September 21, 2022

Cookieless Advertising: What You Need to Know

A cookieless kitchen or pantry sounds…let’s face it, pretty lame. Cookieless advertising, on the other hand, can actually bring a lot of benefits for publishers and brands across the web.

Cookieless advertising is the process of targeting audiences based on data other than third-party cookies (for example, first-party data or contextual signals). Third-party cookies are pieces of user data generated, stored, and sold by a third-party platform (i.e. not your business). While they’ve been the subject of many privacy and transparency debates, they’ve also been used for years to track and target customers on web pages.

Now that third-party cookies are being phased out of major browsers like Google Chrome, it’s more important than ever that marketers understand just what cookieless advertising is — and how they can use it to better reach their audiences. As Quantcast found, 60% of advertising and publishing professionals said preparing for a cookieless future is one of their top priorities in 2022.

Are you part of that majority? Here’s what you need to know.

Why is cookieless advertising so important right now?

Third-party cookies are on the way out. Safari and Firefox have already disabled them from their browsers, and Google Chrome is next. (Google initially said they’d disable third-party cookies in 2020, but then pushed it to 2024.)

The problem is that cookies have been the standard for tracking internet users across the web. So now that they’re being phased out, brands and publishers have to completely rethink their digital advertising and targeting strategies. 

After all, they can’t just stop tracking customers and personalizing ads. As McKinsey & Company reported, 71% of consumers expect companies to deliver personalized experiences and 76% get frustrated when they don’t. Personalization also leads to better digital marketing performance and increased revenue.

That means — if businesses want to survive — they’ll have to adopt cookieless targeting methods to better track users and engage potential customers.

What are the biggest benefits of cookieless targeting?

A cookieless world may be a big adjustment for the ad industry, but it’s actually a blessing in disguise. That’s because third-party cookies have had their major faults. Namely, they can be expensive for marketers and be a privacy risk for customers. In fact, improving privacy is Google’s main reason for phasing out third-party data.

In Google’s initial announcement post, Director of Chrome Engineering, Justin Schuh, wrote: “Users are demanding greater privacy — including transparency, choice, and control over how their data is used — and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands.” KPMG also found that 86% of consumers see data privacy as a growing concern and 62% of business leaders think their company can strengthen data protection.

Done right, cookieless tactics can be a win-win-win for publishers, brands, and customers. More specifically, the biggest benefits of cookieless advertising include:

  • Enhanced privacy. With cookieless solutions like first-party data and contextual advertising, businesses can target customers anonymously. New Apple privacy features and government compliance measures also ensure that brands ask for explicit consent before gathering and sharing customer data.
  • Greater control over data. Brands can use this opportunity to collect first-party data — like email addresses and phone numbers — which they own and operate themselves.
  • More accurate ad targeting. Since first-party data is collected directly from customers, it can be more accurate and reliable than third-party data, which comes from an outside platform. Brands can then use this data to create their own audience segments and precisely target consumers.
  • Cost-efficiency. Buying third-party data from a vendor can be expensive. And it’s not always worth the value, since that data can be subject to fraud and bots. With cookieless advertising solutions, brands can have peace of mind knowing where their data comes from and how much it costs to earn that information from customers.

Which cookieless advertising solutions are out there?

Ad tech companies have been hard at work building targeting solutions for a cookieless world. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, it’s important for businesses to understand all their options, so they can make the best choice or choices for their needs. 

As eMarketer reported, 60% of US marketers think they’ll need multiple identity solutions to navigate a post-cookie future. 

With that in mind, here’s a look at some of the most notable cookieless advertising tools out there:

  • Email advertising. The email address is one of the most powerful pieces of first-party data on the web. Brands can use this data to build subscription memberships, segment audiences, and target customers in niche contexts.
  • Contextual targeting. This approach involves targeting ad placements based on context instead of personally identifiable information. So if someone is reading an article on a sports site, you can reach them with a relevant ad about athletic gear.
  • Universal IDs. Ad tech companies have launched universal identifiers in place of third-party cookies, which companies can opt-in to use for anonymous targeting across multiple channels. The Trade Desk, for example, is building out its Universal ID 2.0 solution.
  • Identity graphs. LiveRamp operates the largest deterministic identity graph on the web, connecting data from across channels to help businesses identify their customers. And Criteo, a DSP focused on retargeting, is using its Shopper Graph to connect data points from over 2.5 billion online and offline shoppers.

Ready to prepare your business for a cookieless world? Jeeng can help with first-party data solutions and automated email marketing tools. Backed by artificial intelligence and machine learning, our platform gives you the power to deliver personalized, direct campaigns across channels.

Contact us to get started.