This article was updated August, 27. 2021.
Google will block all third-party cookies in Google Chrome by 2024, effectively making most third-party cookie-based platforms and services obsolete. This phase-out will force advertisers to find viable alternatives to the cookie-based technologies that enable legacy, web-focused ad technology, such as data management platforms (DMP), demand side platforms (DSPs), and supply side platforms (SSPs)/exchanges – which are all widely used today for targeted, online website advertising.
Google’s actions will come as no surprise to many marketers, as they follow in the footsteps of Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge, which already heavily restrict the use of third-party cookies. According to Merkle, more than half of paid search clicks (54%) are generated by Safari, which, as a result, is already a large blind spot for third-party, cookie-dependent solutions, including ones for reporting and attribution.
But because of Chrome’s enormous share of the browser market (67%), this shift is causing significant disruption in the advertising ecosystem, as dependent platforms and services become useless in their current form. Here are steps your business can take right now to adapt to this policy change:
- Assess your risk. How much of your spend/revenue is tied to third-party cookies? How dependent are you on third-party data for retargeting or segmentation?
With cross-site tracking via third-party cookies being eliminated from Google Chrome and other browsers, you’ll need to move away from strategies that are built around that mechanism (i.e., DMP-enabled ad targeting, DSP retargeting). Understand how these mechanisms are being used and what the real ROI is to prioritize where to focus as you re-architect your ad tech stack. Also consider the share of ad spend on legacy website banner ads compared to the modern ad platforms (e.g. Google Ads, Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads) that drive the bulk of digital ad spend. It may be more effective to integrate with the advanced native capabilities of these ad platforms.
- Incorporate intelligence within your firewall. Leverage first-party data and insights for advertising – like you are probably doing for your owned channels today.
Organizations that are focused on building one-to-one customer relationships are already leveraging advanced decisioning and AI … but probably aren’t using those for paid channels, yet. You should prioritize investment in capabilities that integrate your proprietary first-party data and AI-driven insights, as these will become the key to optimizing digital ad spend moving forward.
- Integrate your data and intelligence directly across the high-power paid channels.
Using CRM targeting APIs and a direct integration model you can connect directly to the primary ad platforms that drive the majority of the world’s digital advertising spend across apps, like Facebook, Instagram, Google Search, YouTube, and LinkedIn. Direct integration via APIs will allow you to target individuals with ads using the full fidelity of enterprise data and intelligence and without a dependency on third-party cookies.
Once third-party cookie tracking is defunct, many businesses that think they’ve been activating their first-party data and intelligence in paid channels via a DMP will find themselves at a data disadvantage. The reality is, with the modern ad ecosystem focused on mobile and native app advertising, these third-party cookie-based approaches were likely of limited effectiveness to begin with. The time to take action is now.
Clients have realized amazing results by combining first-party data with AI-based decisioning. By applying predictive and adaptive analytics to the data you already own you can create one-to-one, personalized engagement campaigns that deliver the right message at the right time via the right channel.
Visit pega.com/paid-media and discover how Pega can help you extend decisioning onto your paid channels.
Want more on the future of advertising in a cookie-less digital world? Watch this video: “Bridging the cookie-less gap: what’s ahead for digital advertising.”