That the 3rd Party cookie is about to disappear i maybe no news. But that the global killer meteor has already hit and that it is only a few dinosaurs left fighting the inevitable end is maybe not as well known a fact.
I had a client meeting the other week where a marketer, after discussing the current state of the 3rd party cookies and the consequences of the disappearance of this technology, asks me: “So do you mean that we will not be able to do retargeting?”. I had to confirm that was the case, as well as other techniques that meant tracking across domains was already on the way out: cross-media marketing and lookalikes. The response was: “But we don’t have budgets to target everyone…”
And this is what I hear when I am out talking about these things. “But someone is gonna fix it, right?” is another response. And with “someone” they usually mean Google.
But the truth is that even if Google “fixes” it this fix will not entail Apple and iOS-devices, nor the privacy movement that is rising as the means to surveil increases. And more than 50% of the Swedish Internet traffic comes from Apple-devices today, and the share of traffic that blocks 3rd party cookies will only grow.
Personally I believe that the Internet needs better integrity, so that you as an Internet user knows that the data you share stays with those you shared it with or at least know exactly how it is used. Because data is not a bad thing, it is a great thing. But how it has been used until now has been unregulated and a privacy risk.
At Brain Nordic we love marketing, we also love integrity and creating great user experiences. And what powers all of these things are data.
To try to “hack” your way around the 3rd Party cookie disappearance is not the solution, I believe. I think that this will only create even more limitations on technology, stricter legislation and increased mistrust with the users. Which in turn will lead to less data, poorer user experiences and a less functional Internet.
And if we look to publishers, who up until now has relied on other players in the programmatic space having the data needed to enrich their inventory, they need to add data in an integrity mindful way so that they can maintain the value of their ad inventory. Publishers need to step up and deliver the data to the advertisers, but in a way that is integrity mindful, transparent and with increased control for the Internet users. To maintain gigantic data warehouses that store any and all data regarding users will probably not be a sustainable business as the use of the data becomes more limited when the 3rd party cookie is gone forever.
So what should we as marketers do instead?
I think that players in the ad-tech/mar-tech/marketing space need to understand that some tools that have been available in the toolbox will disappear and not necessarily be replaced by new equivalent tools. They will be gone and other approaches to digital marketing will become necessary. And it might mean a “few steps back”.
Above all I believe that you need to become an expert in your 1st Party Data, and not just transactional and relational data, but also your web data, traffic data and marketing data – because even if you have it in Google Analytics, this really is your own 1st Party Data. Any and all data that is generated within your domains, physical or digital, and under your control as a brand and as an advertiser will become essential in creating new opportunities and gain ground in the tough competition that is digital marketing.
But above all: adapt an “integrity first” mindset, because even if retargeting and lookalikes through 3rd Party cookies has worked, and worked well, this has actually been a breach of privacy for the individual users in many cases. What the shift in attitude amongst the Internet users are telling us is that this is no longer acceptable.
My name is Martin Bergqvist, CEO of Brain Nordic and we leverage 1st Party Data into integrity mindful marketing services for both advertisers and publishers.