How to make the most out of another Google cookie delay

How to make the most out of another Google cookie delay

While this prolonged deprecation can be frustrating, marketers and brands can make the most of this transitional moment.

The deprecation of the third-party cookie can feel like a ‘boy who cried wolf’ scenario.

Plans to phase out third-party cookies announced in 2020 and consistently delayed over the following years.

The latest news from Google to delay the plan to phase out third-party cookies in Chrome to late 2024 should come as no surprise, but that doesn’t mean that marketers should ignore this update.

Make no mistake, the cookies days are numbered.

Fragmented and uncertain landscape

The current delay hinges on negotiations with the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

Both organisations have expressed anti-competitive and privacy concerns about the impact this will have on competitors in the industry. Additionally, many industry bodies have expressed challenges with Google’s proposed alternative, the Privacy Sandbox, and its ability to deliver on basic industry use cases.

This delay impacts the entire media and ad-tech ecosystem.

With new deprecation dates unclear, limited testing opportunities for the Privacy Sandbox, and an ecosystem that is already without third-party cookies in many platforms, advertisers are left with a landscape that is fragmented and uncertain, making planning and decision making difficult.

However, this delay also presents the opportunity to fine-tune solutions and implement a robust cookieless strategy. Brands can make the most of this delay by examining closely the following areas:

>> First-party data & consent: Where applicable to a brand, a first-party data strategy is going to be extremely helpful in a post-cookie world and that strategy needs to be thought through with consent in mind.

>> ID based activation: While there is no single replacement for the cookie, there are many ID solutions that should be examined and tested as one part of the solution.

>> Alternative targeting solutions: In addition to ID solutions, advertisers should continue expanding other targeting options such as attention, contextual and modelled audiences.

>> Measurement: Brands need to invest in privacy-first measurement solutions like attention, econometrics and incrementality to ensure that their measurement options continue to produce actionable results.

What agencies need to do now

To date, it has been challenging, if not impossible in many cases, for agencies and advertisers to test the Privacy Sandbox, as access was limited to publishers and marketers only recently started getting information directly from Google on how to leverage this tool.

While more information is needed from Google, in the interim agencies can develop solutions that are ready for the cookieless-present:

>> Cookieless matching methodologies between panel data and third-party data pushing directly into other digital platforms.

>> Qualitative and quantitative audit methodologies to help clients understand their current reliance on 3rdparty cookies and establish a plan for reducing that dependence across media, tech, and measurement.

>> First party data strategies, including CDP and clean rooms, setup both through inhouse and third-party partners.

>> Updated advanced measurement methodologies like Marketing Mix Modeling (MMM), Multi-Incrementality Modeling (MIM), Brand Equity Modeling (BEM) and Nested Modelling, that are not reliant on third-party cookies.

While this prolonged deprecation, and the lack of a clear timeline, can be frustrating, marketers and brands can make the most of this transitional moment.

By adapting, innovating, and testing multiple solutions, the industry can properly prepare itself for the, eventual, date when the cookie finally is gone for good.

Jamie Seltzer is global EVP CSA & Mx Analytics, Havas Media Network

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