Navigating a Cookieless Future

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In mid-2023, third-party cookies are likely to be removed from Google Chrome – the start of the cookieless future. Read the insights from our March '22 webinar and panel debate which explored the implications for advertisers and brands alike.


What will the future look like?

In a nutshell, cookie deprecation will make it more difficult to target, personalise, and measure much of our online advertising. Not all areas of a media plan will be affected though – we can still track using device IDs across roughly 50% of mobiles, and we can track across all logged in environments like social and BVOD which account for 72% of time spent online.

Measurement and attribution will need to change, since conversion tracking pixels rely on 3rd party cookies. Brands will need to review their setup in this space, and the winners will look towards incrementality and experimentation. This usually involves withholding ads from control groups, to observe a base level of sales which would have happened anyway, to determine the incremental sales driven by advertising.

Access to less user data will become the new norm. Contextual targeting will gain importance, and the industry will move to rely on aggregated and anonymized data for targeting and measurement. This targeting needs to be fuelled by the most accurate data you can access, so first party data will become an incredibly important source. Second party data is going to be a significant growth area too and you should think about brokering partnerships with organisations that have valuable data for your brand.

Many media and measurement partners are developing work arounds. Google’s privacy-forward tools include “Topics” for targeting, “Fledge” for remarketing, and an Attribution Reporting API (head to privacysandbox.com for regular updates).

However, their expectation is that things will remain very similar in the front end for years – DSPs will look very similar in terms of targeting opportunities, but it's in the back end on the technology side that a lot of those changes are made.


What 3 things can every brand do right now?

Prepare: Create a roadmap to test new targeting, measurement, and any new suppliers. Spark Foundry’s Privacy Impact Assessment is a free tool to highlight where you will be affected the most by privacy changes; giving a clear view on where you need to prioritise your efforts. Please speak to your Spark Foundry team for more information.

1st Party Data: Make sure you're collecting information about your customers and that it is usable for targeting and measurement.

PR: Spend time with senior stakeholders explaining what the shift is, what the impact is, and why it's important that your team spend resources and time focusing on it.


What should our next steps be?

A roadmap for preparing for the cookieless future.





For more information, please contact felicity.bowen@sparkfoundryww.com