How to Prepare for Your Cookieless Future Despite Google’s Cookie Delay

Woman daydreaming about the cookieless future

Cookies get to live another day – almost two more years, in fact, according to Google’s latest announcement.

Though Google’s original plan was to deprecate the third-party cookie by Q2 2022, in late June, the company decided to push back the timeline. The proposed alternatives aren’t ready yet, and Google’s recent agreement with the U.K. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), a British antitrust agency, must include a six-month evaluation period when any changes to third-party cookies are made.

According to Google’s blog, the revised timeline will roll out in two stages:

Stage 1 will start in late 2022, pending the completion of privacy sandbox testing and the successful launch of APIs and will allow the industry time to migrate its targeting and measurement approaches away from cookies.

Stage 2 is dependent on the success of stage 1 but is currently slated for mid-2023, which will prompt a three-month period to phase out support of third-party cookies.

However, this is tentative timing and depends on how successful the privacy sandbox proposals are and if they’re accepted by the industry and regulators. Chrome is currently testing 4 of 30 proposals now, with FLEDGE trials delayed until later this year, if not early next.

Replace Third-Party Cookies With Cookieless Identity Alternatives

Though third-party cookies don’t provide ad tech a firm foundation to rely on, build on or scale, the industry is still finding it hard to say goodbye.

Parting is hard simply because these cookies underpin much of all audience targeting in ad tech, and no sole cookieless identity alternative can replace them.

How should you best proceed? Assess your goals, strategies and key performance indicators (KPIs) and determine the right set of cookieless identity alternatives available now (or soon) to try:

Authenticated and Shared IDs are consumer-provided consented identifiers provided via publishers who have established a trusted relationship with their users.

Clean Rooms overlap first-party data with secure, privacy-compliant impression-level data aggregated from the open internet and walled gardens like Google.

Publisher-Driven Data/Cohorts group and target by a common characteristic to analyze behavior and performance.

Federated Learning (FLoC) lets you see clusters of people with common interests and browsing activity and target ads to them while not intruding on their privacy.

Contextual Targeting matches ads to relevant environments across the web using identifiers such as keywords, topics, images, videos and more.

Want all the details? Learn all about these cookieless identity alternatives – their benefits and challenges (even get examples!) – in our free download, Preparing for a Cookieless Future: How to Approach Testing Identity Alternatives POV.

Reach and Build Audiences in a Cookieless World in 8 Steps

Today third-party cookies only exist in Chrome-based browser experiences so brand and agencies already find themselves reaching consumers more often in cookieless environments rather than cookie ones. So how you reach and engage customers and prospects in the coming cookieless world has to change if you want to succeed. Read on for our best advice – shared here in these eight steps (or get the visual, download our free cookieless targeting infographic!):

Embrace the cookieless opportunity: Change your mindset. Think of third-party cookies going away as an opportunity to see data and measurement in new ways, which can help boost return on ad spending (ROAS) and long-term customer value.

Evaluate audience targeting and measurement: Categorize your first- and third-party data and other data sources to see where you currently stand. No matter what will change, one thing will stay the same: the need to have and continually build up your first-party data.

Identify, measure and understand your potential data gaps or risks: Identify where you’re using third-party or cookie-based targeting the most.

Research alternative sources and how effective they are: Experiment with the cookieless alternatives mentioned above and gauge which ones are an effective fit for your brand.

Strengthen and add to your first-party data: Consider using mobile wallet coupons, opt in to SMS short codes or email capture on your own properties to get ahead.

Lean on your agency: Gather ideas, gain new insights and create a plan to enhance your existing data and fill future gaps.

Allocate budgets to test alternative targeting: Set aside an incremental cookieless targeting test budget if you can or take 20%-30% of the budget you currently spend on cookie-based tactics to test cookieless identity alternative approaches, your creative and additional channels.

Take the lead: Focus on only those scalable cookieless alternatives that fit your specific needs.

Discover the Way Forward

Google’s cookie delay is a reprieve – not a time to rest. That’s why Goodway isn’t slowing down and will continue identity- or privacy-focused efforts, including innovating within clean room environments, first-party data strategies, offline data integrations and measurement solutions.

These approaches will not only provide alternatives to third-party cookies but also offer solutions surrounding deterministic measurement, cross-platform analysis and more sophisticated modeling for both targeting and measurement.

Ultimately, the goal of the industry is to sustain a methodology that respects consumer privacy while delivering relevant messaging as brands seek to communicate with customers.

Want to keep your own momentum going? Find out if your cookieless approach is the right one or how to improve it. Contact us now and receive a thorough, no-cost, no hassle personalized cookieless targeting recommendation. Or let us be the expert partner by your side. We can help you strengthen your first-party data and your overall data management, increase your knowledge and build market share and customer share so you’re fully ready to take on your bright cookieless future when it arrives.