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Two more years of cookies shouldn’t derail our progress toward an omnichannel future

by Bill Wise

October 6, 2021

If you ever needed proof of Google’s power over advertising, look no further than its recent announcement that it will continue to support cookies for two more years. This development is of course an abrupt change to its stated plans to phase cookies out in 2022. Every stakeholder in the media value chain must reevaluate their strategic plans, sending publishers, ad tech companies, agencies, and brands back to the drawing board.

What should marketers consider as they digest and adapt to this news?

Delaying the inevitable

It’s worth stating the obvious here: the end of the cookie still looms on the horizon, albeit a bit further off. It’s still worth preparing for. The industry has collectively exhausted a great deal of energy and resources in preparing for it, and the rationale for these investments still holds true.

What we have now is more time, and marketers should use it productively. Google has given the industry an extra two years to prepare for a cookieless future, allowing for more testing, experimentation, innovation and refinement. Ignoring this challenge and going back to business as usual will be tempting, but it will be a big mistake. As an industry, we need to maintain our sense of urgency in spite of the extended timeline.

Prepare for more changes

Google faces major regulatory headwinds at home and abroad, and, as they progress, these regulatory actions may provoke further deviations from Google’s stated plan. In short: the only thing that’s certain is uncertainty.

Uncertainty was already endemic to the cookieless future, at least as it has been envisioned to date. It has never been likely that one standard would emerge to replace the cookie outright. If cookies were to disappear today, marketers would need to navigate a multi-channel and multi-ID landscape, and tackle the complex problem of making them work together.

Omnichannel all the way

The industry will not simply return to homeostasis after the cookie is gone; every stakeholder needs to up their game and get smart on the details. And that means that marketers should continue to invest in technology and data that enable them to be more adaptable, agile, and efficient across channels and identity spaces.

Mediaocean remains focused on supporting the industry’s transition to an omnichannel and data-driven future. Two more years of cookies should not distract us from that broader imperative – nor should any one identifier. The work is not in preparing for new identifiers, but in solving for the space between them. That is as true today as it will be in 2024.

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omnichannel
Cookies
Data and privacy