Cookieless Advertising: It isn’t coming, it’s here


Data Protection is here to stay. How does that affect your advertising?

It is no secret that some of the biggest players in the ad tech space have been less than saints with the data people give them (for free) every day.  As big data has grown, breaches, leaks, hacks, misused information, and a myriad of sketchy data practices have translated into swift response from regulators across the world.  New statutes like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, and California’s Consumer Privacy Act have pressed those in control of our data to straighten up.  They’ve also led to a major hurdle for the advertising industry: solving the question of how to develop digital strategies without cookies.  Late last year, Google announced they’d be removing all third party cookie tracking from Chrome, joining Safari and Firefox in a new cookieless world.  But what does that mean for advertisers? Time to fold up the tent and go home? Not exactly.  Our strategies need to evolve to target ads in a cookieless world and luckily, we’re already equipped with many of the tools to move forward.

Are your CRM tools optimized for cookieless advertising? It’s time to get organized.

First and foremost, your first party data just became even more valuable.  If you aren’t heavily invested in CRM maintenance, now is the time to start organizing your data. Audience segmentation based on first party data is by far your best asset when it comes to finding your base.  Tools like Salesforce Marketing Cloud and Oracle Netsuite will be crucial to maintaining a thorough understanding of the nuances of your customers.  If you’re sitting on cookie data from your website’s pixel now, start converting those cookies to device IDs or IP addresses… you’ll thank us later!

Lean more heavily on working with publishers that are able to track their site visitors with a unified login.  It’s no wonder Facebook ads Q4 revenue shot up $4B YoY in 2019 - they’ve been ready for a cookieless advertising landscape from the beginning.   By having the ability to track user behavior via a unified user ID, Facebook doesn’t miss a step.  If you’re logged into their platform and even so much as hover over a link- they know.  Facebook isn’t alone though- we’ll continue to see other publishers push login requirements to access their content.

Most major ad-tech partners have already optimized. Check your ad tools to make sure you’re ahead of the curve.

Contextual targeting will also continue to grow in a cookieless ad landscape.  Ad-tech partners like The Trade Desk, Grapeshot by Oracle and gumgum can help us identify the nature of the content on a given publisher site before a bid is placed.  This allows advertisers to ignore cookie based behavioral targeting all together, and only prioritize spending money on our messaging in contextually relevant placements.  For example, a craft beer advertiser could use contextual targeting to serve their ads on’s top 10 new beers of the month article.  We know this would be money well spent, because the user is currently engaging with content that is hyper relevant to the brand!

We have the tools to plan and measure our digital advertising strategies without reliance on cookies already.  The time to make that shift is now.  Tightened restrictions on third party cookie access aren’t going to lead to the end of targeting and measurement, but rather make those processes that much stronger. 

About Ideas Made Measurable!

At IMM, creating action isn’t just what we do — it’s who we are. Our agency is built to deliver full service capabilities while also delivering measurable results. Big data is the marketing buzzword everyone talks about but few understand. We are here to explain in plain English how data-driven, bottoms-up marketing strategies can help generate leads, drive sales and build your brand. We leverage the expertise of the staff at IMM, a data-driven, full-service digital advertising agency based in Boulder, Colorado.

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