Google recently announced that support for third-party cookies in Chrome would be extended until the end of 2023, giving marketers almost a two-year extension from the previous plan to block third-party cookies by early 2022. And Privacy Sandbox initiatives will be delayed while more testing takes place.
While this news extends the uncertainty the digital marketing industry faces, it also provides more time to prepare and build solutions that will work for the future world of digital advertising. Privacy engineering director at Chrome, Vinay Goel, explained in a blog post on the company’s website that “while there’s considerable progress with [the Privacy Sandbox] initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right.”
In the post, Goel goes on to say that “We plan to continue to work with the web community to create more private approaches to key areas, including ad measurement, delivering relevant ads and content, and fraud detection.”
This is good news for your ad revenue in 2022 and beyond! The delay gives the digital marketing industry time to adapt and come up with creative solutions that deliver results in a cookie-less tracking realm and to come up with solutions that serve the needs of advertisers while protecting the privacy of internet users. The losers, in the interim, are the internet users, who will be subject to third-party tracking for a little while longer than promised.
These additional months, give the industry the opportunity to hear from more publishers, advertisers, and consumers to consider every angle. As Google considers proposals, they will implement a rigorous testing schedule which includes discussion in open forums as well as open trials followed by feedback consideration, before any rollouts begin.
If you’d like to keep tabs on the status of the Privacy Sandbox initiative, Google has stated that they will provide a detailed and regularly updated schedule on privacysandbox.com to provide greater clarity and ensure that developers and publishers can plan their testing and migration schedules accordingly.
The 2020 Pandemic drove a dramatic surge in overall media consumption by U.S. viewers. Most of those gains will stick around in 2021, with the exception of traditional TV viewership which is expected to lose all of its 2020 gains, falling below even 2019 levels.
How did the pandemic affect U.S. media consumption in 2020?
A recent report from eMarketer disclosed that U.S. adults increased their time spent consuming media – digital, radio, television, print, and packaged media – by a whopping 58 minutes per day in 2020, setting a new high average of 13 hours, 21 minutes.
While digital media usage, in particular, experienced massive growth, even some traditional media formats – including linear TV and print newspapers – reported growth for the first time in years.
Which media channels will experience continued growth in 2021?
The report found that the increase in overall media consumption will remain relatively steady in 2021. Specifically, U.S. adults are predicted to decrease their time on various media outlets by just 9 minutes per day. The staying power of this level of increased engagement is impressive, especially considering how significant the growth in media consumption was over the pandemic.
Thanks to the rising popularity of OTT video streaming services, time spent on digital media, including connected TV (CTV) devices and internet-connected gaming consoles, will continue to increase in 2021, albeit that growth will progress at a more moderate pace than what was seen in 2020. In fact, U.S. adults will add an average of 9 minutes to their daily digital media viewership, on top of the additional hour they consumed in 2020. Smartphones will dominate the most-watched digital device list, but podcasts and subscription OTT services will also add to their 2020 growth.
Which media outlets will experience a declining viewership in 2021?
On the flip side, usage of traditional media outlets in the U.S. will decrease in 2021 by 5.7% or 18 minutes per day, largely due to the predicted 16-minute drop in linear TV viewership. U.S. adults will also spend less time with radio and print media which will account for the remaining 2-minute drop estimated for 2021.
“Ultimately, 2020 was an anomalous year for TV,” wrote Audrey Shomer, author of the report. “The medium picked up minutes for the first time since 2012, as people spent more time watching TV news about the pandemic, U.S. elections, and social unrest. This year, however, TV will reverse its 2020 growth and fall below 2019 levels.”
In addition, the report predicts that linear TV consumption will continue to contract at a steady rate over the next years with the average U.S. adult watching 15 minutes less in 2022 and another 11 minutes less the year after that. These declines are due to a couple of factors. To begin with, the number of on-demand streaming options continues to rise. Also a factor is the fact that more Americans are cord-cutting, opting out of traditional cable TV services in favor of connected TV devices.
