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Why the death of third-party cookies is actually a modern advertiser’s dream

By Tim Jones, Global head of research and insights

December 9, 2021 | 6 min read

As marketers across the globe fret over the impending demise of the third-party cookie, Mirriad’s global head of research and insights Tim Jones makes the argument that cookie deprecation actually creates valuable new opportunities to create relevance, deliver personalized, effective messages, drive performance and measure impact.

Rainbow refraction on palm of hand

How can modern advertising transform the consumer experience for the better?

In today’s vast online landscape, it’s estimated that the average consumer encounters between 6,000 and 10,000 ads daily. In this reality, traditional forms and methods no longer move the needle for brands in any significant way.

That’s why the new generation of brands and advertisers that gain purchasing power through modern approaches are incredibly uninterested in traditional ad formats such as email marketing, neon signs, billboards and direct mail. While these approaches can deliver results, it’s not enough to keep up in the digital era of oversaturated landscapes and instant gratification. The return on investment is just not there. So advertising finds itself at a crossroads.

Successful brands thrive on change and are adaptable in any situation. And while some are still nervous about the imminent death of the third-party cookie, modern advertisers are actually welcoming the challenge. Here’s why.

Uncovering new ways to reach consumers

Large brands are trying to reach consumers more frequently and stand out in the overcrowded ad landscape. Advertisers make the mistake of trying to reach consumers too frequently, with the same content on the same mediums. Modern consumers are uninterested in recycled ads and don’t trust brands that aren’t personal or authentic. Add competitors to the mix, and breaking through the noise becomes even more difficult without modern ad techniques.

However, eliminating the cookie can actually help to provide a more accurate view of consumers and allow brands to better understand the purchasing journey. Without cookies tracking user data throughout their journey on a particular website, companies are forced to identify new ways to reach consumers and therefore provide better experiences that drive meaningful interactions with the brand. Specifically, we are seeing brands engage with consumers through more video ads, relevant keyword targeting, reward programs, discount codes and more personalized positioning efforts. Personalization and authenticity are key.

Improving relevance and measurement

The traditional habit of thinking in terms of measuring prominence and size is outdated. Brands that can provide real-time, customizable content based on the specific viewer simply stand out among competitors. Modern consumers want personalization efforts to make them feel valued by the brands.

In-content advertising enables brands to better relate with those consumers. And the approach is gaining popularity. The World Advertising Research Center (Warc) recently released a report that shows support for initiatives to give advertisers more transparency over the context in which their ads appear in order to deliver relevance. Relevant context and quality environment can increase the viewability of an ad tenfold. It should come as no surprise then that 50% of agencies’ buy-side professionals plan to spend more on contextual targeting. The context within the environments in which ads are served is critical to ensuring relevance and will become ever more important in the cookieless world.

The death of the cookie offers an alternative way to advertise and also enables a ‘new’ way to measure audience interaction with brands. In-content advertising stands in contrast to flashy billboards and pop-ups because the user is already viewing the content in which an ad naturally appears. This seamless, non-disruptive mode of advertising uses unique technology to tag each in-content ad opportunity across a range of scene characteristics and emotions to deliver unrivaled context. Eye-tracking research on attention to advertising shows how the context and environment work influences purchase behavior, according to Warc. The modern marketer’s secret weapon is matching a brand in the right context to grab consumers’ attention.

Achieving more trustworthy, effective advertising

At the end of the day, brands aim to create better advertising that effectively reaches consumers. As such, they must prioritize content that builds customer trust.

Brands can create trust by pairing strategic advertising with adtech tools that measure customer sentiment and engagement. This approach enables brands to better understand their audiences and develop rapport and trust with them. Tools such as Google Analytics and LinkedIn Marketing Analytics are a great basis to start evaluating data; once brands are more comfortable with the basics, the next step is to implement more high-powered and specific adtech to their strategies, such as in-content advertising.

In-content ad strategies use artificial intelligence (AI) to not only deliver personalized, timely content, but also to generate contextual data about the viewer. This data offers brands the option to target audiences based on sentiment, which adds a key emotional moment of connection between viewer and brand – helping to build both trust and advertising effectiveness.

With the death of third-party cookies, and the subsequent move toward a new era of personalized and authentic marketing strategies, brands have the chance to redefine the future of advertising – one that favors consumers and is built on engagement, transparency and effectiveness. Let’s welcome this challenge and watch how modern advertising can transform the consumer experience for the better.

Tim Jones is global head of research and insights at Mirriad.

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