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Everything marketers need to know about the death of the cookie

Everything marketers need to know about the death of the cookie
Written by publishing team

Online marketing has become more complex than ever since cookies lost their full powers to track consumers from website to website, and since device identifiers began to disappear, thanks to actions taken by companies like Apple to stop “monitor ads” on iPhone devices.

Apple has even made pro-privacy a basis for its own ads.

Honestly, the data party is over for easy online advertising. “Imagine you are in a club and there is low lighting but consistent lighting and you can see everyone in the club,” says Aaron Kumar, CEO of Kinesso and lead global data and marketing officer at IPG. This was what it was like under the old paradigm, when ad marketplaces enabled brands to check cookies on everyone’s web browsers and learn all about them: what they shopped for online, their interests, and their online viewing habits.

Watch: A growing crowd invades a man’s life in Apple’s privacy ad

Kumar now said, “You start to see the strobe lights, which are very strong, but inconsistent, and flickering, and you can see people’s movements, but you can’t see them all the time. So you have to conclude.”

Why do cookies disappear?

In 2017, Apple — the hardware maker that accounts for more than half of the US phone market — decided the personalized advertising industry was out of control. She started limiting the types of trackers she could carry on her iPhones. Cookies were initially in sight with Apple software called Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which limited third-party cookies through Safari web browsers.

The industry initially declined. He stated a 2017 speech from six major advertising industry groups such as the 4As, ANA and IAB.

Cookies are gone from most web browsers, and even Google, the Internet’s largest advertising company, is shying away from them on Chrome. Other trackers have also been eliminated, such as the device identifiers known as the Apple ID for advertisers, IDFA, which served as the connective tissue for apps to conduct mobile marketing. And recently, Apple restricted the collection of IP addresses as a workaround for identity data for targeting.

• Why Google’s schedule to kill the ad tech companies’ bothersome cookie
• What does Apple’s iPhone update mean for ads

Why are cookies important to advertisers?

Regular users may vaguely understand the concept of cookies when scanning their browser history; By clearing previous browser sessions, web addresses from previous sessions disappear, and sometimes readers have to re-enter passwords in websites because they have cleared the cookie that previously held their login state. Clearing cookies also erases the paths marketers have followed previously, for example, to retarget ads or discover if there are people in the market for certain products.

There is a difference, though, between a first-party cookie, which means it’s a cookie that the publisher plants in the reader’s browser, and a third-party cookie, which is dropped without the reader really consenting to an unknown party keeping tabs on their whereabouts.

Read: Privacy Monitor Slaps IAB, Provides Real-time Ad View On Notification

Cookies have since been regulated by actions such as the European Union General Data Protection Regulation in 2018, and the California Consumer Privacy Act in 2020. Web users are accustomed to seeing consent forms on almost every website that asks readers to either accept cookies or reject them, often revealing the potential uses of these cookies and the third parties who are likely to have access to the collected data.

Are publisher revenues declining?

There is an entire ad tech ecosystem with supply-side ad networks, demand-side ad networks, data management companies, retargeting ad companies, and major Internet ad companies like Facebook and Google that auction off real-time ads for ad inventory that is uploaded to millions of websites. and applications.

Publishers, even the big ones like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Gannett’s USA Today, Bloomberg, Insider, Condé Nast, Hearst and the rest often rely on keeping data about who visits their sites to sell targeted ads and running multiple web domains for their multiple publications. When Google or Apple changes the rules about what data can be collected on their devices and browsers, it can affect how all of these companies make money.

There are plenty of publisher support organizations defending the open web that claim that free content is only available due to the industrial data pool, and without it, free media and services to consumers are at risk.

“Publisher earnings are really at risk,” Orchid Richardson, senior vice president, data center and programming, IAB, told Ad Age after releasing a report on the topic earlier this year. “It’s $10 billion, and we’re expecting it [publishers are] We will lose, because we will not be able to target the audience and take advantage of third party data, if we do not come up with a solution. “

Read: Publishers risk $10 billion lost thanks to cookie cuts

What are the risks of cookie data leakage?