How should companies shift their advertising budgets in light of the coming decline in TV viewership?
Not sure how to pivot to include new OTT and CTV strategies into your current marketing strategy? DX Media is happy to help.
We are experts in this space, offering support for radio and TV advertising, streaming services, as well as social media. We are big enough to offer discounted media, yet still small enough to give you the one-on-one attention you deserve. Although we will help you optimize your CTV and OTT strategy, the customer journey is not linear. That is why we offer support every step of the way, allowing you to maximize results and improve your bottom line. Check out our full range of services. When you partner with us, we’ll help you develop the best plan of action for your business across all media channels.
Ready to get started? Contact us for a free digital consultation today!
> Turning Connected TV Viewers Into Customers
> Reach the Streaming Generation With Ads on Connected TV
As the landscape of advertising evolves and expands to include new mediums and digital platforms, the vocabulary used to describe, plan, and measure successful digital advertising campaigns must naturally grow as well. Keep our digital advertising glossary handy to help you understand and speak intelligently in the “language” of digital marketing today.
More helpful articles:
> Direct Response Copywriting
> Will You Survive the Cookie Apocalypse?
An advertisement on a website with images and text, which can be static or animated, but is not a video.
Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
The amount an advertiser pays per one thousand digital advertising impressions.
Dynamic Cost Per Thousand (dCPM)
The amount an advertiser pays per one thousand digital advertising impressions but is dynamic depending on the value of each impression. Higher quality inventory or more data attached varies the CPM at the impression level (vs having a flat CPM despite the details included).
Reaching users across all their devices, such as smartphones, tablets, and computers, with advertising.
A potential customer. In digital advertising, a lead is someone who has provided their information by filling out a form or completing a designated action on a website.
We differentiate between Search, Social, and Programmatic (Display/Mobile/Video/Audio/CTV)
Adjustments made to a campaign to improve the campaign’s efficiency. For example, removing keywords that aren’t generating results, or changing the geotargeting range.
Buying and selling online ads through an automated platform, using data and algorithms to make decisions about which ads to buy in real-time
Search advertising allows advertisers to place ads within the search engine results that appear after a user has performed an online search. This tactic is also known as paid search, search engine marketing, SEM, pay-per-click, and PPC. Advertisers are only charged when a user actually clicks on their ad, hence the name pay-per-click.
Share of Voice (SOV)
The relative portion of ad inventory available to a single advertiser within a defined market over a specified period.
Social Media Advertising
Ads that appear on any social media platform, like Facebook or Instagram. These ads are served to a custom audience interested in the products and services provided by the advertiser.
For Programmatic this would be Display vs. Video vs. Audio vs. CTV; For Social, it could be Facebook vs. Instagram vs. LinkedIn, etc.
Targeting Terms Behavioral Targeting (BT)
Targeting audiences that have demonstrated an interest in a product or category, either via their web-browsing behavior or another prior action that indicates interest. This data is provided by third-party data providers.
Category Contextual Targeting
A site targeting tactic based on the content. Impressions are served to users on sites and channels with content related to the product or category. Category Contextual targeting is similar to domain targeting but instead of targeting individual domains, you can target whole categories of sites at a time (all sports sites, all health sites, all finance sites, etc.).
Cross-Device Targeting (XD)
The targeting applied goes across devices (mobile, PC, TV, tablet), so you are reaching users regardless of what device they are using. XD added to any other targeting means that targeting is applied across devices (ie XDBT = Cross-Device Behavioral Targeting)
First-Party Targeting / CRM Targeting
Targeting data that is owned by the advertiser. This can be CRM data based on previous marketing efforts, registered clients, subscribed users, etc. This data can then be used to target, exclude, or model from. All first-party data is managed via LiveRamp ensuring that all data/PII is secure and hashed.
Reaching users based on their geographic location. Geotargeting is available at several levels: national, state, DMA, zip code, and a radius around a specific location.
