How to succeed with your media in the cookieless future
The deprecation of third-party cookies: this change feels ominous to many in the digital advertising industry. As the clock winds down for cookies, it’s time for brands to be vigilant and take action. Coegi’s president Sean Cotton suggests some ways for marketers to plan ahead.
Coegi provides tips for excelling in an imminent cookieless world
Third-party cookies are leaving – so what?
The primary effects of cookie deprecation will be audience targeting limitations and measurement specificity. Successful marketers will need new and better ways of understanding how customers make decisions, what leading indicators drive business outcomes and how to aggregate this data to understand directional success.
Diminished targeting reliability will require a strategic combination of data sources
The targeting and segmenting of audiences using browser functionality will soon require consent from user to publisher. This will significantly decrease the scale of targetable audiences available from third-party ad networks as they lose the ability to collect and model user data across sites using cookies.
The foremost solution to these limitations is using reliable first- and second-party data to target your consumers. However, not all brands currently have a CRM database large enough to achieve their goals. In these cases, walled gardens, despite their cross-platform measurement limitations, can bolster scale by leveraging user login data. This data is unaffected by third-party cookies, as it is solely usable within the respective platform. Marketers will need to strategically balance both types of data sources to reach their targetable audiences at scale across channels. And for brands who currently lack first-party data, begin exploring tactics that will support compliant collection through value exchange.
Additional cookieless targeting solutions that will be increasingly critical include identity resolution providers, IP targeting and contextual targeting. Identity resolution tools, in particular, are a direct response to the impending elimination of cookies. Masked IP-targeting and location-based targeting will continue to be viable, although new policies could reduce the scale of targetability. Another interesting targeting option is automatic content recognition, or ACR. ACR technology captures video viewing on over-the-top devices, creating affinity-based audiences, as well as creating competitive conquesting options across programmatic platforms. Testing various targeting tactics and exploring which drive the best results for your brand will be important for setting yourself up for success in the future.
Understand success with new measurement tactics
Marketers, it’s time to remove the ‘easy button’ and part ways with measurement strategies dependent on third-party conversion pixels. This will make apparent return on ad spend more challenging to track, and impede marketers who have historically had an overreliance on retargeting and last-click attribution. As capabilities for tracking users outside of walled gardens diminish, all marketers will be forced to place less emphasis on media efficiency metrics and more emphasis on directional business and sales performance data.
A core component within this framework includes measuring incrementality, a practice that is becoming increasingly important to understand advertising’s impact on business outcomes. Incrementality addresses the question of how many of those conversions would have happened without any advertising spend. Algorithmic media mix modeling is the most effective approach to measure incrementality. The ability to isolate one variable at a time and see the impact of removing/adding a tactic allows deeper understanding of how omnichannel campaigns work together and how specific actions impact key outcomes. Incrementality can also be tracked with advanced measurement tactics such as brand lift studies using consumer surveys or sales lift studies comparing sales data to marketing efforts.
Start by identifying leading signals and developing a custom scorecard using a combination of meaningful metrics. The best way to execute this is by weighting core KPIs based on their significance and incorporating them into a customized formula. Layering advanced measurement such as brand lift studies can assist in understanding overall brand health.
While the deprecation of third-party cookies will impact the way many marketers have historically approached digital media, having a data-driven and tech-enabled system for audience-based media that is tied into a holistic and integrated measurement solution will ensure that brands can continue to reach their audiences in the right place at the right time.
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Coegi is an independent digital agency providing services across digital strategy, media buying, paid social, search and influencer campaigns. We bring together people, platforms and tech partners to create custom marketing solutions focused on your business results.Find out more