Online Marketing: When the Cookies Crumble
A similar approach is taking shape for mobile devices, which often have unique device IDs. A number of manufacturers are exploring how to share that information with advertisers by offering consumers meaningful choices and having them participate in the value exchange.
There are three important take-always for marketers:
- The sky is not falling.
- The decline of third-party cookies does not mean the end of effective digital advertising.
- We are at a cross-roads where precision must be balanced with consumer transparency and control.
This is necessitating the introduction of different types of tracking technology, depending on the level of consumer consent.
For example, the most precise targeting, like a first-party cookie or mobile device ID, might be acceptable where consumers can be asked to opt-in to use of their known behaviors. Less precise targeting—like a statistical ID, IP-based targeting or geographical targeting—may be acceptable for other use cases.
Although the situation is not as dire as some make it out to be, smart marketers should take steps to ensure they are prepared for these changes.
1. Ask your service providers what they are doing to prepare for this new world. As noted above, new technologies are already in use—and they will certainly improve. Newer and better solutions will also emerge as we continue to reconcile the technology and consumer privacy discussions as an industry. But if the providers you work with aren't prepared to adapt and use new technologies, the value of the services they provide will decline. More than most industries, online marketing is subject to constant disruption by the emergence of new technologies and new providers, while older approaches and companies decline. Make sure your service providers aren't going the way of the horse and buggy.
2. Own your customer relationships—and your customer data. Like first-party cookies, first-party relationships and the data they generate are not subject to the same restrictions and limitations that govern third-party relationships. Thanks to your direct relationship with your customers, and their consent, you have greater leeway in gathering and using data about their activities. This latitude applies to all of your customers' digital interactions—including mobile apps and website visits from mobile devices, as well as conventional desktop or laptop browsing. If you have physical locations, it applies to offline activities, too.