Geo Retargeting (GRT)
Reaching users based on geographic locations they have historically visited.
Reaching an audience within apps that are contextually relevant to your campaign.
Keyword Contextual (KW)
Impressions served to users while they are on pages with content related to the product or category.
Lookalike Targeting (LAL)
Targeting a new audience that is developed based on data signals, to be similar to an established audience. A lookalike audience can be generated by pixel data (from site traffic or conversion activity) or can be modeled from 1st party CRM data or other shared data files. These lookalike models help to reach users who have similar behavioral and demographic profiles as previous site visitors.
Personas are crafted using advanced data science techniques applied across billions of mobile device signals to classify users. A custom app ownership audience can also be built. Personas have the ability to cookie match their mobile audiences, so this can run omni-channel.
Serving an ad to a user after they have visited a website. The user has indicated an interest in that brand but has not yet converted.
Targeting users based on their search behavior. The best of both search and display. Serve a display ad to users who have searched relevant keywords – later as they are browsing other sites.
Specific parameters used to determine the audience to serve with ads. This is determined by aggregating various attributes, such as geography, demographics, psychographics, web browsing behavior, and past purchases.
Targeting / Sub-Tactic
This details what type of targeting types are happening under each Tactic umbrella. E.g., in a Display campaign we may run 3P Behavioral Targeting, 1st Party CRM Lookalike modeling, Domain Retargeting, and Keyword contextual (or any other targeting type mentioned above)
Targeting data that is purchased from a 3rd party data collector.
Video/Audio Event Retargeting (VRT)
Serving an ad to a user after they have seen/heard a video or audio ad. These ads can track users at the mid-point or completion of an ad and are bucketed into a retargeting pool that can be used across channels.
A trackable action on a site such as a form completion, button click, page visit, or order confirmation. Also referred to as activities.
Integrate third-party tools for tracking website activity, enabling the notification of third parties in real-time whenever there’s a conversion.
In Campaign Manager, an external ID is any ID that you might use outside Campaign Manager 360 for internal reports (this ID is not generated by Campaign Manager 360). You can apply the same external ID to any combination of campaigns or placements or use a unique ID for every campaign and every placement.
Allows you to track and report on conversions in Campaign Manager — the actions of users who visit your site after viewing or clicking on one of your ads — and to set up an audience, which compiles lists of users who’ve performed specific actions on a site, then makes those users available for targeting by subsequent campaigns. Also referred to as an Activity.
Identification number generated when creating placements in Campaign Manager. Located next to Placement Name in the platform.
A placement tag—sometimes called an ad tag—is code that calls an ad server for ad content when users visit a site. Campaign Manager 360 serves ads when users visit a site with Campaign Manager 360 placement tags. The placement tag instructs the user’s browser to request the ad, and the request often includes information that Campaign Manager 360 can use to decide what kind of ad to send.
Static Tracking Tag
In TTD, this is a small piece of code that allows advertisers to track user behavior on a website and provide information on the effectiveness of an ad campaign. Can be appended as a Dynamic tag in a Campaign Manager Floodlight to enable Third-Party Tracking.
A small piece of code that allows advertisers to track user behavior on a website and provide information on the effectiveness of an ad campaign.
A tracking tag is a piece of code added to a website as a way to track that someone landed on a page. In some cases, tracking tags pass on information about what actions a user took on a given page. Tracking tags are not seen by users and are also known as pixels, tracking pixels, retargeting pixels, or conversion pixels.
The Trade Desk’s universal pixel collects data on what pages are visited on a website. The universal pixel supports all the functionality of a static tracking tag while also supporting the additional, optional functionality of pixel mappings. In order to create specific page mappings, the pixel must be placed into the shared code (header/footer) of a webpage.
General Advertising Metrics
When a user clicks on an ad.
