Google’s intention of removing cookies from Chrome was first announced in January 2020 and since then there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of articles discussing the implications of the phasing out of the third-party cookie. Here we are, kicking off 2024 and several articles published this year have highlighted that advertisers are still not ready for the cookieless world.
For those still feeling unsure of what this year looks like, you should be considering the following:
1) Take the lead with data dominance: many brands will already be leveraging their first-party data via Meta’s CAPI and Google’s enhanced conversions but there should also be a plan to roll out a connection with a brand's own CDP. CAPI and EC are quicker solutions to implement and more achievable for most brands, whereas the implementation of a CDP is a much longer process that can include sign-off from various internal departments such as legal and IT security, which can delay the rollout. This doesn’t even touch on the financial implications of a CDP, especially when many marketers are under pressure to cut back on martech spend. With these solutions in place, advertisers can regain some signal loss in their conversion tracking to help inform the platform optimisations and channel performance.
2) Exploit solutions already in the market: unified ID solutions aim to create a single, standardised identifier for users that can be used across different digital platforms and devices. These identifiers, often based on hashed email addresses or other privacy-compliant methods, allow advertisers to recognise and engage with users without relying on third-party cookies. The Trade Desk has been very vocal and active in this space with their Unified 2.0 Solution.
3) Work with people you trust: Data Clean Rooms provide a secure sanctuary for advertisers and publishers to collaborate without the need for direct data exchange. This controlled environment allows for the sharing of valuable insights and analytics, fostering collaboration in an era where third-party cookies no longer serve as the primary source of data. Embracing these solutions not only ensures regulatory compliance but also paves the way for a future where personalised, effective advertising coexists harmoniously with user privacy. ADH and LiveRamps Safe Haven are both great examples of Data Clean Rooms that are helping advertisers and brands navigate the future of targeting and measurement within the digital ecosystem.
The evolving digital landscape demands adaptation, and embracing these solutions not only ensures regulatory compliance but also charts a course for a future where personalised advertising coexists harmoniously with user privacy. The road ahead is challenging, but with strategic planning and the right tools, advertisers can navigate the cookieless world effectively and thrive in a privacy-centric digital space.
Tom Leahey is Head of Digital, Hearts & Science