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Third-party cookies are crumbling - here’s how to prepare your advertising campaigns

By Teesta Raha



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May 7, 2024 | 5 min read

Kurt Weinsheimer, (chief product officer) at Sojern, shares best practices on preparing your advertising campaigns as Google intends to remove third-party cookie tracking in Google Chrome in early 2025.

As third-party cookies become obsolete, many advertisers find themselves unprepared. But what's the big deal? The move away from third-party cookies will completely change how digital advertising works. At the heart of every advertiser’s goal is the desire to consistently connect with key audiences, but soon a massive amount of data will become inaccessible, affecting targeting, attribution, and reporting. 

Given the reliance on third-party cookie data today, many advertisers will be left with holes in their campaigns. The cookieless deadline is fast approaching, and advertisers must reevaluate identifiers to overcome these new challenges to continue to find and engage with consumers across channels.

What does cookieless success look like?

As the third-party cookie crumbles, many advertisers will be asking the same question: how much inventory will remain targetable without third-party cookies? With the right strategies in place, advertisers will be able to drive strong performance in the future. First advertisers must understand the alternative approaches they can take to reach their audiences. Here are three methods they can use to help maintain scale and reach.

1. Unlinked audiences

Here, no direct identifiers are exchanged between the advertiser and publisher. Advertisers cannot directly target specific individuals or groups based on their browsing behavior or other personal data, so they likely rely on contextual or more general targeting.

2. Linked audiences

Advertisers can use specific identifiers or IDs to link to audiences within a platform, such as social media or an advertising network, and across various partners. When advertisers leverage first-party data and multiple targetable identifiers to target individuals or groups based on their unique IDs, they unlock more precise and personalized advertising strategies. However, this approach raises privacy concerns and may be subject to stricter regulations and user consent requirements.

3. Aggregated/privacy sandbox

This is a controlled environment within web browsers that aims to protect user privacy while still allowing for targeted advertising. In this setup, audience data is aggregated and pseudonymized within the browser using signals such as browsing history and operating system data. Advertisers can target these aggregated audiences without directly accessing individual user data.

Every advertiser and DSP wants to retain scale and reach, and critically advertisers will want to align with DSP capabilities. This means advertisers are exploring a range of identifiers that will allow them to continue using linked audiences once third-party cookies are deprecated. Currently, this technology is relatively new, with many DSPs only recently supporting various IDs. These include hashed emails, IP addresses, IDs collected securely from tags, as well as other universally accepted industry IDs, including first-party cookie IDs and other first-party data collected by a brand.

The future of advertising in a cookieless world

There’s no single approach to deploying successful cookieless campaigns. However, managed campaigns and curated private marketplaces (PMPs) will allow advertisers to access multiple IDs and touchpoints for better targeting. Often, agencies are familiar with curation for retail advertisers, but many are unable to curate qualitative travel data in a way that simplifies programmatic buying for traders.

Curated PMPs are highly-vetted marketplaces that can address many of advertisers’ challenges, including privacy and consent, while increasing efficiency in the buying process and ensuring better quality inventory by safeguarding against made for advertising (MFA) sites. Curation also removes the need for traditional integration processes, thus cutting out the middlemen, which increases transparency while bringing down overall campaign costs. Bid prices tend to be lower in curated PMPs while quality is higher, which improves campaign efficiency. In curated PMPs, fewer bid requests go unanswered, lowering noise–and subsequent waste–and creating a greener advertising environment.

Sojern is a travel marketing company that specializes in travel and uses curation to overcome issues around privacy and cookieless campaigns. Sojern uses tools like AI machine learning and a real-time data ecosystem to create scalable audiences for prospecting or increasing competitive advantage when using reactivation tactics. Since curation enables the packaging of multiple types of data into one PMP, Sojern helps its advertising clients overlay their own first-party data with audience and contextual data and all other targetable identifiers, giving advertisers greater visibility into their customer base while deploying cost-efficient, quality campaigns.

A cookieless world is here, and brands must adjust their programmatic strategies now to ensure long-term success. With the right blend of first-party data and partner support, travel marketers can launch targeted campaigns aimed at engaging specific audiences.

From boarding passes to cookieless campaigns

For years, Sojern has been a staple in travel marketing, continually pushing technology forward as the industry, devices, and consumer preferences evolve. What started as a boarding pass advertising company has expanded to include social integration, traveller insights, multichannel campaigns at scale, and a suite of guest experience solutions. 

Now, Sojern’s tools and strategies are prepping advertisers for a cookieless world, opening up new opportunities for audience curation. Sojern uses billions of travel data points and helps travel marketers activate their first-party data to profile, find, and target their ideal travellers. 

Sojern’s proactive, flexible approach means that travel marketers can still deploy successful programmatic, metasearch, social, and display campaigns using linked audiences once third-party cookies are deprecated.


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