By Amit Relan
The era of silently tracking customers without their knowledge will be almost history by the end of 2024. Yes, we are talking about the deprecation of third-party cookies. The year 2023 started with a strong buzz around a major shift in digital advertising as Google announced to phase out third-party cookies by 2024. This long-delayed decision will soon become a reality, and marketers have to rethink their approach to target their ideal audience.
However, this transition is not going to be an easy move. According to an IAB survey, less than half (48%) of the brands are prepared for the future without third-party cookies. Mckinsey states that the deprecation of cookies will lead to an approximately $10 billion loss in revenue. But every change comes with an opportunity in disguise.
According to a report by Deloitte, consumers align with a brand which holds values like trustworthiness (83%), integrity (79%) and honesty (77%). These factors are unattainable with third-party cookies. With the removal of third-party cookies, marketers have an opportunity to create a strong alliance with their consumers and drive future growth.
But the question stands – What is the way forward for marketers to target their relevant users in a cookie-less world?
First-Party Data & Technology – A Combination for Growth
One of the viable alternatives to third-party cookies will be leveraging first-party data. Effectively using the first-party data will help marketers plan an efficient campaign based on customer user preferences.
However, the journey to acquire the first-party data will start with gaining the user’s trust. A user will evaluate the brand’s efforts towards data privacy and security before providing consent for their data. Furthermore, in exchange for consent to the user’s data, the brands have to provide some value in the form of something they need.
This exchange of data and value will be based on the foundation of trust. The marketers might have fewer data in the initial stages, but this transition is a movement towards a qualitative approach resulting in quality data for the marketers.
The movement towards clean data for advertising will throw the limelight on customer data platforms (CDPs) and clean rooms, which are secure platforms that acquire anonymised data from various sources. Clean data will be the key to driving growth in the post-third-party cookie era. Evaluating the data quality using the right technologies will become the key to reaching the right target audience.
Context, Relevancy, and Safety
The phase-out of third-party cookies will push marketers to go back to the fundamentals of contextual advertising, which means placing ads beside contextually relevant content. One of the essential factors to consider in this is to select the ideal inventory for the advertising campaigns. Marketers can improve the performance of their ad campaigns by associating with media partners that can provide quality ad placement with the right set of targeted audiences.
To ensure this, marketers need the right technology in their stack to evaluate the quality of the media partner’s ad inventory. In a digital ecosystem with threats of misinformation and inappropriate content, the brands also need a tool to validate the ad inventory’s safety.
An ad that appears beside content that promotes violence or profanity is not taken lightly by the evoked audience of today’s time. Data suggests that 5 out of 8 audiences hold the brand responsible for such placements. Therefore, brands need advanced technology that can detect ad placement across the internet and identify its level of safety to ensure that the brand is not associated with anything objectionable.
The Future of Conscious Advertising
In this rapidly changing advertising ecosystem, advertisers need to be more cautious than going all aggressive with their marketing approach. This change gives an opportunity for advertisers to approach their users in a creative way. Using the first-party data, the brands can give a more personalised touch to their messaging and drive a conversation to gain their attention and trust.
On top of that, the brands will have to be conscious of where their ads appear and their messaging to ensure their users’ trust is not compromised. Using the right technology, the brands can leverage the right intel to optimise their ad placement and target the right users.
Way Forward Towards a Cookie less Future
The new wave of marketing is here, and to stay relevant in this dynamically changing ecosystem, marketers have to start making the transition. Moving towards a cookieless world will be challenging, but it comes with many opportunities to advertise in a safe, transparent, and customer-preference-driven digital ecosystem. To stay strong in this new and advanced world of digital advertising, marketers have to leave the old ways behind and create bonds with their consumers to make an alliance based on trust and ensure a smooth journey towards a brave new cookieless world.
The author is the founder and CEO of mFilterIt. Views expressed are personal.