COOKIELESS: HOW TO CONTINUE TO PERFORM IN ADVERTISING IN A COOKIELESS WORLD?
6
September
2021
  Reading time:  
3
min
You may have heard about it : the world of digital advertising has been buzzing since early 2020 about the restriction of the use of web cookies, announcing a real "cookie apocalypse". Are we heading towards a cookieless world ? What will the implications of these paradigm shifts be on your advertising campaigns ?

IIn this post, let’s take a look at the impact of a cookieless world on your digital marketing practices, and the advertising alternatives that can be deployed. that can be deployed.

WHY ARE COOKIES USED IN ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS ?

WHAT IS A WEB COOKIE?

Cookieless - image

A web cookie is a text file stored in a browser, which facilitates online browsing by recording various information. It consists of a unique identifier, which acts as a label.

Some cookies are deleted after closing the browser : they’re called session cookies.
Others remain active, and keep a trace in the browser for up to 13 months : they’re called permanent cookies.

To understand fully the impact of a cookieless world cookieless on your marketing strategy, you need to know how to differentiate…

  • Third party cookies , which are hosted in your target’s browser, available only on the domain visited, and cannot be shared with other partners
  • Third party cookies , which allow third party companies to record information about a target’s behavior and interest

Third party cookies third are the ones used in online advertising campaigns, so they’re impacted by the famous "cookie apocalypse" that awaits.

WHAT ARE THE ADVERTISING FEATURES OF COOKIES ?

What is the purpose of a web cookie ? This is a crucial question that you need to know the answer to.
A cookie can serve several purposes. It can be...

  • Technical : these kinds of cookies are essential for a user to surf from one page to another in good conditions (for example, to keep the same language from one page of a site to another)
  • Analytical : those are used to measure the audience, and generate only anonymous statistics
  • Advertising

It’s that third kind of cookie that allows marketers to...

  • Target users for their ad campaigns : thanks to advertising cookies, you can build your campaigns around criteria of interest, intent and socio-demographic criteria to create pools of users, that can be addressed later in retargeting, in lookalike audiences, or that can be excluded from certain campaigns
  • Optimize their campaigns , so as to improve the performance of your advertising investments
  • Personalize their campaigns based on multiple elements (products viewed, browsing history, CRM or weather data…)
  • Measure the performance of their campaigns campaign performance: analyzes attribution analysis, audience measurement, but also reports related to different KPIs, such as clicks or impressions

Now that you know what a cookie is and what it is used for, let's look to the future: what will a world without cookies look like?

TOWARDS A “COOKIELESS” ONLINE MARKETING WORLD ?

THE WEB SLOWLY BECOMES COOKIELESS

In January 2020, Google Chrome announced that by 2022, it will stop using third-party cookies. An announcement that causes panic in the world of programmatic advertising, as a large part of the campaigns uses these cookies. This announcement has since been postponed to 2023. However, it’s important for you to understand this decision was predictable :

Cookieless - timeline
  • In 2010, the use of Adblock, the technology that blocks the display of advertisements, emerges: a first proof that users were fed up with traditional ads, and that online advertising had to start reinventing itself.
  • In 2017, Apple launched ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) in its browser Safari: this technology creates more restrictive cookie management conditions. Third-party cookies became limited, first-party cookie storage was limited to one day, and third-party cookies were blocked by default.
  • In 2019, the Firefox browser launches its own technology: ETP (Enhanced Tracking Protection), which blocks all third-party cookies by default, and blocks cross-domain cookies.
  • In 2020, the CNIL strengthens its measures related to the collection and use of cookies as defined in the notorious RGPD. The idea was to strengthen the protection, and especially the transparency, of the collected data, by obliging websites to precisely inform users of the way their web cookies are collected, stored, and used.

See how tomorrow’s cookieless world was foreseeable ?

COOKIES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN PROBLEMATIC FOR ADVERTISING USE

If a cookieless world can frighten the marketer who has based their strategy on digital advertising, these fears need to be rationalized.

In fact were already a concern for advertisers in terms of advertising.