Cost Per Lead (CPL)
The amount of budget spent to acquire one new lead. For example, if an advertiser spends $100 and gets 4 leads, their CPL would be $25. This can also be referred to as a cost per conversion or cost per action (CPA)
Estimated Cost Per Activity (eCPA)
The estimated cost to acquire a site activity based on the pixel activities.
Cost Per Completed View (CPCV)
The cost for a completed view (or audio message) by a user. Video, CTV, and Audio tactics can be planned or measured by CPCV.
Click-through Rate (CTR)
The number of clicks an advertiser receives on their ads per number of impressions. An ad’s CTR is calculated by dividing the number of clicks an ad received by the number of impressions that were served, then converting it to a percentage.
Full Episode Player (FEP)
Video units played during long-form content (ie a full episode of ‘Friends’) vs a short-form video (ie a two and a half minute news clip). Full episodes can be viewed across any screen (mobile, PC, tablet, TV), but the user has a time investment and high engagement in the program.
Private Market Place (PMP)
This is a video, often Connected TV, pre-negotiated deal with the publisher, network, or content provider to push CTV ads onto higher premium content at a lower price.
An individual instance of an ad being served. In digital advertising, an impression is measured regardless of whether the user has actually seen or interacted with the ad in any way.
The spend is the media budget spent so far in the date range selected for a campaign.
If you’re considering using video content in your social media advertising, one of the most important questions is how long does video content last? Will it drive views and sales forever, or is there an expiration date? Here are some of the things you should consider.
Why Video Content?
Simply put, video content is where customers are. Video content will soon make up over 82% of all consumer internet traffic. You can see this by just going around to different social media platforms or news websites. People aren’t posting written content. They’re posting videos. If you want your ad to be seen, you need to be posting videos as well.
How Long is Video Content Effective?
As social media advertising makes more use of video, video is starting to blend in with other forms of advertising as well as all of the other content out there. That means that in many cases you only have a limited amount of time to grab attention with your ad. QuickFrame has released a number of statistics on how video ads perform.
Video content is most effective within the first five days of release by all measures. That includes views, conversions, and how many people watched the video to completion. Once you get past the fifth day, the drop in performance is about five percent per day.
The eighth day is when video ads typically start to seriously underperform. Only about two-thirds of users will watch at least 25% of the video. Just 1.5% will watch the entire video.
By the second week, most videos have lost effectiveness. Viewership continues to drop by at least 3% per day. Conversions also start to drop. The average conversion rate in the initial days is just 0.32%. By the second week, conversions are nearly zero. That increases the cost of acquisition by 18%.
If you’re trying to market an app download, you have even less time. Video audiences are typically willing to download an app within the first three days of an ad. After that, install rates start to drop and are 33% lower by the end of the month. This, in turn, increases your cost per impression.
Do Consumers Become Blind to Video Ads?
One reason that the performance of video content drops off is consumers start to become blind to ads. This comes from both seeing the ad in multiple places as well as from the sheer number of online ads in general.
The average user has eight different social media accounts. Videos may also appear on traditional broadcast TV or in online streaming services. That means that many of your ad impressions could be going to someone who has already seen your ad multiple times. Viewers start to tune out that ad or have already decided not to buy. This also gets them in the habit of tuning out ads in general.
That general ad blindness is also a cause for concern. When video ads were rarer in social media advertising, they were a way to catch attention on their own. Today, you need to find a way to get users to break that habit of automatically clicking past videos.
Are There Privacy Concerns in Video Ads?
One way to combat ad fatigue is by making sure consumers don’t keep seeing the same ad over and over again. Unfortunately for marketers, this type of cross-platform tracking has come under fire from multiple directions. Consumers don’t like the idea of being tracked and install blocking software to keep marketers from identifying them as they move from one platform to the other.
Various levels of government have also passed consumer privacy laws that make tracking impossible without affirmative consent. With consumers not wanting to participate, the costs of compliance can outweigh the potential benefits of leaving tracking in place.
