Life in a cookie-less world: What brands can do to overcome the challenges

With cookies expected to phase out sooner or later, the advertising world is busy drawing a blueprint to come up with solutions that will help them navigate the post-cookie world

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Aug 5, 2022 9:04 AM  | 5 min read

Delay in third-party deprecation notwithstanding, the key focus area for brands, publishers, and agencies continues to be building strategies for a cookieless world. The digital advertising industry has relied on third-party cookies for years as it allows cross-site tracking, retargeting, and ad serving.

With cookies expected to phase out sooner or later, the advertising world is busy drawing a blueprint to come up with solutions that will help them navigate the post-cookie world. While some brands and publishers have already begun planning for the future there are many who are yet to figure out a way. The delay in cookie deprecation is a blessing in disguise as brands and publishers can work on solutions like building first-party data.

Network18 COO - General News (Digital) and Revenue Head – Display Mitul Sangani said most of the evolved brands, advertisers, and publishers are in reasonably advanced stages of building/planning a solution for the cookieless world.

“The end of TP cookies has been a long-anticipated reality for publishers and advertisers on digital. Most of the evolved and technologically sophisticated publishers have been working on building the first party data using UID, identity graph, logged in environment, ad interactions, page clicks, searches, forum posts, comments, page information, etc. There is also a lot of discussion around some solutions from Google (erstwhile FLoC) and other syndicates to propagate solutions across the ecosystem,” he added.

Aqilliz Chief Business Officer Rajeev Dhal believes publishers will need to revisit their data management strategy. He further stated that the publishers will need to implement a comprehensive consumer data platform (CDP) and identity (ID) solution, and non-personally identifiable information (non-PII) dependent.

“This will help in building high fidelity first-party data and enhanced campaign management and targeting capabilities. Additionally, they will need to implement a consent management system to prepare for the privacy-first future,” he noted.

The Trade Desk India General Manager Tejinder Gill said forward-thinking advertisers and publishers recognise that this is the best opportunity to build a better and upgraded internet. He is also bullish about the Unified ID 2.0 initiative which is being touted as a solution to third-party cookies.

“This delay will give publishers and stakeholders across the industry more time to scale privacy-conscious approaches to addressability that provide long-lasting benefits. One identity solution that has gained industry-wide support is Unified ID 2.0, a new approach to identity that reflects the contemporary digital marketplace. Unified ID 2.0 can help brands reach more of their target audience and enable publishers to fully monetize their content,” Gill elaborated.

He also called upon the stakeholders to act now and start building alternative solutions irrespective of when cookies will get phased out. He added that the early movers in this direction will have a headstart over others when the cookie is finally gone.

“Those who have started working on viable alternative solutions already have a competitive advantage over others who don’t. Brands with a first-party data strategy will be in a better position once cookies go away. We’ll continue to work with the industry to prioritise identity solutions such as Unified ID 2.0 that help marketers manage reach, frequency, data, and privacy across all advertising channels—in ways that will represent a significant upgrade for the internet,” he noted.

Voiro Founder and CEO Kavita Shenoy noted that the large publishers have started their work on new identity solutions that are built on first-party data. “Large brands and publishers are well on their way to building their first-party data muscle. We see proof of that movement in their increased investments in tech and teams to drive better utilisation of their audience data,” she said.

Shenoy noted that the smaller publishers need to utilise the extra time to come up with solutions as they have a tough road ahead. “The smaller publishers, however, have a rough road ahead and can use this additional time to shore up familiarity with identity providers and become part of consortiums, allowing them access to demand in correlation to these ID graphs,” she stated.

In an earlier interaction with e4m, Publicis Media SVP, Lead-Precision (Programmatic) India Anil Pandit had stated that advertisers should start focusing on short-term and long-term cookie-less tactics around Contextual Targeting, build a Zero Party Data and 1PD Framework, envisage an annual Value Exchange Content Calendar, start evaluating the right tech required, audit their existing data from Consent point of view.

“They should also start testing a few Identity solutions, focus on 2nd PD partnerships and look for more unique Data Partnerships. They should also start looking at newer measurement technologies like Data clean rooms for both attributions, analytics as well as targeting (courtesy some independent Data Clean Rooms),” he stated.

Publishers, he said, should look at this as an opportunity to further shape their newer monetisation opportunities, start viewing their visitors as their own customers by giving them some value, build their own 1PD, participate in various ID solutions like UID2.0, extend their subscription base with more data points enough to start understanding the needs, preferences, and habits of theirs and start forming rich deterministic cohorts to be sold to advertisers at a premium.

“They should focus on the product (content) and not ad slots; focus on creating outstanding user experience to build credibility and trust; build innovative formats to step up audience engagement opportunities; switch from quantity metrics to quality ones and ultimately develop a more finely targeted narrative towards buyers, presenting quality media as a complementary alternative to Walled Gardens,” he added.

He also had a word of advice for brands and publishers. “What both advertisers and publishers require is an honest and neutral assessment of their own data and digital maturity before they embark on any of the above steps.”


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