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For instance, since cookies are centered on the target’s browser, they can’t be used cross-device. This means a cookie can’t follow the in-app environment; nor can it follow an individual on his different browsers. And this is a real weakness, in a time when target audiences are using more and more different devices, and want to keep a consistent experience between these different media.
Moreover, synchronizing the third-party cookies needed to communicate between two technologies can lead up to two issues :

  • A natural loss between platforms, as cookies are specific to each platform and do not speak the same language.
  • The synchronization can generate more or less strong latencies while the pages of a publisher or advertiser site are loading.

Rest assured that the potential disappearance of cookies is therefore not a fatality for your advertising campaigns !

WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES
TO ADVERTISING COOKIES?

As an advertiser, how do you manage the transition to a cookieless world in your advertising campaigns? Don’t panic: various (existing or under development) alternatives can be considered to ensure your campaigns’ performance.

PERSONALIZED “COOKIELESS” TARGETING

To do one-to-one targeting, you don't necessarily need third-party cookies! It is possible to use...

  • Local Storage: : the cookies used with this technique are not third-party cookies, but first-party cookies, stored on the website itself. Therefore, browser restrictions don’t apply to them, and they can be used for targeting (without being shared with another partner).
  • CNAMING: this technique consists in the fact that a website can delegate part of its domain (a sub-domain) to a third-party advertising partner. The cookies used are then considered as first party, which makes it possible to bypass browser restrictions and use the information throughout the digital ecosystem (DSP, SSP, DMP).

You also need to keep in mind that major programmatic advertising players have already implemented (or are working on implementing) new identifiers, which also allow for precise targeting options :

  • Walled Gardens (Facebook, Amazon...) already use their own unique ID, which is a "first party" identifier: they will not be totally impacted by a "cookieless" world
  • PassMedia or netID are working on the creation of a shared ID
  • Unified ID Solution, ID5, Zeotap, or Liveramp, are working on the creation of an identity platform or a "universal ID". The goal of these different solutions is to replace the third-party cookie with a new advertising identifier to maintain cross-platform communication and maintain the current AdTech ecosystem.

Moreover, an identifier one-to-one targeting already exists: the device ID, an identifier based on the device used by the user, and which persists over time. Some players are thinking of collecting this ID, and matching it to a user's browser ID, to be able to target them afterwards.

COHORT TARGETING

In addition to those new technologies, Google Chrome offers various advertising features in its Sandbox to replace the main functions of the third-party cookie. Each feature is a response to a use case that Google has identified, in partnership with industry players. There are features for attribution, brand safety, privacy... and of course targeting features !

In a cookielessworld, targeting moves from a “One-to-one” mode to a “One-to-few”mode, with the principle of FLOC targeting (Federated Learning Of Cohorts) targeting. This type of targeting is based on a learning algorithm that aggregates users who share the same online browsing behavior.

Each of these user cohorts is composed of at least XNUMX users - note that a user can only belong to one cohort at any given time. Google Chrome should launch its feature (FLEDGE) allowing retargeting in cohorts by the end of the year. It will then be available in Google's “Privacy Sandbox”, which will become a new advertising ecosystem that will allow advertising campaigns to be conducted with a large target audience.

CONTEXTUAL TARGETING

Are you familiar with contextual targeting? This programmatic advertising technique consists in selecting specific keywords to serve online ads next to editorial content that includes those keywords. As such, it does not involve any cookies, and therefore does not require user consent. While this is one of the oldest targeting features for digital marketers, it is far from being the most advanced strategy for achieving your marketing goals.

However, companies specializing in this type of targeting are working on increasingly agile and intelligent algorithms, which enable very precise results thanks to a fine analysis of the context.
It can therefore be a very interesting solution, especially if you do not want to follow campaigns focused on your site (for instance brand awareness or branding campaigns).

WHAT SHOULD WE CONCLUDE FROM THIS ?

Cookieless - the recipe

At Gamned!, we believe that the cookie apocalypse, scheduled for 2023, is rather an opportunity to do better digital advertising. In fact, Google's announcement has led players in the field to develop alternatives that are already available, or will be when Google's decisions will be implemented. So don't panic !

As experts in programmatic advertising, we will test all these alternatives as soon as they are ready, to select the most relevant ones to generate the best results for our clients.
Need to set up programmatic campaigns that will help you achieve your goals ? Contact a Gamned expert now! to set up the most effective tactics for your marketing plan.

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