Why are so many marketers talking about the cookie? Didn’t Google wipe out cookies this year? Well, not quite.
There’s a lot of talk in the digital advertising world related to cookies, privacy, and restrictions, and we’re here to give you all the updates and info you need.
The word “cookie” usually refers to the data saved online that can store and remember information about you. When you visit a website, cookies could track your online activity. Now Google is phasing out the third-party cookie by the end of 2023, so many are using the term “cookieless,” but this term can be confusing.
This phaseout comes after increasing concerns from users over their privacy rights, multiple data leaks, and scandals such as the Cambridge Analytica case.
According to AdExchanger, “The loss of third-party cookies affects web browsers on desktops, tablets, and phones, but . . . connected TV and mobile apps never even had third-party cookies to begin with.” Google isn’t the first to phase out or block cookies‚—Safari and Firefox have had the ability to block these for years, but with Google’s announcement, marketers are realizing that cookies may be gone for good.
In a MediaOcean report, they provide some important cookie statistics:
- 60% of marketers remain confident in tracking and data collection without using cookies
- 16% are concerned about not being prepared for a “cookieless” future
- 26% say non-cookie methods such as media mix modeling will be the most impactful tech innovation for advertising this year
How Genius Monkey is Tackling Cookies
Genius Monkey COO Travis Champ said he and his team aren’t worried about losing cookies because they never relied solely on cookies for targeting.
“Losing it won’t really hurt us because we have other methods of targeting,” Champ said. “We have plenty of ways to target users accurately online without cookies. We also have long standing relationships with many offline behavioral databases so that we are never reliant on just one data source, such as a cookie. This is really important because not everybody has that train of thought or those relationships in place.”
We’ve been prepared for this change for a while—our 2021 blog post, “Adios to the Third-Party Cookie,” explains in more detail our game plan and capabilities. In “Customer Insights in a Cookie-Less World,” we write, “The future of digital marketing is headed in a privacy-first direction and everything comes down to the quality of and the way you collect customer data.”
It’s All About Group Targeting
In a world without cookies, instead of tracking one single person and seeing they clicked on a specific chair at Target, we’ll now see a larger group of people visiting a genre of furniture, such as contemporary modern chairs, instead of knowing they were interested in a specific thing.
We won’t be able to target individually, but that consumer will be placed in a more general pool of consumers who like contemporary modern furniture, for example. “We aren’t losing the ability to target people—it’s just shifting and on many levels this is how we prefer it anyway to get a broader reach”, Champ said.
Why You Shouldn’t Use the Word “Cookieless”
“As an industry, we need to move away from the idea of ‘cookieless,’” said Liane Nadeau, SVP and head of media investments at Digitas North America. “It might sound like semantics, but we have to stop thinking about what we’re losing – which is the cookie – and start thinking about what we’re building, which is the future of identity and advertising in a privacy-compliant way.”
The better definition of “cookieless” is any solution that helps marketers rely less on third-party cookies. One tech CEO said that instead of “cookieless,” we should use the term ‘ID-less’ because this involves mobile ad IDs, not just cookies.
Champ agreed, saying he likes the concept of “ID-less” because it implies you’re not targeting individuals; you’re targeting at a content or genre level.
What ID-Less Means for the Future
Targeting is not going away altogether; it’s just going to be utilized a little differently. And Genius Monkey is already prepared with the technology, software, and team to keep your campaigns running just as smoothly when cookies finally do disappear.