In addition, even seemingly effective tracking campaigns can have hidden challenges. For example, say you are buying a new car. As you visit car review websites and dealership websites, automated marketing campaigns start to show you more ads related to buying a new car no matter what website or social media platform you’re on. If you see a new video about a car you’re considering, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll watch it.
The first problem for marketers is controlling these ads from repeating too many times. If tracking isn’t effective, one solution might be to put out a wider variety of videos to decrease the repetition. The second problem is that online campaigns can’t identify when you’ve gone to a physical dealership to buy or have decided not to buy. The answer to this second challenge is primarily limiting the length of your campaign.
What Exactly Are You Advertising?
How long a video ad will remain effective will depend on exactly what you’re advertising and the goal for your campaign. While many ads expire quickly, it is also possible to develop evergreen videos in certain situations.
For example, say you’re advertising a haunted house on Halloween night. You’ll probably want to start up your ad campaign sometime in October. Exactly when is a balancing act. Start too early and you risk people seeing the ad too many times. Start too late and they may have other plans already. And if you do start early, you have no idea if low conversions are because people aren’t interested or if it’s still too early for them to make plans. No matter what happens, on November 1st, your ad has served its purpose.
Now let’s say you’re advertising for a hardware store. You might have special events, sales, or new product launches that are more timely by nature. These videos will have short expiration dates. Recurring seasonal videos, such as getting ready for summer, might last from year to year. However, you might want to refresh them each year to create more buzz. A type of evergreen content that will be more likely to stick in search engines and continue to drive customers to your store is a how-to series on basic home improvements and repairs.
When you launch video content in your social media advertising, you’re racing against the clock before it loses effectiveness. Exactly how long your video will last depends on your audience, what you’re selling, and the goal for each video.
To learn more about video marketing or to get ideas for a video campaign, talk to DX MediaDirect.
Connected TV and streaming services have been on the public’s radar for quite some time. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that this trend exploded. Many Americans canceled their cable subscription services, most saying they won’t go back. In response to the recent pandemic, data shows that OTT video streaming increased by 400% — and average revenue per subscriber is still growing.
Favoring connected TV and streaming services, this movement has led to significant business opportunities, especially in terms of marketing and customer acquisition. Research shows that 59% of ad buyers planned to increase spending on connected TV and OTT in the second half of 2020. Brands planned to increase CTV/OTT budgets by 32%, and agencies were looking to increase spending by 46%. This means that if you’re not considering the power of CTV/OTT ads this year, you risk being left behind.
There are many reasons to take the leap, including greater customer acquisition.
If your goal is to get more customers this year, here’s what you need to know.
Research Supporting the Benefits of Connected TV for Advertising Is Overwhelming
Since 2020, research shows that the “streaming generation” has shifted toward a connected TV culture. COVID compressed years of marketing innovation and disruption into a few short months, and things are unlikely to go back to the way they once were.
Here are some findings from the white paper, The Future of TV Report: The CTV Tipping Point:
- 15% of consumers canceled their cable subscription during the pandemic. However, advertisers could reach over 84 million households via connected TV and streaming services.
- 79% of people who stopped paying for cable said that they are unlikely to subscribe again.
- Ad revenues dropped 14% year-over-year across all types of media, yet ad revenue from CTV/OTT saw an increase of 17%.
- 89% of marketers reported connected TV is more effective, or is equally effective, as tools offered through linear TV.
- CTV is leading to ad creativity, with 59% of TV media buyers making shorter ads a priority.
- 37% of ad buyers plan to hire new talent fluent in CTV, and 55% said they plan to take steps to ensure that their team can navigate both channels (linear and CTV).
- 95% of marketers said that CTV achieved desired key performance indicators.
This has created opportunities for business owners and marketers based on the benefits of CTV advertising. This report found that:
- Advertising may be a different experience on CTV platforms compared to traditional TV. Approximately 57% of viewers say that they would be “open” to lowering their subscription cost on paid platforms if they were to see ads every other episode while watching a show.
