How Marketers Should Reimagine Digital Strategy in a Cookie-less Future | Marketing Maestros | Blogs | ANA

How Marketers Should Reimagine Digital Strategy in a Cookie-less Future

May 25, 2021

By Mark Connon


As the advertising industry churns toward an impending date of deprecation of the third-party cookie and Apple follows suit with greater restrictions on their IDFA, it's time for marketers to begin the process of implementing new digital strategies.

‘Cookie-less’ solutions are best tested and analyzed while they can still be compared to live third-party cookie deployments. In addition to homing in on these alternative identifiers, marketers also have opportunities on platforms like connected TV (CTV), with plenty of cases for app targeting on Apple as well as Chrome, to figure out a way forward.

Here’s how marketers can make the most of these platforms both now and in the future.


Streaming Content and Connected TV

Streaming content has experienced explosive growth in the past year that we haven’t seen since programmatic came on the scene over a decade ago. Not only has this contextual inventory become widely available, but it’s also made itself a part of the programmatic workstream, creating seamless workflows to allocate budget, compare performance and ensure inclusion in digital attribution modeling.

CTV powerhouses like Roku are building solutions to connect their first-party data to third-party data through cookie-less ID partnerships, which will only enhance the value of CTV heading into next year. It’s paramount that marketers explore these partnerships, and how they can be early integrators of these technologies to benefit not only from CTV brand awareness, but to seamlessly connect household-level devices to individual paths, with an end goal of facilitating purchases that can be seen through cookie-less identifiers.

CTV is a great point of entry for brands to build upon engagement, but in order to drive purchase or conversion, marketers need to be able to accurately target users within a household on their personal devices. A mix of cookie-less identifiers and first-party publisher data will be key to unlocking these insights in the near future.


Apple’s IDFA

While Apple imposes restrictions on the IDFA based on user consent, publishers are still able to scale IDFAs for marketers given they can prove a value exchange to consumers for their data and the quality content being provided.

Apps are ripe with high engagement and an immense library of diverse content and use cases. From social media, entertainment and news to fitness, life-hacks and retail; app usage will continue to grow as it has over the last several years. Marketers that implore strategies to connect in-app campaigns to other digital channels, like traditional web and CTV will be more successful by applying identity resolution that links ad placements in these channels to users and their other IDs, including cookie-less identifiers.

Since IDFAs may be more limited (but still exist), it’s even more important to understand where and how else companies can target users. Marketers will need to play with their media mix and cadence to determine what combination of placements will result in purchase or conversion.Having an identity strategy already in place will provide the most holistic view and the comprehensive performance results.


Hashed Email

Another strategy picking up steam, which is also seen as a cookie-less identifier, is hashed email. The concept of hashing email addresses to protect users’ privacy, then connecting them to cookies, mobile ad IDs and devices by that same individual, has been a digital identity capability for some time. As the industry looks to move away from cookies, hashed emails are even more valuable.

Google, Amazon and Apple all have authenticated email data. But beyond the big three, publishers have also been investing efforts to create email sign-ups for users to help better associate activities with ads they’re served, along with other digital touchpoints which help marketers retarget. Digital identity providers are also going to leverage this capability in lieu of a browser ID solution.

In the cookie-less future, email will be a crux of digital strategy. The more authenticated hashed emails that can be connected to each other, the more accurate and scaled targeting can become.


Redefining the Future

As we continue to navigate through uncharted territory and the industry embarks on a unique journey toward a cookie-less future, implementing new strategies is inevitable. In an effort to make the upcoming transition as smooth as possible, marketers must look to alternative identifiers and various platforms to grow and succeed in both the present and future.

Mark Connon is general manager at Tapad.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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