What to Focus On Now for Your Cookieless Future

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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.