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No More Cookies

Google Chrome recently announced that over the next two years it will be phasing out third-party cookies, which made programmatic, personalized advertising possible. In other words, advertising is set to get a little more difficult, but there’s no need to panic.

Understandably, advertisers are paying close attention to what this shift means for paid ads. They’re also looking ahead and getting ready to adapt to the changing advertising environment.

Why are we tossing out cookies?

The simple answer? Privacy. Third-party cookies are great for tracking a user’s history and activity within a browser, and can even make browsing easier for the user, but they can also be a bit invasive. As consumer attitudes toward privacy have changed, it’s become clear that users want more control over their data and how it’s used.

What it means for advertisers

The loss of third-party cookies obviously makes audience targeting more difficult, and it’s possible that advertisers might have to rely on non-personalized ads for a while as they adjust. That could mean a drop in ad efficacy and revenue across the board — not just for the companies advertising, but for the advertisers and publishers as well.

Most importantly, advertisers and brands will have to switch to first-party data. For brands with the resources to do so, it’s a great time to begin investing in first-party data collection methods. Likewise, advertisers will need to find ways to collect and segment data to make targeted advertising possible.

Finally, it’s likely we’ll see a consolidation of the advertising landscape as many brands shift their advertising budgets to large platforms that can guarantee an impressive store of user data. In other words, the big tech companies like Facebook and Amazon will become shelters in the storm.

Looking ahead

Advertisers aren’t just looking to adapt to Google’s decision. There are also new technologies that might help address the looming problem of third-party cookies disappearing, including:

  • Algorithms that conduct cohort analysis, based on the groups users belong to, rather than their individual identities.

  • Alternative idea solutions based on data received with user consent.

  • Increased contextual targeting based on user preference, without accessing binding user data.

Fortunately, there are still several months for advertisers and publishers to develop their advertising strategies heading into the next year. There may be some hurdles of course, but advertising has consistently shown it knows how to adapt in our new digital environment.


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