- Another 40% said they would prefer ads that were tailored to their interests.
- Only 14% said they would pay a premium for an ad-free experience, while 71% preferred a free or lower-cost ad-supported model.
The Benefits of Connected TV Advertising
A report by Emerging Alliances found that direct-to-consumer shoppers spend the majority of their weekly TV time watching streaming services — equating to 13 hours. This is 20% higher than cable and 70% higher than social. Incredibly, 82% of these shoppers take action after they see a CTV/OTT ad, showcasing the effectiveness of this strategy.
Although you may have largely relied on marketing through social media platforms until this point, CTV/OTT is now offering the perfect blend of digital marketing capabilities with the viewing experience of television. If your goal is to make your connected TV audience into new customers, it’s important to understand the value of targeted advertising.
The key here is to embrace data-driven advertising. Unlike traditional TV advertising, connected TV and OTT allow you to target an audience with much greater certainty. This audience-first strategy offers the benefit of more precise and measurable outcomes.
With CTV, you know exactly who is viewing your ads. This helps you stay on-trend with consumer behavior.
Other benefits include:
- Budget-friendly — Thanks to precise targeting, connected CTV advertising is cost-effective! Since you can reach your target demographic, this will allow you to stretch your budget.
- Improved viewability — Not only are CTV viewers often more engaged because of the on-demand experience, but this approach allows you to track how many target users actually saw your ad. This will allow you to optimize, focusing on brand awareness and customer acquisition.
- Ad format experimentation — Want to see what call-to-actions work best for your current goals? Split test with CTV advertising.
- Data-driven targeting — Use first- and third-party data to reach your most valuable audience in terms of conversion rates.
How to Make Connected TV and OTT Generate New Customers for Your Brand
When creating your CTV campaign, the planning process will be like any other advertising strategy.
You need to set marketing objectives and define your goals. In this case, your core goal will be to generate new customers. Based on that goal, you need to create an action plan, which includes the following steps.
Step one: Define your target audience
When planning your CTV ads, you need to know who your target audience is. When identifying who your audience is, consider the following categories.
- Demographics, including age, income, and location.
- Interests, including their personal goals, family life, and recreational activities.
- Purchasing behavior, focusing on the information your audience likes to have before they make a purchase. This will help you improve your message when aiming to generate new customers.
Step two: Decide where you want to display your ads
You want to go where your audience is. Consumers seek brands they’re familiar with when it comes time to buy, which is why you want to advertise where prospective customers will find you. Based on your target audience, would you benefit from advertising on CNN or Discovery+? What about Apple TV or Roku?
Baskin Robbins is an example of when traditional TV ads and CTV ads complement one another. This beloved company displayed an ad on linear TV and Roku (CTV). Data shows that 86% of the viewers on Roku who saw the ad did not see it on linear TV, leading to a 10.6% incremental reach.
Step three: Stay mindful of key metrics
As you record and analyze your data, continue to optimize your approach. Depending on your ongoing goals, launch multiple campaigns, targeting different types of consumers. Set performance benchmarks and then split test your top two creatives.
Adjust and tweak your campaigns according to the data you collect.
Recommended reading: How to Develop Creative Advertising That Motivates Customers to Try and Buy
Step four: Work with an advertising agency that will ensure the greatest ROI
Partnering with a credible advertising agency can help you save money by maximizing the value of your advertising budget. This step is especially important if you have no experience in CTV advertising. Now is the time to take advantage of this opportunity, so work with a team that will help you get the most out of your advertising campaigns.
DX Media Direct Can Help You Achieve Your Goals
If you’re new to CTV advertising or simply require expert support, DX Media has over 25 years of experience helping brands achieve growth.
We specialize in the four key components of any successful CTV campaign, including:
- Data science
- An experienced CTV/OTT media buying team
- Volume discounts
Ready to take your upcoming CTV campaign to the next level? We can help you develop a winning strategy to generate more customers!
