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The post-cookie future is delayed, but the consumer-focused imperative is not

October 12, 2021

By Mollie Spilman, Chief Revenue Officer, Oracle Advertising & Marketing.

You’re planning for a momentous event and are nervous that you won’t be ready. Have you thought of everything, checked all the boxes, and done the best you could? Maybe you’re thinking that if you just had more time…. Sound familiar?

Well, for the past year and a half, the advertising industry has been planning for an industry-changing event: the expected early-2022 end of third-party cookies, the technology that advertisers, media and adtech companies have relied on for more than two decades to deliver targeted advertising across the internet.

In January 2020, Google announced its intent to phase-out support of third-party cookies in their Chrome browser “within two years”. This news kicked off a frenzy of activity and proposals across the ecosystem of adtech companies, publishers and industry organizations to find consumer-centric solutions to preserve advertisers’ ability to reach their desired target audience across platforms and devices with relevancy and at scale.

During this same period, Apple also launched several privacy-focused features that limited advertising targeting and data collection. This includes blocking third-party cookies by default in the Safari browser for iOS, iPadOS, and macOS; AppTrackingTransparency; and most recently, Mail Privacy Protection, included in iOS 15 last month.

So why are many in the industry breathing a little easier today? In June, Google announced that it would delay plans to remove third-party cookie support from Chrome until late 2023.

“While there’s considerable progress with [their Privacy Sandbox] initiative, it’s become clear that more time is needed across the ecosystem to get this right,” Vinay Goel, privacy engineering director for Chrome, wrote in a blog post on the company’s website.

With this change, the industry has more time, but the smart players won’t take this as a signal to relax and slow down. We all need to keep up the pace together to meet business needs while addressing consumer demand for more data privacy, transparency, and control.

So now what?

You can’t grow your business without acquiring new customers and growing your relationships with current customers. The reliance on powerful platforms like Google, Facebook, and Apple to reach consumers — and on third-party cookies for advertising targeting, website personalization, and analytics — has created a disconnection between brands and consumers that the industry can now address.

Advertisers (or agencies) should be building up a portfolio of solutions to acquire and grow customer relationships, and make smart marketing and advertising investments that will persist into the future, well past 2023.

Know your customer

Customer experience is paramount in today’s world, and first-party data is your cornerstone. Advertisers first step should be to establish a customer data platform that provides a single, unified customer view across advertising, marketing, sales and service.

Over time you can grow your understanding of your customers by enriching that data with information about their buying behaviors and other helpful clues about their lifestyle or identity, such as “healthy lifestyle” or ”young professional”, using solutions like Oracle’s data enrichment.

Having robust customer insights will allow you to deliver highly relevant content across channels, develop more targeted audience segments for prospecting, and provide more relevant experiences. Another smart strategy is to create or grow a loyalty program.

Even marketers who may feel they can’t build a robust first-party data strategy because they have limited direct consumer interaction can leverage loyalty programs.

Meet them where they are

The modern consumer is reading and watching content across various devices, from mobile phones and desktops to gaming platforms and big-screen TVs. If your ad is to be seen as relevant and welcomed, it needs to be in the right context and reach the audience when they are in the right mindset.

Contextual intelligence solutions ensure a privacy-centric approach, targeting the content of the page or video without any need for third-party cookies or personal information. As an example, Disneyland Paris uses contextual solutions across display and video campaigns to reduce cost per acquisition and increase conversions.

Test and learn

Use this time as your impetus to start, or ramp up, your involvement in industry groups such as the ANA, GARM, and the 4A’s PRAM, to be a part of building the next generation of privacy-focused solutions. Work with your partners to test different approaches to ad targeting, email programs and loyalty.

Publishers now have more time to develop and test different approaches for offering both paid and free access to your content. For those that want to build your own first-party data with authenticated (logged-in) offerings, you have the time to orient your users to the change and to integrate with adtech partners so that advertisers can reach your logged-in audiences in an appropriate, privacy-sensitive model.

Tags

advertising
data
customer experience
third party cookie
data deprecation