When online ad inventory moves into the complex ecosystem of internet auctions, cookies and personal information can sometimes seep into what’s known as the “viewing stream”, and can be manipulated by parties that a web user never agreed to share.

The potential insecurity of the show stream was highlighted in a single report in 2020 on how gay dating app Grindr exposed personal information of its 3 million users through its ad tech ecosystem. The report called ad platforms such as OpenX, AT&T’s Xandr and Twitter’s MoPub for the app’s alleged laxity when it came to ensuring that any data sent was transmitted with the consent of users of apps like Grindr.

Read: Twitter suspends Grindr from ad platform

“Twitter’s MoPub managed data transfers that included personal Grindr user data,” researchers from Mnemonic, a Norwegian security company, said in its report calling for fines for ad technology companies. “At the same time, it has been observed that a number of other third parties receive personal data directly through the SDK integration into the Grindr app.”

US regulators have been following their European counterparts to scrutinize practices revealed in the real-time bidding ecosystem. The Senate has held hearings on the matter, most recently on September 29 in a hearing entitled “Protecting Consumer Privacy.” Lawmakers recently approved a whopping $1 billion to bolster the privacy enforcement powers of the Federal Trade Commission.

How are privacy concerns handled?

The industry has become innovative to replace the functionality of cookies and device identifiers such as IDFA. Google has implemented what it calls the Privacy Sandbox, a program that will attempt to instill anonymity into the ad supply chain by relying on “groups”, groups of individuals to target and measure ads rather than personal identity. Facebook is developing what it calls Privacy-Enhanced technology to do the same.

Other players in the supply chain rely on new types of online identifiers to communicate between advertising networks and consumers. These identifiers are being rolled out very quickly from stakeholders such as advertising platform The Trade Desk, which is developing Unified ID 2.0. , which is now powered by Prebid and certified by Magnite, SpotX, Index Exchange, and others. Advertising agencies such as OMD and IPG have expressed their willingness to work with Unified ID 2.0. This identifier relies on email addresses, anonymizing them through encryption, to create cookies on web users, who can theoretically be targeted with ads without having to match them with cookies that are not currently on the websites they visit.

“We’re seeing collaboration with the open internet,” Sarah Stevens, Epsilon’s vice president of digital capabilities, said of the industry effort. “We have unions like [Partnership for Addressable Media] Looking forward to collaborating with unprotected parks and allowing our identifiers to connect with alternate identifiers.”

What are the challenges of first-party data marketing beyond cookies?

The loss of cookies and other tracking tools has led to a rush by brands to collect first-party data, which has become the gold standard for online marketing campaigns. What’s so attractive about first-party data is that it theoretically comes with direct consumer consent, who can face the option of consent at the point of contact online or in a store. Sometimes just filling out an online form gives the opportunity to get their permission.

Earlier this year, Unilever’s executive vice president for global media Luis de Como told Ad Age in a statement that the company is investing in first-party data technology to address post-cookie marketing challenges. Mark Pritchard, chief brand officer of Procter & Gamble, said: “Over the past two years, the mindset we’ve taken has simply been that we will have a more privacy-focused internet with more empowerment, and that consent- where consumers have a say in the data they provide. Pritchard told Ad Age. As our dear friend and Gillette CEO Gary Coombe says, ‘If it’s inevitable, get excited. “

Read: Why Marketing Might Be Better Without Cookies

However, the key to using this data could be the reliance on new advertising ID products that have emerged in the advertising technology ecosystem. Instead of cookies, marketers need to match the consumer through those new links. This remains a challenge, as more and more platforms like Apple block paths to understanding exactly who is browsing the web at that moment.

Oftentimes, marketers will rely on what are known as “probabilistic” models, which are essentially guesswork, compared to the older “deterministic” models provided by direct cookie matching.

“In the past, the identifier space was largely deterministic,” said Kumar of Kinesso and IPG. “But in the future, given the continuation of regulations and with the clear removal of cookies, and many other changes that companies like Apple are making, you will see a greater connection of this identity space with first-party data.”

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publishing team