August Spotlight – The cookie winter is coming…just not for a while

Novatiq Spotlight August

That’s right, Google has once again delayed the depreciation of third-party cookies and this month’s Spotlight is dedicated to looking at what this means for digital advertisers, agencies, and publishers. Read on to discover what industry practitioners think, as well as for Novatiq’s view on what the industry should do next.

Missed our July’s newsletter? Don’t worry, you can read it on our blog here.

What we have for you today: The low down on the cookie winter – why it is delayed, when it will happen, and what marketers, advertisers, and agencies should do about it.

Ending our reliance on third-party cookies

Third-party tracking cookies are inadequate. Advertisers know it, agencies know it, and publishers know it. Like some sort of innutritious junk food that you just can’t get enough of, the industry continues to load up on the data provided by these invasive trackers and use it to fuel personalised advertising at scale. This despite the fact we know that tracking cookies don’t actually work that well, delivering match rates of just between 40% and 60%.

That’s why for many in the industry the decision by Google to phase out third-party cookies has, after an initial shock, come to be appreciated. It provides a great opportunity for the digital advertising ecosystem to put its house in order and reorient on a privacy-first axis.

A stay of execution

Google’s announcement that it will push back the depreciation of third-party tracking cookies to 2024 is therefore disappointing. This is the second occasion the timetable has slipped, with Google stating that publishers need more time to evaluate and test the new Privacy Sandbox technologies that Google plans to use as a replacement to third-party cookies.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some within the digital advertising ecosystem are beginning to voice doubts that Google will ever fully withdraw tracking cookies. A growing concern for many is that Google will simply continue to kick the can down the road.

Ignore the cynics

However, a greater proportion of the industry has realised that while further delays are possible, change is now in motion, and the days of third-party cookies truly are numbered (not least because their loss will make Google’s own authenticated data more valuable).

Indeed, while Google’s delay is seen as unfortunate, the overwhelming consensus is that the advertisers, agencies, and the adtech industry should press ahead with making plans for a cookie-less world a reality. As the UK branch of the IAB puts it:

“With Google deferring the deprecation of third-party cookies on Chrome until 2024, it’s critical that businesses across the supply chain maintain momentum on trialling alternative targeting and measurement strategies.”

For the IAB, the demise of third-party cookies on Chrome “isn’t something that is going to happen, it’s already underway.”

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Shape a competitive edge

Justin Peyton, Asia Pacific chief strategy and transformation officer at Wunderman Thompson, an agency, agrees: “These delays should not be seen by brands as a window of opportunity in which to relax, but rather a period where good strategy can offer a significant advantage when the change does happen.”

He’s not the only commentator to see a clear competitive advantage in assessing alternative approaches to third-party cookies now, such as by using their own, first-party data. “Those who have started working on viable alternative solutions already have a competitive advantage over others who don’t. In addition, brands that have a solid first-party data strategy will be in a better position to take control of their future,” says Mitch Waters, SVP at The Trade Desk.

And finally, this from Isabel Blanchard, paid media director of digital marketing agency Tug: “This is a great opportunity for companies that need more time to implement these structures and prepare their organisations for post-cookie impact. I wouldn’t waste this chance – best to chat to clients, agencies, tech vendors on how to navigate this. At some point Google is going to bite the bullet and do it and then it’ll be too late.”

Get started now

From Novatiq’s perspective, now really is the time to put in place your post third-party cookie strategy. There are plenty of alternatives out there, not least our own privacy-first, telco-verified IDs, and brands that start experimenting now will be best placed to succeed in the future.

Make no mistake, thistransition will be hard, but it must be done. We all know cookies were never that effective in the first place. The time’s come for an alternative that creates a better customer experience while meeting the needs of publishers, advertisers, and agencies.

More ways to get inspired

If you’re looking for more stories, thoughts, and comments on all things related to digital marketing then why not drop by our blog. This month, we’we taking a deep dive into the Novatiq solution, and examining how we can deliver a customer-centric solution for advertisers and publishers.

See you in September for more news and inspiration.

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