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Life after cookies: what marketers and publishers really want

Technology & Data

Life after cookies: what marketers and publishers really want


Marketers and publishers are preparing for the cookieless future, by mitigating potential negative effects and honing in on privacy strategies.

The cookieless open web means challenges, but also opportunities for marketers and publishers. Both industries stand to lose a lot of ground with Google’s announcement that it intends to phase out third-party cookies on Chrome browsers by 2022. Joining Apple, Firefox and Mozilla, which already block third-party cookies by default, the tech giant is removing the marketing industry’s long-standing tool for tracking website visitors and collecting the data that helps it to target ads.

But all is not lost and publishers have been working to mitigate the potential negative effects of Google’s move in four ways:

  • building their first-party data assets
  • developing contextual marketing to replace audience targeting
  • utilising data enrichment strategies to expand their knowledge of the changing behaviours, passions and interests of customers, and
  • investing in identity solutions, both probabilistic and deterministic, in partnership with leading partners.

Show us your ID

While the loss of third-party tracking will have an impact on every marketer’s toolkit, identity solutions will help them regain the ability to target, optimise, frequency cap and report accurately.

In Australia, seven in 10 companies (marketers and publishers) have or plan to use an identity graph solution in the next six months to a year. But what are they and how do they work? Simply put, an identity graph is an overview of customers that shows their ever-evolving activity across all of their touch points, be they web, mobile apps or physical bricks and mortar.

Spreading the eggs

Almost all marketers agree a connected ecosystem is important in a post-cookie world. Relying on just one solution isn’t a successful strategy. For example, three in four marketers agree that contextual targeting alone is not a sufficient replacement for audience targeting. On the contrary, multiple solutions are necessary – and they must be interoperable across channels and platforms.

Some solutions are best matched to upper funnel activities, such as broad awareness and brand recognition, while others are ideally designed to find and engage prospects, then move them through to consideration. Others still are a better fit for helping to close the deal.

But whichever solution they select, marketers and publishers must make customer privacy a priority. This is now a non-negotiable element, and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and myriad other privacy regulations around the world, consumer transparency and privacy controls are foundational to the future of digital marketing.

More than 70 percent of marketers and publishers in Australia are confident that their companies’ privacy strategies and consumer choice protections are robust and fit for purpose. The majority also agree that a form of consumer opt-out remains the prime tool for protecting consumer privacy. It’s less clear, however, whether opting out works the way consumers want it to – with an expectation that a phone opt-out is transferred to a desktop computer too.

Education will be the key to ensuring that any privacy choices are easy, transparent and auditable in a post-cookie world.

Two hundred marketers and publishers were surveyed for Lotame’s February 2021 Survey Report, ‘Beyond the Cookie: The Future of Advertising for Marketers and Publishers in Australia’. The global report covering all regions can be downloaded here.

Photo by Andras Vas on Unsplash.


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