new solutions and flexible when setting tactic and metric expectations moving forward.
4. Embrace Regulatory Compliance and Be Prepared for More.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) received buzz when it went into effect in early 2020, but it’s likely not the last time individual states decide to issue their own laws around consumer privacy. CCPA has set a strong blueprint as the most comprehensive privacy law to date in the U.S., but marketers will need to remain agile while keeping up with any future regulations that impact their media executions and adjust accordingly.
5. Work With a Partner to Navigate Changing Identity Solutions and the Industry Landscape.
Brands will still be able to collect first-party opt-in data and use it for marketing purposes. A trustworthy advertising partner (here’s how to choose the right one) can vet and recommend the best data partners to leverage ID solutions and create the biggest reach and impact when cookies are no longer an option.
Goodway Group prides itself on engaging on the cutting edge of industry developments and promises to do the same when exploring an exciting future pertaining to identity. We have an entire department dedicated to mapping the path to a cookie-less future for our advertisers. As you prepare to say goodbye to cookies, count on us to update you on the latest industry developments and solutions and all we’re doing to deliver the largest, most addressable audience in the industry.
Inspired to craft your own robust data strategy? Download our free data strategy playbook, chock-full of actionable advice, that can help you prepare for smarter campaigns in 2020 and beyond. Or connect with us; we can expertly guide you on how to personalize your own data strategy to confidently say goodbye to cookies amidst the changing times ahead.