The End Of An Era What Youneed To Know For A Cookie Less Future In Digital Marketing
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The End Of An Era What Youneed To Know For A Cookie Less Future In Digital Marketing

Tobias Kober, Chief Digital Officer, MediaCom Switzerland
Tobias Kober, Chief Digital Officer, MediaCom Switzerland

Tobias Kober, Chief Digital Officer, MediaCom Switzerland

Instead, a rethink is taking place: topics such as the value and protection of personal data and advertising acceptance are becoming increasingly important. Browser providers such as Firefox and Safari have responded to this and already block most cookies. The last big blow to cookies came at the end of 2019, when Google Chrome, the most popular browser with a 64 percent market share, announced that it would also block third-party cookies in two years' time.

Now we probably wouldn't be talking so much about cookies if there was a clear and generally accepted alternative. As things stand, however, the industry has not yet been able to agree on what the future of data-driven marketing will look like.

One possibility is to keep cookies alive via detours. The Universal ID is often raised as the most promising candidate. In short, such an ID means that users consciously allow the cookie so that it can be used by many partners in the digital ecosystem. Probably the biggest problem with this idea is that they are cookies after all. The risk of blocking is correspondingly high. This is exactly what happened when Firefox decided that anonymous user identification in any form is not trustworthy—not even the neutral industry solution of the IAB.

The obvious counter model, i.e. non-anonymized user tracking, is already available and established as a solution. As soon as you have registered with an online service, you most likely give your consent to the exchange of data. All your data can thus be tracked and linked in a single ID. This is even possible regardless of the device, browser or app used. However, as you probably also know, these so-called "walled gardens" do not release the data for use outside of their own environment, so that, for example, the Facebook ID cannot be used to address the same person in Google search results. Reach and usage possibilities are usually drastically reduced in this way.

A new privacy-compliant future could consist of thousands of such walled gardens and is currently the most likely direction for the industry. The New York Times, for example, recently decided to ban all third-party cookies from 2021, and to rely more on their own login-based user data. The "Digital Alliance" of Swiss publishing houses is also moving in a similar direction in this country. From a practical perspective, this means that the providers' data is stored on their in-house data platforms and offered to advertisers as target group segments—but without the possibility of using the target group data outside the in-house inventory.

The implementation of the "Digital Alliance", which relies on a common login but separate data collection, shows how unwilling the digital economy is to share its obviously valuable data. Thus, global competition does not need to fear the development of a comparable local product at present. Finally, the project has been put on hold until 2021—probably due to Covid-19, which means that a first step, the obligation to login, has not been taken yet.

It is therefore foreseeable that the largest, mostly global players, who have the resources and data volumes required for sophisticated data-driven advertising, will benefit. Similarly, alliances, login requirements with transparent added value for users and similar industry initiatives promise to put other market players in a good starting position for the future without cookies. The imminent scarcity of personal data is likely to lead to an even higher price for such data, which in turn will encourage a shift in media purchasing towards data without personal reference.

This also means a shift to contextual data for programmatic purchasing. By using intelligent algorithms as well as AI-based test and optimization models, e.g. based on on-site analytics data, outstanding campaign success can be achieved. At the same time, so-called "data clean rooms", which enable data exchange between advertising customers and inventory providers, are gaining in importance. This in turn increases the importance and value of the relationships between market participants.

The cookie-free world offers you many possibilities. For example, in mobile appenvironments, which make up a large part of today's digital communication, you may not be reliant on cookies to find solutions you are accustomed to. Our tool for calculating video convergence is already based on study and 1st party data and takes the complex digital environment into account. Offers such as contact classes and remarketing can also be based in part on alternative identifiers.

All this shows that an up-to-date media strategy and good planning skills can make a decisive contribution to preparing for the time without cookies, and thus ensure the future growth of your brand.

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