Effective Performance Advertising in the Post-Cookie Landscape

Third-party cookies have been an important component of many programmatic and digital advertising tactics for years.

By now, we all know that Google is planning to eliminate third-party cookie support from Chrome this year, after multiple deadline extensions. In fact, they’ve already begun to remove support for a small number of Chrome users.

A number of alternative solutions have been proposed and experimented with, but it remains unclear what solutions Google will ultimately offer to take the place of these cookies. They introduced Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC), then moved to Topics due to concerns over GDPR compliance. They introduced sister project FLEDGE, designed for remarketing and custom audiences without third-party tracking, and then rebranded it to ‘Protected Audience API’ in an attempt to garner more interest in trials and testing. 

Without a single clear solution, Google has moved ahead with their Privacy Sandbox, which includes these and other products that have shown varying levels of success, each facing their own challenges in terms of adoption and implementation.

So, with this general sense of uncertainty, how exactly does one prepare for the post-cookie era? We’ve prepared our new Post-Cookie Performance Guide to help you find answers.

Prepare for Cookieless

We believe this moment serves up a great opportunity to embrace the evolving landscape and encourage marketers to shift toward a more diversified approach that spans a wide spectrum of methods to tackle cookie loss:

  • Leveraging first-party data collection to create personalized experiences and audience curation
  • Exploring data collaboration and alliances to expand data pools and insights
  • Contextual analysis and targeting based on content and interest relevance
  • AI-enabled tools and adaptive machine learning models to predict user behavior and preferences
  • Behavioral signals derived from consent-based data collection practices
  • Exploratory use of new identity solutions supported by a range of cookieless and persistent identifiers that adhere to privacy regulations

Why Cookies Were Never a Solid Foundation

Yes, cookies enable many aspects of advertising today, but are they a solid base? One could argue that cookies are not necessarily the best use for targeting users online. But what exactly is wrong with third-party cookies today?

1. Cookies are Not Transparent:

Let’s be honest: cookies are not exactly transparent, so consumers have little insight and control over how and what data is being collected and shared about them.

2. Cookies are Not Persistent:

They’re not long lasting, and cookies are always subject to deletion whether by the browser or the individual user.

3. Cookies are Not Common:

Cookies only exist in a web environment, and because they’re not supported on other great marketing channels (such as apps or CTV), you can’t use cross channel tracking with third-party cookies.

Tangible Next Steps for the Cookieless World

There is one single question on which all marketers should be focused right now: What can we do to ensure that we’re maximizing performance today while establishing a futureproof foundation for tomorrow? We believe the following are some definitive steps that you can take right now.

1. Audit Your Current Campaigns

Start with an audit of your current campaigns, tactics, and metrics. This change is going to affect us all, but it’s important to understand how greatly it is going to impact you specifically. The only way to evaluate this impact is to ensure that you know exactly what solutions and strategies you’re leveraging today.

2. Grow Your Consumer Data Now

Next, make a plan to leverage and grow your consumer data. Use the reprieve we’ve been granted to focus on growing your audience and enhancing and diversifying your data collection practices. Grow your zero-party and first-party data by employing a range of tactics and be prepared to leverage these with external datasets via behavioral science analysis to help amplify your audience going forward.

3. Gather Audience Intelligence

Once you’ve gathered your consumer data, secure access to advanced data science solutions to analyze and truly understand your audience. AUDIENCEX Intelligence (AXi), as an example, is a privacy-safe suite of AI-powered data science solutions that can help you gather and leverage actionable behavioral insights from your audience data. With access to the industry’s largest fully consented datasets, this is a futureproof way to ensure that your data is leveraged effectively to gather insights, power personalization, and identify predictively modeled expansion targets most likely to convert.

4. Secure Analytics and Insights

It’s important to ensure that you have access to both the technology and the expertise to gather in-depth analytics and actionable insights, such as the teams that leverage AXi’s advanced AI technology. This will help you evaluate how different tactics and solutions perform in real time, enabling rapid adaptability in a shifting landscape. Remember that each campaign is different, and therefore each may have a different channel mix or set of tactics to maximize performance. Having access to the tech and teams you need to evaluate and leverage data will be vital in optimizing each campaign for its individual goals and KPIs.

5. Test Everything

As long as we still have access to third-party cookies, it’s a good idea to continue using them. The data signals they provide can still help you as you should currently be testing new and developing solutions. While it can be overwhelming to keep an eye on all the proposed tactics and technology that various companies and platforms are proposing to replace third-party cookie data, it’s also exciting to know that there are so many possibilities in the future. With our commitment to a more open advertising ecosystem, AUDIENCEX is an ideal partner to help you explore, monitor and navigate rapidly emerging technologies, test their performance, and refine your strategies to integrate them in the correct combinations and the correct contexts.

Get the Complete Guide

Moving forward in the post-cookie era, there probably won’t be a single universal standard that is going to replace the cookie, so we must all become adaptable, working with multiple technologies that, together, can achieve greater performance than cookies ever could.

To learn more about cookieless solutions and insights that can help you prepare to face this era of uncertainty, download our complete Post-Cookie Performance Guide now. It offers a look at our current landscape, what the loss of third-party cookies will impact, and more details on how to be prepared for anything our evolving landscape may bring.

If you’re looking for proactive support to help you navigate this challenge, consider reaching out to AUDIENCEX today. We’re a full-service, AI-enabled digital advertising partner working daily to foster a more open advertising landscape, embracing an array of platforms including enterprise DSPs, walled gardens, and independent solutions that are complementary to one another. As we move forward, we are working to test and implement an ever-increasing number of cookieless solutions, providing our clients with an array of options that can be leveraged independently or alongside one another to deliver the best performance for any specific campaign’s goals.

These solutions are empowered by the latest AI-driven data science and performance advertising solutions, enabling predictive audience modeling, continuous real-time optimization, and providing full omnichannel performance transparency. Our expert teams leverage these futureproof technologies with seamless omnichannel media access, backed by holistic custom strategies, in-depth research, and diverse vertical expertise. 

We are dedicated to helping brands and agencies alike find and expand their audiences, drive revenue acceleration, and achieve scalable growth both today and well into the post-cookie future – whatever it may bring.