5 Things Advertisers Need to Know to Stay Ahead of the Evolving Cookie Landscape

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Teads’ Chief Commercial Officer, Jeremy Arditi talks about the changes made by Google Chrome’s privacy updates and how it will affect the advertising world.

Last week, Google announced it will be updating Chrome to give consumers more control regarding how they are tracked by cookies, and more transparency into the purpose of cookies, so that they can opt in or out depending on their web browsing preferences. While it turns out these changes don’t make the Chrome changes quite the cookie monster they were feared to be, it is clear that the cookie landscape will continue to evolve and it is critical to understand what this could mean for advertisers. Below are five things brands should consider in order to have a data strategy built on solid ground and not put all of their cookies in one jar.

1. Embrace contextual targeting: Contextual advertising – the targeting of ads based on the context of the content that a consumer is reading, watching or listening to – is not a new concept, but it is now an increasingly relevant and important tool in a marketer’s toolkit as data becomes more challenged. Publishers can leverage context to extract the most value out of the content that they create to better compete against the walled gardens (which often only provide low quality scale). Marketers can still reach the most relevant (and likely more interested) audiences by placing ads in relevant environments. Users can still receive relevant messaging even when they’ve opted out of cookie-based targeting.

Also Read: 7 Ways 5G Will Help Advertising Evolve in 2019

2. Be wary of platforms grading their own homework: Attribution is a challenge today, but with this new rollout may become even more complex. Brands will need to be cognizant of a couple of key things:

  • While the change doesn’t affect last click attribution, which is the default for many free analytics tools, it will make it difficult to track ad exposure, leverage cookie matching, and understand the funnel holistically.
  • Being reliant on purely lower funnel channels like a retargeting platform can create attrition at a greater rate. What looks like acquisition cost can result in a race to the bottom.

3. Without Cookies, Brand First Party Data could be at Risk:  Utilization for a brand’s 1st-party data may be at risk of being used outside the brand’s domain. Unfortunately, there is no existing alternative for the time being. However, advertisers need not panic yet. While we don’t know how the roll out will take shape,  because of Google’s deep investment in connecting the pipes between advertiser data and Google, and because of potential antitrust issues that this could create for the company, we do not believe that it is a likely scenario that brands won’t be able to use their 1P data on Chrome.

4. A Holistic Targeting Solution It is crucial to think about how to create relevant ad experiences for users leveraging both personalization and context. Publishers should think about a holistic strategy including targeting with dynamic creative using their first- or third-party data, leveraging interest graphs to understand what content users are consuming, and analyzing content and identifying keywords on their pages to build the right context. In order to adapt and succeed in a quickly evolving landscape for data and user privacy, we believe publishers and marketers need to exploit both identity and interest to maximize their potential reach and deliver the most optimal messaging.

5. Users aren’t inherently against cookies: It is important to remember that cookies are not purely used for targeting and measurement, and do provide value for the end user. One example is frequency capping, whereby we can cap the number of times a user sees the same ad. Cookies are also used to collect user consent (a la GDPR).  After a full year of implementation of GDPR, Teads has seen only a small percentage (about 4% of consumers) who choose not to provide consent. Said differently, 96% of users measured across a representative sample of the top publishers in Europe provide their explicit consent.  So while there is still ambiguity around exactly how Google will implement privacy features, on the surface level we can extrapolate that consumers are not anti cookies.

Also Read: Do Your Customers Love or Hate Personalized Advertising? Tips to Get it Right!

Cookies will not disappear overnight and will be available for a high percentage of traffic for the foreseeable future. As Andy Grove, the legendary CEO of Intel, once wrote, only the paranoid survive. While there is no immediate crisis, a healthy dose of paranoia should lead marketers to continuously test and utilise a variety of targeting solutions ensuring their ability to limit any regulatory, technological or monopolistic challenges to their media strategies.

This article is outside the Teads Blog.

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