Consumers Will Want Third-Party Cookies Back

Consumers may be anxious to say goodbye to third-party cookies, but this will be short-lived. That’s what our president Jay Friedman predicts, and he explains why to Matt Spiegel, executive vice president of marketing solutions and head of media vertical at TransUnion in a recent Beet.TV The New Media Reality episode. Watch the full interview for all of Jay’s digital advertising industry insights or read on for the highlights – his quick takes on some of digital marketing’s hottest topics right now, from identity to  privacy regulations to cookieless advertising.

What do you think will happen when Google joins the other web browsers in dropping third-party cookies?

Google plans to drop the third-party cookie in 2022 to preserve consumer privacy and to keep companies from tracking users across the internet. But when it does, consumers will likely have this one unexpected wish.

We’ll look back two years from now, and consumers will say, “I wish we just had cookies again, because I can delete those — and I didn’t have to log in and hit ‘accept’ on every site I go to.”

How will consumer privacy, consent regulations and tech changes affect digital advertising?

They will have tremendous impact. Though in the end, how much, we don’t know. We may prevent the worst use cases from happening again, but the day-to-day use cases are going to be much harder to implement and aren’t going to do a lot of protecting.

Is Apple updating its software on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV streaming devices for consumer privacy?

Apple has taken a sneakily creative way of approaching privacy and that is probably secondary to Apple’s primary motive, which is to beat Google and to eliminate the need for the open web in favor of the app ecosystem.

As these changes hinder audience tracking, consumers may become more frustrated with ads that aren’t targeted, but are still intrusive. If unaided, consumers would rather see ads that are relevant to them — because you’re going to see ads either way.

How will the loss of third-party cookies and the 2021 Apple software update impact agencies?

It forces everyone to get their first-party data in order. When before, we really didn’t know the name of the person we were targeting very often. Now, we will.

Getting first-party data in order is a no-brainer for marketers and getting comfortable with the idea of incrementality as a metric is a good idea, regardless of what happens. (Incrementality can help you show your marketing strategy works; download our Guide to Incrementality now to find out how.)

Will measurement be different soon because of data privacy concerns?

Measurement will probably be worse in the future. But even with all the measurement capabilities available currently, the majority of marketers only include a few in their toolbox. Marketers are given this professional auger, but the hole they dig is only big enough for a sprinkler head. Too many are still stuck on last-click attribution today (or last-touch, if focusing on viewthroughs) instead of looking at other metrics such as incrementality, both by channel and by message.

There are so many different ways to measure lift. I do believe that as some of these tools are shifted, we will not be unable to measure lift and incrementality, but it will be a little more challenging and broad. My hope is that, let’s say the tools never change, 10 years from now, I would hope that 80% of marketers instead of 20% of marketers are really advanced. I think this maybe slows the progression.

How should advertisers and their agencies proceed without third-party cookies?

Though Google and the digital advertising industry have yet to choose what identity solutions will replace the third-party cookie, measuring an advertising campaign’s effectiveness will still be the main goal.

Whatever identity solutions are implemented will be more challenging than the cookie. So I advise advertisers and their agencies to continue using all the tools they have in their arsenal while they have them – while also developing new tools on a parallel track.

Are you comfortable going cookieless? If not, download our free Going Cookieless 101 Guide and learn all about Google’s plan to drop third-party cookies and how the digital advertising industry is responding and preparing now for this big change to come. Plus, get expert tips you can act on now to succeed in the cookieless future. Or don’t go it alone; let us help. Work with us at the start to discover the right digital strategies and tools you can put in place now. Then when the time comes, you can confidently step into the new cookieless world without ever breaking your stride.