In a post-cookie world, whats next?

Advertisers, ad tech providers, marketers and publishers are forced to revisit their data sourcing and storage strategies, while finding alternative solutions to handle cross-site engagement and attribution. Here are a few solutions we’ve seen from across the industry.

New adtech and martech

Google introduced The Privacy Sandbox, dedicated to safeguarding user privacy and fostering the development of new privacy-preserving technologies. Privacy Sandbox includes a set of web browser APIs designed to maintain privacy while still delivering the ability for advertisers to target and measure campaign effectiveness.

The following APIs are specifically dedicated to ad targeting and measurement:

  • The Protected Audience API (formerly known as FLEDGE): based on remarketing and custom audience use cases. It enables advertisers to re-engage with website visitors by leveraging advertiser-defined anonymous groups (interest groups) and conducting on-device ad auctions to display ads.
  • The Topics API: based on interest-based advertising. The API assigns relevant topics to a browser based on recent user activity.
  • The Attribution Reporting API: enables advertisers to measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns through various privacy enhancing practices, such as encryption, time delay, etc. This ensures measurement while safeguarding individuals' data from disclosure to third parties.

The Privacy Sandbox APIs are accessible within Google's ads platforms. Google is encouraging ad technology partners to test and participate in growth and development efforts, ahead of the third-party cookie deprecation.

We encourage other ad-tech providers to integrate with the ARA (Attribution Reporting API) to retrieve the conversion data they need, and process the ARA’s output to help maintain accurate measurement in a post-third-party-cookie world.
Harikesh Nair, senior director of data science and ads measurement at Google

Increased focus on first-party data

Larger publishers have already started to build their own data marketplaces using first-party data. This consent/privacy-driven advertising ecosystem will likely be adopted by publishers of all sizes working to build, engage and monetize their audiences.

Walled gardens

For B2B marketers, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn are the largest walled gardens. These platforms require password-protected logins that can provide data and insights into users across devices and properties. Google has access to more data than all of these companies, gathering engagement and purchase information from an entire ecosystem of properties including Search, Gmail, YouTube, Drive, Photos, Chrome and its voice-activated Google Assistant. More publishers might begin to create their own walled gardens. They may put some or all their content behind a login or paywall which could have an impact on advertising strategy and available solutions.

First-Party data analytics

Advertisers should take a closer look at their own first-party data from websites, CRM, social media channels and other sources. Closely analyzing this data may provide deeper insight into which strategies and tactics impact the buyers’ journey so that marketers can sharpen messaging across these channels.

DSPs will have to pivot

Of course, this first-party data won’t be available to DSPs and advertisers may consider more direct or programmatic guaranteed deals.

Contextual advertising and targeting

Contextual targeting ensures ads are relevant to the user because it’s based on the content around it. Contextual ads have the ability to reach the right user, with the right content, at the right moment while minimizing the “invasiveness” often found with various tactics that leverage third-party cookies.

Contextual advertising, unlike advertising techniques requiring cookies, operates without the need to store files or data on users' devices, making it less intrusive. As this approach does not require downloading, it can display advertisements without accessing personal data. Furthermore, contextual advertising offers a more brand-safe approach to ad delivery, empowering marketers with greater control over their campaigns.

The global market for contextual advertising is projected to reach $562.1 billion by 2030, marking an increase of $199.8 billion from the year 2022. As AI and other machine learning technologies continue to evolve, contextual targeting is poised to become an essential part of the B2B marketing playbook.

Content, creative and customer experience will win

Content must be tied to context. Advertisers will have to be more cognizant of key points in the customer journey to add more value. Creative will need to be engaging and focus on target audiences to really resonate with readers and impact their decisions.