In the advertising world of the future, it’s likely that integration with the human mind will let ads instantly adapt to people’s pizza cravings at 3 AM, while advertisers will use potential customers’ biometric data, scan their DNA, and naturally delve into the depths of their subconscious to analyze their dreams.
However, as we’re getting closer to the end of 2023 and a farewell party for third-party cookies (those data tidbits that seemed to bring advertisers even an inch closer to the described scenario), the future of the digital marketing industry looks more like a doom of data diets and random targeting.
But we still believe that the cookieless advertising apocalypse is at least postponed, and we’ll show you why. First, let’s explore the prevailing mood within the digital advertising industry.
These numbers suggest that businesses are somewhat ready to reimagine their customer recognition strategies and, even if with gritted teeth, adapt to the new cookieless advertising reality by turning to contextual targeting and other options. However, while some are rushing to implement changes, there are certainly those who have chosen to take a wait-and-see approach.
But why did advertisers have to surrender and let go of the cherished third party cookies anyway?
To unravel the answer and make it easier to embrace the gloomy cookieless future, we need to first delve into a rather gloomy cookie-filled past.
Based on Google’s recent blog post, 81% of consumers feel that the drawbacks of third-party and first-party data collection greatly outweigh the advantages. And this sentiment is understandable given that about 64% of Americans, as reported by Pew, have experienced at least one data security breach.
But if these figures don’t make it clear why the call for changes in data privacy and cookieless future has become so pressing — just wait until you hear the upcoming data-chaos tales.
In 2012, Safari, known for its default blocking of third-party cookies, was regarded as a safe place for privacy-conscious users.
But that year, everything changed. A scandal unfolded as Google was discovered bypassing Safari’s privacy settings and tricking it into allowing cookie placement on users’ devices without their consent.
Google claimed their actions were accidental, mere glitches in the system. But eventually, the truth emerged, and Google, facing its sins, settled with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for $22.5 million.
In 2018, it was revealed that Facebook unwittingly became the platform for the evil scheme of a political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, which quietly collected personal data from over 87 million unsuspecting Facebook users. Private photos, cringe-worthy messages to exes, embarrassing likes… But it gets even worse.
This stolen data was used to build a software program to create voter profiles, predict, and influence choices at the ballot box.
Of course, there were consequences — FTC fined Facebook $5 billion for privacy violations, but the scariest part is that copies of the data harvested for Cambridge Analytica can still be found online.
In 2017, the Edmodo educational platform was widely used by teachers and students. But little did those 90 million registered users know that the service kept a secret — improper cookie handling and encryption. And one day, some shady characters took advantage of these weaknesses and accessed personally identifiable information. Obviously, the aftermath was a disaster. The compromise of millions of user accounts led to a loss of trust among teachers, students, and parents, and, despite being one of the oldest and most widely used online learning platforms, Edmodo couldn’t recover from the incident and shut down.
These and countless similar heart-wrenching stories have prompted Google to announce its plan to disable cookies for 1% of Chrome users beginning in early 2024. Why only one percent? Well, this move is meant to help developers run real-world experiments. Then, in the latter part of 2024, after this testing phase, third-party cookies will be blocked for all Chrome users, and we will finally immerse ourselves in a cookieless world.
So, here is where our journey into the not-so-distant cookieless advertising future begins.
The concept of “third-party data” has become so obsolete that even advertisers have forgotten about it. At first, of course, many businesses found themselves in a state of confusion, unsure of how to navigate the evolving digital landscape of cookieless targeting and cookieless programmatic advertising. However, the most adaptable and resilient players in the advertising industry managed to not just survive but thrive. These are the companies that, as predicted by McKinsey, have shifted their focus toward the three most viable strategies:
We’re here for that! Oxagile will help you go deeper into viable alternatives to third-party cookies and future-proof your marketing strategies.
Oxagile is keeping a keen eye on the changing advertising scene to help advertisers thrive in the future cookieless world. Our expert, AdTech & Big Data Marketing Manager Marina Leontieva, fresh from the Programmatic I/O conference, is about to unveil the insider tips and lifehacks on the techniques that will make advertisers really look like they came from the future.
“Angelina Eng, the Vice President of Measurement, Addressability & Data at IAB, delivered an insightful talk that closely aligned with our perspective on cookieless advertising, and underscored the significance of classifying audiences into 3 categories and employing appropriate strategies, tailored to each category specifically.
Thankfully, in the world of cookieless advertising, nobody will be left adrift like a piece of cookie in a cup of milk. We’ve got data collection and management superheroes here to rescue advertisers and help them enjoy the cookieless era.
Customer Data Platform (CDP) is a true digital detective, gathering information from various sources — behaviors, transactions, and demographics — to create a unified customer or a “perfect customer” profile.
However, CDP goes beyond simply understanding your customers. It fosters collaboration among different departments, ensuring everyone has a unified view of the customer. It enforces consistency in messaging, allowing businesses to maintain a synchronized approach to customer engagement even in a cookieless targeting environment.
And the most incredible power of CDP is, no doubt, personalization. It enables businesses to pinpoint their targets with precision, delivering tailor-made experiences that enhance customer retention and boost revenue.
Consent Management Platform (CMP) is like the superhero of data privacy, quietly protecting websites from financial penalties and bad reputation moments, all while keeping things legal.
This digital defender is perfect to:
The Unified ID superhero is formed from a user’s email address or phone number and is on a mission to empower advertisers to deliver personalized, targeted ads to consumers while safeguarding their privacy.
Unified ID, in its updated form, embodies the principles of Project Rearc by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) and enables cookieless tracking to let advertisers and publishers reach users without relying on invasive third-party data.
Data Clean Room is on a non-stop guard of user privacy in the cookieless future: it provides advertisers with aggregated and anonymized user information, keeping personal details safe, while offering non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) for targeted advertising and audience measurement.
Data Clean Room comes to the rescue for:
“All platforms and tools, such as customer data platforms and consent management platforms, which can not only make a cookieless future bearable but also quite profitable, cover all the essential components for extracting maximum value from consumer data: from data collection and organization to its cleansing and integration.
However, extensive expertise in big data and a deep understanding of AI and ML algorithms allow us to highlight that, despite their apparent simplicity on the surface, there are numerous pitfalls and various scenarios where one tool may excel while another falls short. Therefore, there is no one-size-fits-all cookieless targeting solution at the moment, and the right working mechanism can only be implemented through a thorough examination of your specific goals and customers.
At the same time, there are several tips you can try to smoothen your transition: