The cookie is on its last days, enjoying an extended farewell tour, thanks to Google’s decision to view third-party cookies as obsolete within Chrome by 2022. While many have painted the cookie’s waning days as the potential end of digital advertising, the truth is that this move is really no more consequential than the gradual shift from the desktop web to the mobile device.
Similar to the shift to mobile, the loss of the cookie will change the way that digital media is bought and sold and the way that many companies approach third-party data. It will likely put several companies out of business if they fail to adapt. But this change will merely be a paradigm shift — one that is long overdue — and not the nuclear fallout that many are expecting.
Behind the scenes, at conferences and in meetings, we’re told of solutions for the death of the third-party cookie that will use CNAMEs, Universal IDs, device IDs, IP addresses, or other Rube Goldberg-ian hijinks to create the supposed 1:1 replacement for how marketing was previously done. The bridge from marketing using the third-party cookie to first-party data is as simple as snapping your fingers!
Of course, it won’t be that simple. There will not be a simple replacement for the third-party cookie. In truth, there shouldn’t be. The third-party cookie never worked as well as the industry liked to believe. Third-party data was used to measure the performance of first-party inventory, and attribution was biased toward a last-click model that benefited the triopoly of Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The third-party cookie never really worked in a society that has adopted mobile as a way of life. In a way, it’s time to bid good riddance to a flawed system, albeit one with which we’d all grown comfortable.
Ever since Apple announced it was limiting third-party cookies two to three years ago, brands have been working to adapt to a cookieless world. With Google jumping on the bandwagon recently, the pressure to adopt cookieless solutions has intensified.
Here are some of the questions we’ve been fielding from CPG brands about the future of digital advertising — and how marketing technology providers can help.
The end of the third-party cookie forces marketers to take earning consumer consent for data collection more seriously, and it will open up new methods of data collection, some directly devised by Google and others by the many companies in its ecosystem. These new methods of data collection will aim to clarify the impact of ads and allow for pertinent advertising (or targeting) with consumers’ more clearly stated consent.
To obtain an insider’s perspective on marketing tech’s reaction to Google’s SameSite update and the industry’s path forward, I got in touch with Brian Silver, president of email marketing firm LiveIntent.
Brands and publishers seem to be getting the short end of the stick amid recent cookie and privacy regulation changes. In the absence of cookies, brands may feel undue pressure to go to walled gardens for scale. Meanwhile publishers will have to bet on first-party data collection and monetization, along with its inherent scalability challenges and slim view of the customer. What’s happening with our data relationships?
Google indicated it is making the change to boost user privacy on the Web, and the company believes digital advertising can survive on the back of evolving, more privacy-aware data sources. Chief among those sources, at least in the case of Chrome, will be Google’s privacy sandbox, which will offer advertisers and ad tech companies personalization opportunities based on browser data without granting them direct access to user-level information.
To size up the impact of Google’s announcement on ad tech and hyperlocal marketing, we turned to a slate of industry professionals for their takes on the move.
Charmagne Jacobs, VP and head of global marketing and partnerships at Adslot, shares ad tech predictions for 2020, including the rise of zero-party data, first-party’s data’s increasing importance, the return to contextual ads, and a shift toward more premium programmatic executions.
The role of the Chief Growth Officer is challenging enough without digital ad budgets getting upended. But that’s exactly what’s happening. Thanks to radical changes made by the three largest U.S. online ad platforms, the digital advertising ecosystem is undergoing a transformation, and it is forcing Chief Growth Officers to reconsider their marketing strategies. Here are three challenges keeping Chief Growth Officers up at night—and a straightforward solution for getting more sleep.
Google’s recent announcement that it will change how its Chrome browser handles cookies has created some confusion about the impact on advertisers and ad tech platforms, particularly around the creation, selling, and buying of third-party data. Unfortunately, much of the confusion stems from a lack of clarity on the key terms.
Although third-party data and third-party cookies sound similar, they are very different things. I often find that marketers and media confuse the two.
Google’s latest Chrome changes may sound abstract to those of us who are on the ground doing digital ad work, but they will soon come to dominate our industry. If you work in display advertising at a brand and read the announcement, I’m sure you know at some point the dynamics of the ecosystem will change. But this is going to be big — your entire set of knowledge will soon be different. You’ll need to learn how first-party data looks, is captured, and how to connect first-party data that represents intent to first-party stable identifiers like email.
If people-based identity is the new lifeblood of eCommerce, then the identity graph is its beating heart. First- and second-party data keep the heart healthy and strong, while third-party data is anemic and can ultimately lead to system failure.
Some hybrid cookies-based scenarios will putter along, and some scale-hungry players will stick to old tech for a bit longer, but smart marketers are investing in customer data platforms that are mobile-first, connecting CRM directly to the mobile device.
Google recently announced that YouTube will turn to logged-in user data to verify views and ensure that relevant advertising reaches the right consumers. This will allow publishers, brands, and marketing to draw on all the highly contextual demographic and behavioral data that Google gathers from mobile consumers.