The ‘cookiepocalypse’ is the next frontier for marketers – and that’s a good thing

General manager of media business at Pure Amplify, Tasneem Ali, examines what lies head in a no-cookie future.

With the upcoming removal of third-party cookies, the digital world is braced to undergo radical change. Google will no longer sell ads based on cross-site browsing or third-party behavioural tracking in Chrome, bringing the tech giant into line with Mozilla Firefox and Apple’s Safari. Google has also stated it won’t be building alternate identifiers to track individuals on Chrome.

While the “cookiepocalypse” feels like a big change with a lot of associated uncertainty, it is actually an overwhelmingly positive development for the industry.

  1. Publishers will band together to create scalable ad targeting

Publishers will start building out their own first-party data environments for direct ad targeting. This will initially involve having logins or some kind of value exchange so the user is willing to identify themselves. For example, some products give publishers the opportunity to collect useful information from their digital audiences by way of a survey widget that displays within their existing website content. This empowers publishers to create niche audiences based on direct consumer feedback.

I also expect to see more publishers working together to create networks of advertising audiences to achieve scale. Smaller publications do not have the luxury of volume, so there is an opportunity for this tier of publishers to join forces to create a connected system of scalable targeting.

The industry is already seeing this in action; Brag Media has titles such as Variety and Billboard under its umbrella, while the Pedestrian Group added Vice to its network.

  1. Ad spend will move away from Google and towards the open web

There has been a recent over-reliance on data from a select few market giants that leaves advertisers at the mercy of their operations. Australia experienced this first hand when Facebook temporarily revoked the ability to share news on its platform. Seeking out alternatives to Google’s cookies not only makes good financial sense but also spreads risk during volatile news events – by drawing data from other sources. Advertisers who will be hardest hit are those that have been overly reliant on the open programmatic ad marketplace, and do not have their own robust first-party data assets.

Without cookies, marketers and media buyers will need to rely more on the open web and towards an audience cohort-based structure, rather than individual targets. This is good news for AdTech companies. Especially those who have been building out various alternative solutions – such as ID frameworks based on hashed and encrypted email addresses that are secure and independently governed.

  1. Second-party data will rise in volume and value

As third-party data decreases in value, the demand for second-party data will rise. As such, we’ll see an enormous increase in brands, agencies and publishers looking to create second-party data partnerships.

One such solution would be to build a targeted audience through the use of surveys across a research panel and create a seed audience. Lookalike modelling can then be conducted across a network of data partners. This eliminates publisher reliance on third-party data and gives them the ability to create high-value, niche audience segments for advertisers to connect to.

While Google’s announcement took some sections of the industry by surprise, the majority have been expecting it. The industry has needed a new AdTech model for some time; sole reliance on a single, giant player was never safe or sustainable. Publishers need to focus on their own data and building viable alternatives to the traditional targeting methods. Those that have already started doing this will be in a strongly competitive position. The cookie jar may be empty – but there’s still plenty in the pantry.

Tasneem Ali is the general manager of media business at Pure.amplify.


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