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation, so contact us today!
You Can. Here’s How:
Once again, Google is throwing a curveball to the ad/MarTech world. If the ever-changing search algorithms weren’t difficult enough to deal with, businesses and marketers now face life without cookies. The search engine giant announced earlier this year that beginning in May 2021, the use of third-party cookies on websites will no longer be allowed. What does this mean for businesses?
Official Release: Death of Third-Party Cookies Coming Soon
Google’s plan to gradually eliminate the use of third-party cookies and reduce the possibilities of primary cookies has earned the nickname “Cookie Apocalypse.”
The announcement that Chrome browsers will render all third-party cookies obsolete by 2022 has shaken the marketing world. Digital marketers saw it coming but hoped it wouldn’t become a reality for at least another five years. Much to their dismay, the countdown to the Cookie Apocalypse has begun, leaving them less than a year to adapt and rethink marketing strategies or risk vanishing into oblivion.
Safari and Firefox have already effectively done away with cookies, and for marketers and data analysts, this means over one-third of that data has already disappeared. This has made it more challenging to run ad campaigns and measure their effectiveness.
An apocalypse might sound melodramatic as a name for this event, but we’re talking about more than the “look-outside-and-see-an-orange-sky” type. Apocalypse comes from the Greek words apo (un-) and kaluptien (to cover). To put this into context: the loss of third-party cookies is a form of revelation. In this new era, we’ll “uncover” or find out what was wrong with marketing and see who will come out on top.
What We’ve Learned So Far
The evolution of online advertising in the mid-1990s and early 2000s was like the wild west days of marketing. The internet was vast and mostly untamed. For publishers and advertisers to get the right ads in front of the right people and in the right context, they needed more and more data. This need became increasingly overwhelming for advertisers and consumers alike as the right to privacy became muddled.
To overcome this problem, governing bodies enacted stricter privacy regulations to protect consumers. The two most notable examples are the EU General Data Protection Regulation and the California Consumer Privacy Act.
At their end, browsers like Chrome and Firefox and operating system producers like Apple’s iOS have used privacy policies to attract consumers fed up with the way their data was appropriated without their consent.
Tighter privacy laws combined with consumer preferences took us to the point where browsers started limiting advertisers’ access to third-party cookies. Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari started the move, and Google Chrome is now set to join them. For those in the advertising and ad tech business, this change threatens their very livelihood. But problems were already brewing.
The number of data points and sources grew exponentially over the years. This growth has made marketing more and more complex and has created many problems for marketers. Not only is it overwhelming to process that amount of data, but it is also an expensive strain on resources. The inability to properly manage all this information led to privacy issues. It even resulted in fines for some offenders.
Big data and the introduction of machine learning are a tremendous help to marketers, but the impending loss of third-party cookies reveals one major flaw in the recipe. The heavy reliance on third-party marketing strategies over the past few decades has resulted in companies losing touch with their customers and losing control over customer data.
Once Chrome puts an end to third-party cookies, online advertising will more resemble a blunt instrument than the finely honed scalpel it is now because companies won’t own the data. Yes, new third-party cookie alternatives will fill the gap as time goes on. However, marketers will need to try harder and work smarter to find target customers.
The ride will be challenging for a while. Still, the death of cookies allows marketing organizations to re-establish relationships with customers and create new strategies for handling consumer data.
Surviving the Cookie Apocalypse
Three entities emerge as the big winners after the crush of third-party cookies: large first-party data environments, the public, and companies with first-party data collection strategies.
1. Large First-Party Data Environments
The third-party cookie apocalypse puts those companies with the most first-party data in an enviable position. The largest environments—such as Apple, Google, and Facebook—already have so much information on their customers and consumers that they don’t need to rely on third-party data. People come to them.
