Recently, Search powerhouse Google announced it would be delaying the deprecation of third-party cookies on the popular Chrome internet browser yet again. Even though advertisers have more time, the implications for brands and advertisers are still the same.
Though most vendors and technology partners will focus on what needs to be done to try to replace cookies and the unique targeting and tracking that comes along with them, it could be argued that dismisses the point and ignores the true catalyst behind the deprecation in the first place: user privacy. Privacy is a top priority now, and it does not look like that will change as time goes on.
Beyond the Privacy Sandbox, numerous industry experts are suggesting that advertisers embrace other cookieless solutions, from behavioral data to first-party and ID-less targeting solutions that use AI and dynamic creative. But other agencies and brands are stressed that the cookieless future is more about environments where cookies never were the coin of the realm, like in-app mobile, connected TV (CTV) and much of the open web.
We can only focus on what we can control. Below are a couple of approaches every brand and agency should be doing now to get the most out of their advertising dollars regardless of cookie deprecation.
First, link your business results directly to the media performance. If a client/ brand is able to make a direct connection between the media and actual business results (for example, sales and revenue), we’re able to impact those business results positively through data-driven optimizations. This is especially important for advertisers that rely on generating “leads” and “sales” as their primary KPI. In a cookieless world it becomes even more important to understand exactly which audience segments within your campaign are driving actual sales and not just empty “leads.” If this feedback and insight doesn’t already exist, now is the time to start investigating the level of effort it would take make this upgrade to your strategy and advertising approach. The findings from this kind of analysis and ongoing optimizations will go a long way in making advertising spend as efficient as possible and truly drive incremental.
One step further, we as advertisers should be taking a holistic view of performance across paid media and organic channels. Optimize toward combined goals across paid and organic channels, i.e., SEM + SEO for example, to maximize total performance as opposed to focusing only on paid media efficiency metrics. By understanding which portions of paid media are truly incremental and of value to the business, we can reduce wasted spending without sacrificing any conversions. Over time, you should be able to get a larger and larger share of traffic and conversions from organic channels while using paid channels to capture incremental traffic. Taking this approach before full cookie deprecation is essential as it will give you a better baseline for organic vs. paid contribution and allow for better expectations and assumptions when trying to deal with data loss from lack of cookies.