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If you’re still preparing for a cookieless future, then get your skates on

Change Makers Featured

If you’re still preparing for a cookieless future, then get your skates on


Are you prepared for when the cookie crumbles? Yury Glikin from Outbrain outlines the key things marketers should know.

If you’re anything like me, chances are you have a “to-do” list. And for most marketers, navigating a post-cookie world is at the top of it.

But for the first time since the announcement was made in 2020 by Google, they should be ready to cross that item off their list. It’s been nearly three years since the tech giants announced changes to third party cookies. This was a change Outbrain welcomed. It set marketers on a path towards protecting consumer privacy. Now that the dust from this announcement has well and truly settled, the benefit is we can see more clearly now than we could in the past.

Of all the solutions that have emerged in the race to replace cookies, there are a few that have emerged as frontrunners. But before we leave the cookie-dominated past behind for good, advertisers and marketers need to get up to speed.

The forgotten side of contextual targeting

It seems like every platform has some form of a contextual strategy it’s pursued in order to avoid becoming a casualty of cookies disappearing. 

We know that contextual targeting is an extremely valuable implement in a marketer’s toolbox – but there needs to be more focus given to the other side of the equation.

That is to say – the mindset of the person making the purchase.

Cookies were extremely useful in tracking a consumer’s behaviour right up to their point of purchase. But the data we collect is only half the story. We need to accept the fact that there’s always unknowns. There’s always the possibility of someone scrolling through your site for something else. Maybe a gift for someone else, or for research for their job.

Marketers need to become more intuitive to a consumer’s state of mind and understand the hidden triggers of purchase. After all, failing to do so resulted in the hyper-targeted and irrelevant ad inundation. This contributed to the death of cookies. We need to ensure we’re not making the same mistakes again.

It’s time to turn to other solutions. First party data, loyalty programs and people’s reading habits are all ways to gain a deeper understanding of a consumer’s mindset and their profile. 

For example, Outbrain’s Interest Graph is built from consumer reading habits and the actions they take from various articles. We’ve found that marketers who use Interest Targeting see up to 55 percent higher conversion rates on average. This a clear indication of the power of understanding consumer habits.

The fact is, marketers have gathered too much irrelevant data on consumers for years and the upcoming shift in the landscape is a blessing in disguise. It’s time to recognise how interests signal intent, and the context-powered machine learning that supports it.

The pursuit for personalisation

For all the downsides of cookies, they did help support a more personalised experience on the web. This personalisation can’t come at the cost of privacy. And, it doesn’t change the fact that consumers still expect to see ads that are relevant to them.

This demand for personalisation has arisen because it’s now present in just about every interaction we have. From perfumes to playlists, and everything in between, the number of personalised products and services are now countless. That means it’s not a bonus to offer your consumers a personalised experience anymore – it’s expected. 

If consumers aren’t getting some level of personalisation, you’re most likely going to lose their interest. But it’s crucial to balance this with consumer concerns about privacy. 

One solution companies can look towards are universal IDs. These can provide a shared identity to identify a consumer without syncing cookies. These help remove reliance on third party cookies whilst honouring the privacy of consumers. LiveRamp Authenticated Traffic Solution and the ID5 ID are some examples of universal IDs.

Ensure you’re personalising your services

To personalise your services, you need to leverage signals from editorial context, user interest and engagement more effectively. This will be essential in creating relevant experiences. 

Plus, the aforementioned solutions, like first party data and loyalty programs, are all built from engagement. This is the path to attaining actionable information on your audience. It provides them with the most relevant advertising.

You may think you have time left before you make the switch from third party cookies for good, but that window is rapidly closing. Now is the time to trial these different solutions and find what works best for you. So stop thinking of it as a cookieless future, and rather our cookieless reality.

Yuri Glikin is the head of sales at Outbrain, ANZ.


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