Watch out while the cookies crumble

Cookie-based data has long been relied on by brands to target potential customers with ads, but with GDPR just around the corner, is retargeting about to crumble?

There is no doubt that brands are having to completely re-evaluate how they record, track and serve ads to consumers. Many believe this will make a digital marketer’s life incredibly difficult. With the right tools, I would have to disagree.

Research recently released by anti ad-blocking solutions provider PageFair, suggests that “consent is unworkable” in digital advertising. The research further suggests that the percentage of consumers who would grant consent to requests such as “allowing third parties to track your online behavior for targeting of relevant ads” is low, ranging from 5 to 20 percent.

So what’s the solution? It's clear consent and compliance alone are not the answer. The solution has to be about value. Now more than ever, businesses are being pushed to justify their place in a consumer’s brand repertoire. Gone are the days of collecting ‘big data’, treating audiences’ digital fingerprints like a commodity to be traded freely on the open market with third party data providers. GDPR is the nudge we needed to drive us to put our money where our mouth is; demonstrating value in a consumer’s interaction through better, more relevant content.

So whilst bottom of the funnel retargeting was once the staple tool for brands to engage with audiences at scale, there is now an immediate need to investigate and implement newer targeting techniques that will top-up, maintain and help discover new audiences without risking breach of the impending GDPR an ePrivacy regulations. Contextual targeting is a front runner in being able to deliver this - bringing intent and moment based marketing back into the limelight.

Over the coming months, more and more brands will begin to activate contextual solutions for digital advertising. If we can understand the content on the page in that exact moment, we can also accurately determine the audience that will gravitate towards it and therefore determine the best suited ad content. This in turn is helping to make more advertising both relevant and effective.

Contextually powered targeting solutions take us from a world dominated by cookies to solution that is based on the now.

Tapping into these kind of insights, in the way that Grapeshot’s system does, don’t require the use of cookies and are thus already ‘GDPR friendly’. Contextual providers reach consumers in real-time via real-time analysis. The bonus is that because page content is the variable that dictates the most relevant ad placement, and page analysis is performed in real-time, this contextual analysis removes the risk of inappropriate, brand unsafe ad placement.

There is no denying that technology like this is on the up. And in a post-GDPR world, it will become a necessity for all marketing to become far more contextually relevant to the consumer. This is the only way that consumers will agree to marketers holding their data – by proving the brand can add value to the consumer’s life.

For the ever decreasing runway leading to May 25th, the smart brands will be focused not just on compliance and consent, but the tools that will help them maintain and rebuild their reach to offer their audiences the value we’re now driven to deliver in a post-GDPR era.

Mike Hemmings, Marketing Director, EMEA, Grapeshot.