Undoubtedly, these companies struggle continually to gain and keep consumers’ trust, but that doesn’t stop millions and millions of users from flocking to these products and services. Consumers have come to depend so heavily on these establishments that they consider the companies indispensable to their daily lives.
Without third-party cookies, the privileged position of these companies is even more valuable than before. Now is the time for smaller players to dig in their heels, maybe join forces and devise a more viable, sustainable future for themselves and their businesses.
In the meantime, advertisers will likely have to work closely with these Big Boys.
2. The Public
This one may be considered a double-edged sword. On the one hand, many consumers will like the idea of not being tracked anonymously across the internet—not having their browsing habits followed and stored in a database somewhere. On the other hand, disallowing cookies does not mean the end of data collection. Some form of tracking will happen, probably with consent.
And in the immediate aftermath of third-party cookie loss, online ads may be laughably inappropriate instead of uncannily specific, like they are now.
It will take a while to see how privacy issues shake out, especially considering the effects of stringent privacy regulations. Privacy is an area where consumers most certainly come out on top regarding their relationships with brands. The more companies struggle to gain control over their data, the more they will need to entice consumers to voluntarily provide the sensitive information brands desperately need to understand consumer buying trends.
Enticements could range from sign-up and sign-in (identifiers and authentications giving permissions) to incentives to opt-in to different forms of data sharing. No matter what method they choose, companies will need to try harder to get close to consumers.
3. Companies with First-Party Data Collection Strategies
The third winner in this new post-cookie world will be the companies that have invested in first-party data collection and activation. Too many companies have relied solely on third-party data collection to gain new customers. This strategy has put them right on the chopping block now that they have to pivot their advertising campaigns toward first-party data collection methods when hoping to create mirror audiences.
Time is running out, and 2022 is just months away. That doesn’t leave much wiggle room for creating an entirely new data infrastructure. Marketers with well-managed first-party data collection and activation strategies will have an immense advantage over others for adapting to a third-party cookie-free world. They will be in the perfect position to respond quickly to ever-changing privacy regulations and learning the secrets to making Google work.
The companies that aren’t there yet better get a move on or face the consequences of entering the new era unprepared.
What can you do now to prepare for the loss of Third Party Cookies?
One excellent strategy is to begin collecting first-party data through your advertising campaigns on Google, Facebook, and Connected TV. The more data you are able to collect on who responds and buys your product or service the better. Don’t focus on just one advertising type or outlet. Each one has its strengths and weakness. Use an experienced advertising agency or media buyer to help you navigate each outlet and put strategies in place to make sure you are getting a good return on your investment while you are collecting first-party data.
Why is first-party data so important for your future advertising campaigns?
When you collect First-party data you then have the power to build a look-alike audience. So that data helps you market exponentially to customers who have the same wants, needs, buying habits, and media habits. Your first-party data becomes a secret weapon for reaching people just like your current customers. You don’t have to waste dollars and time hoping your advertising is hitting your target market. The data does that for you.
The death of cookies allows marketing organizations to re-establish relationships with customers and create new strategies for handling consumer data.
Now is the time to act for the future of your business
Surviving the cookie apocalypse means learning the secrets to making Google work for you, not against you. With the pandemic dominating the way people work, think and act, it’s understandable that advertisers haven’t given the demise of the cookie their full attention. However, more activities are happening online than ever before. It gives advertisers access to more people, but when the cookie crumbles, this extra internet activity won’t help.
With the shutdown of third-party cookies by the start of 2022, advertisers need to take action now. They need to take a proactive role in considering alternatives and deciding how to move forward. They need a solid plan on how to fill the massive gap that the death of the cookie will leave.
By collaborating with analytics, agencies, and ad tech providers, companies have the unique opportunity to control the planning and operating of digital advertising. They must take over the investment and measurement end of the business once and for all. In the end, this means better performance metrics, more transparency, and enhanced customer experience. It is a true win for all concerned.
Next year may mark the end of an era, but it’s the beginning of an even better way to market to consumers.